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I'm going to be doing some drywalling shortly and was wondering what experiences other have had with the self adhesive fiberglass mesh tape.

Is it a good choice or am I going to regret using it?

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14 Answers 14

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I've found that it works OK, but it's more difficult to get the surface smooth than paper tape -- as the mud dries, it shrinks, so the mesh starts to show through. Obviously this is not a problem if you're going to be doing some heavy texturing afterwards.

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I find using setting joint compound for the first coat over mesh tape has a couple of benefits.. It sets within an hour, so a second coat can be done quickly. It also shrinks much less than premix. – HerrBag Mar 2 '13 at 22:05

I like it since it generally goes on quite a bit faster. The only place I don't like it is for inside corners. It's much easier to get a nice clean corner with paper tape since it has that convenient seam down the middle for folding it.

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I was warned by several people to not use fiberglass tape when finishing drywall. The fiberglass mesh tape is more likely to allow cracks to form over time because it is not as strong as paper tape.

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I've observed this myself and switched to paper. – Steve Fallows Oct 19 '11 at 3:03

I have used it for patching areas, but not for an entire drywall installation. It made patching in a tight space much easier. You just needed several coats of mud on top to compensate for the shrinking.

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Fiber glass mesh is designed to be used with fast setting mud. This is dry stuff that is mixed with water and contains plaster of paris. I use it all the time. they have a product at Home Depot that will dry in 5 minutes (usually takes 15). then put another coat on top of that. The final coat should be regualr mud which is a bit easier to sand.

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The fiberglass tape is all I use. It doesn't stick very well, though.

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The two advantages I know of for fiberglass tape are that it's mold resistant and it won't bubble up like paper can if you do a bad mudding job. But I think others have already pointed out many of the advantages of paper, which is my preference.

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I added a new office area to my basement in early 2009. All the walls were installed with new wallboard. I tried using conventional drywall tape but ran into problems with putting it on and getting it to go on the right way. It came loose when sanding and parts of the tape would start to appear after I began to sand---this is because with mud under the tape, the tape is raised higher and is closer to the surface. I switched over to the fiber glass mesh tape and I immediately began to have better results. I mudded over the tape and the tape stayed in place. I used the fiber glass tape for all the seams throughout the entire room and everything worked flawlessly! I can say this with authority because it is now 2013 (4 years later) and there are no imperfections anywhere-none. No cracking, loose mud or whatever. The entire room is in flawless condition except in those areas where the walls have been hit by moving furniture. I used pre-mixed mud out of the bucket but it was stirred first until it was the same consistency throughout. I am not a professional drywall installer but I took the time to be very precise and careful with all the steps of the job and the results continue to show to this day.

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I've used it but, given a choice, I'll always opt for paper. I've seen mesh "shift" right where the seam is. It doesn't seem to be as strong as a tape joint when it comes to keeping pieces of sheetrock from shifting.

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Either way is good, paper or tape. I finished my basement and garage and have done a lot of drywall in the past. I use paper in the corners mostly for sure, and mesh/fiberglass tape or paper tape over the flat spots and metal corners. I used normal joint mud (All Purpose) with the mesh tape and some joints have cracked, but only a few. Those had to be repaired by cutting out the old tape a little wider to accommodate mud and paper tape to fix the crack. I will start using the fast setting or hot mud that dries quick and prevents that cracking (first coat) than use normal mud to finish. Always make sure your drywall is tight to the structure (screwed in) so there isn't any play or movement. Also on new drywall you may want to put a few squirts of panel adhesive or even construction adhesive on spots close to the seam (where two pieces meet) to keep it from moving.

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I've used both with good results but it largely depends on the application. Long straight joints, in the middle where drywall bevel edges meet is fine for mesh because usually more mud applied due to the bevel.
A tip I've used to over 30 years with excellent results...mud the joint and soak the length of paper in water before applying it. The wetted paper allows the mud to make better adhesion but don't apply too much pressure with the knife to make the paper buckle or shred. I always use paper for inside corners.

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No one in a country with a winter season should use mesh tape EVER! If you are going over steel studded walls you may use a mesh tape for flats and butts only due to the limited movement in the metal but is still not recommended. Paper all the way.

If you insist on using mesh tape, you must use quick set compounds for your first coat. This will give the inferior mesh application a marginal amount of strength.

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Why, why, why? Why shouldn't a person in a country with winter use mesh tape? Why can it be used with steel studs? Why must you use quick set compounds? – Tester101 Jan 8 '15 at 11:16
Because wood studs move slightly in climates with extreme temperature humidity shifts – John Jan 11 at 17:14

I agree with the answers that recommend using "quick set" cement on the first coat of mesh tape else the joint will develop hairline crack. I've tried it without the quickset and had nothing but bad luck. Maybe it depends on the climate? I live in Montana where especially it can get cold in basements during the winter.

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It can be a pain if you get the cheapest stuff. Those rolls are rolls of remnants & you constantly have to re-find the edge since there will be even just 2' long sections included. I learned my lesson with that stuff the first time.

But yes, it's vastly superior than paper for 1 simple reason. Mesh embeds into the mud, tape just sticks to the mud.

If you've done any demolition for a patch or a whole house you'll find tape peels up & the mud just flakes right off. With Mesh however, you'll find that it's completely filled & often won't peel off & if it does that the mud stays mostly attached it. Mesh can also be put in mud for the full embedding treatment & I haven't found a single failure of a meshed seam I've done yet.

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