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I noticed that there is a debate about using a paper tape or fiberglass mesh tape for drywall seams taping. In general professionals seem to prefer paper tape. However, I have read that in a place where there is a lot of humidity, such as a bathroom with a shower, it is necessary to use a fiberglass mesh tape and setting type joint compound (chemical bound), instead of paper tape and ready-mixed all purpose compound, the latter being soluble in water.

Being a novice I would like to know if it is true that the paper tape and ready-mixed all purpose compound are to proscribe for drywall seams taping in a bathroom. Could not we use rather a primer and a moisture-resistant paint to protect the seams ?

Thank you.

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  • The paper tape in our bathroom has failed. However, we have drywall covering the wetwall that services the shower abutting a 100 year old plaster wall and I think that they just don't expand/contract at the same rate... so doomed to fail either way.
    – AdamO
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:07

4 Answers 4

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Could not we use... a primer and a moisture-resistant paint to protect the seams ?

YES, either tape will work fine and you should use the joint compound you are most comfortable with. When covered properly with a high quality primer and paint then the moisture should not be an issue for either.

P.S.- I do not use mesh tape because I have had experience with cracking that does not seem to happen as much with paper. Many folks will likely have suggestions and anecdotes both pro and con for both.

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  • Jimmy - did you use mesh with all purpose (AP)? I'm not a drywall guy, so just going on advice, but mesh and AP seem to be bad because of the shrinking. Mesh and setting compound has never failed me. Sep 26, 2018 at 3:30
  • I use pre-mix joint compound for setting and covering the tape, then topping compound for successive coats. The cracking I'm referring to happened later (months), exposing the mesh. It may be wrong-headed thinking but I feel that the paper tape adds some tensile strength to the joint thereby helping to resist stress cracks, or maybe allows some "slip" under the tape so cracks don't appear? I dunno. Sep 26, 2018 at 4:26
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I prefer to use fibafuse fiberglass tape with premixed mud. This isn't the mesh tape this is a solid strip of fiberglass material, it looks like a roll of dryer sheets. It's easier to use than both paper and mesh tape as you can see where you are missing mud through the tape itself.so if you have a dry spot or air bubbles you can just add mud over the tape and it will push through to the wall. The only downside I've found is that it is made from fiberglass and can cause a reaction on your skin if you don't wear gloves.

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  • The question specifically asks about use in a bathroom. If you'd edit to address that specific part of the question, that would help.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 1, 2023 at 12:34
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It it's simple straight-line joints, paper tape has worked for the last century.

If it's diagonal cracking due to settling, my (limited) experience is that fiberglass tape holds against those forces better.

Re the large sheets: Folks have been known to just use scraps of fiberglass window screening, if that's what they had on hand, rather than a product sold for the purpose. I have no opinion on whether that is really equivalent, but I used it for one large patch and it's held so far.

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For just taping typical drywall paper tape is fine. Water permeability is no different that the compound that will be used to apply it so that's really a non-issue. More important is applying a good coat of primer before painting. (Note: Paint advertising as paint+primer in one is just a marketing gimmick.)

Now if it was cement board for tub/shower area that would require mesh tape. Or as Keshlam noted, where settling cracks have developed from house settling.

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