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Can you use mesh tape on inside drywall corners or should I use paper? Is it a matter of preference or are there some rules that are generally followed?

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Can you use mesh tape on inside drywall corners or should I use paper?

Paper only - mesh is designed to be used flat, in joints that primarily expand - not to be folded in a corner, where the joint can freely move in all directions.

Is it a matter of preference or are there some rules that are generally followed?

Rules/Experience - manufacturers recommendations and common sense to anyone with a minimal amount of drywall taping experience.

More specifically, mesh tape is intended for joints mainly under expansion loads and does not function well under the compression, bending, or shear loads, that a corner typically adds to a joint. Paper tape has a crease designed into it, for ease of folding and placement within a corner joint. Read the following USG white paper, for more detailed information.

USG - Matching Tapes and Compounds

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Mesh has two three issues:

  1. It requires more coats and coverage.
  2. It is not manufactured to middle split evenly. No folding line like paper.
  3. When applying joint compound to mesh there is an art to not getting the corner of your knife on the mesh. I have had to use mesh late at night for inside corner repairs. Using mesh in a corner forces you to use your knife's corner meaning your knife will snag on it as you are putting more stress on the inside when tapering the compound. Meaning you will have snags or the worst when doing a corner - moving the mesh.

In a lot of years drywalling and hiring some really good crews I have never seen anyone use mesh for an inside corner. You could but why do something that is harder, takes more time, and could be flawed over time.

The best drywall guys I have seen only use tape for 95%+ of the job. The mesh is for binding drywall to something else. Even the pro-mesh guys (these weren't the best) have rolls of paper for inside corners.

  • Possible #4 (or expansion on #1): More mud is required as fill. Inside corners often have gaps of up to a half inch. Paper mostly spans that. Mesh requires more backfill due to shrinkage. – isherwood Mar 21 at 13:54
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I suppose it's possible but I personally think it's crazy. Mesh is thick and the adhesive doesn't have much holding power. If the hardware store was closed and I needed to do my inside corners so I could move on to flat joints in the morning I'd consider it. Mesh requires a lot more building out on flat surfaces and I guess you can hide it in a corner pretty easily. It would just be really hard to get it to lay nicely in the corner.

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Better yet use one of the options below:

Metal corner tape

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Paper faced inside corner bead Available individually at big box stores. These make better looking stronger straighter corners. enter image description here

  • These may have more commercial use or areas that might be damaged but both take longer to get to the finish and require more time/compound. It is an alternative though that is better than mesh. – DMoore Mar 22 at 2:58

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