I patched some foot square holes in the wall and would like to know when paper tape is applied:

  • right after mud is applied
  • after it has dried and is sanded
  • with drywall patching.

2 Answers 2


Paper tape you apply mud first then bed the paper tape with mud still wet.

  1. Apply a thin layer of mud slightly wider than width of tape
  2. Lay tape over seam
  3. Scrape the paper tape with a taping knife to bed the tape. A thin layer of mud will cover the tape in the process.
  4. Feather the edges of the mud with a wide knife (10" - 12")
  5. wait until dry and scrape down any ridges or unevenness with the taping knife
  6. Apply a wider layer of mud over top and smooth it out and feather the edges.
  7. Preferably repeat steps 5 and 6.

Fiberglass tape you apply before any mud.

Edit: One more tip....

For small patches like that I usually only worry about feathering the outside edges and will feather it out that edge to the width of my largest knife (12" I think.) When I'm done with that edge and everything is dry I'll come back and fill in the entire inside area over the patch with mud and level it out to the height of the mud over the tape. It makes the repair less noticeable. Instead of having a large outline of a rectangle of raised mud you have a square that blends in better.

  • What can you do if you forgot and applied mud first? May 6, 2020 at 13:04

The paper type drywall tape is attached to the wall with the first thin coat of drywall mud and then covered over with a thin layer of additional wet mud. Some installers may even wet the paper tape before installation.

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The paper type is a pain to use though in comparison to the modern type of fiber glass screen mesh tape. This type comes with a glue on the back which allows it to be pressed onto the seam areas before any mud is applied. The open mesh allows the mud to flow through the tape making a much stronger joint.

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  • There are plenty of pros who would argue that paper tape makes stronger joints that are less susceptible to cracking than the mesh fiberglass tape does. The marginal advantage with the mesh tape is that it's actually sticky on one side like regular sticky tape, so you can stick it to the drywall before schlepping the mud on there. I personally don't think it's all that tough to schlep some mud up there then stick the paper tape in it. :-) Jun 25, 2015 at 21:27
  • Also, mesh tape is a bear in corners, because you can't easily fold it, and it's recommended that you use a quick-setting compound to set the tape rather than regular all-purpose drywall compound, and one of the best uses is for smaller patches where movement is less of an issue. Jun 25, 2015 at 21:29
  • I am surprised. I've used mesh tape in the corners of many repairs and hands down liked the performance way way better than paper tape. Another issue that I've seen with paper tape is how it can have a tendency, for reasons I am not sure of, come loose in long sections.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 26, 2015 at 2:47
  • 1
    Ah. If the paper tape does that, the sheetrock underneath probably wasn't prepped with enough joint compound before laying the tape in it (don't be shy with the joint compound), or the compound was too dry, and the tape probably wasn't pressed deep enough into the compound and covered with enough, all of which can make it tend not to adhere well. You want the paper tape to end up wet. Not dripping, but wet. Some people will actually moisten the tape before putting it up on the wall (wet sponge or whatever). Jun 26, 2015 at 2:51
  • OK. Thanks. It has not been taping joints that I made that I saw letting go. Was stuff that I found to repair. I actually mentioned the tape wetting in the original answer second sentence.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 26, 2015 at 2:53

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