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My understanding is that drywall tape is to provide structure to the mud as the framing members shift. In my case, I've cut about 17 5" holes in my garage drywall ceiling and saved the plugs. I plan to plug the holes as pictured below (side view).

Elevation view of drywall plug

There's a gap between the existing drywall and the plug. Do I need to tape it? As the house shifts, the plug should shift with the drywall sheet since it's attached to it with the short lath strip.

Since the plug is circular, it seems like I'd need to use something like these (not cheap) instead of regular tape. Aesthetics aren't a big concern since this is a garage.

  • Do you need to tape it... for what? – isherwood Jan 23 '16 at 1:07
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I think the question you're asking is whether the joint compound will crack around the plugs if you don't tape the joint.

Probably.

But that depends on:

  1. How well you replace the plugs. If you don't center them perfectly, leaving uniform gaps, the joint compound has nowhere to go in the tight spots and you're left with a paper-thin skin on the surface that's sure to crack.

  2. How well you press mud into the gap. Same reason.

  3. Your climate. Extremes of temperature and humidity will probably crack untaped joints.

  4. How you use the lath. If you use just one the plugs can move more and will probably crack. If you use two, well spaced, and 8 screws, probably not.

What I'd do:

Since it's only 17 plugs, run a strip of tape down one side, and a strip down the other, covering as much joint as possible with the two. The remaining untaped joint segments will be short enough that they're not likely to crack. This will take very little time. A 12" or larger knife will allow you to make a nice wide second coat over everything and end up with a finish that will require very little sanding.

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    Mesh tape really doesn't mind a layer or 2 of overlap... Personally, I wouldn't leave any gaps. – Aloysius Defenestrate Jan 23 '16 at 2:55
  • No, but it can be a pain when you're sanding--it tends to emerge quickly. – isherwood Jan 24 '16 at 0:47
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I'd say yes, you need tape. I like the fiberglass mesh tape. It also self-sticking. I put strips of it over the joints before putting on any mud.

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Screw your backing plate to the inside wall (3/4 inch plywood strips won't splinter when screws grab into it). Slather the edges of the plug with joint compound and push into place and secure with screws.

Apply more compound over the plugged surface. Cover seams with tape and press into place to force out excess compound. Using a wider blade apply a second wider coat of compound so that it covers the plug and it's seams. You want to leave just enough to cover the repair from view.

Let it dry until solid (white color), knock down any burrs or trowel ridges and apply a third 6-8 inch wide application of compound. This should be enough to hide the repair and tape from being noticed and there should be very little need for sanding. If sanding is needed use a 150-220 grit for a smooth finish.

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If you wish to do what the building code requires, it must be taped in a garage. On top of that, I would tape anything that has an actual gap or drilled holes.

Paper tape is a good old reliable material to use, but I prefer fiberglass tape, it is thinner, does not need a bed coat and holds itself on walls and ceilings without that bed coat.

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