Mesh tape is a must-have material when installing drywall. It is used to join pieces of drywall. Mesh drywall tape can be applied on corners, seams, and joints to reinforce and stabilize the bond between the pieces.
As useful as this material is, like all other construction products, mesh drywall tape does have its fair share of problems.
If you want to use mesh drywall tape in your next project, familiarizing yourself with some of the issues it’s associated with is crucial.
1. It’s Vulnerable to Cracking
Mesh drywall tape is the go-to choice for beginners because it is relatively easy to install. However, one of the biggest issues with mesh tape is that it’s highly vulnerable to cracking. This is why many experts prefer to use paper tape instead.
When you stretch mesh tape, it warps pretty easily. Over time, drywall sheets are exposed to stress and experience some movements. Because mesh tape isn’t rigid, it also moves with the drywall, which leads to cracking.
About the rigidity of mesh drywall tape, there isn’t much you can do about it. But you can prevent cracking by using a setting compound instead of a regular drywall compound.
A setting compound dries faster, and in that process, it embeds itself into the tape and prevents the formation of cracks. It’s also much stronger than a regular drywall compound.
Alternatively, you can use paper tape. The latter is less prone to cracking.
2. It’s Not the Strongest Type of Tape
People always assume that mesh drywall tape is more robust because you can’t tear it apart. On the contrary, a mesh tape is the weakest compared to other types. Mesh tape’s weakness is mainly due to its ability to stretch or lack of rigidity.
If you want to create a stronger joint, you are better off using paper tape instead.
3. It Can Fall Off If Left Uncovered
When working with mesh tape, you shouldn’t leave it uncovered for several hours because it can easily fall off. You have to cover it as soon as possible. This issue makes it less convenient to work with.
Even though mesh tape has some adhesive properties, it’s unable to hold onto drywall compound for a long time if left exposed.
This means that when using mesh tape, you can’t abandon the drywall installation project at any point. You have to finish it on the same day.
4. It’s Very Difficult to Repair After the Installation
During drywall installation, we usually assume that this project will last for years. But the truth is that you will need to make several repairs during its lifetime. If you used mesh tape to install drywall joints, the repairs would be more difficult.
Mesh tape doesn’t tear easily. Therefore, during repairs, you may need to dig out more drywall compound than needed, especially if working in a smaller area.
Repairing drywall with mesh tape is quite time-consuming because you must re-apply a significant amount of drywall compound afterward.
5. It Tends to Show Up When Sanding or As Drywall Compound Shrinks
During most drywall installation projects, sanding is usually a critical process that ensures a smooth and uniform finish.
Over the years, there have been many complaints that mesh tape tends to show up when you start to sand. That is, it’s difficult to keep out of sight, which can mess up the drywall installation process.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that only affects mesh tape. Using paper tape, you don’t have to worry about it popping out when sanding.
But you can avoid this problem by applying three coats of drywall compound. This will ensure that the tape is a little bit deeper. Also, you should only sand the ridges.
Mesh tape may also show through when the drywall compound dries and shrinks. In this scenario, you can also use the same remedy prescribed above, which entails applying more drywall compound.
Can I Avoid Mesh Drywall Tape Problems By Hiring a Skilled Contractor?
Nearly all of the above problems can be avoided by hiring someone with lengthy experience in drywall installation. As you have seen above, all mesh drywall tape problems have solutions.
If you want to prevent cracking, use it with a setting compound instead of a regular drywall compound. If you don’t want it to show up when sanding, apply generous coats of drywall compound.
An expert contractor is aware of all the above solutions. And if you agree, they can use paper drywall tape instead, which is a superior option. If you are a newbie and don’t want to run into any of the above problems, you can always seek professional help.
What are the Advantages of Mesh Drywall Tape?
Mesh drywall tape may have some problems, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely bad. There are plenty of advantages associated with this type of drywall tape. And it would be unfair only to list the problems and forget about the benefits.
Some of the benefits of mesh drywall tape include;
• It’s very easy to install. Out of all types of tapes, you can use on drywall joints, a mesh tape is effortless to install. That’s why it’s a popular choice for newbies.
• Mesh drywall tape is mold resistant. If you are installing drywall, the last thing you want on your walls is mold. This type of tape prevents mold growth in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
• Another benefit of using mesh tape is that it doesn’t bubble like paper tape. The mesh design allows air to escape when installing it over a drywall compound. This is unlike paper, which traps air bubbles that may show later when you finish the wall.
Mesh Drywall Tape Alternatives
If you want to avoid the above problems associated with mesh tape, you can use its alternative, which is paper drywall tape.
Unlike mesh tape, paper drywall tape lacks an adhesive. The best way to adhere it is by attaching it to the drywall compound.
Paper tape is an ideal choice if you want to create a smooth finish. That’s why it’s commonly used in corners. The other benefit of paper tape is that you can use it with all types of drywall compound.
Unlike its counterpart, the paper tape doesn’t flex. That means it’s less susceptible to cracking caused by drywall movements.
It’s important to know that paper drywall tape also has some issues. For instance, it can’t be used in a high moisture area. The paper will dissolve when exposed to dampness. It also lacks an adhesive.
When you compare mesh drywall tape to paper tape, each option has pros and cons. Therefore, you need to analyze each option and pick the one that seems ideal for your drywall installation project.
Is There a Learning Curve When It Comes to Using Mesh drywall Tape?
Absolutely. It will take several attempts before you learn how to install mesh drywall tape without any problems. This is why expert contractors use mesh drywall tape more easily than beginners.
The good news, however, is that you don’t have to experience any of these issues, so you can learn from them.
I have listed all problems associated with mesh drywall tape in this guide. If you follow the recommendations above, you can avoid most, if not all, mesh drywall tape issues.