The Best Drywall Mesh Tape in 2018

When it comes time to mud and tape your walls, most people are going to want to go with fiberglass mesh tape.

It’s tremendously strong, and it holds together much better than the older paper tapes which were commonly used before fiberglass took over the market. This stuff is exactly what you need for seams and joints in new construction and it’s easy to see why.

Harry , Homethods Author
Harry

the-best-drywall-mesh-tape-in-2016

Top 3 Best Drywall Mesh Tapes

Glasscoat Adhesive-Backed Fiberglass

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4.9/5 Rating

Not everyone has the good luck of managing to butt their seams together closely the first time, and for this purpose Glasscoat has delivered a wider tape.

The roll comes in at 3” wide and 180 feet long, which is the perfect size for a looser joint. On top of that, it’s a fantastic tape and you’ll find that it’s easily able to be used.

The only negative is that you’ll have to use more setting compound to properly hide the tape after you’ve applied it.

If it’s your first time putting together a room, try this wider tape.

Pros
  • Wide enough to cover any mistakes in butt seams
  • Long roll
Cons
  • Needs more compound to be hidden.

Saint-Gobain ADFORS FDW6581-U

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4.7/5 Rating

FibaTape is a fantastic choice for those of us who aren’t in the habit of leaving large gaps in butt seams on the walls.

It comes in a roll of 300 feet and is 1 7/8” wide, so you can be sure that it won’t run out for most applications. Remember to do your calculations first though, a whole room can quickly add up when it comes to the amount of tape you’re using.

This is a solid, usable tape but it isn’t particularly wide, which can be an issue if the room you’ve hung isn’t butted properly.

Overall, this is the recommended tape provided you’ve made sure all of your joints are already in order.

Pros
  • Big roll
  • Very flexible 
Cons
  • May not be wide enough for everyone

Duck Brand 282084

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4.6/5 Rating

When it comes to tape, Duck knows their stuff and this self-adhesive tape is no exception.

For the most part, this stuff is for repairs. It comes in at 6” wide, which will allow you to fix pretty much any hole that doesn’t require a backing board with a shocking amount of ease.

It can also be quite useful to repair minor cosmetic damage if you’re adept at feathering the new layer of mud back in. The roll comes in at 25 feet long so it’s not the largest amount of tape you’ll be able to find, but it’s not really suitable for joints and seams anyways and you’ll mostly be using 6”-12” of the tape.

Overall, if you’re looking for mesh tape for a repair then this is what you’re looking for.

Pros
  • 6” thickness makes it suitable for almost any repair
  • High-quality backing adhesive
Cons
  • Too wide for joints and seams
NameLength of RollWidth of RollRating 
Glasscoat Adhesive-Backed180 feet3 inches4.9
Saint-Gobain FibaTape 300 feet1 7/8 inches4.7
Duck Brand 282084 Self-Adhesive25 feet6 inches4.6
ToolPro Drywall Mesh Tape300 feet1 7/8 inches4.8
Marshalltown Permier Line Mt07 300 feet2 inches3.4

What is Drywall Mesh Tape?

Fiberglass mesh tape is a roll of fiberglass webbing which has an adhesive layered on one side. It’s mostly used for reinforcement of the wall, and it’s applied before you lay down your compound.

The holes allow the compound to filter through and create a strong bond with the wall, while the tape itself acts as a separate layer of reinforcement.

Let’s get it out of the way here though: high-quality mesh tape can be a pain to work with. It’s thick, the adhesives are often ridiculously strong, and you’ll need a pair of scissors or shears around to cut through it while you make your strips.

While it’s not suitable for every drywall application, when properly applied and the correct compound type is used it makes for the strongest seams possible.

What Are the Different Types of Mesh Drywall Tape?

There’s not a whole lot of variety available in this kind of product due to its nature, but there are a number of different tapes available for drywall usage around and a quick comparison definitely doesn’t hurt.

Paper tapes are commonly used and the oldest type of tape applied to the fine art of joints and seams. It is most often laid over the compound before another layer is applied over the top of it.

It’s useful for some applications, particularly inside corners, since it sits almost entirely flat with the wall. For the most part, marketing aside, it’s simply a slightly stronger masking tape for all intents and purposes.

What this means is that it’s easy to work with but doesn’t add strength to the wall and instead you’ll be relying on just the screws and compound to hold things together.

Improperly applied paper tape can have disastrous consequences as well, if you didn’t set it right it can peel up and tear off the mud. This isn’t just cosmetic, it can have disastrous consequences on your wall.

Self-adhesive tape can help you avoid the delaminating issue entirely, and if you opt to use paper tape first and find this to be a problem you’re probably better off switching.

Fiberglass tape on the other hand, acts something like rebar in concrete construction. It’s extremely strong, and the porous nature of the tape allows for a neat trick to occur when it’s laid down properly.

First you’ll lay setting compound under the tape, then over the tape and it will join to form a cohesive hole without much of a barrier. This makes it exceptionally strong.

Some people not that they have problems with cracking when using fiberglass tape, and it certainly can occur since the mesh is elastic. This is generally due to improper application of setting compound, you’ll need to use setting compound with fiberglass tape since it doesn’t shrink as it dries.

Many professionals aren’t fond of self-adhesive fiberglass, but if you’re careful and precise in your application, it can make a huge difference in the final strength of the wall.

What Are the Advantages of Mesh Tape for Drywall?

Mesh tape is simply stronger than paper varieties.

It is not easier to work with.

Mesh does offer a lot of advantages at the end of the day, despite the slightly increased difficulty in working with it.

Apart from strength, you’ll find that it also helps prevent mold growth within the wall. This can make it an essential part of the protection in bathrooms, kitchens, and other places where you should be using green board instead of standard sheet rock.

Since mesh tape is generally colored as well, it can give you a good visual indicator that it’s time to stop sanding when it comes to that portion of the installation process.

There is, of course, a raging debate about whether or not it should be used among DIY-types and professionals. The latter often show quite a bit of disdain for mesh tape types, but keep in mind that in this case they are also often in a hurry and mesh tape requires some extra care to avoid cracking.

At the end of the day it will come down to a personal choice, but fiberglass mesh will offer quite a few advantages over paper, especially for butt seams.

The main disadvantage is that many varieties are too thick to be used for inside corners. It can make a good base for paper tape if you messed up and left a gap over ¼” in the corner, but try not to make a habit of setting bad corners.

Go with mesh if you want stronger, moisture resistant walls and you won’t be let down. The important thing is to maintain precision over the course of laying it on and it makes a fine way to get the wall together.

Mesh tape is also better for repairs. If you opt not to go with a patching kit, then a particularly wide section of mesh tape can be a cheaper option that will still get the job done.

Really, it’s pretty much the same thing and keeping some mesh tape and setting compound in your garage can save you some serious money on patching kits if you’re the clumsy type.

Features to Compare

For the most part, mesh tapes are going to be quite similar to each other. It’s fiberglass mesh with an adhesive on one side. There can still be some tricks to making sure you end up with the correct type however.

That said, you’re going to need to determine how much tape you’ll need. Measure out all of the seams and corners you’re planning on doing and add up the length. Multiply the total length by about 1.5 in order to figure out how big of a roll you’ll need.

Why 1.5? Because it’s virtually guaranteed that you’ll mess up a couple of times and it’ll give you some wiggle room without having to run out and pick up more tape.

The other thing you’ll need to look at is the width of the tape.

Depending on your proficiency when it came to hanging the wall, you might find yourself needing wider tape. For most people two to three inches works the best, but you can get away with thinner tape if you’re particularly good at butting the joints together.

For repair applications four to six inch tape is recommended as it will allow you some extra width to feather the mud back into making a smooth surface on the wall without having to expend a whole lot of compound.

There are also special “tape guns” made specifically for using fiberglass mesh tape. With a little bit of practice you’ll find that you can quickly and easily tape an entire wall and most will have a roller that allows you to push the tape into the seam a little bit after you unroll it.

A Quick Word on Compound

When you opt to use fiberglass tape, there’s a few modifications you may have to make to the materials you intended on purchasing.

In this case, setting compound is what you want to use. It’s heavier duty than most finishing compounds, but more importantly it doesn’t shrink when drying. Due to the elastic nature of fiberglass tape, this can’t be overlooked.

If you overlook this seemingly small detail, you’re going to end up with an ugly, cracked joint or seam. Hairline fractures are the most commonly cited reason for not applying fiberglass tape by professionals, and improper compound is the usual culprit.

Don’t use premixed compound, despite the convenience or you’re not going to have a good time and you’ll end up having to re-do the whole affair. This is about as much fun as you can imagine.

The main thing here is the same as it always is when you’re working on something that needs to be correct: with precision and the correct materials you won’t have to do it again.

References

  1. http://www.finehomebuilding.com/2012/11/08/whats-the-difference-paper-and-fiberglass-mesh-drywall-tape
  2. http://homerenovations.about.com/od/drywallsheetrock/ss/DrywallTape.htm
  3. http://drywall101.com/articles/meshvspaper.php






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