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Drywalling With Paper Tape

When adding a stud wall, you normally face the wall with drywall. Although lathe and plaster is another alternative, it requires more experience than drywall. Drywall sheets are composed of gypsum plaster wrapped in paper. Finishing drywall does require some freehand plastering and seam sealing. Choosing which materials to seal your seams with can affect the amount of work you have to do and the final appearance of the wall.
  1. Minimizing Seams

    • Drywall comes in several lengths, including 8, 10 and 12 feet, but most commercially available sheets are 4 feet wide. When hanging drywall, get sheets that are the height of your room from the level of the finished floor to the height of the finished ceiling or slightly longer. It's easier to trim a bit off each piece of drywall than to have to use a second sheet per section of wall. You want to reduce the number of seams because they require more hand plastering.

    Types of Seam Tape

    • After attaching the drywall to the wall, you have to apply a seam tape to all the seams between the drywall panels. You can use fiberglass mesh tape or the more traditional paper tape to cover the seams. Fiberglass mesh tape is easier to apply as it self-adheres to the wall, but it's not as smooth as paper tape and doesn't do as good a job on corners. Paper tape has to be applied over a wet bed of drywall mud, but it handles corners well.

    Initial Mudding

    • Before applying the paper tape to the drywall seams, you must apply a layer of wet mud to fill the crease between the sections of drywall and provide a substrate for the paper to stick to. Fill the vertical joints from the ceiling to the floor with an ample amount of wet mudding compound with a 6-inch mudding knife, leaving 1/8th inch of mud over the seams.

    Applying the Tape

    • Paper drywall tape has a fold down the middle of its length to assist when taping the corner seam between two walls. Apply the tape to the wall with the folded side facing the wall, to keep the surface as flat as possible. Cut a piece longer than you'll need from the roll, and press one end into the corner. Press the tape into the wet mud all the way down the seam along the wall. You have to run the mudding knife over the top of the paper, pushing the excess mud out from under the paper tape, while holding onto the tape's end to prevent it from sliding around. A second thin layer of mud goes over the paper tape, either immediately or after it dries.