There are two basic types of joint tape: paper and fiberglass mesh. The flexible paper tape usually has a seam running along its width to make it easy to crease for installation into an inside corner. Paper tape is more time consuming to install because it has to be embedded into a coat of compound. And if you embed it incorrectly, the paper can blister or wrinkle, forcing a repair.
Fiberglass mesh tape is usually self-adhesive, although you may encounter a nonadhesive variety that is far less convenient because it requires staples to hold it in position. Installing fiberglass tape along inside corners can be a challenge unless you have a special application dispenser.
Backerboard requires a special type of fiberglass tape that resists deterioration from the chemicals in thinset mortar.
Composite and metal tapes
Applying joint compound to inside corners can be a challenge because you need to create a straight line with joint compound. Composite and metal tapes help you get sharp corners, even if you're a drywall novice. The folded tape creates a crisp line, and you simply need to blend the thickness of the tape into the surrounding walls to make the product disappear.
There is also a special composite tape that helps you create smooth curves and arches. These rolled tapes are ideal to create straight or curved outside corners.
Beads and specialty items
You'll find a wide variety of materials for creating outside corners. You can hammer or clinch metal bead into place, nail vinyl beads, and embed composite and paper-covered metal beads.
If you get involved in a big job, you'll really speed the work by buying or renting a hopper. You simply load the hopper with all-purpose nonsetting compound and push in a length of bead. Adjustable rubber gates control the amount of compound that's applied as you pull the bead out the other side of the hopper. Slap it onto the corner, and push firmly to seat it. A special corner roller makes that an easy job. Use a drywall knife to wipe up compound that squeezes out, and apply it as the first coat on the face of the tape.
Specialized bead designs allow you to create bullnose inside and outside corners -- both straight and curved. Metal transition pieces convert from bullnose to square at corners to permit easier installation of crown molding, baseboards, and other millwork.
When you need to turn an outside bullnose corner, consider metal or plastic caps that permit construction of two- and three-way bullnose corners.
J- and L-beads conceal the edge of a drywall panel when it butts against another material or is exposed. A metal or plastic control joint is used between the edges of drywall sheets to permit expansion and contraction that could otherwise deform or crack the panels. You may need to install a control joint in long runs of drywall, from the top of a door header to the ceiling, or across large ceiling expanses. A tape strip protects the expansion channel while you embed it into the compound. Zip off the strip when installation is complete.
Repair patches streamline the tedious task of fitting scrap drywall to fill holes. Perforated aluminum patches have a self-adhesive backing that makes installation a snap. You then simply top the patch with several layers of compound to make its edges disappear. Don't exceed the maximum hole size stated by the manufacturer, or you could risk creating a springy surface that flexes like the bottom of an old-fashioned oil can.
Composite patches are also perforated, but you need to "butter" the back with drywall compound to embed it. You'll find a variety of precut shapes that help you fix miscut openings for electrical boxes or ceiling fixtures. The precut shapes also allow you to cut your own custom shapes with a utility knife or scissors.
- Artistic Drywall Styles & Elements
- Drywall Tools
- Framing Basics for Walls & Ceilings
- Drywall Measuring & Cutting
- Basic Drywall Hanging: How to Hang Drywall
- Drywall Taping, Joint Compounds & Sanding
- Advanced Drywall Techniques
- Decorative & Special Drywall Finishes
- How to Repair Drywall: Patching & Repairing Walls and Ceilings