The process of applying drywall tape correctly is one of the hardest things during the installation of drywall. So, it comes as no surprise that most households experience issues over time caused by improper installation of the tape. It may look like the ship for solving the problem has sailed because you’ve already painted everything, but that’s not entirely true. I know great and quick ways to fix issues with drywall tape after painting and I’ll gladly share them with you.
In case you’re in the process of redecorating your home and you want to repaint your drywall, I have a perfect article for you. It contains great tips for preparing drywall for painting.
The Most Common Types of Drywall Tape
As its name states, paper drywall tape consists of strips of paper. It comes with a crease in the paper which enables you to fold it down the middle. That’s especially helpful when you’re applying it on inside corners.
A great thing about paper tape is that you can find it almost everywhere. In addition, it’s cheap and looks like a drywall, so it won’t stand out.
However, a major downside to using paper tape is that it isn’t the easiest to work with, because it can’t be used on its own. You’ll need to apply a thinner layer of drywall mud before laying down the tape. Then, you’ll have to wait for a couple of hours for everything to dry out, and then apply another layer of mud.
What’s more, the process of applying paper tape often leads to the forming of air bubbles. So, there’s a huge chance that you’ll have to reapply the tape after a couple of years, or even months. It’s also easily ripped.
Fiberglass Mesh Drywall Tape
Most experts will tell you that Fiberglass mesh drywall tape is the best thing you can use for drywall. It’s made of fiberglass threads that make it strong and almost impossible to rip off. Furthermore, it will help you avoid issues with air bubbles.
Another great upside to fiberglass mesh drywall tape is that it works on its own. Thus, you won’t need mud or any other messy mixture for gluing it on the surface.
But, this tape has its disadvantages. It’s not the easiest to handle, and it leaves a sticky residue. Furthermore, it’s thicker than paper tape, which means that it can leave a bulge if you don’t apply it correctly.
Metal Reinforced Drywall Tape
Metal reinforced drywall tape is actually paper tape with a twist. In most cases, this type of drywall tape has two strips of thin metal throughout the tape. When you want to install the tape, you need to crease it lengthwise and then apply it to the surface. So, it’s easy to bend, which makes it great for corners, and it’s strong and durable.
On the other hand, metal-reinforced drywall tape isn’t the best choice for flat surfaces and outside corners. Thus, you can only use it for inside ones. In addition, the tape is expensive and you’ll probably have trouble making it blend with the wall.
Fixing Issues with Drywall Tape
Drywall Tape Is Separating from a Wall
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for drywall tape that is beginning to separate from the wall. You can try to repair it, but the solution won’t be permanent.
So, the best thing you can do is replace the tape with a new one. Luckily, the whole process is quick and easy and it will go smoothly as long as you follow my step-by-step guide.
- Razor knife
- Drywall tape
- Spackling paste or drywall joint compound
- 200 or 220-grit sandpaper
- Sanding block
- Primer (optional)
1. Removing the tape
The first step is to remove the drywall tape. The easiest way to do that is with a razor knife. You should cut it close to the edges in order to loosen the adhesive, which would allow you to safely remove the tape from the wall.
There’s a huge chance that the tape started separating because of the dirt that has been collecting for years. So, your next task is to clean the dust from that part of the wall or ceiling with a cloth. That way, you’ll ensure that your new drywall tape sticks to the surface easily.
2. Applying the new tape
You can choose either one from my list. But, keep in mind that you’ll have to purchase drywall mud if you opt for paper tape.
What’s more, as I previously mentioned, applying paper tape will require a couple of additional steps. So, in case you don’t have time for that, and especially if you’re a beginner, you should go with mesh tape.
After placing drywall tape, you should go over the surface with spackling paste or drywall compound. The compound is a slightly better option, but the choice is totally up to you.
In case you do opt for the compound, you should choose the one that can be sanded since a lot of regular ones need too much time to dry out. In order to make it easier to reach, it’s best that you put the compound in a bowl and mix it with water if it isn’t pre-mixed.
After you apply the paste or drywall compound, you should read the instructions to see how long you should wait before applying the next coat. You shouldn’t do anything until it’s completely dry.
After the drying process is done, you should sand the surface in order to eliminate any marks and spots. You can use a 200 or 220-grit sandpaper and a sanding block.
If you notice that the tape is showing through, you need to immediately stop sanding and apply the next layer of paste. Two coats will be enough, and you’ll need to sand the area after every layer to ensure that everything is smooth.
Another step that is totally up to you is priming. A primer will ensure that the paint is long-lasting and more even, but it’s not necessary. The last thing to do is to paint your wall or ceiling in order to match the rest of the surface, and you’re done!
There Are Air Bubbles in Drywall Tape
If you notice air bubbles in drywall tape, that means that you, or whoever installed it, didn’t do a very good job. The first reason why bubbles form is that there are gaps between sheets of drywall. So, next time you apply the tape, make sure that sheets are as close as possible.
The second reason is the insufficient amount of compound under the tape. Thus, when you’re fixing the bubble, you’ll need to ensure that you put enough compound. However, you shouldn’t apply too much, because you’ll then have problems with bulges and uneven surface.
The good news is: eliminating bubbles from drywall tape isn’t hard. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll be able to fix your problem in just a couple of steps.
Removing the bubble from drywall tape
If you see only one bubble on drywall tape, you’ll be happy to know that it won’t be long before your wall is spotless again. On the other hand, in case there are bubbles throughout drywall tape, you’ll probably have to remove that part of the tape and install a new one. The process is the same as removing the whole tape, the only difference is that you’ll be working with a smaller area.
For removing the bubble, you’ll need:
- Utility knife
- Putty knife
- Drywall compound or paste
- Water (if the compound isn’t pre-mixed)
You’ll begin the process of removing the bubble by cutting the center of the bubble horizontally with a utility knife. Then, you’ll need to do two vertical slits: across the top and the bottom of the bubble. If you do this step correctly, you should be able to fold out drywall tape easily.
The next step is applying the drywall compound or paste. In most cases, drywall compounds need to be mixed with water. So, you should make the compound ready for use. You’ll probably need one or two cups of the mixture for the whole process.
You should apply the compound or paste on the backside of the bubble with a putty knife. I recommend you to use the 2-inch one because it will be the easiest to work with in this situation.
Then, you should put drywall tape back and smooth it over with the putty knife. You can let everything dry out for a couple of hours. But, it’s best that you leave it during the night if you can.
You’ll need to repeat the whole process the next day. That way, you’ll make sure that the tape stays in place for a long time and that the bubble doesn’t reappear.
Drywall Tape Is Showing Through the Paint
Being able to see drywall tape even after the paint job is done means that something went wrong in the process of applying it. The most probable reason why that’s happening is that you haven’t used enough mud. So, the only thing you can do is repeat some steps of the process in order to make sure drywall tape stays hidden.
Even though many experts disagree on whether an already painted drywall tape should be repainted, it’s your only option. But don’t worry; if you follow my steps, you’ll be able to hide the tape without making things worse.
The technique you’ll be following is called skim coating. It’s actually common and painters use it to hide imperfections and achieve the desired drywall finish and smooth out the surface.
- Water (if the compound isn’t pre-mixed)
- Putty knife
- Sanding paper
Firstly, you’ll need to mix your compound with water or put a pre-mixed one in a bowl. Then, apply the compound to the tape with a putty knife. It’s best that you use a wider knife, a 6-inch one for example, if you have it.
Read the instructions to check how long you should wait, and then sand the area with 200-grit sandpaper after you make sure that the compound is completely dry.
The next step is applying a paint primer. You can even go with two layers if you’re not sure whether the tape will show again. After the primer dries out, you can start painting the surface. Two layers will be enough.
Other Issues with Drywall
Paper Tape Is Impossible to Hide on Butt Joints
If you’ve chosen to work with paper tape, and it’s annoyingly visible on butt joints, the best thing you can do is apply another layer of mud. But, you need to be careful with this step, because too much mud could create a bump that would be even more annoying.
You should use a wider knife, possibly a 10 or 12-inch one, to apply the mud. In case you still notice the tape, you can apply another layer.
Too Much Drywall Paper Sanding
It’s easy to go overboard with sanding, especially if you’re a beginner. Too much sanding can ruin the whole drywall installation, so it’s important that you do everything you can to avoid that.
The best way to ensure that your sanding is just right is to place a lamp or any kind of light at a low angle next to walls. As a result, every imperfection will be highlighted and you’ll know when to continue sanding and when it’s time to stop.
Dents in Drywall
Even a small dent in drywall can ruin the appearance of the whole wall. Luckily, there is an easy way to fix it without making too much mess.
- Taping knife with a 4 to 6-inch flat blade
- Spackle paste or drywall joint compound
- Sanding block
- 200-grit sandpaper
You’ll begin the process by putting a drywall joint compound or spackle paste on the dent with a taping knife. You should make sure that everything is as smooth as possible and then give it 24 hours to fully dry out.
Then, you’ll need to sand the area with a sanding block and sandpaper. You can use your fingers instead of the block. But, I recommend you to buy this tool because it will provide a solid backing to the paper and give a better and smoother finish.
After letting everything dry for a couple of hours, you should examine the dented area in order to check whether there are holes or the compound shrunk. In case you see that the surface isn’t smooth enough, you should repeat the whole process.
When the surface looks and feels smooth, it’s time to prime. After priming and waiting for the primer to dry, you can paint the surface to match the rest of the wall or ceiling.