How to Tape Drywall

If you've ever been curious about how to tape drywall, you might be pleased to discover that it really isn't as hard as you might first think! Taping drywall is the act of concealing the lines (joints) formed by adjoining drywall panels. This process is what makes walls look nice and smooth.

Drywall tape is either made out of paper or plastic (vinyl) and it comes as roll like most tapes do. Interestingly, there is no adhesive on the back of drywall tape. It adheres to a wall with the use of joint cement (mud, plaster, or compound).

Prepping Drywall

But before you begin to tape drywall, you need to make sure that the areas you're going to tape don't contain any projecting items, such as screw or nail heads.

You can easily check for protruding objects by running an application knife down an area that you've nailed. If you find some, drive them in with a small hammer. When it's time to tape drywall, it's better to have indents from hammering than it is to have projections from nail heads.

Filling In Joints and Depressions

After you've accomplished that small feat, you can start to fill in the lines (depressions) with joint cement (mud or plaster). The joint cement that you use to tape drywall should completely fill in the depressions, however spread out no more than 1-1/2 to 2 inches out from the joint. That means that the cement should "overlap the gap."

Starting To Tape Drywall

Now it's time to actually tape drywall. Drywall tape should be applied immediately after applying joint cement. When you place it on the wall, firmly (but gently) run the blade of your knife down the tape as you press it onto the cement from top to bottom. During this process, a steady and even pressure will ensure a smooth finish.

To finish this basic process of taping drywall, cover the tape with a thin coat of even more joint cement. Use the same knife to remove any excess.

What About Corners?

That's pretty easy and even corners employ the same strategy as above. To tackle these guys and tape drywall corners, apply an ample amount of cement to both sides of a corner. Again, fill in the joints with cement and spread it out no more than 1-1/2 to 2 inches out from the centers of these joints.

When you're applying the tape to a corner from top to bottom, you'll want to be careful to keep it centered because you'll crease the tape down the middle. For easier application and folding, you can purchase pre-creased tape. The fold of this tape must fit neatly into the corner and not buckle.

Apply a thin coat of joint cement on the corner tape just as you did earlier.

Okay, What About Corners That Stick 'Out' Instead of 'In'?

Outcorners are different story. These corners are not taped like ordinary corners. These corners are instead, covered with corner bead (metal). However just like when you tape ordinary corner drywall, you cover outcorner drywalls with a coat of joint cement.

Covering Up the Nail Heads

Having taped all the corners, it's now time to go ahead and cover any surface nails. Using your application knife, you can apply a little joint cement over each one. In this stage of taping drywall, you want to use joint cement to fill in the depressions created by pounding in the nail heads, and then scrape off any excess.

One thing to remember about removing excess cement is to press hard! Your goal in taping drywall and removing excess cement is to make the cement even with the wall's surface.

Let all of your hard work dry (dried cement will turn from gray to white), and reapply a new batch of the cement with a spreader knife or trowel. Using a feather stroke, apply it about 1-1/2 inch past the edges of your previous application. Do this over every incorner, outcorner, joint, and nailhead to tape drywall.

Follow up your joints and nailheads with a light sanding after this new coat has dried and you're all set and ready to paint.

See Also:

Tips on Using a Drywall Lift