drywall tape v. fiberglass mesh

Old 12-28-02, 07:53 PM
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drywall tape v. fiberglass mesh

Which is best for repairing cracks in plaster walls: paper drywall tape or fiberglass mesh tape? One contractor told me that drywall tape should be used because the fiberglass tape moves thus allowing the crack to reappear, while the tape does not. He says that's why drywall is coated with paper. I always thought that fiberglass tape was the preferred method for taping plaster cracks. Am I wrong?
Old 12-29-02, 09:36 AM
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I personally prefer using the self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape on cracks because it's easy to use (just cut to length and peel off backing paper) and I found that it will not shrink. On small holes or on dents like those caused by door knobs I've used the self stick rust free aluminum mesh patches.
Old 12-31-02, 03:01 PM
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I am not the most qualified to answer this, but you are almost right on track. Paper tape is for old cracks that you believe are due to settling. If you think the cracks are old and not moving any more, then go with paper. If you think there is a possiblity of future movement, go with fiberglass. Fiberglass tape is about 50% stronger than paper as well. This has is one of the reasons that many believe fiberglass is "better". It's really a false comparision though. You should really ask yourself, if you want a rigid or flexible tape instead.

Edit: I goofed and got my types confused. Here is the real deal:

In the case of paper tape, approximately 30 lb./lin. in. of tensile force (pulling apart) is required to break the tape with no measurable movement or elongation (no stretching). On the other hand, glass-fiber tape elongates (stretches like a rubber band) 0.03 inches before reaching maximum or breaking load of 70 lb./lin.in.

Research investigation has shown that hairline cracks or nail pops are visible at 0.01 inch of movement with veneer plaster system joints treated with glass fiber tape. Actual load at that amount of movement is only 20 lb./lin.in. or about 30% less than the breaking load of paper tape (with no movement). As such, paper tape provides greater joint strength and is recommended where greater movement and shrinkage in anticipated.


Last edited by Wallpaper; 01-03-03 at 09:37 PM.

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