Applying drywall mesh tape is a good way to seal the seams between newly hung drywall panels. The mesh tape is constructed of fiberglass and has an adhesive backing that allows it to stick to the seam without the need for applying a previous layer of wet joint compound. This can speed up your drywall taping process by eliminating a step. Installing the tape is a simple process if you have some patience and the right equipment.
Step 1 - Place the Edge of the Tape
Place the end of the self-adhesive fiberglass mesh tape at the edge of the seam. Press it down with your hand to set it in such a way that it is equally centered over the seam between the drywall panels.
Step 2 - Unroll and Apply the Tape
Unroll a small section of the mesh tape (about a foot or two) at a time and press it over the drywall seam, using a six-inch joint finishing knife or your bare hand to smooth it down. Continue working along the seam by unrolling and pressing the tape. Check your progress and align the tape to center it as you go along. When you reach the end of the seam, trim the tape with a utility knife or simply use the joint knife (if sharp enough) to sever it. If you cut the tape too short, apply another section of tape to fill the gap. Avoid overlapping sections of mesh tape because it will create a raised area that will be hard to disguise beneath drywall compound.
Step 3 - Apply the First Layer of Joint Compound
Load your mud pan with some joint compound. Use the six-inch joint knife to apply compound over the tape. Dab the knife into the mud and smear it over the tape, perpendicular to the seam. Be sure you are covering the tape completely as you go. Work your way down one seam at a time. After applying the perpendicular smears, use the six-inch joint knife to smooth in long strokes down the length of the seam to remove the excess compound. After the seam is reasonably smooth, allow to dry for 24 hours. Sand until smooth with an 80 grit sanding block.
Step 4 - Apply the Second Layer of Joint Compound
Load fresh compound into your mud pan. Apply an additional layer of compound over the seam with the joint finishing knife, extending about two inches wider than the first layer. Scrape off the excess until smooth and flush. After drying for 24 hours, sand smooth with a 120 grit sanding block.
Step 5 - Apply the Third Layer of Joint Compound
Begin with new compound in your mud pan. Add a small amount of water to the compound and mix it in with your joint finishing knife. Apply the compound two inches wider than the second layer. Dry for 24 hours and sand again until flush with 120 grit sandpaper on a block.