In construction, there are always alternative ways to get structures built, and each of them has its pros and cons. When it comes to DIY projects, the same also holds. The question now is if certain parts of a project, such as applying tape to your drywall, can allow the use of other materials to get the job done.
You cannot use masking tape as an alternative for drywall tape. Masking tape was not made to serve this purpose, whether in the material it’s made out of, its adhesiveness, its workability, and the typical width of its roll. Drywall tape, on the other hand, was made for drywall.
There are times that masking tape can be used, but not for the same purposes as drywall tape. Building materials are always made for a particular purpose and serve a specific function. It’s best to use suitable materials in a project to avoid running into any problems in the long run. With that, let’s delve deeper into how these materials work.
Is Masking Tape Safe for Walls?
Masking tape is just not made and/or capable of covering up the seams of your drywall and applying joint compound over it.
As we mentioned, the measurement of the roll is not sufficient to properly seal the gaps; their adhesiveness is lacking making it more susceptible to forming gaps that moisture can seep through, and the material itself does not have the compatibility to work with joint compound.
Masking tape is made out of thin crepe paper with a layer of adhesive applied on one end. The paper is made in a way that allows it to be ripped easily, which alone indicates that the strength of the material is quite weak.
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What Does Drywall Tape Do?
The purpose of drywall tape is to cover the seams in between your drywall. For a quick refresher, drywall is the outer surface part of your wall and is usually made up of different boards.
Manufacturers created drywall tape to cover the gaps between these other boards and make it easier to create a smooth and uniform surface using drywall mud.
NOTE: Remember how important it is to seal up openings during construction. Moisture, air, and water can slip through the gaps between boards if there is no drywall tape covering it; what ends up happening is that your drywall finish will be more susceptible to damage.
Drywall tape serves an essential function in ensuring that your finishes are set correctly and last. The leading cause of bubbling for drywall mud is the incorrect application of drywall tape.
If you were to use masking tape, your drywall mud is guaranteed to bubble or sag. With that, drywall tape is specifically manufactured to address the needs of your drywall in terms of finishing and longevity.
How Is Drywall Tape Made for Walls?
Drywall tape is made out of either paper or mesh. Both of these tapes will work fine in any typical setting, and it all boils down to personal preference on which one you’d like to go with. We’ll be going into a brief overview of these two types of drywall tapes to help you better decide what’s best for you.
Paper Drywall Tape
Paper drywall tape is made out of cross-fibered paper specifically made to resist stretching, tearing, and moisture. The main benefit of paper drywall tape is its workability, compared to mesh drywall tape, since it can easily be folded and cut when needed.
The main drawback of paper drywall tape is that there’s usually no adhesive side, requiring you to place joint compound on the wall before placing the tape.
Mesh Drywall Tape
Mesh drywall tape is usually made out of fiberglass. Fiberglass, as a material, has both waterproofing and fireproofing properties.
Aside from that, mesh drywall tape is often manufactured to have adhesives already on it, making DIY taping much easier; their only downside is that they’re a bit harder to fold and cut into size.
As we can see, masking tape just doesn’t fit the bill and can’t match what drywall tape brings to the table. Although it will cost a bit more, getting proper drywall tape is well worth it, considering its benefits. If price is a concern for you, paper drywall tape is cheaper per roll than mesh tape.
It’s also best to purchase the right tools to help you apply drywall tape, specifically a taping knife and a corner trowel. This 5-piece stainless steel taping knife set from Amazon comes with a soft grip handle with hammer end, making them perfect for drywall joint taping, finishing, and patching.
This drywall corner tool, also from Amazon, is made from high grade stainless steel Sheetrock that flexes perfectly for 90-degree corners when mudding drywall.
When Is Masking Tape Used for Construction?
You may have a roll of masking tape around and are wondering what you can do with it. Masking tape is used primarily as a way of helping you paint finishes better by marking off an area that shouldn’t be painted. Here’s an example for you to better understand:
“If you want to paint a wall, you should apply masking tape around your trim (Window trim, door trim, and the wall trim) or sockets. What the masking does is it covers the parts of the trim near your painted area and prevents paint from getting on it. Once you remove the tape, you’ll end up with a clean and uniform line between what you painted and what you didn’t.”
Based on the example, you can see how masking tape allows you to paint more precisely since it can create a uniform barrier between your painted and unpainted surfaces that you can easily remove afterward. For a fun fact, masking tape was invented to help car manufacturers more efficiently paint their automobiles.
Drywall tape is definitely what you should go with when working with a joint compound for both the long and short run. It’s made for this specific purpose and will make the project a lot easier to do. Masking tape, in construction, is primarily used to mark off areas while painting to provide a cleaner finish.