How to Fire-tape Drywall

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Things You'll Need

  • Drywall fire tape

  • Paint tray

  • Scissors

  • Drywall knife

  • Joint compound

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

When drywall is installed in a garage, utility room or a furnace room, some states and/or municipalities require the installer to use "fire tape" to tape the joints between fire-resistant drywall hung on the wall. This tape, as the name suggests, is a fire-resistant construction material that is designed to slow or prevent household fires. Once you have measured, cut and hung your fire-resistant drywall, it must be taped and at least one coat of joint compound applied for the proper installation and fire rating.


Step 1

Purchase several rolls of fire tape from a hardware or contractor supply retailer. Take the fire tape back to your construction/remodeling site.

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Step 2

Fill a clean paint tray with tap water. You can also fill a bathtub or sink with 1 or 2 inches of water.

Step 3

Hold the fire tape roll up the the wall near the joint between the mounted drywall panels, and unroll enough fire tape to cover the seam from top to bottom. Cut the fire tape with scissors.


Step 4

Dip the fire tape into the water, turning it over once so both sides are moistened but not soaked. Do not submerge and leave the fire tape in the water; you only need to dampen it.

Step 5

Place the dampened fire tape against the drywall seam, and smooth it from top to bottom with a drywall knife. Use the knife to both adhere the fire tape so it's flat and also to remove any excess water.

Step 6

Allow the dampened fire tape to dry for between five and 10 minutes before continuing, and then spread joint compound directly over the dried fire tape with a drywall knife. Let the compound dry.


Step 7

Abrade and smooth the first coat of joint compound using fine-grit sandpaper, and then apply a second coat of joint compound with a drywall knife. After the second coat dries, sand it smooth to finish the fire tape installation.


Owen E. Richason IV

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.