How to Apply Joint Tape

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Apply joint tape when installing drywall.
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Installing drywall is an important step in any remodel. However, what many probably may not account for is how to apply the joint tape that gives the wall its smooth, jointless finish. This smooth finish wouldn't be possible without joint tape, and it's an easy job that can be done without professional help. It may take some practice at first, but in no time you'll notice how simple it is to do the job yourself.

What's Joint Tape?

Joint tape is used to connect drywall pieces to create one long, cohesive wall. Once the joint tape is properly applied, it will be possible to prime and paint the wall to give it the best aesthetically pleasing look. If you're new to drywall tape, the Natural Handyman mentions that it's important to get a joint tape that must be applied with the help of a drywall compound. This is the best way to get the joint tape to stick in place and stay there over time without peeling away.

While there's self-adhesive joint tape available, for it to stick in place, you must remove all traces of dust and debris from the wall before applying the tape. This adds an extra step to the process and it doesn't guarantee that the tape will properly adhere to the wall. If there are any traces at all of dust, which is always possible in a construction zone, the tape will slowly peel off the wall, rendering all of your previous work useless. This is why it's better to use nonadhesive joint tape with a drywall compound.

Applying Joint Tape

To properly apply nonadhesive joint tape, you'll need a few drywall tools, such as a metal putty knife, drywall compound and plastic coverings to protect your flooring. Take your putty knife and apply the drywall compound where you see a seam between drywall sheets.

The Home Depot mentions taking notice of how the drywall sheets are made thinner along the edges, which creates a slight dip along the seam. You want to fill the seam completely from ceiling to floor with about an inch of drywall compound, making sure to cover the seam completely.

Now, take the joint tape and apply it on top of the drywall compound. To get a smooth finish, take your putty knife and run it over the tape along the entire seam. Once the tape is in place, let it dry overnight. When the initial compound is dry, apply a second coat of compound on top of the joint tape. Try to make an even, smooth application and let this coat dry overnight as well.

Finish the process with a third application once the second coat is dry. For the third coat, the compound must be mixed with water to make it less heavy. This allows the final coat to get into all the uneven areas to give you the smoothest finish possible. After the final coat of joint compound is dry, sand the seams with 120-grit sandpaper to remove any lines or bumps that have been left from the joint compound.


Taking on the role of the household's 'handyman' was a natural path for me. Watching my dad as a child be able to fix anything made me want to be just like him. Now with a toolbox of my own I tackle any task that my home throws my way. If the task can be accomplished with my own two hands, I have never been the type to hire someone else to do it. There is nothing more satisfying than staring at your completed project while you brush some dirt from your hands.

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