How to Fix Peeling Drywall Tape


The only real way to fix peeling drywall tape is to remove it and replace it. Peeling indicates that the tape was not properly bonded to the board beneath and, if there's a poor bond, you'll eventually get cracking and more peeling. Re-taping a joint involves applying drywall joint compound, called "mud", and using a drywall knife. While this might sound daunting, it can actually be fun--just pretend you're icing a cake. Taping joints is easier than it sounds and the skills gleaned can be applied to future drywall repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Coarse, medium and fine grit sand paper
  • Lint free cloths
  • Self-adhesive mesh drywall tape
  • Pre-mixed drywall joint compound
  • 5-inch drywall taping knife
  • Cut along the edges of the peeling tape with a utility knife--simply pulling the peeling tape will create cracks and chips and result in more work. Cut straight down the edge of each side. Pull the tape off.

  • Sand to remove and smooth bumps and ridges. Begin with a coarse grit sandpaper, move to a medium and finish with a fine--this reduces the appearance of sandpaper marks. Wipe dust from the wall with a damp, lint-free cloth. Allow the wall to dry.

  • Pull the loose end from a roll of self-adhesive mesh drywall tape. Press onto the wall at the top of the joint from which the peeling tape was removed. Unroll and press tape to adhere it along the entire length of the joint, top to bottom. Cut with a utility knife at the end of the joint and press into place.

  • Open a bucket or box of pre-mixed joint compound. Scoop a fist-sized portion of compound, also called "mud", from the bucket with a 5-inch taping knife.

  • Spread mud over the tape. Begin at the middle of the joint and drag the knife, held a hair above the wall's surface, across the tape, spreading a coat of mud as you go. Apply mud until the entire joint is covered.

  • Wipe excess mud from the knife. Smooth your mud by gently running the knife across the joint. Smooth even strokes and a light touch will produce a professional finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Professionals apply at least three coats of mud to get the best finish from a joint. Allow the mud to dry and use a wider knife to apply a thinner, smoother coat on top of the first.

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  • Photo Credit drywall worker image by Sherri Camp from
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