Both mesh and paper drywall tape effectively bond and cover the joints between adjacent sheets of drywall. However, mesh and paper tape differ according to their ease of installation, application and cost.
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Ease of Installation
Mesh drywall tape is considerably easier to install than paper drywall tape. Mesh tape has adhesive backing that allows the drywall finisher to simply peel and stick the tape over a drywall seam. Paper drywall tape must be embedded into a layer of joint compound to adhere to the wall. Learning to properly install paper tape requires practice and a light touch.
Properly embedded in joint compound, paper drywall tape creates a stronger joint than self-adhesive mesh drywall tape. Also, because mesh tape does not easily fold, mesh tape creates a weak joint in drywall corners. Paper tape's increased strength reduces the occurrence of drywall cracks and peeling.
Mesh tape is significantly more expensive than paper tape. The plastic required to manufacture mesh tape and the application of self-adhesive glue adds to the cost of mesh tape. However, mesh tape's installation cost is generally less than the installation cost of paper tape. The additional embedding steps required to install paper tape can nearly double the labor required for installation compared to mesh tape.