Apply drywall tape along with joint compound to the seams between pieces of drywall material on wall and ceiling projects. Drywall tape is one of four materials used in a drywall project. Along with the drywall sheets themselves the builder needs nails or screws as fasteners, joint compound or mud and the tape. The tape is the least expensive of the materials.
Draw Out the Drywall Layout
Sketch the layout of the sheets of drywall material for each wall and the ceiling of the project. Use the sketch to determine the numbers of sheets of drywall necessary along with the amount of tape. Once you have the sketch, note the length of each segment of seam you will need to tape. This allows the most accurate determination of the drywall tape. This is feasible in small drywall projects.
Count the Sheets
Estimate the number of sheets of drywall material necessary for the project. If you are using 4-by-8-foot sheets of drywall, the perimeter of each sheet is 24 feet. As each seam is a joint between two sheets of drywall the total amount of tape is the number of sheets of drywall times 24 divided by 2. For example, a 10-sheet project would require about 120 feet of drywall tape. The project may overstate the tape slightly because no tape is used where the drywall intersects the floor. This allows for some margin of error.
Estimate by Rule of Thumb
Commercial builders often estimate the amount of tape based on the square footage of drywall material. The rule of thumb is about 1 foot of drywall tape for every 2 square feet of drywall. Allow some extra for smaller projects. Commercial builders often purchase extra material such as drywall tape with the intent of using extra in future projects.
Drywall tape is marketed in rolls of 60 feet, 250 feet or 500 feet. Smaller rolls are easier to handle on small projects, especially when using hand tools. Purchase multiple smaller rolls rather than a single bigger roll. An unused roll can be returned to the retailer while a partially used big roll is not returnable.