Paper vs. Mesh Drywall Tape: Which One Should You Use?

Updated: Aug. 23, 2023

While it largely depends on personal preference, here are some factors to consider when deciding between paper vs. mesh drywall tape.

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Chances are you’ve seen paper and fiberglass mesh drywall tape on the shelves of your local home improvement store. What’s the difference? To help you choose the better tape for your application, we’ll look at three factors: adhesion, strength/flexibility and moisture resistance.


Mesh drywall tape has a tacky backing, allowing it to stick to the wall on its own. Paper tape needs to be embedded in a layer of joint compound. This makes mesh tape easier for the average DIYer to install on a flat length of wall.

Most paper tape also comes with a factory crease in the center. This allows the installer to fold the tape in half, forming a right angle that makes it extremely easy to cover inside or outside corners.

It’s possible to fold mesh tape, but it’s easy to get off center if done by hand. To apply mesh tape on corners, use a specialty mesh tape corner applicator and hit it with setting compound immediately. Of course, metal-reinforced paper tape makes for an even easier installation process and a resilient corner!

Strength and Flexibility

Hold both kinds of tape in your hand and you might think they bend the same. But the paper tape firms up dramatically after being embedded in mud, a little like papier-mâché.

This added strength makes paper tape an especially good choice for butt joints. If you prefer mesh tape, skip the standard joint compound and use a setting mud, which dries firmer and provides additional strength.

Moisture Concerns

Mesh tape, crafted from fiberglass, holds distinct advantages, particularly in environments where moisture is a concern. Its inherent mold-resistant properties make it an excellent option for areas prone to dampness, such as bathrooms and backsplashes. Given its resilience against the potential damage caused by water exposure, mesh tape proves to be a reliable solution in these situations.

Furthermore, the utility of mesh tape extends to specific applications like tile installations. When preparing backer boards for tiling projects, it’s essential to select an approved fiberglass tape. Mesh tape’s compatibility with these scenarios is noteworthy, as it aligns with the durability required for tile work. Its reinforced structure not only aids in preventing cracks and crevices but also ensures that the installation maintains its integrity over time, resulting in a sturdy foundation for the subsequent tile layers.

In essence, the mold-resistant qualities and adaptability of mesh tape, particularly in moisture-prone environments and tile installations, make it a pragmatic choice that contributes to the longevity and reliability of the overall construction project.


In general, paper drywall tape is slightly stronger and more versatile, but mesh tape has a more manageable learning curve and better moisture resistance. It comes down to personal preference: Use the tape you’re most comfortable with.