Wall tape help

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

I am having some trouble with some of my tape seams on my walls. It is popping out in some places. This is something that my painter was supposed to fix before we moved in, but he only fixed about half of them. Naturally, the others are making me crazy. They are in my den, and a couple in my master.

My question is: How do I fix this?

I'm thinking that I can just smooth over the whole thing with some joint compound, sand and repaint. At least, I'm hoping it is that easy. Otherwise, do I have to try to strip the joint tape off, reapply it, joint compound, sand then repaint? Please tell me no :)

Terry- I thought you might have the answer to this one :)
I've got to fix it before I go on with the redeco.

Thanks for the help!!


Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Trish, drag out the joint compound and sanding block. If it's popped loose and is poking out a ways, two things - one, why is it doing it? (are you getting any hairline cracks in your walls, or is it purely cosmetic?)

Those small ridges that show are just a matter of applying a decent layer of joint compound over the area, feathering it out far enough so it doesn't create a "bump", then sanding and repainting. I'm having to do this in my kids' closets, where they didn't get the corners very well when the house was built.

If it's just cosmetic (but more than just a little ridge showing), you can repair it as follows:
1. use a 2" or 3" spackling/putty knife to scrape around the area and so the paper can lay down flush with the wall;
2. apply a light coat of joint compound with a wide (8" or wider) drywall knife;
3. apply mesh drywall tape (it's for repairing holes and "dings" in the walls) running perpendicular to the seam (like applying a bandage across a cut) or over the entire seam if it's a long run that needs to be repaired;
4. smooth more joint compound over the area, let dry, sand, then second coat to smooth it out nicely.

I also found the spongy sanding blocks by 3M work best for sanding small areas of drywall. You can buy them at WalMart or Home Depot, and they even make one with an angled edge if you're having to sand a corner - they work great. Don't try wet sanding, unless you know some tricks that I don't - I made a huge mess when I tried it, and couldn't get a good smooth finish.

(My condolences to you for having to re-do this messy work, but take heart - it makes a mess, but it's not difficult!)

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

Ok- so to make sure that I have this right:

(each area is a long seam...more than 5" each)

_don't_ peal off the tape that is popping off. Scrape around the area, JC it lightly, put the mesh over the old tape, JC again, sand, repaint?

Right? (most important clarification is not to rip out the old tape)

It seems to be purely cosmetic. Unless, of course, the old painter did repair any other small cracks that were already there, but I doubt it. I'll keep a watch out for them, tho.

If I understand right, this shouldn't be too bad.


Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Without seeing the area, I probably wouldn't advise tearing off the tape, unless it's hanging really loose, and is ready to fall off. In which case, gently rip it off (you might want to use a utility knife to make a clean cut at each end where it is still firmly attached to the wall), then scrape away any loose, crumbling joint compound, then apply a generous coat of compound, apply the mesh to patch it, then spread more compound over the area.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

My 2 cents worth... and I have both hung and repaired a LOT of drywall... Usually when the tape comes loose, or bulges out, it is because there is a void behind it. You can cover over it until the cows come home and it will never make it look good for long. Paper tape is more common;y used than mesh because it's cheaper, and if there is a good bead behind it with no voids, usually holds up, but I always use mesh tape because my jobs are small... If it were me and my house, I'd only want to repair it once. Despite the mess, I'd take off all the tape where it has bulged and re-do it properly. Be very sure to stir the joint compound thoroughly... aven thin it a little bit which, believe it or not, helps it dry faster and requires less sanding. You will need either a deft hand, and/or a couple different sized drywall knives (flat bladed spatula things) so that the final coat will end up being 8" or so wide.

A good drywall person could do it easily in 2-3 days (a drying time, not working time)... Problem is, no drywall finisher wants to do small jobs like that! You can do it yourself... It really is not hard, just messy!

Sykesville, MD(Zone 7b)

Hey Darius ~ I owe you twice now ! Thanks !! ~ Irene

(Zone 9a)

I agree with Darius. I just had to re-do some seams in my house. After the drought of the past 2 summers, our house has shifted so much that the compound had broken loose behind the tape and cover-ups didn't hold for long.

I peeled the old off, chipped out the loose compound, refilled, taped, and covered over with compound again. The sticky mesh tape holds much better than the paper and doesn't seem to buckle the way paper tape will.

Good luck with your home improvements!

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm off to the Home Depot tommorrow!

Thank you all for the advice- I'll keep you updated on my progress.


Just a dumb question.......Why isn't your contractor fixing HIS screw ups?

Jacksonville, TX(Zone 8b)

I did forget to mention that I finished the project. There was one large area, and 3 smaller areas in the den. It only took me about a month to complete it....not that it was that hard, but just that I'm slow :) Go_Vols and Darius- you gals were super helpful! Thanks!!!

Talon- The contractor had subcontracted out the job to a painter. All I'll say is that I will be perfectly fine if I never see the guy again, and he _does not_ want to see me again :)

There are a couple more tiny areas, mostly above windows, left to do, but they don't bother me as much, so I think that I'll put that off until winter.


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