How to Repair Drywall Tape That Is Separating from Your Walls

How to Repair Drywall Tape That Is Separating from Your Walls

One issue many homeowners may face for the duration of owning a home is peeling drywall tape. Peeling drywall tape can cause horizontal and vertical seams and cracks to let in moisture, leading to mold and other unpleasantries. Fixing drywall tape peeling is best left to professionals. However, we will review how to fix this issue if you want to try it yourself.

Minor Drywall Tape Tears

Dealing with minor drywall tape tears requires reinforcement of only the tape that is damaged. Reinforce the tape by patching over the old tape before it becomes a bigger problem. This method is recommended for a tape length less than one foot long. Please check the section about major drywall tape tears on how to repair anything larger than a foot long.

Step 1: Wipe down the damaged tape

Before applying joint compound to the damaged wall section, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any dust or debris. Let paint chips or drywall chunks fall to the floor for later clean-up.

Step 2: Mix fast-setting joint compound

You can skip step 2 altogether if you buy pre-mixed joint compound. Although, if you have powdered joint compound or want to make your own, you need to mix the compound with water. Make sure you use a quick setting joint compound and mix it with water in a mud pan or other small container. You can mix the compound and water using the putty knife for patching over the tape.

Step 3: Apply fast-setting joint compound

Take the joint compound that you have bought or mixed and, using your joint knife, apply joint compound to the damaged area. Cover the damaged area in four to five inches in both directions of the tear to keep the tape from tearing in the future. Repeat two or three more times to ensure that the compound is fully applied and a good amount of pressure is applied.

Step 4: Let the joint compound dry

Grab some sandpaper and a sanding sponge, and firmly sand the area covered by the joint compound. Make sure to scrub back and forth until the patch is flushed to the wall. Run your hand over the wall; if you feel bumps, you need to continue sanding.

It is recommended to use 120-grit sandpaper. Fine-graded sandpaper provides smooth scratching and is ideal for painting.

Step 5: Sand the surface you patched

Grab some sandpaper and a sanding sponge, and firmly sand the area covered by the joint compound. Make sure to scrub back and forth until the patch is flushed to the wall. Run your hand over the wall; if you feel bumps, you need to continue sanding.

It is recommended to use 120-grit sandpaper. Fine-graded sandpaper provides smooth scratching and is ideal for painting.

Step 6: Paint over the patch

Use a paintbrush or roller to apply the same paint on the wall initially. If you do not have the same paint, use the same colour. If the paint does not match, consider repainting the entire way to match the colour of the paint used on the patch. If the mud or paint starts to bubble, this means that the mud that was previously set has not dried completely. You will have to scrape away the wet compound. Once the paint dries, you must reapply the compound and paint again. Wait up to 72 hours before applying the compound again.

Repairing Strips of Drywall Tape

Consider removing the drywall tape if the damage to the tape exceeds a foot you will need to replace the entire stripe of length. 

Step 1: Scrape any paint or debris from the work area

Using a putty knife, scrape and remove paint chips or drywall chunks. Keep going until the debris has been entirely removed, and you can see the tape that needs to be removed.

Step 2: Remove the tape

Once the tape is exposed, use a drywall knife to pry under the tape. Use your hands to lift the tape and pull it off the surface in both directions. When you get to the point where the tape is firmly installed, the tape will begin to tear on its own. 

If the tape tears before you are done prying it, don’t worry; pull the tape until it breaks on its own.

Step 3: Sand the area

For this sanding step, we recommend using 150-grit sandpaper. We recommend sanding here to remove any excess compound or paint that was not removed. Sand using a back-and-forth stroking method until the entire area is sanded. 

Next, clean up the area you just sanded. You can clean the area using a vacuum or a dry cloth to remove the dust.

Step 4: Replace the removed tape

Before you cut the tape and place it along the seam, remove the damaged tape and ensure you measure the correct length needed to replace it. If the length of tape you cut overlaps by one or two inches, you can still apply the tape. Do not apply tape that is too short.  

For the type of tape, you can use either mesh or paper tape as a replacement. If you are taking a corner, you can use pre-folded paper tape.

Step 5: Mix together fast-setting joint compound

This step is exactly like step 2 above for simple patches. You can purchase a pre-mixed joint compound bucket to skip a step or hand mix the drywall joint compound with water. 

You can skip step 2 altogether if you buy pre-mixed joint compound. Although, if you have powdered joint compound or want to make your own, you need to mix the compound together with water. Make sure you use a quick setting joint compound and mix it with water in a mud pan or any other small container. You can mix the compound and water using the putty knife you will be used to patch over the tape.

Step 6: Apply Joint Compound

Using your joint knife, scoop and scrape the joint compound across the tape at a 45-degree angle. Ensure the joint compound is thick enough to cover the tape but thin enough to be flushed to the wall. If you have too much compound attached to the wall, you will spend more time sanding in the next step. 

Once you are done applying compound, wait for the joint compound to dry. The drying process can last up to 36 hours. To speed up the drying process, ensure air is circulating in the room. You can do this by starting a fan.

Step 7: Sand the joint compound on the wall smooth

Sand the area with sandpaper between 100-150 grit. Use a back-and-forth motion when sanding. Keep sanding until the dried joint compound is flushed with the rest of the wall that was not repaired. 

Step 8: Paint the area covered in compound

After sanding the repaired area, paint over the entire section with either a brush or a roller. Use the same paint or colour on the surrounding walls to make everything uniform. Now all you have to do is wait for the paint to dry. 

Congratulations, you have completed repairing the drywall tape separating from your wall. 

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