Drywall Taping and Finishing

To Tape or Not To Tape A Small Hole Repair?

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QUESTION: I just repaired a small hole in my drywall.  Do I need to tape the joint before finishing it?

ANSWER: There is somewhat of a debate on this. To really answer this question, however, you should determine why exactly the tape is being applied. In a wall joint where two sheets meet, there can, and often is, foundation shifting that can place considerable pressure along the joint. Without taping, there would be a crack at the joint in less than a season with near guarantee. For a small fist-sized hole in the middle of a wall, however, there is no way for stress to be placed on the joint, since it is contained entirely within the middle of the sheet. For such a small hole, taping is not needed and in fact I have made such repairs without taping and they have never cracked. If, on the other hand, the hole lies on an edge meeting another sheet, you should tape.

Some folks will want to tape this type of small hole repair for the purpose of covering the rough edges along the perimeter of the repair. This allows mudding and finishing without snagging the edges where the patch piece meets the wall. It's not a problem to tape for this reason, and if it aids in finishing, then tape the joint. Just don't overlap ends of tape (making a higher profile to cover) but cut the ends of the tape 1/8" short of where they meet the next piece of tape. And I recommend paper tape by the way.

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