How to Fix Drywall Tape That's Bubbling
Do you remember the first time you tried to fix a drywall crack, or small hole in the wall? It was probably one of your first DIY projects. You were so proud of yourself for finishing it and then...you looked closer. There was this horrible bubble of tape on the surface, peeking through. You know, that stuff that’s supposed to stay hidden behind the layer of joint compound. Ugh! How could you have missed it? This article will help you understand why drywall tape sometimes bubbles and what to do about it if it happens again.
What is Drywall Tape and Why Is It There?
Drywall tape is a widely used and essential material in home repair and construction. It’s designed to hold the joint between two pieces of drywall so that the compound can be applied and sanded to a smooth finish. Tape also prevents gaps between the pieces of drywall that could allow for leaks and pests, such as rodents, roaches, and insects, to enter the home. Before the advent of fiberglass drywall, paper-based tape was used, but it’s now a thing of the past. Drywall tape is now a fiberglass mesh with a strong adhesive on both sides. It’s very sticky, and that’s what makes it such a great and necessary product. It’s sticky enough to hold the pieces of drywall together but also allows enough flexibility to allow the drywall joint to be spackled, sanded, and finished without the joint becoming too stiff and brittle.
Reasons for Bubbling Tape
Depending on the situation, drywall tape bubbles for any number of reasons. The most common culprit is a weak or low-quality adhesive that doesn’t hold the tape to the drywall. It might not have been applied to the correct surface, or it might have been applied in the incorrect way. Bubbling can also occur when the wrong type of tape is used for the job, such as when a heavier or thicker tape is needed. The thickness or type of surface may have been different than expected, resulting in the tape not being applied correctly. Low humidity can also cause bubbles in tape, as can incorrect temperature and weather conditions. Dust or grit on the tape might scratch the drywall and cause a surface imperfection in the joint compound, causing bubbles in tape.
Repair Options for Drywall Tape That Bubbles
If bubbles form in the tape, they will likely show up in the finished wall. This can be fixed by removing all of the tape, spackling the gap where the tape was, and then re-taping and re-finishing the area. If the bubbles were caused by a problem in the application process and not a low-quality adhesive, a simple fix may be to remove the tape and try again. The tape may have been applied too thickly or too close to the surface, or it may have been applied incorrectly. Sometimes bubbles form because the adhesive wasn’t given enough time to cure. When the tape bubbles because of a surface incompatibility, you may be able to fix it by sanding the surface and applying a thin new coat of joint compound before re-taping. If the bubbling was caused by low humidity or temperature, it might be remedied by raising the humidity or bringing the temperature back up. Bubbling caused by incorrect weather conditions may be resolved by waiting for the conditions to change.
Tips to Prevent Drywall Tape from Bubbling
As you can see, there are a lot of ways a bubble can form in drywall tape. Many of these issues can be prevented through proper technique and attention to detail. - Use the right type of tape for the job - For example, don’t use a joint-strength tape if a light-duty tape would work just as well. - Apply the tape correctly - This means knowing the correct amount of time to let the adhesive set before finishing the joint, the correct way to apply the tape to the surface, and the correct distance between the tape and the surface. - Measure and mark the joint correctly - Make sure the joint is measured and marked correctly, and that both pieces of drywall are equally and correctly marked. - Use the right amount of adhesive - Again, not too much and not too little.
Drywall tape is an essential part of any drywall repair job. It holds the pieces of drywall together while the compound is applied and sanded smooth. While drywall tape is very sticky and holds a lot of power, it sometimes bubbles on the surface when applied. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it’s often preventable with the correct application methods and materials. If a bubble ever appears in your tape, even after following all of these tips, don’t despair. The wall can always be repaired and re-taped. The important part is to learn from the mistake so it doesn’t happen again.