The drywall business has made some improvements. For starters, the process, technique, materials, and equipment have all seen enhancements. The industry invented tools intended to simplify some of the more complex and difficult tasks. With all the new technological advancements, it’s essential to know how to use them correctly. Before starting anything, look over these four dos and don’ts when using an automatic taper.
Do Place the Tape Clockwise
It’s important to start at the bottom of an automatic taper and work your way up. Naturally, you need to load the tape onto the tool first before starting anything. Sometimes people make the mistake of placing the tape onto the dispenser in the wrong direction.
Don’t make the mistake of adding the tape to the dispenser without ensuring you’ve placed it in the right direction. Make sure it’s not facing counterclockwise. It needs to face clockwise to get the correct results. It should roll from the bottom of the roll up to the head of the machine. Once it starts to roll clockwise, you’ll note the reason behind this.
Eventually, you’ll need to twist the tape and load it into the head. With the clockwise direction, it does not interfere with the control sleeve. Additionally, when you start to feed the tape through the tool, face it the right way. If you’re using paper tape, there is a difference between the front and back sides.
Twist it, so when you feed it through, the peak on the crease is on the back side of the machine. The peak needs to be against the wall and not facing outwards.
Don’t Use the Wrong Tape
An automatic taper works with any standard size 2 1/16th tape. It does not work with fiberglass mesh tape. The fiberglass mesh tap does not work for an automatic taper for a couple of reasons. For starters, that tape is self-adhesive, so it would not make sense to use it for the taper. It doesn’t need to be embedded in a layer of compound.
The taper does two jobs in one, which is why it’s so popular. Part of its role has to do with incorporating compounds at some point. Using the fiberglass mesh tape works well if you’re doing the taping portion manually. It speeds up the process more because it ensures that the tape will lay flat on the drywall surface.
However, we wouldn’t say it’s faster than using an automatic taper because it knocks two tasks out in one go. Additionally, the mesh tape has its flaws. Beginners like to use this option because it does appear stronger than paper tape, but the material is more elastic. After applying it, you can expect the joints to develop more cracks because of their elasticity. You want to use the materials that will create the least number of problems for the project. Sticking with the paper and the automatic drywall taper is the way to go. If you’re looking for a stronger option than paper tape, consider using Fiba Fuse.
Do Prime the Pump
Once you’ve got the tape loaded up in the tool, you need to work on the compound next. There is a science and delicacy to the entire process. You never want to load the compound incorrectly or before it’s properly set because this could damage your taper.
Make sure you have consistency with the compound first. With the mud, it needs to be thick but not too thick. Consider using a mud mixing paddle to easily mix the compound and get your desired consistency. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries to find the right balance between water and mud. Keep a bucket of clear water close by and a rag.
Don’t dump a large amount of water into the mud. Instead, soak the rag and then squeeze it out over the mud as you mix. This will prevent you from making the compound too milky. After you’ve mixed it, prime the pump before applying the taper.
Give a couple of pumps until you see some of the mud appear at the top. You never want to place the taper onto the pump first and then start pumping, as doing so will pump air into the taper. That air will get stuck inside, and once the mud enters, it will create bubbles that affect the application process.
Place your finger at the top of the taper to indicate when the plunger reaches the top. Stop when it’s just about full because you don’t want to overfill it.
Don’t Carry the Control Sleeve
How you handle and hold the taper matters as much as the setup process. Holding the taper incorrectly could result in a poor drywalling outcome and potential harm to yourself. A lot of people make the mistake of carrying the taper by the control sleeve. It’s a common mistake because of its placement. It’s almost natural for your hands to go there first.
Place your hand just above the control sleeve. Placing them on the control sleeve will cause a lot of sliding. Using the taper this way is very uncomfortable, and it creates wear and tear on the taper’s moving parts. When you start to apply the taper to the way, face your body at an angle and start at the far corner.
Lead with the taper instead of you leading it. Never hold it perpendicular to yourself. Always remain at an angle, so you don’t end up walking backward. At an angle, you’ll comfortably walk sideways, and before reaching the ending, you can see where you need to cut the tape.
Try cutting it at about 3 to 3 ½ inches short because it’ll get you right at the corner. You might think you’re cutting too short, but remember to account for that excess tape that drapes off at the end of the taper. Afterward, make it a habit of rolling your dry wheels against the wall so that when you advance your cutter sleeve, you’ll produce mud on the tape and not have it dry.
We have a few more tricks up our sleeve at Timothy’s Toolbox, not just the dos and don’ts of using automatic tapers. For more information, visit our website.