Drywall taping can cause frustration, especially if your first attempts don’t pan out the way you wanted. It might take a minute before you get the art of drywalling down to an exact science. You must measure, cut, apply the mud, and use your taper. Fortunately for you, we have this guide explaining how to use an automatic drywall taper like a pro. Read up on these tips and find out.
What Is an Automatic Drywall Taper?
Before becoming a pro with this tool, you need to know all the ins and outs. An automatic taper is a tool that allows you to apply your joint compound and tape simultaneously. The best tapers apply the correct amount of joint compound to all flat and internal angle joints on the walls and ceilings.
Experienced contractors using automatic drywall taping tools will cut their installation time in half. The taper shows results that improve professionalism and saves you on labor costs. Typically, contractors use this tool for bigger-scale projects, such as new build homes, commercial remodels or builds, and large-scale apartment buildings.
Setting Up the Taper
When getting your taper ready, you need to note a few key components that make this tool necessary. First up, note the creaser trigger. The trigger allows you to lift your creaser wheel and fold your tape into the corner.
After you note the trigger location, place your roll of tape on the tape dispenser. Make sure you place the roll so that the tape rolls from the bottom to the head of the machine, unwinding clockwise.
This way, the tape in place does not get twisted or interfere with the control sleeve. As you feed the tape through, make sure the crease faces the back of the machine.
Ensure you purchase the proper tape for your automatic taper. The taper takes any standard size 2 1/16th tape, but it doesn’t work with fiberglass mesh tape.
Once you’ve fed your tape through, you need to draw your focus to the control sleeve. The control sleeve has three primary functions:
- Neutral function: the neutral position which naturally sits there.
- Raise up function: it advances the tape through the sleeve to increase as much as you need to apply.
- Pulldown function: cuts off the tape after gathering however much you need.
Remember to return to that neutral position in between this process continually. The needle in the control helps advance your tape, but you may need to adjust it if it doesn’t correctly increase your tape.
The adjustable brake is a little leaver located under the creaser wheel that slides back and forth, applying pressure to the drive wheel. If you pull the brake forward, it adds pressure to the wheel, creating more resistance.
The more pressure you apply, the more drag you get on your tape. The drag in your tape makes for an accurate and precise application.
Adding Mud to the Taper
Using a gooseneck, a loading pump, and a bucket of mud, turn the taper upside down and connect the nozzle at the head of the taper to the gooseneck. Using the loading pump, pump mud from the bucket through the gooseneck and into the taper.
Taping Walls and Ceilings
When you’re ready to apply your automatic taper to the walls and ceilings, make sure you carry it up above the control sleeve. Avoid carrying it by the control sleeve because this will result in the taper constantly sliding up and down, eventually creating wear and tear on the tool.
Have a few inches of lead tape out so if it drags, you don’t short yourself on the wall. As you pull forward on the wall or the ceiling, make sure you lead with the taper and run it at an angle. Avoid holding the tool perpendicular to yourself. Instead, always lead with an angle so that you can move comfortably with the taper.
Once you reach the corner cut, keep your tape to about 3–3 1/2 inches short and place the cutting blade further back. Before you start to apply a new tape roll, you need to load/charge your head.
Roll your wheels against the wall on your tape, and advance your cutter sleeve to see the freshly applied mud.
Taping Inside Corners
Give yourself a few inches of lead tape when you tape angles because angles drag more than the flat seams. Place one hand above the cutter sleeve and the other at the end of the taper. Start down low and use the hand located at the end of the tool to push the creaser wheel and tuck the compound into the corner of the angle.
Roll upward and cut the taper about 3 inches from the ceiling. You can always pull up on the middle portion and raise it to the ceiling if you cut the tape too short.
Charge the head again to get about 2–3 inches of the new tape, start at the ceiling corner, and press the creaser wheel in as soon as you can. Drag the tape across nice and tight. If you see any gaps at the bottom, you can hide them with the baseboards.
Cleaning Your Taper
Part of being a pro with this tool means maintenance and care. After every job, you need to properly clean your automatic taper for when the next gig rolls around. Before you clean the outside, make sure you empty all the mud from the tube.
You can either advance your drive wheel, wind the cable, and raise your plunger until you empty all the mud. You can do this by rolling the taper on the ground. However, don’t turn the taper upside down and place a stick inside to empty the leftover compound. The cable won’t wind properly, and you’ll end up force-feeding to the bottom of the head, causing the line to snap.
Lastly, use a good old-fashion sponge or scrubber and a bucket of water to get all the mud out of the more difficult areas.
Remove the quick clean cover plate to get inside to where all the mud sits. If the bucket and water don’t do the trick, a pressure washer uses enough force to remove all that dried mud and will have your taper looking good as new.
Timothy’s Toolbox has automatic drywaller tapers for you to use like a pro. For more insider tips and a look at our impressive inventory, visit our website.