Building codes in the US and other countries worldwide require drywall joints in buildings to be fire taped.
Fire Tapes act as a buffer between the joints of the drywall and protect against a fire outbreak.
Mesh tape is a popular building tape, So you may wonder if its purpose corresponds with fire taping.
If installed properly, you can use fiberglass mesh tape for fire taping. Mesh tape has fire retardant properties that will seal the joints of drywall and lengthen the time before a fire outbreak.
In this article, I will explain how you can use mesh tape for fire taping and why you should use mesh tape.
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Are Mesh Tapes Good for Fire Taping?
Yes, Mesh Tape does not burn easily compared to other tapes, making it a good choice for fire-taping the joints in your building drywalls.
Mesh Tape is self-adhesive, unlike paper tape, and the surface of the drywall doesn’t need joint compound before installation; this is just one of many advantages of mesh tape.
Here are some advantages of using mesh tapes for fire taping your drywall.
As mentioned before, Mesh Tape has a natural adhesive surface so that you can stick it to any surface of your drywall.
That allows you to reduce costs because you do not need to apply multiple mud coats or joint compounds before installation.
If you pair mesh tapes with natural stickiness with a good hot mud coating, you will surely get a drywall finish that will last a long time.
#2. Fire Resistant
One of the main reasons homeowners are required to tape their drywall joints is so the building can pass your state-required fire codes and mesh tapes excel in that area.
Mesh Tape is composed of fiberglass mesh, and fiberglass is a natural fire retardant, but this doesn’t mean it wouldn’t burn under high temperatures.
A good Fire Taping will stop fires from spreading from a room like a garage or a kitchen to other parts of the house for up to 45 minutes.
#3. Versatile and Flexible
You can cut Mesh Tape to various lengths and sizes to fit into joints of varying angles.
Mesh tapes are more flexible than paper tapes and can stretch without tearing or cracking.
It is versatile, meaning you can use it to fire tape different rooms and drywalls.
#4. Mold and Moisture Resistant
Mesh Tape resists mold, and it is moisture resistant. Paper Tape absorbs lots of moisture and can be a breeding ground for mold and spirogyra.
However, mesh tape from fiberglass mesh is water resistant and does not retain moisture as much as paper tape.
Is Mesh Tape Flammable?
Mesh Tape isn’t Flammable, but it isn’t inert. Mesh Tape might not be the best fire retardant tape you can use, but it is among the best.
Utility rooms like garages, sheds, and kitchens must obey a fire code that varies according to your state. Fire Taping prevents or slows the effect of fire on your building.
Before attempting to fire tape your house, you must acquire the following materials.
- Mesh Tape/ Paper Tape
- Measuring tool
- Hot mud
- Drywall knife
The kind of environmental conditions in your building should be the deciding factor in choosing whether to use mesh tape or paper tape.
Mesh Tape and paper tape are good tapes you can use to fireproof your buildings, but mesh tape has better fire-retardant properties than paper tape.
Here are the steps you need to take to install mesh tape.
- You should first measure the needed length of mesh tape, which is long enough to run from one end of the drywall to another.
- You can then screed the drywall to level it and prepare the surface for fire taping.
- Unroll the fire tape to cover all the exposed joints and smoothen it with the drywall knife.
- Allow the tape to settle for some minutes before you begin applying hot mud.
- Mix the hot mud with water and quickly apply it on the surface of the paper mesh with the drywall knife before it dries.
- It will help if you sandpaper the surface of the mesh tape because hot mud doesn’t adhere to the surface well.
- Use the drywall knife to smoothen the mud coating and allow it to dry properly.
Mesh Tape is inflammable and a good fire retardant, and if paired with flame-resistant drywall, it should prevent fire from spreading from one room to another for up to an hour.
Can You Combine Paper and Mesh For Fire Taping?
Yes, you can combine paper tape and mesh tape, but it would help if you combined paper tape and mesh tape only on joints for extra structural support.
Mesh and paper tapes have different areas they excel; paper tape is very sturdy and handles stress well, while mesh tape is water resistant.
Here are some pros and cons of mesh and paper tape.
#1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Mesh Tape in Fire Taping
Below is a table that outlines the advantages and disadvantages of using mesh tape for fire taping;
|Advantages of Mesh Tape
|Disadvantages of Mesh Tape
|Prone to cracking
|Requires hot mud
|It Doesn’t handle sharp corners well
#2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Paper Tape in Fire Taping
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using paper tape for fire taping;
|Advantages of paper Tape
|Disadvantages of paper Tape
|Can withstand high temperatures without deforming
|Requires joint compound
|Can seal 90-degree angles
|Difficult to replace
|Safer for the environment
|Installation requires skill
Will Mesh Tape Crack when Fire Taping?
Mesh tapes do not crack during fire taping, but there’s a chance they might crack if you install them wrongly.
Mesh tapes are flexible and have high tensile strength, making them difficult to crack easily during installation.
But improper installation, high humidity, and even using the wrong type of mud can cause your mesh tape to crack.
Here are some problems that can cause your mesh tape to crack during and after installation.
#1. Using all Purpose Mud
Most builders will agree that hot mud is the best adhesive you can use to coat your mesh tape.
If you use other types of mud and adhesives like joint compounds, there is a high chance you might encounter cracks and breaks.
You should use hot mud for mesh tapes and joint compounds and others if you use paper tapes.
#2. Incorrect Drywall Installation
How you install your drywall will affect how long your mesh tape stays without cracking.
Drywalls not properly installed will have excess clearance, exert excess pressure on the mesh tape, and cause cracking.
It would be best if you installed your drywall to the proper clearance; the maximum distance between adjacent boards should be ⅛ inches.
#3. Fault line/ Creeping
Buildings and walls can develop faults over time, either due to a sagging foundation or creeping.
If the walls of your building are creeping, it can cause cracks and pressure your drywalls and mesh tape.
It would be best if you took countermeasures to prevent further creeping and redo the dry walls and fire tapes.
#4. Humidity/Moisture problems
Moisture and humidity problems are major causes of cracked mesh tapes in buildings.
High humidity will trap moisture in the mesh tape and weaken it over time. Low humidity will also cause it to dry too fast and cause cracks in the board.
It would be best if you use a waterproof/resistant tape to fire tape your drywall and apply a waterproof membrane between your drywall during installation.
You can use mesh tape for fire taping because it contains fiberglass mesh, a natural fire retardant.
Mesh tapes also have a coating of adhesive that makes it easy to install on different types of drywalls and handles moisture and dampness well.
Mesh tape is a good choice if you want to fire tape your home according to state fire codes.