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Can You Use Drywall Tape on Plywood: 3 Reasons [Simplified]

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Can You Use Drywall Tape on Plywood

Last Updated on March 28, 2023

Plywood and drywall tape are always handy for DIY projects to home renovations. When you need a pocket-friendly option, plywood is definitely high up on the list, but it can’t hold off air or moisture like drywall tape, which adds an extra layer of protection.

So the question remains: Can you use drywall tape on plywood? While paper and metal tapes should be avoided completely, fiberglass mesh may work, though you might come across some issues along the way.

To help ensure success in your next build-it-yourself adventure, let’s explore why some types of drywall should be used with caution when working on plywood projects.

Why Can’t You Use Drywall Tape on Plywood Directly?

plywood wall

You can use drywall tape in a variety of construction and home improvement projects, but it should not be used directly on plywood surfaces. Let’s explore why you can’t use drywall tape on plywood directly for two popular varieties: paper and metal.

Why Can’t You Use Paper Drywall Tape on Plywood Directly?

Paper drywall tape is designed to expand and contract with temperature changes. It is also highly absorbent of water and paint, which can interfere with adhesion when applied directly onto plywood.

This paper tape requires a smooth texture to adhere effectively; exposed knots or grains on the plywood could cause irregularities that prevent the tape from laying flat on the surface. 

Why Can’t You Use Metal Drywall Tape on Plywood Directly?

Metal drywall tape acts as a reinforcing joint compound for seams between pieces of drywall. It does not have adhesive properties, so it will not stick to surfaces like wood, making it incompatible with direct application onto plywood surfaces.

These tapes are much thinner than paper varieties, so they do not provide enough coverage over larger gap widths that may be present between sheets of plywood or over thicker sections of the wood grain. 

Can You Use Fiberglass Mesh Drywall Tape on Plywood Directly?

plywood panel

While it is not recommended to use fiberglass mesh drywall tape directly on plywood, some applications may be necessary.

For example, when a wall is exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures, it may be necessary to apply a layer of drywall tape over plywood to provide additional stability and protection. In these cases, the drywall tape should be applied with an adhesive to ensure a strong bond between the two materials. 

How to Use Drywall Tape on Plywood: Tricky Method

Using fiberglass mesh drywall tape on plywood can sometimes secure and join two pieces of plywood together for a few days. The process begins with preparing the plywood joints, applying the fiberglass mesh tape, and finishing touches.

How to Use Drywall Tape on Plywood

Step 1: Preparing the Plywood Joints

To prepare the plywood joints, sand down about 4-8 inches of the perimeter around each sheet of plywood, depending on the type of joint you are constructing. This step should create an even surface with no gaps or air pockets.

If there are any gaps present, fill them in with a mixture of sawdust and epoxy before continuing to ensure a flat surface. Inspecting the area to guarantee the epoxy has cured properly. 

plywood sheets

Step 2: Applying the Fiberglass Mesh Tape 

After the epoxy has dried properly, you are now ready to apply the fiberglass mesh tape.

Start by measuring and cutting your piece of tape to match up with the edges of your joint construction project. Then wet out your piece with epoxy resin and carefully position it into place upon your plywood joints, making sure that all edges are secured properly.

Allow your drywall tape at least 24 hours (or longer if necessary) to cure before continuing on to your next coat. You may also apply additional layers, such as primer or paint, if desired. 

Step 3: Finishing Touches 

Once you’ve let your joint compound dry (which could take up to 48 hours), you will want to sand lightly if needed before priming and painting your plywood joints for that extra final touch. Doing this can give it an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Disadvantages of Using Drywall Tape on Plywood 

1. Difficulty in Installation:

Drywall tape on plywood can be difficult to install, especially for first-time DIYers or those with limited experience. The difficulty lies in that the tape has to be carefully applied and pressed down firmly to ensure everything is properly secured and there are no gaps or breaks where the tape does not adhere completely. 

This process can take a lot of time and patience, and working with larger pieces of plywood can make it even more difficult since there is more surface area to cover.

2. Mold and Mildew Issue:

Another disadvantage of using drywall tape on plywood is that it can lead to mold and mildew growth due to the moist environment created between the two materials.

Plywood is naturally porous, so when combined with drywall tape, it also lets in moisture. This moisture creates a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew spores which can cause all sorts of damage over time.

Topics of Discussion: Is it necessary to remove mold before sealing drywall?

3. Expansion and Shrinking:

Drywall tape on plywood may experience problems related to expansion and shrinking due to changes in temperature and humidity levels over time. Too much moisture could cause the wood fibers within the plywood sheeting to expand, causing gaps or weak spots in the drywall tape.

Conversely, too little moisture may result in the drywall sagging or becoming unattached from its original position on the wood sheeting.

What Kind of Tape Will Stick to Plywood?

What Kind of Tape Will Stick to Plywood

Gorilla tape and Scotch Heavy-Duty Exterior Mounting Tape are both strong adhesives that can be used for bonding plywood surfaces. It can adhere to rough and smooth surfaces, including plywood, and is designed to hold up in tough conditions.

The mounting tape from Scotch has aggressive adhesive on both sides which helps it grip onto almost any surface, including plywood, making it ideal for outdoor or indoor applications such as mounting signs, pictures, and more.

Both products are easy to use and provide an incredibly strong bond that lasts a long time.

Can You Use Duct Tape on Plywood?

With just one simple strip of duct tape, you can make DIYing with plywood a breeze. Before cutting through the wood, secure it in place and avoid splinter-filled edges. This ensures an effortless saw job that’ll leave your final product looking as smooth as silk.

What Do You Use to Seal Plywood Walls?

An epoxy sealer is one method for sealing plywood walls. Additionally, it provides extra strength and stability against warping due to changes in temperature or humidity levels.

What Can I Use to Fill Gaps in Plywood?

Two popular materials used for filling gaps in plywood are acrylic silicone caulk and sawdust/epoxy mixtures respectively. Whenever applied correctly according to manufacturers’ instructions, both products provide dependable solutions depending on individual preference.

Acrylic silicone caulk is specifically made with polymers that create durable bonds between surfaces without requiring additional fasteners like nails or screws

When sawdust particles are mixed with resin compounds, stronger bonds are formed, and the mixture is waterproof, allowing decayed areas to be repaired.

Can You Use Drywall Tape on Wood Paneling?

Can You Use Drywall Tape on Wood Paneling

While drywall tape is not typically used on wood paneling, it can be used in some cases. For covering a joint between drywall and wood paneling, paper drywall tape is embedded in a joint compound on the drywall side.

Then, the compound is applied on the drywall side only. When applying the paper tape, it should butt up against the wood paneling but should not cover it. 

Drywall Tape on Plywood: Knowing the Pros and Cons Before Adding to Your Project

Using drywall tape on plywood can be beneficial in certain situations, but some important factors must be remembered. Paper and metal drywall tape should never be used directly on plywood due to its tendency to absorb moisture and weaken over time. 

Fiberglass mesh drywall tapes are the most suitable type for this application, but it’s best practice to apply additional adhesive or caulk for a more secure hold.

Be aware that using drywall tapes on plywood may create visual imperfections, such as bumps or waves, which could impact your project’s overall aesthetic appeal. Ultimately, weighing up all these considerations before committing to using any type of material for your project is essential.

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