Loose Drywall Tape Repair

Nothing makes a room look worse than peeling drywall tape. It’s easy to go blind to imperfections we see everyday, and loose drywall tape repair might not be high on your list of home-improvement priorities. But, untreated, this problem will only get worse. The repair itself shouldn’t take more than a few hours, and most of that is drying time.

What Loose Drywall Tape It Looks Like

Loose drywall tape is obvious. It shows up on and in corners and along joins in the drywall. In minor cases, the loose tape can look like a bubble; in more serious cases, you’ll see loose edges.

Aside from looking ugly, the main problem with leaving peeling tape is that it can lead to more serious wall damage. Kids or pets have a way of noticing these imperfections and making them worse! They also provide an opening for moisture, grease, dirt, and even pests to get in and damage your drywall. Peeling drywall tape repairs are a fairly quick and easy project, and you’ll be happy you did it!


Peeling or bubbling drywall tape can have many causes. Poor application technique is probably the most common. Doing the repairs correctly is vital. You don’t want to keep fixing the same area!

Other reasons for loose drywall tape include:

  • Excess humidity
  • Normal settling (most common in new construction)
  • Destructive activity by children or pets


Unfortunately, the problem can recur if the underlying problem is not corrected. Use a dehumidifier in damp rooms, such as the bathroom or basement, and make sure rooms are properly ventilated. Repair leaks in the roof and around windows and doors.

If settling is the problem, repair nail pops correctly before beginning drywall tape repair. This will prevent the wallboard from shifting and keep your tape intact.

How To Fix Loose Drywall Tape

What You’ll Need

Rolls of paper and self-adhesive fiberglass drywall tape.

  • Razor knife
  • Drywall tape (either paper type or fiberglass mesh type)
  • Vacuum with hose attachment
  • Multipurpose drywall compound
  • 5″ putty knife
  • Sanding sponge, sandpaper, or another abrasive
  • Texture and related tools
  • Primer, paint, and related tools

How To Do It

  1. Remove the damaged tape. Use the razor knife to cut through the tape; the section you take out should extend approximately one foot from each side of the damage.
  2. Sand the area smooth, stopping just short of the drywall surface. Do not sand away the drywall paper!
  3. Vacuum away any dust and debris.
  4. Apply a new piece of tape slightly shorter than the piece you removed.


On flat surfaces you can use use self-adhesive, fiberglass mesh drywall tape or paper tape.

  1. To use paper tape; First, use the putty knife to apply a thin, even layer of drywall compound to the seam. The compound should extend about 2″ beyond the joint on either side. Smooth out any gaps or air pockets.
  2. Place a length of paper drywall tape on top of the seam. Using the putty knife, press it into the compound. Be especially careful to smooth away bubbles and wrinkles; these types of flaws can cause the tape to lift again.
  3. Using fiberglass drywall tape is very easy; simply position the tape over the seam, press down to fully adhere the tape to the surface. Now spread an even layer of drywall mud.


For corners use paper drywall tape.

  1. Choose a length of tape needed. Now crease the tape in the middle to form the angle needed for the corner. Fortunately all paper tapes are pre-creased just for this purpose.
  2. Fill the corner with drywall mud, both sides about 2 inches wide.
  3. Position the tape into the corner, smoothing carefully to avoid wrinkles. This will remove the excess mud from behind the tape. Make sure that the tape is in firm contact with the surface.
  4. Smooth a layer of drywall compound over the tape. It should be thick enough to cover the tape completely, but not much thicker. Allow it to dry.
  5. Using a sanding sponge, sandpaper, or another abrasive, sand the drywall compound smooth. You want to remove high spots, knife marks, and other imperfections. Stop if the paper begins to show through.
  6. Apply another thin coat of compound and allow to dry.
  7. Sand again. Blend the edges of the repair into the surrounding wall. To achieve a really smooth surface, you’ll want to use progressively finer paper.
  8. Retexture the wall, if necessary.
  9. Prime the repair and allow to dry.
  10. Paint the repair. You’ll probably need two coats.


That’s all there is to it! Loose drywall tape repair really isn’t that bad. Doing it yourself instead of calling in a professional will save you money and dramatically improve the appearance of your home.

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  1. David S.d

    Although removing the tape and retaping is the proper way. If you’re in need of a quicker repair use latex caulk. Place the caulk tip flush to the crack with slight pressure and with slow steady caulk gun trigger pressure fill the crack. Some of the caulk will get behind the tape and when it dries it will add some adherence between the loose tape and the dry wall. Use your finger to smooth the caulk over the crack. Wait 30 mins and go ahead and paint. If on a sand texture sealing, add a little sand texture to a small amount of paint and brush over the caulk to blend in the smooth caulk service with the rest of the ceiling before applying your finish coat of paint. Again, not the best repair, but if you don’t have 2 days to wait for skim coats to dry and sanding, it will keep you on schedule.
    David S.

  2. James Connell

    My drywall tape is coming off all over the house. Can this mean I have a roof leak or possibly need a new roof. The house is 23 yrs old and its the same roof. Thank you

    • Bill

      I have the same problem with paper tapes peeling off the drywall ceiling. I am sure I don’t have leaks anywhere. In my opinion, what’s causing the paper tapes to peel off is most likely the contractor used a cheap kind of paper tape and also maybe under the tape was plenty of dust which caused the tape to peel off.
      I am in the process of peeling all the paper tapes and replacing them with mesh tape. I could see that the paper tapes were peeling so easy like nothing under them (mud or glue).

  3. We have noticed some bubbling lines in our wall like you showed here, but we honestly had no idea what it was from! This peeling drywall tape, as you said, this can provide a space for moisture, dirt, and pests to get in your drywall. I didn’t realize that sticky mesh tape was an easy solution to this problem. We’ll be sure to fix this soon. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Keith

    It is a possibility that when the contractor embedded the joint tape that he laid down the wrong side of the tape. There are two sides to the tape. There is a fuzzy side which goes into the first layer of joint compound, then on the smoother side you lay down your skim coat over that. I have done garages that have high humidity in the summer and never had any issues of tape pulling or cracking. I also wet my tape and run it between my fingers to get the access water off before laying it into the joint compound. Then use my 4 inch putty knife to slide over the tape to embed it securely into the joint compound.

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