Re-doing plaster/drywall finish
This fiberglass mesh tape can be used to patch small holes. Home Depot and all home centers (even many Ace Hardwares) sell patch kits with that fiberglass mesh tape in wider and square strips. The tape gives the joint compound something to cling to while it dries, and gives the patch structural support after it is dry, just as it does when used to connect drywall joints. Some patch kits have small metal plates attached to the tape for a still more secure patch. If you only have one or two mid-sized holes (no bigger than a softball) or minimal damage, then these do a good job.
But none of these kits will (or should) be used for a "blanket" repair job of an entire piece of drywall. If the entire wall or large segment of it is damaged, it probably would be better for you to just rip it down (or cut the damaged portion out) and replace it with new drywall. It sounds daunting, but it is much cheaper, better and easier than patching lots of holes or even extensive superficial (usually water) damage. Any holes or damage more than the size of a basketball are not worth patching with joint compound, alone. You will need to get a replacement piece of drywall and patch it into the hole with fiberglass tape or traditional drywall tape.
As such, there is no product that covers an entire wall or large portion of it, as you seemed to suggest in your question, because it is better and easier to replace an entire piece of drywall if the whole piece is damaged. Doing otherwise would require professional plastering experience, and any professional worth his salt would just replace the drywall instead of repair it.
That said, the mesh tape is unnecessary for thin, small cracks. It is ideal, however, and rather necessary for sealing and supporting larger, longer cracks, individually, especially if the cracks are just from normal aging or settling process. It is found wherever drywall is sold, and often in hardware stores. If the house is still settling or shifting, the fiberglass tape will not be nearly strong enough to stop the crack from reappearing, but otherwise, it should do the trick.
we have ceilings that the taping is very badly done. teying to figure out a solution, or a coverup.
"tin"ceiling tiles? house is c.1810
[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited July 14, 2001).]