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).]
We just recently layed tile on our bathroom floor. Before starting, we took off the rubbery/plastic trim stuff that was glued to the bottom of the wall (is it called a kickboard?). Anyway, it was stuck on with some serious stuff and it's ruined the drywall all the way round the bathroom from the floor up about 4-5 inches. There aren't any holes, it's just peeled a few layers down to the brown part. Are the methods described here the best way to fix that as well? We bought some drywall "mud" and thought the way to do it was peel away loose paper, apply the mud and sand then paint. Is this correct? Everything on the web talks about patching holes or cracks, nothing about this peeling problem. Thank in advance for any advice.
I agree that the best approach is probably to go on top of the whole mess with 3/8" drywall. Sometimes this may not be practical, though, because the additional wall thickness is not OK (for example, if there is a doorway in the wall). IN that case, you should remove the existing plaster and leave the lath, then go over it with 5/8" drywall (or whatever thickness fits). The only other alternative is to hire a plasterer...but he will not want to go over a base plaster that is not solid.
By the way, doing a "skim coat" of plaster is not a job for someone who does not have experience. It takes a bit of practice to get it flat, and the beginner will have a hard time getting it right, even if they do several coats.