Why is My Drywall Tape Bubbling – How to Fix It?

ways to fix drywall tape bubbling

Poor installation is the most common reason for air bubbles appearing under drywall tape.

If you do not apply enough joint compound before applying the tape, it creates a weak bond that can easily be pulled away, resulting in bubbles.

Another cause could be that the surface is not smooth and level, which will also cause the tape to pull away from the joint.

The easiest way to avoid this problem is using fiberglass mesh instead of paper tape.

But if you do not have fiberglass mesh tape available or do not want to invest in it, there are still a few techniques that can help.

In the article below, I will discuss some of these strategies to fix the ripples in the tape and the ways to prevent them from happening in the future. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty!

Fixing Bubbles in Drywall Tape

In most cases, it’s best to fix the air bubbles in the drywall before you finish the joint.

Because if you leave the bubbles as is and add the joint compound on top, the bubbles will reappear once the joint compound dries and the wall is painted, making your overall paint job look terrible.

There are a few ways to fix the problem. These include:

1- Make a Cut and Repair the Tape

The most common and effective method is to cut out the bubbled section of the tape with a utility knife. Remove the tape to check the bubbles.

If there are bubbles throughout, remove the entire tape.

Then apply a new layer of joint compound mixed with water to a creamy consistency.

Ensure that you apply the layer below the removed taping. It helps if the layer is slightly wider than the removed tape to avoid weak bonds.

Use a 6-inch knife to apply the joint compound, and then use the 10-inch knife to flatten and smooth it out.

Finally, apply a new piece of tape while overlapping the cut edges by about 1/2 inch.

Apply a coat of mud to new tape that can help it better adhere; just be sure to let the mud dry before adding any additional coats.

2- Spread Some Mud Under the Drywall Taping

If a part of your tape has lifted and created a bubble, spread more joint compound mud underneath that section. This will help create a stronger bond and prevent the bubble from reappearing.

If you notice the bubbles closer to the edges of the tape, consider fixing them by lifting the tape slightly and adding more mud underneath it.

To make the tape adhere better, scrape it into fresh mud and re-coat it.

This can be tricky to fix if you notice the bubbles straddling the seam. In this case, removing the entire tape and starting from scratch is best.

Or, if you want to fix it, start by making two vertical cuts that should lie on either side of the bubble.

The cut should be longer than the bubble’s width but should not reach the edges of the tape you need to fix.

Then make an additional cut along the seam. This time the third cut should be extended to the two vertical lines folding back the two halves of the tape.

Finally, apply the coat of fresh joint compound to the seam. Lay the two halves of the tape back in place and apply pressure to secure it. Once secured, do not forget to apply a coat of mud over them.

And that’s it! You should have fixed air bubbles under your drywall tape.

3- Fixing the Bubbles After the Compound has Dried

Sometimes the bubbles don’t appear until after the joint compound has dried.

Or maybe you haven’t noticed them before, and the mud has started to crack after a while due to the movement of the air bubble.

Worry not – there are still some chances that you can fix them.

While it can be somewhat tricky, the only way is to cut and remove the entire section of the tape to lay the new taping.

Start by using a small putty knife or a razor blade to scrape off the old, dried, and cracked joint compound.

Be careful not to damage the drywall paper – the goal is to create a clean surface for the new tape to adhere to.

If any small pieces of dry mud are left, wipe them away with a damp cloth.

Once the surface is clean, apply a new layer of joint compound mixed with water. Make sure you spread the mud nicely over the entire cut-out section.

Lay new taping on it while overlapping the old existing tape by 1/2 inch or slightly more.

Scrape and secure the new tape with a coat of joint compound. And as always, let it dry before adding any additional coats.

Hopefully, this will help you conveniently fix the air bubbles under your drywall tape.

If you want to finish, gently sand the repaired area with fine-grit sandpaper until it matches the surrounding area.

Vacuum or sweep up the debris created by sanding, apply a coat of drywall primer, and then paint over the area in the color of your choice!

methods to fix drywall tape bubbling

Preventing the Air Bubbles Under the Drywall Tape

While fixing bubbled drywall can be tricky and time-consuming, preventing the taping bubbles is much easier.

So, it’s time to learn how you can prevent drywall tape bubbles in the first place before the installation.

To do so, start by ensuring that the surface you’re about to tape is as smooth as possible.

Be sure to scrape off any rough edges, remove any old paint or wallpaper, and sand the area until it’s nice and smooth.

Additionally, apply a layer of premixed joint compound to the surface and let it dry completely before applying the tape.

When taping, use a wider piece of tape and always start in the middle of the seam and then work your way out.

This will help to avoid any pockets of air that might get trapped under the tape.

And as you apply pressure to the tape, be sure to work out any air bubbles that might have gotten trapped.

Use a putty knife or your finger to gently press the tape into the mud and work out any air pockets.

It also helps if you have moistened the tape before applying it. This can be done by either spraying it lightly with water or running it under a faucet for a few seconds.

The moisture helps the tape adhere better and prevents it from drying out too quickly.

Finally, apply a thin layer of joint compound over the tape to help it blend in with the rest of the wall.

Let the mud dry, then sand the area until it’s smooth.

You can then go ahead and apply a second layer of joint compound, if needed, and then paint over the area!

The bottom line

Preventing air bubbles under the drywall tape is much easier than fixing them.

You can avoid them altogether by taking some precautionary measures and being careful during the installation process.

But if you end up with some tape bulge, don’t panic! There are still ways you can get bubbles out of drywall tape.

By following the steps above, you should be able to repair the bubbling drywall and have your wall looking good as new in no time!

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