A quick-load drywall taping gun is a less messy alternative to applying mud and tape by hand.

How to Use a Quick-Load Drywall Taper

by Renee Miller

Because you have to apply joint compound and then the tape, taping drywall can be a time-consuming and messy job. Quick-load drywall tapers, which are also called taping banjos, save time by combining taping and applying mud to drywall seams into one step. Most homeowners can easily operate a quick-load drywall taper. The tricky part is in mixing the mud to the right consistency and loading the gun.

Transfer about 1 gallon of drywall joint compound (all-purpose premixed compound is the easiest type to work with) to a 5-gallon pail. Mix enough water to the compound to make it pourable using a mud mixer or a mud masher, which is a drywall tool with a long pole and an end that resembles a potato masher. Add about 1 cup of water per gallon until the mud is similar to heavy texture paint in consistency -- or until the mud drips in large blobs from the mixing tool.

Load a roll of 250- or 500-foot paper drywall tape that is no wider than 2 1/8 inches onto the top of the tape gun.

Open the mud chamber door and feed the tape through the chamber, running it under the first tape guide and then over top of the second. Next, pull it out the opposite end of the chamber.

Push the tape to the top of the machine so it doesn’t touch the chamber wall, and pour mud into the chamber until it reaches the full line.

Pull the end of tape. The bottom side should have an even coating of mud, about 1/8 inch thick. If the mud in the chamber is too thick, it may not coat the tape.

Turn the adjustment screw, which is typically above the end where the tape comes out, to adjust the chamber opening if there is too much or too little mud. Close the mud chamber door and fasten the latches.

Place the end of the tape against the wall at the top of your drywall seam. Press it in place with a 6- or 8-inch taping knife, and pull the taper down and slightly away from the wall. As the tape is pulled from the chamber, press it against the seam with your knife.

Cut the tape with a quick, downward motion or rip it by hand when you reach the end of the seam.

Press and smooth the tape with your drywall knife to flatten it over the seam. Scrape off excess mud as it’s pressed out from behind the tape.

Items you will need

  • Joint compound
  • 5-gallon pail
  • Mud masher
  • Drywall tape
  • 6- or 8-inch taping knife


  • Periodically "dunk" the taper by tipping the nose (feeder) end downward; this moves the compound toward the nose to keep the tape covered. You may have to dunk the taper two or three times during a seam application.


  • Never leave joint compound in the taping gun for more than two hours. If it dries, it will be extremely difficult to remove and may impair the function of the gun. When you're done with the taper, scrape out excess mud and scrub it with a stiff-bristle brush before the joint compound hardens.

About the Author

Renee Miller began writing professionally in 2008, contributing to websites and the "Community Press" newspaper. She is co-founder of On Fiction Writing, a website for writers. Miller holds a diploma in social services from Clarke College in Belleville, Ontario.

Photo Credits

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