Taper Job Description

by Writing Team on March 18, 2010

The Taper is a person who seals joints between plasterboard and other wall boards to prepare wall surface for painting or papering.

Primary Objectives:

  • >The Taper must mix sealing compound by hand or with portable electric mixer.

  • The Taper must spread the compound over joints between boards, using a trowel, broad knife or spatula.

  • The Taper presses paper tape over joints to embed tape into compound and seal the joint.

The Taper is the one who works with compounds to seal joints between plasterboard and other wall boards in order to prepare wall surfaces for painting or papering. The installation of drywall, or sheetrock, has been the most popular method of constructing inner walls of a building since World War II. Taper workers have been very instrumental in providing services to drywall workers. Drywall was developed as a substitute for wet plaster. It consists of a thin layer of gypsum sandwiched between two pieces of heavy paper made in standard-size panels of four feet by eight or twelve feet. Installers cut the panels to fit, then nail or screw them to the frames. The Taper comes along and presses paper tape over the joints to embed tape into the compound in order to seal the joint. Then a painter can come along and paint over everything which makes the wall seem like one whole piece.

After the drywall has been installed, Tapers use a compound to fill joints between panels. Using the tip of a wide trowel, they spread the compound along each side of the joint. The Taper then will press a perforated paper tape into the wet compound and scrape away excess material. Tapers, which are also known as finishers, may use automatic taping tools to apply the joint compound and tape in one step. Additional coats may be added to make a smooth surface. Finally, the wall is sanded to ensure uniformity between patched and unpatched areas. Some finishers create textured surfaces on walls and ceilings with trowels or spray guns. Tapers also repair imperfections caused by installation of heating and other fixtures. Drywall installers and Tapers use keyhole saws, tape measures, straightedges, spatulas, hammers, and brushes.

Most drywall installers and Tapers learn their trade on the job, although they may have learned some of the tool skills in wood or metal shop in high school. Some installers learn their trade in a union or trade association apprenticeship. There are a limited number of these programs available and most apprentices usually learn the program while working on the job. In order to learn the trade most people learn the trade while working with a professional. There are some companies who do offer classroom lessons as well but in most cases the apprentices learn while working with others. A Taper rarely loses time because of inclement weather since the work is done in doors. The Taper works steadily all year long unless construction projects take a downturn and there is not much activity.

The training of a Taper is on-the-job or learns as you go. Most companies do prefer that you have a high school diploma and have taken courses in math and shop. You often will need to know math since you need to calculate the amount of supplies that you will need for a certain area and of course the amount of area that you will need to cover. The Taper needs to be able to do their own billing for a project. The Taper also has to be able to communicate with the crew to make sure that they are completing the work in advance enough before he needs to go in and start his part of the work. The Taper mixes up drywall for a project and he does not want to waste it because the drywall crew has a set back and cannot get their work completed. The Taper needs to be able to coordinate his work with the drywall crew.

Many Tapers are also known as finishers, use automatic taping tools to apply the joint compound and tape in one step. Additional coats may be added to make a smooth surface. This wall is then sanded to ensure uniformity between patched areas. This helps the project look very good with the finishing touch added by the Taper.

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