Crisp Corners for Drywall
Learn how to install metal, vinyl, and paper-faced corner beads so that wall edges are straight, corners are tight, and bubbles are nonexistent.
Synopsis: Nowadays, there are many different options for and ways to install corner beads. Professional drywaller Myron R. Ferguson describes the different types, focusing on metal, glue-on vinyl, and paper-faced metal. He shows how to prep the drywall and then install these three types of corner beads in a series of step by step photographs. The article includes sidebars on installing corner beads at three-way corners, how to handle bubbles, and how to reinforce intersecting corner beads.
I always like to tell my coffee story when I talk about corner beads—the moldings that cover and protect the outside corners of drywall. I typically just drink regular coffee with cream, but when I go to a coffee shop today and look at the menu, there are so many unfamiliar names and choices that I’m not even sure if they sell coffee.
It’s kind of the same idea with corner beads. Just try calling a drywall yard to order a box of 8-ft. square-edge corner bead. When I started in the business, that was all I had to ask for, and I would get a box of metal nail-on corner—the standard galvanized bead with the knurled 11/8-in. flanges and the occasional hole for nailing. It’s not so easy today. Do you want the metal, the paper-faced metal, the paper-faced vinyl, the glue-on vinyl, or the mud-set vinyl? And do you want that in jumbo or standard size? Maybe you even want the corner bead that comes in a roll?
These days there are many options to choose from and a lot of ways to install corner beads, some involving specialty tools. But most square-edge corner beads, including the three shown here, can be installed quickly and easily without anything special. All are designed to sit proud of the wall, creating a space for joint compound to cover the bead’s flanges. Most can be cut with a miter saw, but tin snips are also fine for most applications. All should butt tight to the ceiling and be left about 1⁄2 in. short of the floor to prevent cracking as the house settles. Beyond that, the biggest difference among beads is how they are installed.
Prep the drywall
Don’t try to create crisp corners with drywall alone; that’s what the corner bead is for. For proper installation, all corner beads require the drywall to be set back a bit from the corner (the amount of setback varies by bead profile). If the drywall extends even just a little past the corner, the corner bead won’t fit tight against the drywall, making it difficult to attach and finish properly. For square-edge beads, the drywall should be set back at least 1⁄16 in., but not more than 1/8 in. To ensure that the edge of the bead sits proud of the wall, avoid putting the tapered edges of drywall on corners.
For the full article, view the PDF below.
Read more about installing drywall:
- Video: Drywall Delivery Dos and Don’ts
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- Secrets to Smoother Drywall