How to Mud a Corner Bead Around Windows

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Corner bead protects the outside edges of drywall, such as those around a window opening. Workers install the metal corner bead with nails or screws. After installation, drywall finishers apply several coats of mud, or joint compound, to both sides of the corner bead. Lightweight joint compound works well for covering corner bead because it doesn’t shrink as much as other types of joint compound. Also, lightweight compound is easier to sand. Drying time depends on the brand of joint compound, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Under normal temperature and humidity conditions, most joint compound dries within 24 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper drywall tape
  • Lightweight joint compound
  • 6- and 12-inch drywall knives
  • 100- and 150-grit sandpaper
  • Embed paper drywall tape over all joints between boards of drywall. For example, use a 6-inch drywall knife to apply a thick layer of joint compound to the interior angles at the top corners of the window surround. Fold pieces of paper drywall tape lengthwise and push them into the corners. Wipe the pieces of tape flat with the drywall knife.

  • Apply a thick coat of joint compound over both sides of the corner bead, using the 6-inch drywall knife. Fill the sides completely. This initial coat will be rough, which isn’t a problem because subsequent coats will cover it entirely. Allow the first coat to dry.

  • Apply another thick coat, using a 12-inch drywall knife to cover a larger area. Leave the coated corner bead smooth and even. If your work is rough, add more compound and try again. The smoother this coat is, the easier the next coat will be. Allow the second coat to dry.

  • Sand the dried compound with 100-grit sandpaper until it is smooth.

  • Water down your joint compound until it has the consistency of pancake batter. Apply a coat of thinned compound, using the 12-inch knife. Immediately wipe off the compound, leaving the corner bead with a smooth polish. Allow the third coat to dry.

  • Sand the dried compound with 150-grit sandpaper. Use a folded piece of sandpaper to rub the ridge of the corner smooth and to remove any thick edges. When you finish, the window surround should merge seamlessly with the surrounding wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • The metal ridge of the corner bead will be visible after you sand it smooth. This is normal. The metal accepts primer and paint, so the ridge will not have a different color or appearance than the surfaces around it.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
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