Building or remodeling a home will mean trips to the building supply store for the do-it-yourselfer. If the project includes drywall, one of the items on the shopping list will be corner beads.
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After hanging drywall, a corner bead is attached to the corner of two adjacent walls. It is a long strip of rectangular building material bent along the center, lengthwise, typically at a 90-degree angle. The narrow walls of the corner bead are referred to as mud legs. It gives the corner a crisp appearance by covering the gap between the two sheets of drywall that meet from each wall. Plaster mud is then spread over the drywall and corner beads to finish the surface.
Some corner bead styles are adjustable, allowing for angles other than 90 degrees. Corner beads have holes drilled throughout their surface, some like Swiss cheese, while other styles have fewer holes. The holes allow the mud to penetrate the bead and move into the drywall. Corner beads can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, vinyl and metal. Other styles of corner beads resemble wire mesh.
Archway corner beads are designed for areas where a curved wall meets a ceiling. Adjustable corner beads allow for different angles, and splayed corner beads can be fitted for unusual corners. Corner beads can also vary in size, with wider mud legs providing more durability. The holes or slots can also vary in size, with larger holes allowing more mud to permeate down to the drywall.
Corner beads can be used to alter the style of a building by making subtle design changes. Outer corner walls that have curved corners, as opposed to the traditional 90-degree straight angle, are called bullnose corners; these became popular in homes in the 1990s. To achieve this look, affix a curved bullnose corner bead along the corner, where the two sheets of drywall come together and plaster mud is applied. The result: a curved corner.
Before the advent of drywall, wooden corner beads added a finished look to room corners. Unlike the corner beads used in drywall, which are covered with plaster, vintage corner beads are decorative wood trim. Wooden corner beads are available in various shapes, such as round and square. They look similar to stair railing spindles.