Is Metal Drywall Corner Bead the Best Option?

Drywall corner bead, also known as corner bead, is a critical component in the proper finishing of walls and ceilings if you want to build durable, reinforced structures. With so many corner bead options available, it can feel daunting to know what's best for your project, and metal corner bead is a common choice.

While popular, metal beads have some significant disadvantages that drywall contractors and homeowners should know about. Plus, there are alternative options that tend to perform better and last longer, strengthening the integrity of your structure. Let's dive into the pros and cons of different corner bead materials so that you can decide on your next drywall project.

What is Metal Drywall Corner Bead?

Metal drywall corner bead is a material used in the construction and finishing of drywall installations. This trim is installed at the corners of walls and ceilings to provide a clean, sharp edge and a seamless transition between surfaces.

Uses of Metal Drywall Corner Bead

Metal corner bead serves several purposes in drywall installation. One common use is to fortify and define the external corners of a drywall installation. Another use is for the formation of a proper angle in wall corners. Additionally, this metal bead acts as a guide for a smooth finish with a joint compound.

The Advantages of Metal Drywall Corner Bead

There's a reason metal has traditionally been used for corner bead — it's an easy-to-install material that is affordable and available in most home-improvement stores.

A Balance of Strength and Vulnerability

Metal corner bead is known for its rigidity. Made from rigid metal, it’s resistant to warping, meaning that walls finished with this corner bead can stay in good condition for a long time if left alone. However, it’s important to note that metal is not resistant to blunt force impacts. Even seemingly minor impacts can permanently dent metal beads.

Metal corner bead is revealed below damaged drywall.

Easy Installation

Installing metal corner bead can be a relatively simple task:

  • First, make sure you have the correct length of corner bead for your project. Measure the corner and cut the bead to fit using tin snips.

  • Next, clean and prepare the corner by removing any loose drywall or debris. Apply a layer of joint compound to the corner using a putty knife.

  • Press the corner bead firmly into the compound, making sure it is aligned with the corner. Secure the bead by hammering in nails or using a drywall screw gun, about 6 to 8 inches apart.

  • Once secure, apply another layer of joint compound over the corner bead, extending it beyond the edges of the bead to create a smooth transition. Allow the compound to dry completely, then sand it until it is smooth and flush with the surrounding wall.

  • Finally, prime and paint the corner bead to match the rest of the wall.

The Disadvantages of Metal Drywall Corner Bead

While metal beads have their advantages, it's important to discuss their downsides, too.

Potential Rusting

Potential rusting is one major disadvantage. In conditions with high humidity or potential water exposure, metal corner beads may corrode over time. While joint compound and paint can provide a bit of a barrier, it is best to consider where you're installing it (for example, kitchens and bathrooms aren't ideal due to their dampness) and local weather conditions.

Difficulty Shaping

Due to their rigid nature, metal drywall corner beads can be tricky to bend or shape compared to flexible vinyl beads. A miscalculation during installation can lead to weak or uneven corners.

Irreversible Damage

Metal is a strong material, but when it is damaged by heavy impact, it's almost impossible to fix. If metal bead is dented, it will undoubtedly need to be replaced. They can even be damaged in transport, rendering them useless before they're even installed.

Other Options for Drywall Corner Bead

While drywall corner bead is an important aspect of any drywall project, metal bead might not be the best fit for everyone. Here are some viable alternatives to consider:

Vinyl Corner Bead

Vinyl corner bead is a popular choice due to its cost-effectiveness and versatility. Its flexible nature allows for easy installation, as it can be easily bent to fit any angle or curve. Vinyl beads are also rust-proof and easy to install with spray adhesive or joint compound. They can be easily cut and shaped, making them ideal for complex and detailed wall structures. Vinyl beads are more impact-resistant than metal beads and can withstand cracks and dents, ensuring long-lasting protection for corners and edges.

Vinyl corner bead is also lightweight, making it easier to handle and transport. Its smooth, non-porous surface is resistant to moisture, which makes it ideal for use in wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Overall, vinyl corner bead provides a cost-effective and reliable solution for reinforcing and finishing corners.

Paper-Faced Corner Bead

Paper-faced bead is an excellent option for those who prefer working with joint compounds alone. In fact, it was invented to solve the problem of nail popping and cracking that can occur with metal beads.

This type of bead comes with a paper flange that easily bonds with the mixed joint compound, securing the bead to the drywall. It can be easily adjusted and provides a smooth finish once dry and sanded. While these beads were once only available as paper-covered metal form, more recent vinyl options have proven to be faster and use less mud.

The Benefits of Trim-Tex Vinyl Corner Beads

Drywall corner bead is being installed into a banister.

Whether you're a professional contractor or DIY enthusiast, Trim-Tex vinyl corner bead offers numerous benefits for your projects. First and foremost, its vinyl material is highly durable and resistant to cracks, dents, and impact damage, ensuring a long-lasting and flawless finish for corner joints.

Additionally, its flexible design allows for seamless installation in different angles, corners and curves, saving time and effort during the construction process. Our innovative products guarantee a superior and hassle-free corner installation, enhancing the aesthetics and durability of your project.

We offer a wide selection of over 200 versatile drywall solutions, so you can be sure you'll find a bead to fit your needs. Find a Trim-Tex dealer near you or contact us to chat with our award-winning customer service team.