Expansion beads are among the most popular types of specialty drywall accessories in Trim-Tex’s entire catalog. It’s not hard to see why — you cannot beat the flexibility of vinyl materials for expansion joints, where allowing for some controlled movement is crucial. Simply put, the three expansion beads we offer (093V Expansion, Hideaway Expansion and the Fire Rated 093X-V Expansion) are easier, faster and more pliable than anything else out there. Here’s when and where to use vinyl expansion beads on your next drywall project, whether you're in commercial or residential construction.
When and Where to Use Vinyl Expansion Beads
What is an expansion bead?
Our popular 093V Expansion bead consists of both rigid and flexible PVC materials to craft the perfect match for expansion/control joints. Contained in the middle of two rigid vinyl mud legs (which are affixed to the drywall using 847 Spray Adhesive and half-inch staples), you’ll find a deep “V” that’s able to flex along with building movement. In total, 093V Expansion allows for ⅜” of controlled movement. Hideaway Expansion allows for the same amount of movement, but with a shallower profile, you’ll have a aesthetically subtler control joint.
The other notable thing you should know about this bead is that it comes equipped with Trim-Tex’s famous tear-away strips, located on either side of that flexible center groove. Why? They protect the bead's flexible center — without them, your drywall mud can easily spill into that elastic crevasse, which will harden and hurt the bead’s ability to move along with the structure. Once you’re finished mudding and sanding, you can rip off those strips, leaving a clean, smooth finished edge behind.
When and where to use vinyl expansion beads
If you’re working in commercial construction, your building codes will dictate where you’ll need to install all your control joint using this bead. Generally, the rule is that any long run of a wall or ceiling over 30 feet needs an expansion bead between sheets of drywall. These expansion joints, outfitted with a bead like 093V Expansion, will allow your drywall to move along with the structure without any cracks in the finish — or any larger, more serious damage to your walls — for years to come.
But many residential construction projects should incorporate expansion beads as well. Just like in commercial construction, for runs of drywall spanning 30 feet or more, an expansion bead will help ensure that cracking won't occur. Think about wide areas with unbroken ceilings, like garages or open-concept living areas: we would highly recommend creating control joints in places like these.