Finishing Paper Corner Bead

This page contains drywall finishing instructions for outside corners using paper drywall corner bead. To finish outside corners with metal corner bead use this link. Use these links to finish inside drywall corners and finish drywall seams and go here for more about drywall finishing materials and techniques.

paper drywall corner bead

About Drywall Corner Bead

Outside drywall corners can be finished with either paper or metal corner bead. Metal corner bead is the easiest to install and the best choice for durability and a perfectly square corner. Paper bead can be applied using joint compound only and so can be done without screws. For a quick finish paper bead my be a good choice but for the best results metal corner bead should be used.

Paper corner bead is available in a couple of different forms, it may come in a long strip with a small, 90° metal band down the center, to form the corner. Or it may come as a roll of paper tape with two flat metal strips attached along the center. The tape-type bead requires the drywall sheets come together perfectly to form a square that supports the bead and forms the wall corner.

bucket of ready-mixed joint compound

Use Ready-Mixed Compound

Use ready-mixed joint compound to apply paper corner bead, setting-type will set too quickly and may cause problems. See the skim coating page for more about using joint compound and the drywall finishing page for more information about drywall finishing tools, tapes and joint compounds.

cutting drywall corner bead with tin snips

Cut the Corner Bead

Measure the length of the corner and mark a line on the paper at that lengtht. If you're dealing with a 90° metal band, use tin snips to cut from the side, through the paper border and up to the bend in the metal. Cut each side and then break it apart at the center. If you're using paper tape bead with flat strips down the center, use scissors to cut the paper and then use tin snips to cut the metal strips, one at a time.

applying first coat of mud for paper drywall corner bead

Cover the Corner with Mud

Cover each side of the corner with a thick coat of mud from one end to the other.

placing paper drywall corner bead on a wall corner

Apply the Corner Bead

Press the bead into the mud pushing on the metal band until it makes contact with the drywall. Push all along the band from one end to the other, to set it firmly in place. If you're using paper tape bead, fold a crease in the center and lay it into the thick mud, pressing it tightly to the corner and both walls.

applying paper drywall corner bead with joint compound

Skim Along the Border

Use a small joint knife to skim the excess mud from between the paper border and the drywall.

skim coating paper drywall corner bead

Skim Horizontally

Next, work along the length of the bead using horizontal strokes to squeeze out as much mud as possible while pulling the bead tighter against the corner. Skim any buildup along the edges and let the mud dry completely.

applying second coat of mud to paper corner bead

Apply a Second Coat

When the first coat is completely dry, use crossing strokes with the knife to apply a thick coat of mud along both walls from one end to the other.

skimming the second coat of mud on paper corner bead

Skim the Second Coat

Skim the excess mud working on one wall at a time. Clean the mud off the joint knife frequently as it builds up on the blade. When you finish go back to the top and run the clean blade along the whole length of the corner in one smooth stroke.

skimming mud on paper corner bead peak

Skim the Peak

Skim any buildup off the peak of the metal bead and let the mud dry.

applying the finish coat of mud on paper corner bead

Apply the Finish Coat

Apply a third and fourth coat of mud as needed to cover the bead and level the corner. Use crossing strokes with the joint knife to coat both walls with a thick coat of mud.

skimming the final coat of mud on paper corner bead

Skim the Finish Coat

Immediately skim off the excess mud from one wall and then the other. Clean the mud off the joint knife frequently as you skim out the corner to avoid buildup. When you finish go back to the top and run the clean blade along the whole length of the corner in one smooth stroke.

Let the final coat of mud dry and sand the corner lightly with medium grit sandpaper to smooth it. The peak of the bead will remain visible but will be covered when painting.