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How to Fix Corner Bead That’s Separating from Drywall (In 5 Simple Steps)

How to Fix Corner Bead That’s Separating from Drywall (In 5 Simple Steps)
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Corner beads are used to create crisp, clean edges during drywall installation. The corner beads are added on the corners, edges, and where the walls and ceilings meet.

If the corner bead is not properly set, it may eventually start to separate from the drywall. The metal strips can pop out of place or cause the drywall to crack.

Corner beads can also become dented from impact, such as when moving furniture. The resulting damage is not major but looks unappealing.

Use the following guide to learn more about corner bead and how to fix it when it separates from the drywall.

What Is Corner Bead?

A corner bead is a type of material used to reinforce the corners and edges of the drywall. Using a corner bead helps secure the drywall while also creating a cleaner look.

Corner bead is typically sold in strips with a 90-degree bend. The strips are nailed or screwed to the edges of the drywall before applying drywall compound (mudding).

Metal and plastic are the most common materials for corner beads. Metal is more durable and often more affordable compared to plastic but can also rust.

With proper installation, the corner bead should continue to protect the edges of the drywall for a lifetime. However, if the corner bead is not correctly affixed to the drywall, it may eventually loosen or pop out.

How to Reattach Corner Bead Separating from Drywall

The most common type of corner bead damage involves hairline cracks and loose corner beads. The corner bead may become loose, creating small cracks on the adjacent drywall.

Use the following steps to reattach loose corner bead:

  1. Remove loose drywall
  2. Straighten the bent corner bead
  3. Use mesh drywall tape to secure the corner bead
  4. Apply drywall compound
  5. Sand and paint the treated area

You will need spackling compound, drywall compound, a putty knife, a hammer, mesh drywall tape, and sandpaper. You may also want to purchase primer and paint to touch up the walls.

1 – Remove the Loose Drywall

You should first remove any crumbling drywall around the loose corner bead. As the corner bead pulls loose, it may crack a portion of the drywall.

Fill the loose area with spackling compound and smooth it with the back of a putty knife. Allow the compound to fully dry before completing the next step.

2 – Straighten the Bent Corner Bead

Use a hammer to carefully bend the corner bead back into position against the wall. Continue to tap the corner bead with the hammer until it is completely flush with the wall.

If you cannot straighten the corner bead, you should consider removing it and replacing it with a section of a new corner bead.

3 – Use Mesh Drywall Tape to Secure the Corner Bead

You should not need to nail the corner bead back into place. Simply use mesh drywall tape to secure the corner bead and cover any remaining cracks in the drywall.

4 – Apply Drywall Compound

Apply drywall compound to one side of the corner bead. Use a putty knife or taping knife to evenly spread the compound and completely conceal the corner bead and mesh tape.

Allow the drywall compound to dry before applying the compound to the other side of the corner bead. Under normal conditions, it takes about 24 hours for the drywall compound to dry.

5 – Sand and Paint the Treated Area

After allowing the drywall compound to dry, sand both sides until you have a smooth finish. Use 120-grit or 150-grit sandpaper to smooth the outer edge of the compound.

The drywall compound will remain relatively soft 24 to 48 hours after application. Using heavy-grit sandpaper may damage the compound and leave sanding marks.

Wipe the wall or ceiling clean using a damp cloth to remove residue from sanding before priming and painting.

How to Replace Damaged Corner Bead on Drywall

If the corner bead is pressed into the wall due to impact, you may need to replace the damaged section. However, you should first try straightening it.

Use a pair of thin pliers to pull the dented area outward. Fill in the space behind the corner bead with spackling compound.

Use a hammer to gently straighten the bead before using mesh drywall tape and drywall compound to secure it. Sand and paint the wall to finish fixing the issue.

If the corner bead or drywall are severely damaged, use the following steps to replace the damaged corner bead instead of straightening it:

  1. Remove the damaged section
  2. Cut and secure the new corner bead
  3. Apply drywall compound
  4. Sand and paint the treated area

You will need a hacksaw, metal shears, corner bead, a hammer, drill, drywall nails, spackling compound, drywall compound, and a drywall knife.

1 – Remove the Damaged Section of Corner Bead

Use a hacksaw with a fine-toothed blade or a pair of metal shears to cut the damaged portion of the corner bead. You should cut several inches above and below the area that you want to remove.

Work slowly when cutting the corner bead to limit damage to the surrounding wall. You should also try to cut horizontally to create a clean edge for blending the new corner bead.

As you remove the corner bead, nails or screws may also come out, along with portions of drywall. After removing the corner bead, you may also notice gaps where the drywall has crumbled.

Remove any loose portions of drywall and fill with drywall compound or spackling compound.

2 – Cut and Secure the New Corner Bead

Cut a new section of corner bead to match the section that you removed. Securing the bead to a vise can help keep it in place as you cut.

Use metal shears or a hacksaw to cut the corner bead to size. You may also use a metal file to smooth the edges of the corner bead.

Secure the new section of the corner bead using drywall nails. You may also need to nail down the flanges of the existing corner bead if they were bent during the removal process.

3 – Apply Drywall Compound on the Corner Bead

Make sure that the corner bead is completely flush before applying drywall compound. Use a drywall knife to smooth out the compound.

4 – Sand and Paint the Wall to Finish Your Repairs

Wait at least 24 hours for the drywall compound to dry before sanding it with 120-grit or 140-grit sandpaper. After wiping away the debris from sanding, you can prime and paint the walls and ceiling.

What Type of Compound to Use When Filling Corner Bead Cracks?

Dented or loose corner beads may cause the drywall to crack. For minor cracks, you can typically fill the missing drywall with a lightweight spackling compound.

If the damage includes a large area of missing drywall, you may need to fill the missing area with drywall compound. Drywall compound is denser and sets tougher compared to spackling compound, making it better suited for filling larger areas.

You should also use drywall compound when covering the repaired corner bead. Mudding the drywall is necessary for creating a smooth surface and hiding the corner bead.

Final Thoughts

If the corner bead starts to pull away from the drywall, hammer it back in place and secure it with mesh drywall tape.

If the corner bead is pressed into the wall, replace it with a new section of the corner bead. You may also need to fill gaps with spackling compound or drywall compound, along with applying compound over the entire corner bead.

Always allow the drywall compound to dry before sanding and painting.