Finishing Outside Drywall Corners: A Complete Guide

Finishing Outside Drywall Corners
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Finishing Outside Drywall CornersDrywall installation is a precise and meticulous process that requires attention to detail.

One crucial aspect of achieving a professional finish is properly finishing outside drywall corners.

While it may seem like a challenging task, with the right techniques and materials, you can master this art and achieve smooth and seamless corner finishes.

In this guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of finishing outside drywall corners, highlighting the best practices and tips to help you achieve professional results.

Understanding the Importance of Outside Corners

Outside corners play a significant role in the overall appearance and durability of a drywall installation.

When not properly finished, these corners can become weak points that are susceptible to damage and cracking.

By following the correct techniques, you can ensure that your outside corners are structurally sound and visually appealing.

Choosing the Right Corner Bead

Corner bead is an essential component in finishing outside drywall corners. It provides reinforcement and creates a clean edge for applying joint compound.

There are various types of corner beads available, such as vinyl, paper-faced, and metal.

One popular option is the “tape-on” variety, such as Beadex paper-faced metal corner bead. This type of bead is easy to work with and does not require nails for installation.

Many professionals prefer tape-on corner beads as they are less prone to stress cracks compared to traditional nail-on corner bead.

Step 1: Prepare the Corner

Before applying the corner bead, it is crucial to ensure that the corner is straight and secure. Start by checking the framing for straightness.

Assemble the corner so that there are no overhanging edges.

Cut the first drywall board flush with the edge of the corner stud and overlap the second board halfway onto the first board.

Secure the edges with screws placed no more than 12 inches apart.

Step 2: Apply the Adhesive Coat

To enable the corner bead to seat tightly to the wall, thin the joint compound to the consistency of thick pancake batter by adding water.

Spread a generous amount of compound in a 2-inch-wide swath on each side of the corner using a taping knife held almost flat.

Apply slight pressure to ensure a uniform layer of compound.

Step 3: Bed the Corner Bead

Gently press the corner bead into the joint compound and push it tight to the ceiling.

Run your thumb and finger along the paper edges, applying light pressure to ensure proper adhesion.

Bed the Corner Bead
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Step 4: Align and Wipe the Edges

Using a taping knife as a straightedge, check the alignment of the bead. If needed, use your fingertips to adjust the position.

Hold the knife at a 45° angle and gently wipe both edges of the bead, using an index finger to flex the blade gently.

Align and Wipe the Edges
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Mix the Joint Compound

Before proceeding with the next steps, ensure that your joint compound is thoroughly mixed.

Even if it does not require added water, stirring it ensures a consistent consistency throughout the bucket.

Professionals usually use a speed mixer chucked into a heavy-duty, slow-speed drill for efficient mixing.

Two Coats for a Perfect Finish

Achieving a smooth and seamless outside corner requires the application of two coats of joint compound.

Each coat has its specific purpose and technique to ensure a professional finish.

Step 1: Smooth the First Coat

Finishing Outside Drywall Corners
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The first coat is aimed at filling in the gaps between the corner bead and the wall surface.

Load an 8-inch taping knife with compound mixed with little or no water to minimize shrinkage.

Spread the compound over one side of the corner, making sure to cover the nose of the bead. Smooth the compound using three steps:

  1. Screed the compound between the bead and the inner wall surface by holding the knife at a shallow angle. Make one long, smooth pass from the top and one from the bottom, ensuring no lap marks.
  2. Feather the inside edge of the compound by holding the knife at a 45° angle and applying pressure to the inner edge, without touching the mud.
  3. Repeat the first step while using your forefinger to apply slight inward pressure. The nose of the bead should be as visible as the edge of a concrete form.

Step 2: Fill Gaps with the Final Coat

Allow the first coat to dry, then lightly sand it to remove any lap marks or high spots.

The final coat of joint compound should be slightly thinner than the previous one but thicker than the adhesive coat.

Apply the compound using a 10-inch knife, holding it at a 45° angle and applying slight, evenly distributed pressure.

After this coat is dry, sand it lightly using extrafine sandpaper (150 grit to 220 grit) for a smooth finish.

Additional Tips for a Professional Finish

  • Always mix the joint compound thoroughly before use to ensure consistency.
  • Use the right tools, such as taping knives, sandpaper, and a taping banjo, to achieve precise and smooth finishes.
  • Practice your technique in less visible areas, such as closets or outside corners, before tackling more prominent areas.
  • Properly estimate and order materials to avoid interruptions during the finishing process.
  • Pay attention to the drying time of joint compound, and allow each coat to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Also read: Common Drywall Taping Mistakes: A Comprehensive Guide


Finishing outside drywall corners is a crucial step in achieving a professional and visually appealing drywall installation. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and using the right materials and techniques, you can achieve smooth and seamless corner finishes.

Remember to take your time, practice your technique, and pay attention to detail to achieve the best results. With patience and perseverance, you’ll be able to master the art of finishing outside drywall corners and elevate the overall quality of your drywall installations.

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