Inside Corner Bead Vs. Paper Tape (Here Are The Differences)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you are working with drywall, then you already know that you’re going to have to join your drywall using a small set of different items. In almost every corner, you will need to make a decision between starting a base using paper tape or through using a specialty product known as corner beading. Both materials have their perks, but there’s definitely one that tends to be viewed as a better choice.

People who are working on drywall corner joints should consider investing in inside corner beading if they want to get a superior finish. This product is known for being faster to install, offering up cleaner corners, and also more durable than typical paper tape uses.

Most people who do their first drywall corner joints tend to get a little concerned when they’re using these materials. Technically, both of them are pretty good options, but one just happens to be a little better. Curious about each? We understand, which is why we’re going to help you learn about them.

What’s The Difference Between Inside Corner Bead And Paper Tape?

The first thing that we need to discuss are the structural differences between inside corner bead and paper tape used in drywall installs. They are not the same, and it’s worth explaining it. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Paper tape is less rigid than inside corner bead. Corner bead kits are designed to stay rigid, which is part of the reason why they tend to be better suited for complex works. Paper tape can be a little more malleable, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on what kind of joint you’re trying to make.
  • Paper tape is made of specially-treated paper, while the inside corner bead is usually plastic. With paper, you might have some fiberglass to help bolster the structure, but it’s basically still ol’ fashioned tape. Corner bead, on the other hand, is a slightly bendable form of plastic that is usually adhered with the use of a specialty adhesive.
  • You can rip paper tape with your hands, while corner bead material needs to be cut with a knife or scissors. This means that you can always expect the corner to be sharp and crisp.
  • Paper tape can be used for almost any interior application, while inside corner bead kits tend to have a more specialized range. If you aren’t sure whether you should use a particular type of bead, take a look at the package or the information about the product on the company’s site. More often than not, they’ll have a chart that shows you what uses are ideal for the type of bead you have.
  • Inside corner bead is usually more expensive than paper tape. This should go without saying, but you still need to be aware that you might feel a little pain in your pocket.

Why Should You Use Inside Corner Bead?

Generally speaking, inside corner bead is usually the best bet for your interior walls, especially if you got no-coat beading or a specialty project that requires any sort of special angles. Here’s why most people should use inside corner bead:

  • It offers sharper angles and a more professional finish. With paper tape, it’s easy to end up with folds in the corners or an otherwise slapdash look. Taping your joints takes more skill and it can be easy to mess up. Corner beading comes with sharp angles built into the tape, which means that you don’t have to worry about folds and creases.
  • The installation time is shorter. With paper tape, you might need to smooth out edges and do a little more fussing around. Inside corner bead is meant to be easy enough for newbies to install, and that means a faster install time all around. If you choose no-coat beading, then you also have to use less joint compound and are able to “feather out” what’s squeezed out during application. That makes it even more convenient.
  • Since the interior corner bead requires less joint compound for its installation, the drying time is shorter. Shorter drying time means that you can get your project finished sooner. For construction crews, that can be a pretty serious godsend.
  • Some people also might argue that it’s more durable. Paper tape can easily end up being subject to mold. Plastic? Not so much. Even so, this is up for debate, because if you’re taping up drywall properly, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about the tape going bad.
  • Inside corner bead also comes specialized for the particular drywall style you’re using. Off angles, inside corners, wide corners…they each have their own specialized type of bead.
  • You can also use inside corner bead for wide or tight angles. If you have a house that has an unusually shaped room, you’ll be happy to know that there is such a thing as an adjustable corner bead. This lets you bend the beading at the exact angle that you want, from 70 degrees to around 150 degrees.

Are There Any Moments Where You Should Use Paper Tape Instead?

The interesting thing about paper tape is that it’s a lot more versatile than corner beading can be—at least in some applications. If you are looking to save money on drywall joint creation and just want to get one (or two) rolls of tape for your joints, then you might do well with paper tape.

With that said, I’ve met a fair amount of drywall contractors who got used to the “old school” way of doing things and just love using paper tape. If that’s what floats your boat, then by all means, go for it. There’s a reason why paper tape remains fairly popular among contractors, and part of it is the force of habit.

Related Questions

Do I need to wet paper tape before I put it on drywall?

Paper tape needs moisture in order to be activated, but how much moisture is the question. The best practice to use is to dampen the tape before you apply it to the corner of the joint. This will be enough to reduce the chance of bubbles popping up in your structure as it dries later on.

Can I use primer to cover up drywall paper tape?

Though it’s not always the most common fix on the market, it is possible to find paint primers that are meant to cover up and smooth out paper tape. Just grab a paintbrush, apply the primer, and carefully smooth out the lines from the tape. Once it’s dry, you’ll barely be able to see any line whatsoever.

Does drywall have to end on a stud?

Unfortunately, yes, you need to have each sheet of drywall end on a stud. If you don’t end your drywall on a stud, your walls will lose the support they need in order to maintain a minimum level of structural integrity. Studs are what support the edges of the sheetrock in any house or building.

Should I sand in between layers of drywall mud?

The best practice with drywall mud application is to sand it down between each layer, just to remove the extra nicks and grit. With that said, there’s no need to be too perfectionistic about it.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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