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How to protect baseboard and drywall corners?

Last updated on March 24th, 2021 at 07:53 pm

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The corners of your home or office space can attract damage more easily than you might think. Scuffs and dents can grow into larger cracks and chips, and before you know it, your whole home feels like it is falling apart, even if it is new construction. It may be that you do not even notice how often you or your family accidentally bumps the corners until chips of paint or drywall are falling on the floor.

Repairing damaged corners can be difficult. If there is a lot of damage, the repairs can be downright intense and expensive. If you live with kids, pets, disabled, or just clumsy family members, you may want to consider and protect baseboard and drywall corners in your home before you have to repair them.

How To Protect Baseboard Corners

How To Protect Baseboard Corners

Say you just installed a new baseboard molding and you want to keep them looking their best for as long as you possibly can. Maybe you have kids that tend to kick their way into the room, and you are worried about the scuffs and dents your outside corners seem to attract.

If you are concerned about damaging the corners of your baseboards, you may be wondering what you can do.

  • Corner guards – the most traditional product to protect the corners of your baseboards.
  • Acrylic-Alkyd hybrid paint – a relatively new and protective type of paint you can use to help maintain your corners.
  • Baseboard corner blocks – A piece of baseboard you can install instead of using the typical miter joint.

Corner Guards

Arguably the best product you can buy to protect your baseboards is corner guards. This is a trim piece, usually molded at a 90-degree sharp angle, that can absorb impact damage and protect your corners.

This paintable adhesive corner guard is made of heavy-duty vinyl and sold in 4-foot lengths, so it can easily be cut, painted, and applied to multiple jobs in your home.

Acrylic-Alkyd Hybrid Paint

Enamel paints like True Value Enamel are made to be durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and chips. Hybrid paint is water-based, but it finishes like oil-based paint; smooth and glossy.

Corner Blocks

If you are installing new baseboard trim, a corner block may be the most effective product to use to protect them. Typically made of wood to match your baseboards, this block is made to withstand everyday wear-and-tear and can add a little flair to your space as well.

How to use Corner Guards to Protect Baseboard

A corner guard is a piece of trim that is fixed over your miter joint. It can be made of many different materials, in a variety of styles, and you are sure to find one that suits your needs.

Metal

If you are going to install corner guards on your baseboards, why not choose some that enhance the unique beauty of your home? You can find decorative corner guards in brass, aluminum, or even steel.

Plastic

Some manufacturers offer corner protectors made of heavy-duty PVC or other high-impact plastic. You can find them in many colors.

They are highly durable and unlikely to dent, chip, or bend out of place, even if you accidentally run a chair into it.

Wood

If you are looking for a solution that can blend seamlessly with your existing hardwood baseboards and possibility hardwood flooring, you will likely be able to find a corner guard of wood that can be stained to fit perfectly over your miter joint.

How To Install Corner Guards

How To Install Corner Guards

Corner guards can be manufactured with a few different installation styles. They are all fairly easy for any DIYer because they fix right over the miter joint of your baseboards.

  1. Peel-and-stick – Typically found on decorative metal corner guards, though you can find them on other styles as well, these are made with an adhesive layer for the easy peel-and-stick application.
  2. Glue in place – Some materials are meant to be glued to the baseboard corner. The manufacturer will likely suggest a specific glue for the best results.
  3. Nail it on – Usually, with wood corner guards, you can drive nails into the little trim and it will remain secure for a while. It is recommended that you hammer the nail until it is flush with the wood, to reduce the risk of the nail coming loose over time.

Use Alkyd Hybrid enamel Paint to protect Baseboards

Modern painters use Alkyd Hybrid enamel paint for several different jobs throughout a home.

It is the kind of enamel that is often used on kitchen cabinets, window and door trims and the baseboards in high traffic buildings such as hotels.

Enamel Paint dries hard and smooth, durable enough to withstand most typical wear-and-tear for years, with a beautiful finish that leaves no brush strokes or roller texture.

One coat of this white gloss True Value Enamel can improve the durability of your baseboards. It dries quickly and hardens for a smooth but strong finish, and mistakes can be cleaned up with soapy water.

How To Protect Drywall Corners

There are a hundred reasons you may be interested in protecting the outside corner of raw drywall. If you just built or repaired a space, and you want to keep the outward corners protected for many years, it is important that you understand what you can do for them. Exposed drywall can be somewhat fragile. When bumped or dented, it can begin to crumble.

What is a Corner bead?

Professionals commonly rely on a product called “corner bead” to protect drywall corners.

It is a strip of trim in a 90-degree shape, like a corner guard for walls, but is typically installed up against the raw drywall. There are many types of corner bead, each with its own benefits to your project.

Metal

The most traditional material for corner beads is galvanized metal. It is among the easiest to install, and it is recommended for beginners.

Vinyl

Essentially a plastic version of the metal corner bead, it can withstand slightly more damage than its metal counterpart. If you are looking to finish an archway, the corner bead you want will likely be made of vinyl because of its flexibility.

Paper-faced

Many installers today are shouting the praises of paper-faced trim for drywall corners. It is a metal corner bead with tape paper adhered to the outer side and does not require nails to install.

How to Install Corner Bead

Whether building new or repairing old drywall corners, if you like to do-it-yourself, you will probably want to install a corner bead before finishing your project. Truly, your drywall project is not finished without it. Thankfully, anyone can learn to install a corner bead.

This vinyl corner shield is clear, comes in packs of 5, and the fasteners are included.

What You Will Need

For installing corner beads this few things are needed:

  • Snips
  • Corner bead
  • Drywall nails
  • 6-inch and
  • 10-inch drywall knife
  • Joint Compound

Step One – Confirm Your Corner

Make sure the drywall is secured to the studs, and the corners are mostly even at the joint where they meet. The lengths do not need to form a perfect corner, as that is one purpose of the corner bead, but if one extends well past the other, you could end up with a gap problem.

Step Two – Nail It In Place

Use the snips to cut the corner bead to your length. You want to leave a ½ gap between the corner bead and the floor. This will be concealed by baseboards later. Carefully press on the corner bead to flatten the wings against the drywall.

TIP: Be sure not to press it too tightly, and if you are using metal, try not to let it twist. Screw a few nails into the pre-drilled nail holes near the top and the bottom, to secure its position. You can drive more nails through the trim, roughly 8 inches apart.

Step Three – Apply the Compound

Smooth the first coat of joint compound over the corner bead, the drywall, and the seam that was created between them. Keep it thick enough to conceal the corner bead, but thin enough that it will not be noticeable once painted over.

Also, if you apply it too thickly, you will risk cracking. Use the 10-inch knife to apply the second coat of compound, to further taper the corner against the drywall.

A third coat can be applied with a 12-inch knife to “feather” the compound to the wall, enhancing the effect.

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