Cornerbead Conundrum

May 2007

We used to have trouble with corner bead, but we found a good brand and now we have no more problems. Here’s our current problem: Our contract includes a one-year drywall touch-up service, and we recently got a Purchase Order request to use only the corner bead that has given us problems, without incurring any price change to the contract. We’ve had a good, long relationship with the builder, but things there have changed and now no one is willing to listen to our experience. What do we do?

Give them the option of a one-year warranty with what they want, or two years with what you recommend.
—Mark Cline, President, Plaster, Inc., Garland, TX

It depends on what problems you are having with the cornerbead. Is it cracking? Are you using screws, nails or are you crimping if it’s the regular metal cornerbead? If you are using the regular metal cornerbead with the 1 1/4" flange on both sides, crimp it on, and you won’t have any problems with cracking. If you are using the white plaster bead with 2" flange on both sides, use screws in it along with spray gluing it; if you are using no coat bead, make sure you have enough mud behind it to stick. Hope this helps.
—Dave Mertz, Owner, Drywall, Plaster and Other Interiors, Quarryville, PA

If you are going to allow you client to tell you what materials to use, you deserve to have problems! Of course I’m kidding. I’m really trying to understand your problem. The only time I’ve ever had trouble with corner bead of any type is if it is installed improperly. Metal corner beads for example. A lot of residential contractors only clinch and mud. If you want to clinch metal beads, that’s fine, but then run some mesh tape over them before mud application. Since mesh tape I haven’t had a problem.
—Mike Kellogg, Owner, Executive Construction, LLC, Oak Grove, MO

Sign a release.
—James Calahan, Manager, Calahan Drywall & Acoustics, Cleburne, TX

This type of problem can be headed off at the time of submitting your proposal in your bid clarifications. But in this case there are four options. The first option is to do a submittal with the preferred product and point out its merits and offer an extended warranty and hope that they do a change. The second option is to strike all warranty terms for the cornerbead in the contract and see if they accept it. The third option is to try to use the preferred product anyway at no additional cost to the Builder. The last is to use the specified product and accept the terms of the contract and hope for no failures during the warranty term.
—Jonathan Diepstra, Estimator, The Bouma Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI

With a written letter stating that you acknowledge the long-standing relationship with the contractor; however, if he insists on this product, you can no longer warranty the work in regard to the corner problems. "If you still wish to proceed with this limitation to our warranty, please advise us, or we would be happy to suggest an alternative that carries our full warranty.”

Say this: "We furnished and installed your specified product. The work was completed as specified. Substandard materials were specified, and we are only as good as the materials specified. Therefore, no warranty exists. We recommend you contact the manufacturer for the solution to your problems.”
—Clay Goodwin, President, Chesapeake Waterproofing, Baltimore, MD

The idea in this situation is to manage your risk while keeping your customer satisfied. I would offer to do the touch-up with the material you are comfortable with and your warranty. If your customer insists on using another material I would agree to use the material with no labor warranty. If ... the material fails, your customer is on the hook for new material and the labor to install it. It is only fair that you transfer the risk to your customer if they insist on calling the shots. It also depends on how much more the inferior product is. Or does it cost less?
—Tom Burk, Phoenix Coatings, Inc., Madera, CA

Supply evidence to support your position, and supply your experience to someone in authority that is technically astute.

We provide similar warranties on both our drywall and painting. But we only warranty our work if we choose the brand of materials and the method of application. When your integrity is on the line, no contractor or prospective client is worth that risk.
—Ken Heath, Heath Painting & Drywall, Davis, OK