How To Cut And Fix Plaster Beads

When plastering, you always want to get a perfectly smooth finish and that means on the corners and around windows as well as on the flat. But walls have a habit of not being totally straight, which is where the plaster bead comes in.

These plastering kit essentials are straightforward to use and, if prepped and used correctly, will give you a sharp, smooth finish on even the trickiest of corners. We take a look at keeping your plastering sharp with our ‘how to cut and fix plaster beads’ guide. 

What are plaster beads?

Plaster beads are made out of galvanised metal and are mesh-like strips that affix to wall corners to give plaster something to grip onto and so create a smooth edge finish. You can get internal and external plaster beads as well as beads that work with window reveals.

Plaster beads come in a selection of lengths and widths, with a slimline angle bead the easiest way to finish off an internal corner and which can be cut to the required length for your plastering job.

What you’ll need

Before you start working with your plaster bead, there’s some equipment you will need to accurately cut to length:

  • Tape measure
  • Hacksaw or tin snips – these are heavy-duty cutters which have been designed for snipping tin and metal

Step 1: Get your measurements

Getting your measurements right are key to a good finish. And it shouldn’t be difficult to do. 

You need to take the full length of your wall corner but depending on the height of your skirting board, stop one inch from the ground. You shouldn’t plaster right to the floor in case of any water damage so leaving a gap is essential. 

Step 2: Cut the bead

Now you know the correct length of your plaster bead, it needs to be trimmed back to fit. Mark the length to cut on the bead and using a hacksaw or tin snips, cut the line. A top tip is to cut from either side, towards the inner angle but leave the bent centre intact. Then gently bend the bead until the centre line breaks to leave a clean cut. Just be careful not to run your fingers over the cut end as it can be sharp. 

Step 3: Prep the wall

You will need bonding plaster to help set the bead in place. Bonding plaster is a rough plaster mix so that it spreads thicker on to the wall. Using your trowel, apply the bonding plaster to the external wall edges, making sure it is an even layer from top to bottom.

Step 4: Fixing your plaster bead

Take hold of your bead and fit to the corner on top of the wet bonding plaster, tapping it with your trowel handle until it is evenly fixed and stable. Take a vertical level and check is it even across the full length, tapping out any areas you need to adjust.

Step 4: Leave to dry

Using your trowel edge, carefully scrape away any excess plaster from both side edges of the bead then run your finger and thumb down the full length to create a smooth finish. Repeat with all the other beads in the room and leave fully to dry. Any small surface roughness can then be scraped or sanded back, ready for a final full wall skim. 

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