In Chula Vista, Calif., where multifamily developments are being constructed at blazing fast speeds, drywall crews like Southern California Interiors, Inc., can’t afford to slow down. The crew — who worked on two buildings at The Avalyn, a 480-unit luxury apartment complex within a 210-acre master-planned community called Millenia — was growing frustrated by frequent jobsite damage to many of their finished drywall corners.
As other crews are always moving in and out of a multifamily construction project like this with heavy equipment — not to mention the daily wear-and-tear that will eventually happen, when tenants start to move in their furniture — damage to finished drywall corners is a constant concern. Bumps, scrapes and other day-to-day impacts on metal corner beads would require the drywall finishers at Southern California Interiors to return to the scene of the crime, rip out the bead and replace it.
Alternatively, with much of the damage taking place on the lower few feet of the corners, they could try to just cut out the banged-up portion of the bead and only replace that section. This would reduce the cost of materials, but you'd be playing a losing game — the resulting corner would usually be anything but perfectly straight.
With these return trips eating into their profits, the taping superintendent at Southern California Interiors, Raul Medina, learned about the resiliency of Trim-Tex’s Fast Edge® Paper and instantly saw the value it could bring to their business. Medina brought this innovative corner bead to the attention of the crew’s leadership, and after a successful early implementation of the solution at an assisted-living development, the new approach to high-traffic corners was ready for the big leagues: multifamily construction.
“I know on the Fast Edge Paper,” says Southern California Interiors President/CEO Jesse Rodriguez, “once we tried it out on the assisted living we did in Fallbrook, [Medina] says, ‘Jesse, this is the way I want to go with it.’ Then, he was able to explain to me why: every time we come back, there's always somebody that bumps the corner bead anywhere under four feet, and then we have to go back and try to replace it. It never comes out right because it's an eight-foot or a 10-foot stick — now you're cutting it down to two feet, or one foot, and it's never going to be straight. He says, ‘Listen, if we go with the Fast Edge Paper, even if they ding it, it's strong enough to where it holds up to multiple beatings.’ I said, ‘Good enough for me!’”
This ability to withstand “multiple beatings” made the bead the perfect choice for areas receiving the most punishment most often. So, armed with a roller tool specifically engineered to evenly apply pressure to the bead (pictured above), Fast Edge Paper was installed on all hallway corners in the common areas between units, as well as any knee walls within units, for all 138 units between the two buildings the crew was responsible for. On the knee walls, mud was bladed directly onto the corners and the bead applied directly after, with the finisher using his knife to wipe down excess compound.
For the hallways, with a lot of ground to cover, two young drywall finishers (Fernando and Eric, pictured throughout) were assigned to tag-team the corners for increased speed. The two-man team ran each bead through a Pro Series 4-in-1 Hopper. (The hopper was affixed to a rolling scaffold, rather than the stand sold alongside the hopper, for increased height and mobility, as the pair moved quickly down the hallway.) Eric would then apply the bead to the corner, and Fernando would wipe down excess mud and apply an immediate fill coat. Once that coat was dry, the team would return to apply the finish coat of mud to the bead; with Fast Edge Paper, these two coats are all it typically requires.
The bead consists of laminated paper over a sturdy, yet flexible, vinyl core. Attached to this vinyl core are Trim-Tex’s patented mud locks, which grip into the joint compound for an unmatched bonding element. Combine that with the added bond of the paper to the drywall, and the result is a corner that can withstand much more impact with much less damage to its sharp nose or its bond to the corner.
Additionally, the flexibility of the bead makes it an ideal fit for the fast pace of commercial construction. Commercial drywall finishers experience a common problem just about every day — the framing and/or the drywall often isn’t hung perfectly straight. In multifamily projects like The Avalyn, where the time it takes to achieve perfection is a rare resource, this happens more often than not. A highly flexible bead like Fast Edge Paper, with its adjustable hinge design, allows finishers to adjust to variances in the framing, forming crisp, straight corners even when the underlying drywall work may be less-than-perfect.
And the Fast Edge family of corner beads didn’t get their name for nothing — the paper-covered corner bead promises to install faster than any other corner bead while using the least amount of mud. While, of course, these labor and material savings were appealing to any drywall crew that moves as fast as Southern California Interiors, it was primarily the bead’s durability and resiliency that sold them on the solution.
“Working in common high-traffic areas, you find our stuff gets beat down a lot more,” says Southern California Interiors Estimator/Project Manager Anthony Anderson. “We were looking for something that’s stronger, cleaner for those areas, and that's how we came across the [Fast Edge] Paper bead, so we started using that. We just used that at a project last year, and we noticed a difference in not having to rework it and just the strength of the corners at high-traffic areas. So we transitioned to using it at Millenia as well and it's been awesome … it's definitely served what it was intended for beautifully.”
To see designs of the final look at The Avalyn, and even apply to lease one of their luxury apartments, visit their website here. For top-of-the-line finishing work in the SoCal area, look no further than Southern California Interiors; you can drop them a line at (619) 454-7958. And to get a close look at Fast Edge Paper for yourself, hit the button below to sign up to receive a free sample of this dynamic paper-covered solution.