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Vinyl extrusion ends a decades old interior finishing frustration—deflection cracks

Deflection Bead gives contractors and specifiers a finishing solution for a highly visible area that must also frequently meet fire-safety codes as well as offer building movement protection.

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September 06, 2019 |

It is a problem that has plagued builders and architects since the inception of concrete decks and continues to grow as we build higher and higher—cracks caused by deflection. After witnessing drywall cracks in luxury condo units in downtown Chicago, a small team of manufacturing engineers set out to create a solution. Unsightly drywall cracks, gaps and ill-fitting corner beads caused from pressure due to building deflection inundated these beautiful luxury condos. After speaking with members of the architectural community it was confirmed, this was a problem.

Deflection commonly occurs in multi-story buildings with concrete floors/decks. Deflection is the degree of movement a structure experiences under a load. This movement causes unsightly cracks in the drywall along the inside corners where the wall meets the ceiling (head of wall detail). Over time, deflection causes visual concerns, additional maintenance costs and can lead to structural problems.

Traditionally, caulk is used to fill the gap at the head of wall detail, however this is a temporary solution. Over time the caulk discolors, cracks, and gaps form as the caulk does not have enough elasticity to compensate for building deflection movement. Instead of accepting the ugly consequences of deflection, in 2016, Trim-Tex, a manufacturer of vinyl extrusions, developed Wall Mounted Deflection Bead.  

In addition to solving deflection movement, the vinyl extrusion is manufactured from a proprietary blend of material that is comprised of at least 70% recycled material, which helps keep 20 million pounds of vinyl out of landfills every year. In Unlike metal drywall finishing products, vinyl products are resilient against denting or rust, which reduces jobsite waste and building maintenance costs, both of concern for those in the building industry. Being manufactured from vinyl also eliminate the chance of mold growth, a problem with paper faced products, making vinyl ideal for maintaining hygienic environments.


University residence halls, multi-family luxury apartments, and the newest hotels specify Deflection Bead to eliminate head of wall cracking.


After the successful adoption of Wall Mounted Deflection Bead, contractors and builders asked for a product they could use for walls requiring backing material, and Flat Deflection Bead was born. Flat Deflection Bead is a slim flexible fin that provides a solution to prevent inside corner cracking at the head of wall where extra space is needed to accommodate backing material. Flat Deflection Bead maintains a clean finished edge along concrete decks expanding and compressing with building deflection of up to 1/2" of movement. The vinyl material of Flat Deflection Bead will not degrade (crack or discolor) over the life span of the building.

As our cities grow denser, multi-family structures rise up. Deflection Bead gives contractors and specifiers a finishing solution for a highly visible area that must also frequently meet fire-safety codes as well as offer building movement protection. This lead to further expansion of the line of deflection beads with the introduction of Fire Bead, a fire-rated deflection bead. As an all-around solution that considers the entire lifecycle of a building from construction installation, protection of flawless interior finishes, and the long term maintenance cost for owners building deflection has met it’s match.

To view photos of deflection cracks and additional Deflection Bead case studies visit Trim-Tex.

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