Dramatic upgrades to old and new construction can be created by drywallers to fetch premium prices with little expense for materials.

Thanks to an increasing array of flexible vinyl bead and trim, complex architectural designs can be easily installed in virtually any room by drywallers, giving them the capability of offering to customers premium options that would have been unthinkable not long ago.

Arches and dramatic curves, for example, are today amazingly easy to design and build, and get easier as new products are introduced. Before vinyl, such curves usually required the expertise of a skilled carpenter or other craftsman to build a wood or metal infrastructure, leading to high prices to the customer.

Vinyl products have produced significant creative opportunities for enterprising drywallers, in a market niche sometimes referred to as “Drywall Art,” which is actually a phrase trademarked by Joseph Koenig, Sr., founder of Trim-Tex, an innovative manufacturer of vinyl drywall products. Koenig introduced vinyl J-Beads to the industry in 1969, and the company has been an industry leader since then.

Drywall finisher Tom Sass of Muskegon, Mich., has profited from his expertise in Drywall Art, as three local builders refer work to him regularly. “One builder gives his potential customers tours of his own home, where I have done some really nice work.” Sass explained, noting that his business is growing mainly by referrals from satisfied customers. Sass was recently named Drywaller of the Year by Trim-Tex, as he relies on Trim-Tex’s flexible archway bullnose for a great deal of his work.

Trim-Tex displayed both the creative-and profit-potential for Drywall Art during the recent INTEX tradeshow in Orlando, Fla. The centerpiece of the company’s booth was three walls of a living room featuring dramatic Drywall Art, and showing all phases of design and construction. Photographs for this article were taken of that 12-foot-wide room. They illustrate that a drywaller can offer a similar design to a customer in three different upgrades.

Joe Koenig, Jr., Trim-Tex president, said the key point about vinyl trim is that it makes “luxury affordable.” While he acknowledges there are wide variations in the cost of drywall labor, he settled on $35 an hour in calculating the cost of labor for this project. The total cost with labor and materials for the first upgrade would be about $300. The second upgrade utilizes layering techniques which consist of adding layers of drywall and finishing the edges with decorative beads and is priced at an additional $313. The third upgrade consists of a custom built-up crown created with a layer of drywall, crown, molding and chamfer bead to create a 7-inch crown detail at a cost of $372. In combination these three-levels of upgrades have a very affordable cost of $985.

Drywall Art designs range from simple to complex and take drywall to a new level that would be impossible to achieve at low cost without flexible bead and trim.