A tray ceiling can add style to a room, but the prep, framing, and finishing can be complicated and costly. With vinyl EZ-Tray angled corner bead (800/874-2333, trim-tex.com), however, drywall contractor Myron Ferguson quickly and inexpensively converted this flat ceiling to one with eye-catching detail (1). At a soffit depth of 2 inches, the change in plane is modest but effective, making the system a good choice for rooms of average ceiling height.

The installation begins with 2x2 furring strips screwed through the drywall into the framing, outlining the soffit areas (2). Intermittent blocking provides added support for the soffit drywall. The job shown here is new construction, but the method would be no different in a remodeling situation. In fact, the border areas can conceal new wiring runs for retrofit lighting fixtures.

Ferguson applies 1/2-inch drywall over the furring (3) and then trims it flush with a zip tool (4). Cleaning up raggedness and dangling paper with a rasp provides a crisp edge (5). A block of 2x4 added on the fly (6) backs up random butt joints, preventing movement and cracking (7) and allowing infill pieces to be quickly fitted without reference to a framing layout (8).

Once the drywall is installed, the exposed edge of the furring is covered with the 3-inch-wide EZ-Tray corner bead (9). Ferguson covers the long runs first, butting square-cut ends into the corners (10). Next — although the instructions don’t include this step — he applies adhesive caulk behind the top of the bead to help position and hold it against the ceiling drywall. The vinyl bead cuts easily with snips or a utility knife, and overlapping “mitered” corners are simple to make with a proprietary angle marker. Using spray adhesive, he then sticks the narrow installation flange to the drywall, staples it at 10-inch intervals, and covers it with compound (11). The angled face serves as a finished surface and requires no compound.

After taping, finishing, and priming the drywall, Ferguson uses acrylic caulk to blend the miters and integrate the top edge into the ceiling. The caulk readily takes texture and paint and gets finished with the ceiling for a seamless appearance. He prices the average soffit at about $10 per linear foot, based on the room’s perimeter dimensions.