Posts Tagged ‘fans’

Getting Smoothing Compound To Dry

June 13, 2019


The walls in this powder room were textured. (see top photo) To ensure that the new wallpaper looks good, and that it has a solid surface to cling to, the walls need to be smoothed. This is called floating, or skim coating, and I do a lot of it here in Houston. To do that, I trowel on a plaster-like substance, let it dry, then sand it, vacuum up the dust, wipe residual dust off the walls with a damp sponge, and then prime.

What takes the most time is waiting for the smoothing compound (drywall joint compound, which we also call “mud”) to dry. If the texture is heavy, often it has to dry overnight. The downside of this is that it adds an extra day of labor and expense. But when the texture is lighter, the drying can be speeded along.

In the second photo, you see some of the ways I get mud to dry more quickly. On the counter* you see two box fans, and on the floor is a much stronger fan. On the counter is also a space heater. Hot air in the room absorbs moisture, sucking it out of the wet smoothing compound. I let the room heat up, and then I have to open the door and let the moist air out – over and over again.

The yellow objet on the floor is a heat gun. A heat gun acts like a hair dryer on steroids, and can get small stubborn areas to dry pretty quickly.

A few other things help speed drying … Walls coated with flat paint will dry more quickly than with glossy paint. And having the air conditioning and / or heat cranking away will help, because, while regulating the temperature, these climate-control systems also pull humidity out of the air. I also like to turn the HVAC system’s fan from “Auto” to “On,” so that air is circulating continuously, which also pulls humidity out of the air and helps the walls to dry.

*I normally keep a dropcloth on the vanity counter. But the vibrating fans can cause the dropcloths to slip, and you don’t want anything crashing down on the homeowner’s countertop. I do have lengths of self-grip shelf liner that help keep the fans from moving around too much.

Fans on a TV Room Wall

May 4, 2019


This pattern reminds me of the marques and fanfare around movie theaters in the Art Deco period of the 1930’s. So it’s fitting to use in a large living room / TV room in this townhouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston.

Since the area where the pattern hits the edges of the paper is dark, and the paper is printed on a white substrate, I used dark chalk pastels to color the edges, to prevent white from showing at the seams.

The paper is by A Street Prints, and is a non-woven material, and I hung it using the paste-the-wall method.

The homeowners have a lot of artwork in the form of colorful glass plates and other pieces, and this pattern will be a fabulous backdrop.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry

September 11, 2018


Textured walls have to be smoothed before the new wallpaper can go up.

Getting smoothing compound (drywall joint compound) to dry takes – dry air, moving air, air-conditioned air, heat …. and a lot of time. Today’s job had particularly thick textured walls, which would take a long time to dry.

So I hastened things up with a few accessories. Here you see one box fan on the floor aimed at a wall, another box fan on the ladder aimed higher on a wall, a very strong black floor fan shooting dry air into the room, and a space heater under the sink cranked to “high.”

When I shut the door, the warmth from the space heater collects in the air, and pulls moisture out of the smoothing compound. Then I will open the door and let the floor fan pull dry air-conditioned air from the hallway into the room, pushing the hot, humid air out.

Done enough times over a long period of time, you can get smoothing compound to dry more quickly than it would on its own.

Smoothing Sandy Textured Wall

September 11, 2018


Walls in the under-the-stairs powder room of this 1945 home in River Oaks (Houston) were covered with a sand-textured paint. The bumps would look awful under the new wallpaper, and would also interfere with good adhesion. So I needed to smooth the walls.

I troweled on drywall joint compound. Because the sand texture was so thick, the smoothing compound needed fans blowing on it overnight to become completely dry.

Once dry, I sanded it smooth. See second photo. Wiped clean of dust and primed, the walls are now ready for wallpaper.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry – Fast

August 23, 2017

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Many homes here in Houston have textured walls.  The texture will show through wallpaper and look bad, and it also prevents good adherence to the wall (because the paper wants to stick to a smooth, flat surface, not to the tops of bumps on the wall).  So I smooth the wall by troweling on a smoothing compound (drywall joint compound), which is similar to plaster.

Once it’s dry, it can be sanded smooth, then sealed and primed, and then it’s ready for wallpaper.

The trick is getting the compound to dry as quickly as possible.  Here I have three fans blowing full force on the wall.  These really speed things up.

Helpful, too, is having a ceiling fan.  And very important is having the air conditioning cranked down cold, and the house fan set from “Auto” to “On,” meaning that it will be constantly circulating that dry, air-conditioned air through the room.  It’s pulling moisture out of the wall and pulling humidity out of the air, and helping the wall to dry.

Stubborn spots can be hit with the heat gun.

Getting High Spaces to Dry

May 21, 2016

Digital Image

Digital Image


Today, I am smoothing a textured wall, so it will be ready to receive wallpaper tomorrow. The thing is, this wall is very high – 14′ or so – and so access requires an 8′ stepladder and a 16′ extension ladder.

In this photo, I have troweled on the smoothing compound, and now am waiting for it to dry before I can sand it smooth. It helps to have fans blowing on the smoothing compound, so this is what you see in the photo.

The thing is, because the walls are so high, I’ve had to place the fans up on top of the kitchen cabinets, so they can direct their moving air onto the walls that need to be dried.

All this is more complicated than it sounds, because I have to climb up the wobbly extension ladder, making sure it does not touch / rub against the top of the cabinets, and hold on with one hand while my other hand carries the smoothing compound, or, as in the photos, the (heavy and unwieldy) fans up the ladder. The fans have to be placed on top of the cabinets (previously measured to be sure they had enough space to fit), and velocity adjusted, to be sure they would not vibrate too much or topple off the cabinets.

All this to get the smoothing compound to dry.

This is just one step among many in getting this wall prepped and ready for wallpaper.
Sanding, vacuuming, wiping, and then priming the walls with a very watery, drippy sealer were other challenges to the prep of this wall.

The clients are out of town, and have provided me with a key. I love this, because I can work in total quiet and solitude, and can concentrate on my footing and balance and weight distribution and etc.

The wallpaper will go up tomorrow, so watch for more photos then.

Apologies for the dark photo.