Posts Tagged ‘floating’

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.

Wall “Floats” Above Baseboard in Contemporary Home

September 17, 2017

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Some new, contemporary-style homes have this design element, where there is a 1/2″ gap between the wall and the baseboard.  It makes it look as if the wall is floating.

As long as that gap is deep enough, it’s relatively easy to trim the wallpaper at the bottom, and it should stick tightly.

This geometric wallpaper pattern is by Hemisphere, and was bought at below retail price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. She is great at helping you find just the perfect paper! Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

 

Smoothing a Textured Wall

November 3, 2015
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The wall texture you see by the light switch is pretty typical of new homes in the Katy suburb of Houston, and actually a little lighter than many builders use. These bumps would show under the new wallpaper, and also cause potential problems with adhesion at the seams, so I had to smooth the surface. To do that, I trowel on joint compound, which we just call “mud,” and which is something like plaster. The process is called “floating,” or “skim coating.”

It takes a while to dry, which can be sped up by using fans, and also by having the air conditioning or heat, plus the house fan, cranked up in the house to pull humidity from the air. Sometimes it needs overnight to dry completely. A heat gun is the final encouragement for stubborn spots. In the second photo, the mud has been applied and dried, and is waiting to be sanded.

The dust from sanding is like fine flour, and drifts onto everything, so it’s important to take steps to keep it off the homeowner’s furnishings – and out of the smoke detector!

I use an abrasive flexible sponge (not shown) to do the sanding by hand, and it goes pretty quickly. Once the sanding is done, the walls (and floor!) need to be vacuumed, and then the walls get wiped down with a damp sponge, to remove any remaining dust. This is a crucial step, because anything (wallpaper, paint, decals) applied over a dusty wall will delaminate and fall right off.

Once the walls are dry again, a primer is applied. When I have newly floated walls, which are porous, I like to prime with Gardz, a thin sealer that soaks into the surface and dries hard and intact. Gardz dries clear, which is why, in the fifth photo, the wall is smooth but you still see some of the paint from the wall underneath.

The last shot shows the pretty new wallpaper, free of bumps or distractions, and with a solid surface to cling to.

This wallpaper is called “Watercolor Peony” and is by Anthropologie.

Keeping Dust Out of the Client’s Home

August 31, 2015
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I do a lot of floating walls (smoothing textured walls, so the bumps don’t show through the surface of the wallpaper). This entails sanding, and sanding always means dust.

In a powder room, not a biggie – I just close the door, sand, and then vacuum up the dust. But in open areas, dust can float all over the room. To contain the dust, I put up a curtain of painter’s plastic. It works great, and homeowners stay happy.

Whoops – Somebody Got Too Close to the Wall!

April 12, 2015

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Quinn was quite friendly and playful, and I enjoyed his company today. However… his eagerness to show his affection by rubbing on everything rewarded him with a messy coat, when he rubbed against the wall I was floating with joint compound to smooth out the textured surface. Don’t worry – it won’t hurt him, and it will come out easily with a gentle brushing.

Soft-Toned Damask on a Tall Bedroom Accent Wall

March 22, 2015

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I don’t get many opportunities to pull out my 16′ extension ladder, but this week I did … the ceilings in this master bedroom were 12′ high! – just a few inches further than I could reach using my 6′ ladder. The first two photos were taken yesterday, as I was “floating” or “skim coating” the wall, to smooth it so the texture would not show through the wallpaper. The whiter areas you see have the plaster-like substance applied, as I work my way from top to bottom, from left to right.

Because of the dark paint on the other walls, I stopped the white “mud” just a hair away from the corner. In the second photo, that is my floating trowel hanging from the brace of the ladder. I floated the wall yesterday, and let it dry overnight. Today I sanded, vacuumed, wiped dust off the wall with a damp sponge, primed, and then finally hung the wallpaper.

I started in the middle (third photo), so I could center the damask motif on the wall, which will look nice once the homeowners get their bed and headboard back in place. The plastic is on my ladder to keep wallpaper paste from slopping all over it. I don’t have to do this with a normal step ladder, but extension ladders require a different angle of approach, and I couldn’t avoid having the pasted paper unbook and flop against my ladder. Yuck.

Fourth photo just shows some of the mechanics of how all this happens. The next pics are shots of the pattern; really pretty, soft, and nicely suited for a bedroom. They wanted a light color on the wallpaper, as it would contrast nicely with their brand new, very dark hardwood floors.

This wallpaper pattern is by Etten (by Seabrook), and is printed on the newish non-woven substrate, which is designed to peel off the wall easily and in one piece, when it’s time to redecorate. Note that, since these papers are generally thick and somewhat puffy, you often see the seams just a little (last two photos).

The room was a master bedroom in a fairly new home, and the location was Pearland, a suburb of Houston, Texas.