Posts Tagged ‘joint compound’

Drywall Has Different Surfaces

February 7, 2023
Here I’m preparing to hang wallpaper on new drywall in a new addition to a 1930’s home in east Houston .
First I’ve used a damp sponge to remove all construction and sanding dust. Next I’m going to apply my primer.
It’s important to note that, even though this is wall is a new sheet of drywall, it’s not all the same surface.
We have mostly large expanses of drywall / greenrock (the type of drywall that’s used in wet areas ).
But at the joints , and covering where the screws and nails hold the drywall to the studs , we have joint compound . That’s the strips of white areas.
And next to the crown and door molding and the baseboards is overspray from the paint that was applied to the wood trim.
Here I’ve applied my light blue-tinted wallpaper primer over the top 1/3 of the wall.
It’s important to be sure that the primer you use is suited for use under wallpaper . But also that it will properly adhere to and seal all the surfaces on the wall .
My primer (below) will stick to just about anything. But this photo is interesting. Because my primer has been rolled on evenly across the wall , and cut in with a trim brush along the trim and corners . But you see that the primer is drying at different rates . On the right side of the photo, the primer is applied over the bare drywall, and it’s drying quickly. But toward the left, next to the door trim , the primer is drying more slowly. This is because there is paint overspray next to the door trim . The paint is semi-gloss enamel , and my wallpaper primer reacts with it differently from how it reacts to flat paint or drywall or other surfaces.
Not a big deal. Just be aware of the need for different dry times due to different surfaces the primer is applied to.
My preferred wallpaper primer is by Roman , called Pro 977 Ultra Prime. It’s not readily available, but you can find it on-line. All Sherwin-Williams stores can get it from the distribution center – but not all store managers know that, or are willing to do so. I get mine from Murphy Brothers Paint on Bissonnet near the Rice Village , who stocks it just for me.

Light Bright Trellis Geometric Updates Red Dining Room

January 27, 2023
For more than a decade, the dining room was bold red from head to toe. In this photo, I’m applying drywall joint compound to smooth the textured wall .
Here’s the wall sanded smooth , primed , and ready for wallpaper .
Done. The next question is – what color to paint the bottom 1/3 of the wall ? What do you think?
Using the red beam from my laser level to center the design on the wall, and directly under the decorative corbel which the wood-worker homeowner husband installed as a feature to the crown molding .
Close-up. I also balanced the pattern between the ceiling and chair rail / wainscoting .
The wallpaper design is by Candice Olson , of HGTV fame, and is made by York , a company that I like a lot. It was purchased at a discount through Dorota at the Sherwin-Williams on University in the Rice Village . Call before heading over (713) 529-6515 . The homeowner had originally chosen something else, but it was unavailable. Dorota dug through her large library of selection books and found this, which is very similar, but more open and airy . We all three agree that this is the better option.
It is a non-woven material , and can be hung via the paste-the-wall method , or the paste-the-material method – which is what I usually prefer to do. This NW stuff is durable , stain-resistant , humidity -resistant , and easy to strip off the wall when you decorate down the road.
Cute in his bandana . But not very helpful at all! 🙂
The home is in the Candlelight Plaza / Shephard Park Plaza / Oak Forest / Garden Oaks neighborhood of Houston .

Skim-Floating to Smooth a Textured Wall

January 25, 2023
Wallpaper is to go on the top 2/3 of the walls in this large dining room. But the walls are textured, and that texture will show through the new paper. Which looks pretty bad , IMO , especially since most the design is plain white background. So here I am applying a skim-coat by skim-coating / skim-floating the wall to smooth over the texture.
Close up. A lot of people use a wide broad knife or drywall taping tool . But I prefer the control I have using this trowel . There will be ridges and valleys and imperfections . But tomorrow, when the smoothing compound is dry , I will sand everything smooth . I have to say, I’m pretty darned good at smoothing walls . 🙂
I like to use the Plus 3 Joint Compound by the Sheetrock brand. It’s much easier to sand than the standard joint compound . Do NOT use the ” quick set ” version – coatings such as primer , paint , or wallpaper don’t like to adhere to this stuff . It’s made for small patches , not covering entire walls. BTW, for short, we simply call this ” mud .”
Once the walls have been sanded smooth , all the dust vacuumed up, and residual dust wiped off the walls with a damp sponge , then I will apply my favorite primer, Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime , made specifically for use under wallpaper .

Smoothing Over Holes and Bumps

October 8, 2022
The artwork and hanger have been removed, but this wall anchor remains in the drywall . It will leave a bump under the new wallpaper . I removed it from the wall. That left a hole that will leave an indention under the new paper .
Here I’ve collected a bit of joint compound (we call it mud ), a plaster -like substance that’s used for installing drywall , as well as for patching holes and smoothing textured walls (called skim-floating or skim-coating )
Here it is applied over the hole.
To speed the drying process, I use my heat gun .
Using a sanding sponge to smooth it.
Wiping dust off with a damp sponge . Important, because neither primer nor wallpaper paste will adhere to dust .
After this dried , I primed over this area and the whole wall with wallpaper primer . I like Roman Pro 977 Ultra Prime .
Now the wall is ready for wallpaper, with no worries that bumps or dips will show through .

Tape Test for Unstable Walls

September 21, 2022

There can be reasons for unstable walls, mostly cheap or poor quality paint, dust, someone applied paint over dust, improper prep, incompatible layers inside the wall built up over years (oil based paint, latex paint, dust, gloss paint, joint compound, etc.).

These can cause problems with wallpaper, mostly with the layers delaminating (coming apart), which causes the wallpaper seams to come away from the wall. Sometimes sheets of wallpaper simply fall off the wall.

This isn’t so much a problem with paint, because it just sits on the surface. But wallpaper shrinks when the paste dries, or expands and contracts with humidity, and can put tension on the seams

Before wallpaper goes up, one way to test for such unstable surfaces is the tape test . Use a razor blade to cut an “X” into the wall, scoring through the paint and maybe into a few layers beneath. Place a strip of blue painters tape over the cut. Pull the tape off the wall.

If paint comes away from the wall along with the tape, or if layers inside the wall come apart, you know you have to do a lot of specialized prep to stabilize the wall before hanging / installing the wallpaper.

This example is an interesting twist. The homeowner used a piece of tape to hold up a wallpaper sample. Then used an ink pen to write notes on it. When removed, the tape took the paint off – in the shape of the writing!

Smoothing Over A Mess

August 3, 2022
This kind homeowner had the sink / vanity in this powder room removed. This makes it a LOT easier and faster for me to to get the wallpaper up, and with less stress on the paper and fewer relief cuts .
Removing a sink that’s attached to the wall often damages the surface. Here you can see how the workman used spackle compound to cover the torn drywall and other damage.

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Close-up. This isn’t a very smooth surface, and the wallpaper will have a hard time grabbing ahold and adhering. It’s also way too porous and crumbly to support wallpaper.
In the top photo, you see where I have applied smoothing compound on the upper portion of the wall. I’m working my way down.
Once it’s dry, I will sand and prime it, and it will be nice and smooth.
Here’s a shot of the fresh smoothing compound, before sanding.
Some people use a drywall taping knife or a broad knife to apply the plaster-like substance. I prefer the trowel you see in the photo, because it gives me more control and precision.
The 2″ flexible putty knife is for getting into smaller areas. The 3″ stiff ” Hyde ” putty knife is for knocking off high points or bumps on the wall before applying the smoothing compound.
This process is called skim-floating or skim-coating .
I like to use the Plus 3 lightweight joint compound made by Sheetrock . We just refer to it as mud . Find it in the drywall aisle.
The Plus 3 spreads on easily enough, sands easily , and the dust falls to the floor where it can be vacuumed up easily – as opposed to getting air-borne and drifting all over the place.
This box, which is approximately one cubic foot , weights 32 pounds . Ugh. Try carrying that across a parking lot and then up to the third floor of a townhome!
I like to transfer the material to a 5-gallon bucket. This is what it looks like in the bottom of the bucket.
Easy to scoop out. When I’m finished, I use a wet hand to smooth down the surface, wipe residue off the sides of the bucket, then place a thick sheet of plastic over the surface to keep air from drying it out. Then, of course, I put the lid onto the bucket.

Finished Wall Re-Do – See Previous Post

July 26, 2022
Here’s the wall after I stripped, sealed, skim-floated, sanded, and primed it.
Finished. The birds in the pattern balanced nicely with between the ceiling line and the wainscoting.
I had more success with this install than the previous guy, due to proper prep, and also the material used this time was the user-friendly non-woven , rather than the old fashioned pulp type wallpaper the other guy had to wrestle with.
Strawberry Thief is a very popular pattern right now, and comes in many colorways. Do a Search here to see my other installations of this design.
There were some issues at the top of the wainscoting where the painters had used tape to mask off areas, long with caulk, an it left a rather large (1/8″) unpainted area between the wood molding and the wall. I filled this in with joint compound and primed it, and wallpaper would have adhered just fine. But that would have left a white gap between the wallpaper and the green molding.
I rummaged in my truck for the best matching paint I could come up with, and painted over the white edge. This would have left a bit of a thin brown line between the wallpaper and the green molding. It would have looked OK, but I had an idea to get rid of the gap altogether.
If I had used my regular thin straightedge (the red one), it would have let me trim the bottom edge of the wallpaper nice and close to the wall. But that would have left the aforementioned brown line showing.
So I used the metal plate you see at the upper right of the photo as a trim guide. It’s thicker than my red straightedge, and so gives a fat cut that leaves more wallpaper and less of that brown line.
In fact, the left edge, as you can see, is rolled, and that creates an even thicker edge to trim against, leaving even more wallpaper at the bottom of the cut. See the photo just above, to see how the wallpaper now completely covers the brown line.
These metal plates have a lot of other uses. They are made and sold by a fellow member of the Wallcovering Installers Association . She makes a lot of other cool tools, too. If you are interested, send me an email. wallpaperlady@att.net
The wallpaper design is by William Morris , a famed artist of the Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau periods . The brand is Morris & Co.
This label is EXACTLY the same as the pulp material the original installer worked with – save for that one word non-woven . Be sure you get the non-woven version, which is also called paste the wall .
The home is in the Heights neighborhood of Houston .

Wall Prep Ahead of Wall Re-Do

July 20, 2022
This wallpaper in a Houston Heights townhome’s breakfast area was hung by “the contractor’s guy ” and he ran into some problems. First, I suspect the wall had not been adequately coated with a primer designed for use under wallpaper . This may be a large part of why the paper has come loose from the wall in places, and shrunk and gaps at the seams.
The wallpaper is an old-fashioned British pulp material , which is quite different from the non-woven material that this company usually prints on. If the installer was not familiar with hanging a pulp, yes, he can have a tough time of it.
There are other issues that the homeowner is unhappy with, such as tears, slices, patches, and, of course, these un-stuck seams. I’ve posted more pics previously, if you can Search to find them.
My task is to get the paper off and then prep the wall for hanging new material.
Most of the paper pulled off the wall easily. But there were areas where the guy had used a stronger adhesive to try to hold the edges down. Those would not come off the wall without causing damage to the wall. So I pulled off the top, inked layer and left the paper backing on the wall.
This stuff is porous and will bubble when coated with a water-borne primer , and with wallpaper wet with paste.
So I sealed these areas – I sealed the entire wall, in fact – with Gardz (by Zinsser ). This stuff is pretty incredible. It’s a thin, watery primer / sealer that soaks into the surface and binds loose components together, then dries hard and solid .
Latex paints and other water-based products (usually) won’t penetrate it, so won’t cause the underlying material to re-wet, expand , and bubble .
Just a note … due to pandemic and other supply chain related shortages , Gardz has become difficult to find. This can was about 1/4 full and I had it sitting behind my trash can, intending for weeks to toss it out. Now I’m glad that I procrastinated!
Once the Gardz sealer was dry, I skim-floated over it with joint compound , a.k.a. ” mud .” In most areas of the wall, my skim coat was as thin as possible, but I did have to make it much thicker over the areas with the paper backing stuck to the wall.
I set up three fans , and also used my heat gun , to get the smoothing compound to dry. I like the Plus 3 version made by the Sheetrock company. It sands easily and doesn’t make too much air-borne dust.
It took a couple of hours to dry. Then I sanded it smooth , vacuumed up the dust with my Shop Vac , used a damp sponge to get residual dust off the wall , and then let the wall dry once again.
Finally I applied a coat of my favorite wallpaper primer, Pro 977 Ultra Prime by Roman. I used a paint roller to roll it on to the main areas, and an angled trim brush to cut in around the ceiling and moldings.
Here is the wall all smoothed and primed .
Originally I had planned to strip , prep , and hang this half-wall all in one day. But ended up the prep took more time than I anticipated (about 8 hours ) , so we’ll let the primer dry overnight and save the wallpaper installation for another day.
The wallpaper pattern is called Strawberry Thief and is by the famous William Morris designer from the very early 1900’s . I’m sure seeing a surge in interest in his patterns, particularly this one. Do a Search to see other jobs I’ve done with it.

For All You Dreamers Who Think That Liner Will Smooth Texture Walls … NOT!

June 23, 2022
Some people have spent too much time on YouTube or DIY websites. There is a misconception that liner paper will smooth out textured walls.
Nope, sorry, it ain’t happenin.’
The special type of paper called liner is used under some wallpaper s, and serves certain functions. Smoothing walls is not one of them.
If you’re planning to hang wallpaper over textured walls, liner paper cannot be used as a replacement for skim-floating , sanding , priming , and properly prepping the walls .
As you can see in the photo, liner paper shrinks as the paste dries, and pulls tight against the wall. This means that little imperfections will show through.
In the photo above, a towel bar had been removed, and the support bracket had been stuck / recessed into the wall paint , so the indentation and ridges from the bracket were still evident on the wall.
Covering them with a wallpaper liner helped mitigate them a bit … but, as you can see, the raised outline of the mounting bracket is still visible.
The issue is that this raised area, covered with liner or not, will still ” telegraph ” through the new wallpaper, creating a noticeable and unpleasing look.
To properly smooth a textured wall before hanging wallpaper, the surface must be skim-floated with joint compound (also referred to as mud ), sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, and then primed. Now the wall should be smooth enough to provide a good surface for the new wallpaper.

White Grout Can Be Distracting

June 7, 2022
The mortar along the top of this marble tile baseboard was light colored, and I didn’t think it would look good between the black tile and the mostly-dark wallpaper.
In addition, I hate trimming wallpaper against grout, because the gritty texture makes it hard to get a neat cut. And that sandy grout sure eats up my razor blades!
So I applied a thin layer of joint compound over the grout, sanded it smooth, and then sealed with a penetrating primer called Gardz. This gave me a softer surface to trim against. But I was still left with a white edge. That’s what you see in the top photo.
So next I used an angled artist’s brush and some black craft paint from Texas Art Supply hobby store to change the white line to black.
Here’s what it looks like finished.