Posts Tagged ‘shop vac’

Smoothing Textured Walls = Sanding Dust

May 19, 2021

This master bedroom had textured walls that needed to be smoothed before the wallpaper could go up. (Texture looks bad under the new wallpaper, plus it interferes with good adhesion.)

I “skim-floated” the walls with drywall joint compound (what we call “mud”). This is akin to troweling on plaster.

Once that was dry, I sanded the walls smooth. In the first photo, you see the amount of dust that is created!

In the second photo are my “sanding sponges.” Some are coarse, some are fine, and one is angled, all with specific uses. These became available maybe 25 years ago, and are a huge improvement over the sandpaper-wrapped-around-a-block-of-wood that everyone used previously.

The putty knife is used to knock off big globs or high ridges, before hitting the wall with the sanding sponges.

Actually, I used to use a hand-held electric sander. That tool was fast, but it put a whole lot of dust into the air, and it traveled all over the room.

The sanding sponges are hand-operated and don’t throw dust up into the air. Also, manufacturers have made improvements to the joint compound formula which encourage the dust to sink to the floor rather than become air-borne.

You still end up with a lot of dust, though. And it does sift all over the room.

No problem. I simply bring in my Shop Vac (not pictured) and vacuum up all the dust. There’s still residual dust, so I use a damp rag to wipe dust off the floor, and a damp sponge to remove dust from the walls. (Important, because wallpaper will not adhere to a dusty wall).

Note that the photo shows an empty room. In rooms that have furniture, I cover it with painter’s plastic. And in most situations, which are usually one accent wall, I put up a sheet of plastic along the wall, draped from ceiling to floor, which contains dust to the 3′ along the wall, and prevents dust from getting to the rest of the room.

I also want to note that I am a big proponent of drop cloths. The reason you don’t see them in this scenario is because you can’t vacuum dust off a dropcloth, because the dropcloth gets sucked up into the vacuum nozzel. Much easier to vacuum dust up off a solid floor, and then wipe up any residue.

I also want to note that all my ladders wear “booties” / baby socks on the feet, to cushion the client’s floors and protect against scratches.

If You Want Smooth Walls, You’ve Gotta Put Up With a Little Dust

July 7, 2018


The walls in this house had a pretty heavy texture, which I wanted to smooth before hanging their wallpaper. This involves skim floating the walls with joint compound (commonly referred to as mud). Do a search on those terms here to learn more about this process.

Once the mud is dry, I sand it smooth. This makes a dust – and the thicker the wall texture, the more the dust. Here you see what has accumulated on the floor after sanding.

Don’t worry – I bring in my Shop Vac and clean all the dust up.

Shop Vac Can’t Bother to Include Customary Attachments With Its Vacuum

August 4, 2016

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Look at the large number 5 on the left, next to the picture of a nozzle attachment for this brand new, $50 Shop Vac. Next to the “5” it says: “pc.” which to me clearly means that there are FIVE pieces of nozzle attachments in the box. Not so. All they gave me for my $50 was ONE attachment.

So at work today, I had no brush attachment and no crevice tool, both vital to my clean up. So after work I had to go to Lowe’s and shell out an additional $20 to buy the attachments separately. 😦

Other manufacturers include the basic attachments. In addition to gypping me out of the parts, the printing on the Shop Vac brand box is impossible to decipher. Do you know what any of those numbers mean? I don’t.

How the Heck Do You Remove this Light Fixture?!

August 25, 2013

Digital ImageWallpaper looks better and resists peeling when it goes behind towel bars, switch plates, and light fixtures. So I remove these things before starting a job.

I have never seen a light fixture attached this way until this year – and this year I’ve encountered two!

When a light fixture is attached to the wall by the nipple (threaded rod visible in the photo), usually you remove a cap on the front of the fixture and the thing comes down.

But on this one, the nipple is attached to the fixture. Turning the fixture would unscrew it from the rod, but you can’t turn a light fixture, first because it’s big and unwieldy and might hit the ceiling, and second because the wires in the electrical box would get all twisted up. I couldn’t undo the wires because they’re tucked back behind the bracket in the box. And I couldn’t remove the bracket because the light fixture blocks it so a screwdriver won’t fit in there.

I posted the picture to the Facebook page of the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP) and got various answers. One guy said they make bent screwdrivers to get into tight areas like this.

Another said that undoing the bolts that hold the nipple in place could work. But how to get my fingers back behind there?

Another said that fixtures like this can be removed by one person, but are put up by two people.

Well, it was just lil’ ol’ me, I couldn’t figure it out, so I just left it in place and cut around it. Luckily the pattern was busy and forgiving. Looked great.

Oh, and THEN I could not find the screw that holds the decorative plate to the rod. Looked EVERYWHERE – and finally went out to the van and found it in the bottom of my Shop Vac