Posts Tagged ‘smoothing’

One More Reason to NOT Let Your Handyman (or Contractor) Prep the Walls

November 6, 2017

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Can you see the vertical line dead-center in this photo? That is the ridge in a swipe of wall-smoothing compound that is showing under the wallpaper.

For various reasons, the homeowners elected to have their contractor’s guys smooth the textured walls of this powder room. They didn’t do a bad job. But, well, I would have done better.

The crew did a good enough job smoothing the center areas of the walls. But when it came to corners and edges, and especially around the ceiling light fixture, they left a lot of rough areas. Rough areas mean that the wallpaper won’t have a sound, solid surface to adhere to. And they mean that these rough, irregular spots will show under the wallpaper.

In the case of what you see in the photo above, they must have forgotten to sand the smoothing compound, because the ridge between swipes of their trowel is still there. Depending on how the light hits it, it is not – or is – visible.

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Smoothing a Textured Wall

June 16, 2017

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The bumps on textured walls (see top photo) will show under wallpaper and look horrible, and the texture also impedes good adhesion. So I “skim-coat” the walls with joint compound (“mud”), which is much like plaster, let dry, and then sand smooth (see middle photo).

The walls need to be sealed before wallpaper can go up, and for this, I like Gardz, a penetrating sealer that soaks into the surface, binds everything together, and dries hard. It’s also a wonderful primer to hanging wallpaper on.

Getting Smoothing Compound to Dry Quickly

August 30, 2016

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Here in Houston, many homes have textured walls. Texture prevents good adhesion of the wallpaper, and it looks, well, it looks cheesy under the wallpaper. So I do a lot of what we call “skim floating,” to smooth the wall. This involves skimming the wall with a plaster-like substance (joint compound, also referred to as “mud”).

Nothing can progress until that mud is dry. It will dry overnight, but then the homeowner would have to pay for a second day of labor. So I try to speed the process so that everything can be done in one day. Here you see my two box fans and one heavy duty fan, all aimed at this one short accent wall. The texture was heavy, and so it took a longer than usual time for the joint compound to dry.

Turning the air conditioner down (or the heat up) and having the house fan set to “on” also helps to circulate dry air through the room and pull moisture out of the wall. In a small room like a powder room, I use a space heater and close the door to keep in the heat. I also have a heat gun that can be used to spot dry stubborn areas.

Note that the black fan and the heaters all pull a lot of power, so they cannot be used at the same time or they might trip the circuit breaker. So it becomes a juggling match of turning something on and off, moving the fans to different positions, opening the door to let hot humid air out, etc.

Once the smoothing compound is dry, I sand it, then vacuum up the dust, then wipe residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, rinsing it frequently. Then the wall has to dry again briefly, and then the primer gets rolled on. That needs to dry for about an hour, and then the wall is finally ready for wallpaper.

Gorgeous Gold & Aqua Grasscloth

January 24, 2016
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When I originally met with this young family, for their dining room, they were looking at a very finely textured, pale aqua grasscloth from a company I’m not familiar with. I told them I thought the texture and color were both too diminutive, and from a distance, the walls would not look like much of anything. I also hesitate with unfamiliar companies, worrying if their products will have the unpleasant shading and paneling that plague grasscloth decorating.

The homeowner took my suggestion to visit my favorite place to buy wallpaper (below). The result is this beautiful, beautiful grasscloth. The stronger texture shows up nicely, even from across the room, and it has more of the sparkle the homeowner was seeking.

The paper has more color and impact than their first choice, but does not overwhelm the room, plus it blends perfectly with other aqua accents in other rooms around the home. It’s great with their paint color, too. Now the room looks something like a day at the beach, with the colors of sand and water and sky and a little shimmer, like light dancing on waves.

And I was happy with the quality of the product. There is no shading or paneling (color variations from strip to strip, or within a strip). And even though grasscloth cannot be matched across the seams, the seams are nearly invisible (2nd photo).

This wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut Designs, and was bought at a discounted price from Dorota Hartwig at Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet near Kirby. (713) 520-6262 or dorotasouthwestern@hotmail.com. Discuss your project and make an appointment before heading over to see her.

This job was in Bellaire (Houston), and took two days. The first day I spent smoothing and priming the textured walls. The second day I hung the paper, a little over 10 single rolls.

Priming a Newly Smoothed Wall

November 4, 2015
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My previous post talked about smoothing a textured wall, so that the new wallpaper would have an intact surface to hold on to, and so that ugly bumps would not show under the new paper. I did the same thing today, in a large powder room with 10′ high ceilings, in a new home off Fannin, south of Loop 610 in Houston.

Once the walls were sanded and wiped free of dust with a damp sponge (rinsed frequently) (a crucial step, because any dust left on the wall can, when paint or primer or wallpaper is applied, delaminate, which means to pull away from the wall, which results in curling or loose seams on the wallpaper).

Anyway, once the walls were wiped and then dried, I rolled on a primer. While I use different primers for different situations, when I have newly floated walls, as in this case, I like to use Gardz (see photo). Gardz is thin and watery and soaks into porous surfaces, such as the thirsty joint compound in this newly smoothed wall. Then it dries very hard and solid, binding everything together, and doing a super job sealing the surface.

It also lends a wonderful surface for wallpaper to adhere to.

In the photo, the areas that are white are unprimed, and where the Gardz has been applied but has not yet dired, you see grey. When the Gardz dries, it will be clear. The surface will look a little irregular, because you see white areas where the join compound is thicker, and the paint color where the joint compound is just thin enough to skim over the high points of the textured wall.