Spackle & Sand 2.0

It’s day #22,147,895 of remodeling here at Parkside. As of late, it’s been a seemingly never-ending repetition of spackle and sanding. We’ve just started in on our 4th? 5th? 5-gallon bucket of drywall mud. The drop cloths are being washed for the second time in a week and my floors are covered in a fine white dust from sanding which makes me wonder if they’ll ever be clean again.

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So much drywall mud!

The hubby and I spent a good portion of our weekend working in the hopes that we’ll get one step closer to painting (the paint that’s been sitting in our someday-rec room/current storage of whatever room since Memorial Day weekend.) And while what we’re doing is not terribly difficult work, it is slow and tedious. But still, we press on! Using the good old divide and conquer method, I went to work sanding while he spackled over the corner beads in the other room.

Sexy right?

I thought my short little self would be super clever and use the pole sander on the ceiling negating the necessity of a step-stool, but that quickly turned out to be a clusterf*** of a nightmare so the pole sander was relegated to the corner of shame to think about why it wasn’t being helpful. Step stool and sanding blocks it was.

 

I’m hoping that sanding still counts as arm day so I won’t have to work out double.

All jokes and sarcasm aside, it’s been hard. And it’s been slow. There are many days when neither of us has the motivation to work, days when the progress seems so slow and the work yet to be done is cripplingly overwhelming. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve had a good cry or three about this house and desperate prayers whispered in the middle of the night for continued perseverance and patience.

Then I look at how far we’ve come, in spite of how much work there is left to do. We had beautiful new floors and carpet installed this spring, the corner beads are mounted and we’re nearing the end of the mudding that needs to be done on those.

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One more coat should do it!

I think of how much I’ve learned here, and while I would never consider myself or the husband experts by any means, we have learned skills that will make the next remodel project just a little bit easier. And so we continue to work, and we laugh and cry, and maybe have another glass of wine to help cope with the stress.

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Living the spackler’s life

Progress on the house hasn’t been booming. We hit what I’d guess would be a lull or maybe a slump after vacation and now we’re slowly crawling back out. Slump aside, I’m starting to feel like we’ll never get past the spackle and sand phase of the renovation. Ceilings, walls, patch here, more walls. Someone save me from the madness!

Our current project – the one we’ve been at for awhile now – is corner bead spackling. The corner beads are pretty much all mounted so now the task of mudding over to make them smooth and even with the wall. It’s not SO terrible really, just a slow process when you’re unable to do the entire doorway in one go. I mean any spackle project will usually require multiple coats as well, so add that to the mix, stir well and voila! A half-complete doorway! Baby steps right?

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Once this doorway is finished, we have one more to mud, then we sand. And someday we’ll get to paint it. Someday…

Before I go though, I leave you with this: what happens when ginger cat decides he wants to be in on the action too AKA rubbing up against the still-wet drywall mud and leaving cat hair and hair marks in it.

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We were so proud of his contribution he was immediately rewarded with a partial bath – something he was none too thrilled about. Heh.

Wall Skimming 2.0: More lessons to learn

So 20 YouTube videos and 2 skimmed walls later, the hubby and I are total pros at this now. If only.
At this point, I’d say we’re semi-capable DIY-ers who are having lots of fun with our hands-on learning.

Here’s a list of things we’ve learned so far:

1. Consistency matters. There doesn’t seem to be a set formula for determining how much water to mix into the drywall mud i.e. 1/2 c. water to 1 g. of drywall joint compound. YouTube and DIY blogs have recommended the thickness be somewhere between mayonnaise and creamy peanut butter. Real talk here: I love that people are using condiments as a reference for mud thickness. I mean, how else are we supposed to gauge it right?

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Looks about right.

 

The first time I think we made it a little too thick and it coated well but it made for difficult rolling. Round 2, I thinned out the mud more and while it rolled on quite easily, it did not coat well. Now they say you’re your own worst critic, but after all was said and done, it was quite obvious that it was an uneven coat with certain spots of the wall being more visible through the skim than others.

2. The second coat should be skimmed at 90 degrees to the first one. So since coat one was pulled vertically, coat two had to be done horizontally. Something we didn’t know to do the first time around. I guess it’s to fill in the gaps better or to get it more even? I’m still learning here!

3. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. The other thing we didn’t know our first time through is that the magic trowel should be wet. We used the spray bottle to keep the squeegee/trowel wet and for keeping the wall damp during pan refills.

Some sites recommend that a quick set compound is used rather than a pre-mixed one since it has a faster drying time but both the hubby and I felt like that was just an extra hassle and the time frame for the quick set compound was too tight to work in.

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Dried skim-coat. Pre-sanding

Quite honestly, I’m still not 100% certain we’re doing it correctly. There seems to be quite a bit of texture on the walls even after a light sanding. The question now is, do we sand it down further, do a third skim-coat, or just paint it and hope for the best. With it taking approximately 2-2.5 hours for each coat, I’m not a particular fan of the third coat option, which leaves us with more sanding or throwing the towel in in favor of painting.

So many decisions and so little time!

Skimming the Walls and Other Lessons in Drywall Mudding

Ah, wall skimming. Sometimes, it’s not enough to spackle the dents and holes in your walls. Sometimes, there are just too many to deal little marks and dents to deal with and trying to cover each one individually is just plain tedious.

I present for your viewing pleasure, Exhibit A (left side) the wall in our soon to be the rec room. This little beauty comes pretty much as is – minus a few attempts to spackle over the dents in the wall we have done nothing to it. Exhibit B (right side) is a wall in our hallway we have spackled again and again and then finally painted in hopes that some of that paint would cover the imperfections.

Sadly that was not the case. This is where skimming comes in. Now it’s been pointed out to us that there are two types of lighting – we’ll call them “every day” which is just your normal room lights and “up close and personal” flashlight or lamp light meant to look for imperfections. While both pictures were taken using “up close” lighting to really show off how bad it is, the imperfections on the walls are still quite visible in the overhead lighting of both areas.

So back to wall skimming. Frankly, neither of us are quite adept enough to go at it with just a hawk and trowel it so we used the roller method. A rolled on skim coat is like… the love child of painting and drywall mudding. It’s a little bit of both all rolled into one. Essentially you use a roller to paint on a thinned out coat of drywall joint compound and then pull out most of the texture with a rubber trowel.  Bucket of thinned drywall mud – check, trowel – check, roller & paint tray – check, spray bottle to keep the wall damp – check, rag for wiping – check.IMG_20170503_095736637

Skimming is my first real “solo” adventure since we’ve bought this house. (Painting doesn’t really count since I’ve done it countless times before.) My hubby has been doing the bulk of the work and while I’ve assisted with cutting or hanging drywall, I’ve not undertaken any project by myself up til now.

For my first time skimming EVER and my first solo project, I think I did alright. While the starting section was less than pretty, I found that it go progressively better as I went along and found my groove between rolling and pulling.

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The walls will still need to be sanded down but after the first coat, our rec room is already looking much better. Total run time: 2 – 2.5 hours from prep to finish not including clean up. This week I’ll tackle the hallway and once we get the rest of our flooring put in we’ll be ready to paint! But more on that later 😉