Project Log #8 – Wall Finishes

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Professional Interior Finishes

There are so many possibilities when it comes to the materials for wall finishes that it would be impossible to cover in a blog venue. So I want to give you some general direction and some thoughts to ponder when it comes down to making the decision about painting, wallpapering, etc.

The temptation when getting prices for a remodeling project is to try to save money by doing some of the components yourself. Thoughts of…“I can do the demolition” or “I can clean up everyday” seem harmless to the untrained ear. But inevitably those thoughts often end up with the client saying “and I can do the painting too” or worse yet “my cousin Vinny painted his Garage last year, he can paint the Kitchen for me and all I have to do is feed him.”

Painting, or whatever wall finish you choose, is the final touch on the project and in being such should not be taken lightly. A carpenter can craft a beautiful addition including fine cabinetry and lavish trim work, etc.; however, if corners are cut during the finishing stages, it will never attain the wow factor that it was meant to possess.

Simply put, DO NOT SKIMP ON THE WALL FINISHES!

Top of the line paint with low VOC ratings, wallpaper (from recycled materials of course), faux finishes, tile or whatever you decide to put on your walls, will be the finishing touch to the masterpiece that you worked so hard to create. This is what you and your guests will be faced with every time you walk into the room. You really want the cut-in lines to be straight, bleed over minimized, brush and roller strokes eliminated to be able to say that the finishes add to the beauty of the room, not detract from it.

Don’t get me wrong, wall finishes can certainly be a project that can be done by the DIY’er, but take into consideration what you want the finished product to look like and be. It would be a shame to spend good money to get an addition built; only to have “Cousin Vinny” put his permanent mark on your house for all to see. Think of it as letting a three year old put the finishing touches on the Cistene Chapel, not too smart; nor would it have been quite so impressive, even after all these years.

In closing, if you do want to tackle the finishing of your project, don’t rush it, take your time and do it right, you want it to look good. But more than that, I would encourage you to let the finishing touches up to the professionals, you will never regret it!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #9 – Floor Finishes

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Project Log #7 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 2)

Some tips on drywall installation… 

1. Check for the presence of nailers prior to installing first sheet of drywall. 

This prevents you having to stop right in the middle of installation to cut and install a nailer in a corner or ceiling. Nailers provide solid backing for the drywall as not to allow the sheet to flex and or the joints to crack easily.

2. When measuring to cut a sheet to length, check top and bottom of sheet. 

Framing can be out of square/plumb, especially in older homes. You want to make sure that your sheet falls as close to the middle of the stud as possible to provide solid nailing for both sheets.

3. Only put out as much adhesive as can be covered by the current sheet. 

You don’t want to waste adhesive by gluing up the entire wall and then not getting to it for some reason. Apply adhesive after the piece has been measured and cut and even dry fit if necessary.

Some tips on Spackling… 

4. Use fresh spackling as much as possible.  

Using the bucket that your father-in-law had left over from 2000 when he did his Kitchen doesn’t save you anything. You will be frustrated by the installation performance of the product. Buy new, use fresh when you can.

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Dry Wall Spackling: 1st Coat

5. Mix spackling prior to using it.

It is always best to thoroughly mix the spackling prior to trying to place it on the wall. This helps to work out any air bubbles as well as giving the material a uniform consistency. You may also add a little water at this point depending on what stage of the process you are in. The first coats can be a little thicker than the last coats. This helps to limit the dry time of the initial coat which tends to be thicker than the last thinner coats.

6.  Use the correct knife to install spackling.

Going from a 4” knife initially, all the way up to a 12”-16” knife for the final coats. Using progressively larger knives spreads out the spackling over a larger area and feathers the edges to blend them seamlessly. Make sure you work your paper into a full bed of spackling as not to have air bubbles or paper pulling away from a dry joint. If this occurs, stop and fix it right away as it will not go away with more coats. It is easier to address it sooner than later.

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Drywall: Finished Spackling; Wide Smooth Joints; Nail Heads Covered

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Drywall: Finished Outside and Inside Corners

7. Avoid sanding as much as possible.

You probably can’t avoid sanding all together, but there are ways to minimize it. Taking your time with each coat and making the spackling as thin as you can, will help to make the joints smooth. You should either lightly sand or use a wet sponge between coats to knock down any high spots or knife marks. Doing this after each coat will make it easier to create a smooth looking wall with no noticeable joints.
8. Last but not least, get your wife involved in spackling.

Studies show that women make better drywall finishers mostly because of their light touch. It might also have to do with the fact that they tend to be a little more patient. And believe me, spackling can try your patience.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #8 – Wall Finishes   

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Numbers Are Fun

This year is going to be fun! And it started out that way for sure!

 

From New Year Eve, January 1, 2011, when three of my family members stood side by side in a hotel room (1.1.1) and watched the clock on my cell phone turn to 1:11 AM and counted out loud to eleven seconds so that we could experience 1:11:11 AM on 1-1-11, to mid morning that same New Year’s day when again the clock turned into all ones at 11:11:11 AM on 1-1-11, and additionally waiting till 11:11:11 PM to arrive while we were at a New Year’s Day event, I knew that this year was going to be special.

Not everyone enjoys this type of “recreational thinking” as much as I do. But I try to spread the joy of noticing the little things in life.

One example of this was recently I was traveling down the road after dropping my wife off at work and noticed that my car’s odometer was at 55,555! Wow! I almost missed it! I took a picture with my cell phone and in doing so noticed that I was traveling at 55 mph! Not too safe, I know, but cool none the less. If that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, I was putting my cell phone down when I noticed that it was 5:55 AM on the clock on the car’s radio! Needless to say, I snapped another picture to archive this monumental occasion.

So today…1-11-11…this wonderful little game continues. Join me in enjoying the fun that is numbers. I hope you had your alarm set for 1:11 AM, now you can plan a lunch break at 11:11 AM and then stay up till 11:11 PM and be a little crazy.

The joy of numbers will continue this year as we plan a party at our house on November 11th, 2011, 11-11-11. The party will definitely be going strong at 11:11:11 PM. We are calling this party “Tres Onces” (my apologies to all of my Spanish speaking friends) and it is being held at our house, which by the way is located at the following address… “3-1-1 W….”.  Well you guessed it…311 is our house number!!!!!

Coincidence? I think not!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #6 – Drywall Installation & Finishing

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Welcome The New Year

The beginning of a new year initiates many things, two of which are “Reflection and Contemplation”.

Reflection includes looking back on the year that was and all the activities and events that shaped our lives in 2010. Looking at family life, births, deaths, graduations, weddings, reunions, vacations; work, economic challenges, business trips, career changes, meeting new people; news, local, national and international all of which influenced our lives; some for the better, some not so much. Reflection, while sometimes painful, can be helpful in seeing what was in light of what is to come.

Contemplation: “the act of considering with attention.” This exercise will serve you well in helping to set your course for the upcoming year. Considering the major components of life: self, family, others, career, finances, health, and activities, to name a few, and what you would like to accomplish within these areas, will allow you to focus on the big picture. Identifying and giving attention to the core areas of concern, will help you focus on what is important to you. In doing this, you can take control of 2011 in the areas that you can control and in turn, you will be better equipped to handle those things you cannot control.

Utilizing the powerful tools of “reflection and contemplation” brings focus and clarity to an otherwise blurry and jumbled mess we call life. After spending some time working with these tools, make sure you share your vision with someone. Part of the power of these exercises is being able to share the joys of accomplishment, as well as, spreading the load of hurt and disappointment as they arise.  

If during your journey of “reflection and contemplation”, you encounter the need to make changes to your environment in any way, we would be honored to lend a hand in creating a course of action that would help you attain the goals you set for yourself, your family and your home.

Reflect” on 2010, “Contemplate” 2011 and dream about what the future holds.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #6 – Drywall Installation & Finishing

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Project #6 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 1)

We talked in the previous job log about sizes of drywall sheets. This is important when it comes to installation and finishing. A rule of thumb to apply to drywall installation is “the least amount of joints, the better”. You will come to appreciate this rule when it comes time to apply the spackling or “mud”. Another rule to keep in mind is “misery loves company”. It is always wise to get help when installing drywall, even someone who is inexperienced can help hold sheets in place during installation.Tools for installation should include a hammer, screw gun, chalk line, drywall rasp/shaver, drywall saw and/or Dremel® tool, level, a T-square and a caulking gun.

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Drywall Ceilings Firsts

Ceilings are installed first. You need to make sure that you identify all items that need to be cut out or left protruding through the ceiling. Light fixture and fan boxes, wires, duct openings are just a few examples of what to look for. Sometimes I mark them on the floor below to make sure that I don’t miss them. Mark the ceiling joists on the top plate of wall framing to locate them when you are nailing the sheets up. Prior to installing the first sheet, don’t forget to apply drywall adhesive to the ceiling joists. This product is what holds the drywall tight to the joists. Some folks say that the nails are only there to hold the drywall till the glue dries.

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Drywall Walls Second

The walls are installed next. Somewhat the same process should be followed as was described for the ceilings. Mark the studs on the floor for locating later for nailing not only the drywall, but also the baseboard trim as well. Locate any outlets, switches, wires, windows, access panels, ducts, etc. that need to be found later. Apply drywall adhesive to the studs and any other wall framing, only applying as much as the sheet of drywall will cover. Installing the first row of sheets up against the ceiling will allow you to make any adjustment cuts down at the floor later, keeping them as low and out of the line of sight as possible.

We will talk about some things to look out for and some tips in part two of this topic. Until then…

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time… Project Log #7 – Drywall Installation & Finishing (Part 2)

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.