How to make a perfectly flat wall

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Old 07-27-12, 10:09 AM
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How to make a perfectly flat wall

Hi, I am trying to make a section of my wall perfectly flat and smooth. It will be used with a projector.

I have applied two coats of joint compountd and one (plus retouch) of topping compound. I will then proceed to primer and use a good special white paint.

So far the job does not look too bad but it's not perfect. In particular, I have used a 10" blade to apply the topping compound and I can make pretty smooth sections but when I need to apply more trying to "merge" it that's where problems start: small irregularities, etc. Some of those just disappear when sanding, but others are there to stay. I was wondering if there are some tricks that I can use or how to improve my technique (or tools) to have a very flat surface.

Thank you for the help
bye

PS I noticed that the joint compound I was using would deliver a smoother (to the touch) finish compared to the topping compound, even though this is definitely "creamier" to apply. Any special reason for this? I used pre-mixed stuff and did add some water to both before applying to the wall.
 
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Old 07-27-12, 11:29 AM
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I have used a 10" blade to apply the topping compound and I can make pretty smooth sections but when I need to apply more trying to "merge" it that's where problems start: small irregularities, etc. Some of those just disappear when sanding, but others are there to stay. I was wondering if there are some tricks that I can use or how to improve my technique (or tools) to have a very flat surface.
I've had success in the past using a large natural sponge, very wet, to "melt" and smooth the face of a wall. It gave us the "finished plaster" look and feel we were trying for.
 
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Old 07-27-12, 11:34 AM
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A 12" knife may help. Also, since you're covering the entire surface, you may find a smooth trowel works better than a knife.
 
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Old 07-27-12, 11:43 AM
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I have a so called finishing trowel, but when I tried it at the beginning it would "sink" into the mud and make a mess. I guess I need to refine my technique? Also the sponge seems a good idea also to fix some imperfections before they harden...
 
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Old 07-27-12, 12:01 PM
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I have a so called finishing trowel, but when I tried it at the beginning it would "sink" into the mud and make a mess. I guess I need to refine my technique? Also the sponge seems a good idea also to fix some imperfections before they harden...
Working with a wet tool will produce smoother results. Waiting for the compound to set, or nearly so, before wetting it (lightly, with a mist from a spray bottle) should help you keep the work on the surface.

When we learned to do the trick with the wet sponge, we did that instead of sanding. That often meant the day after the last compound had been smoothed on. Remember, you're working with compound, not plaster. You can always wet it and work it smoother. Just give the water a minute or so to sink in.
 
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Old 07-27-12, 12:13 PM
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The handyman we use for our units does more with a sponge than sandpaper when he's slinging mud, I can definitely see the merit in this idea.

Yes, if the trowel was sinking into the mud, your technique needs work. You ought to have the hang of it about the time you finish
 
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Old 07-27-12, 01:34 PM
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If sanding, you need to use a sanding pole or something to keep the sandpaper flat. Just folding sandpaper and holding it in your hand will produce dips in the j/c. Sanding does the best job!

A sponge has a lot of merits with the biggest plus being the lack of dust. That's why I prefer this method in occupied dwellings - keeps the job site cleaner. If you go this route, it might be best to buy the 'sponge' with a handle. It looks similar to a grout float and can be purchased most anywhere drywall finishing products are sold.

I'm not a drywall finisher but am fairly proficient with a drywall knife, I doubt I could do an acceptable job with a trowel - it's all in what you get used to using
 
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Old 07-27-12, 01:55 PM
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I think the bottom line is this is different than basic drywall finishing, where one muds only the fasteners and the joints. This is more like plastering and I know a trowel is more likely to be used there than in drywall finishing.

I'm sure Mark is considerably more proficient in drywall finishing than I am but I get to the point eventually where the work meets standards. I don't know that I could make a perfectly smooth wall like is intended here....
 
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Old 07-27-12, 02:01 PM
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Mitch, you give up to easy skim coating a wall isn't all that difficult.... you just keep after it until it's right
 
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Old 07-27-12, 02:03 PM
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Yeah, I don't quite see this as skim coating, though - the tolerances are a lot tighter.

You know as well as I do that a normal wall is far from perfectly flat but that's what's being sought here.
 
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