Answers to Interior Walls Questions #1 Answers to Interior Walls Questions #1

Q. I had to replace about 10 square feet of drywall on my ceiling due to a roof leak. The ceiling has popcorn texture and I am having a real hard time getting the patched part of the texture to match the rest of the ceiling. Any suggestions how to do this without re-doing the entire ceiling?

A. Rent a spray rig from a rental place. There are three different sizes of popcorn, so make sure you have the right one. Spray it on thick. The new popcorn will be whiter in color than the old stuff. You can either live with it or paint the whole ceiling. It is a bit of a mess to spray with a sprayer. For this reason, give this some thought. Spray the patch, let it dry and then spray the whole ceiling again. It saves painting, and since you have to cover and mask almost everything anyway, go ahead and do the whole ceiling. When doing the job, turn up the heat, get a lot of air moving and wait to clean up the mess until it is dry.

Q. I'm installing plywood on one wall of a powder room in order to support new fixtures and I have plenty of support for future planned fixtures. The interior of this wall is filled with pipes, etc., hence it is near impossible to add good blocking for fixture support. My question is, once the plywood is in place, can I wallpaper over the plywood with the same wallpaper or any wallpaper that I will be using on the other walls, which are drywall? What type of plywood should I use, and what preparation steps should occur before hanging any paper? What future problems might I expect?

A. After the plywood is hung and in place, prime it with a high quality white pigmented acrylic primer. Then install liner paper over that. Then you can hang regular wallpaper over that. If you are going to hang the liner vertically, just be sure that when you hang your wallpaper, the wallpaper seams do not land directly on top of the liner seams, i.e., they should be staggered. Otherwise, hanging the liner vertically should be just fine. Do not use universal border adhesive. Buy a gallon or two of Heavy Duty Clear premix adhesive. Hang the liner with the premix, and let it dry for 24 or 48 hours. If the seams butt up good, you can hang right over that. If they do not, you might need to double cut them on the wall. It is possible that you might need to skim float the seams on the liner depending on the type of paper you're hanging on it. Then hang the paper with the premix too. Sizing is using a thinned out version of paste, applying it to the wall to aid adhesion. Priming is using a pre-wall covering primer, usually acrylic.

For a raised seam: Use a razor blade held flat against the liner, and try to shave off the raised lip. Or use an 80-grit sand paper to knock it down.

To skim coat a seam: Use a 4 inches or 6 inches of stiff putty knife, and apply joint compound along the seam. Spread it on about ¼ inch like cake frosting, making sure to force it down into the seam. Then come along right behind it with a 10 inch or 12 inch stiff mudding knife and scrape it all off. Wax on and wax off. This will leave the joint compound in the low spots. Sometimes you might need to leave it on a little thicker to cover up worse blemishes. This is called 'floating.' Try to fade it smooth on the edges so it makes it easier to sand. If floated right, you might not need to sand at all.

For cuts and tears: If they do not leave big gaps, or are very noticeable, then do not do anything. When you hang the paper, they will be covered. If they are noticeable, flat them out with Spackle if small, or joint compound if large. In a corner, run a bead of latex caulk down, smoothing it in with your finger.

Q. When I went to hang a shelf on my wall, I drilled the correct size hole per instructions and went to insert the anchor. Since it was too large, I tapped it in with a hammer. I then went to screw, applied pressure and both the anchor and the screw fell inside the wall. Now, I believe I have too large a hole for the anchor. Short of filling the hole in with Spackle, what are my options? If I do need to Spackle, can I try again to screw into that patched spot?

A. "Anchors" is a term that usually means a plastic, fiber or metal plug that is inserted into a hole and will receive a screw. Anchors will work on drywall, but the proper fastener for hollow walls, such as plasterboard, and gypsum board is either a "toggle bolt" or a "Molly Bolt."

"Toggles" are long screws that have spring-loaded wings or butterflies attached to the threads. The wings fold to fit through the hole and once fully inserted, the wings will spring open and hold the screw in place. The shortfalls of a "toggle" are that the wings will fall off and drop deep down inside the wall if the screw is unscrewed and removed.

"Mollys" have a long screw that fits through a capped head with prongs and the threaded screw fits through shoulders that expand behind the wall when the screw is tightened. You can remove a screw from a Molly without the shoulders falling off. With that said - a toggle needs a very big hole for the wings to fit into the wall, and the hole needed is usually much bigger in diameter than a hole for an anchor of similar size. A toggle may work for you. If this is exposed where it can be seen, you may also want a fender washer. This is an oversized washer that will cover the hole.

Q. I am removing a plaster wall between two rooms. Can I fill in the opening with drywall and compound since it is narrow, or do I need to plaster it?

A. You must be talking about the opening left in the ceiling and wall or walls that the removed wall intersected. A couple of things you might have noticed are that the walls and ceiling are not level across. As long as you can install drywall in the opening, keep it lower than the surrounding plaster - then you can fill the rest of the thickness up with mud, and make it come out flush everywhere. Not level and straight across, but flush. It would be easier to do this with plaster. I guess that assumes there is something to hang lath on. Then that is true of the drywall, too. There has to be something there to hang the drywall on. Something you might want to consider is breaking the plaster off a ways back from the opening on both sides. This will make the transition between the two surfaces more gradual and the wall and ceiling will show less hump or dip at the former intersection.

Q. I'm wondering how to make those shelves that just float on the wall.

A. Take two pieces of wood no greater than 12 inches wide. You can make them as long as you want. It's not a good idea to make a floating shelf longer than 48 inches. If you want to, then you'll need to connect it into the side walls. Lets say we want to make our floating shelf 3" thick. It is not recommended to make it thinner unless you're using on of the sidewalls to help support it.
Your material list for the actual shelf will be:

2pc @ 3/4" x 11 1/4" W x 34 1/2" L
2pc @ 3/4" x 1 1/2" W x 11 1/4" L
1pc @ 3/4" x 1 1/2" W x 33" L

That will make up the actual shelf, which will slip over the skeleton support. So essentially you'll be making a shallow box with the back open. You will be putting a solid wood molding on the face/sides of it to cover up the exposed edges. Take one piece of the ¾ inch x 11-¼ inch x 34-½ inch. Stand the pieces of ¾ inch x 1 ½ inch up on their side. Glue and nail these in. Now, take the top piece of ¾ inch x 11 ¼ inch x 34 ¼ inch and nail or glue that to the top of what you've put together so far.

When you're done you should have a box that is 3-inch x 11 ¼ inch x 34-½ inch. The back will be open. You will need to cut strips that are 1 ½ inch- a hair. You will be making a frame that will slide into the opening in the back of the shelf. So your cut list will be:
2pc @ 3/4" x 1 1/2" - a hair x 34"
4pc @ 3/4" x 1 1/2" - a hair x 9"

You will need to nail, glue and put one screw at each joint. Your skeleton frame should end up being 34 inches x 10 ½ inches. Take two of the four smaller pieces and divide it out equally within the frame. This frame gets screwed into the studs and the shelf slides over it. Then take your solid wood and miter it around the raw edges of plywood. Clamp on or nail this on and that's it.

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