Dueling DIY: Stairway Update Part 3
Here we are, week three of my DIY Stairway Showdown posts. This week was the messiest by far, but also the most rewarding yet. I mudded over the knock down texture on the stairwell walls.
Here is a picture of what knocked down texture looks like:
I know this wall treatment was very popular for awhile, and it still is, in the South. My family that moved to Louisiana a couple of years ago has it on all the walls in all the rooms of their condo. I didn’t hate it when I was there, and I think it is because they also have really big base and crown moldings throughout the space as well. It breaks it up nicely and I can see how it certain situations, it can look fine.
However, the people that textured my house, textured the walls, ceiling and ALL the moldings as well. YEP, the window casings in the bedrooms, the baseboards…everything. I swear they just taped off the doors and the glass on the windows and just went to town with the sprayer. I guess that is one way to cover old plaster. eh.
Here is another look at a photo from the first post on this project that you can visit here, if you missed it.
See how the wood part of the stairs has the same texture as the walls.
Not only is the texture the same on the ceilings, walls and molding, but they painted it all the same barely beige, or really, dirty white. Sigh.
I don’t have a lot of experience mudding. This would be my third time and you can read more about my mudding misadventures here. This was going to be different yet, as I was needing to do the whole wall and not just drywall seams. I was fervently hoping that with the words, skim coating and thin applications, it meant that it would be easier too. I perused through some forums on skim coating walls, read the e-how version and created a mash-up of it all to get it done.
e-how suggested using a low nap roller and thinned out mud, though they don’t give a consistency to reach for, and then smooth it all out with your drywall knife. Other forums suggested consistencies from thin to ice cream. So, there was some trial and error until I found a consistency that worked for me. A stirred Greek yogurt or soft serve ice cream consistency worked best.
I used Durarock 90 setting joint compound. This means it sets in 90 minutes, from what I understand. I mixed many small batches overall, using a bucket then transferring it to a drywall trough. I found using my 8 inch drywall knife worked the best for me. I couldn’t get the longer trowel to cooperate with me.
I just want to mention that my walls are plaster, so be sure that your plaster is sound. Make sure there aren’t large cracks or loose plaster. Mine was in solid condition, however in one spot at the top of the stairs I saw a small area of plaster bowing. To fix this, we screw in a few screws to attempt to attach it back to the lath underneath. I had to do this on some loose plaster in my bedroom and both times it worked like a charm. They have special screws that are made just for this type of application that I believe you would have to order online. I learned about them from a “This Old House” video on repairing plaster walls.
So, I began mudding and covered the wall as best I could. I had some ridges here and there that I hoped the sander would get, and some divets that can be patched over with the second coat easily.
I know that professionals don’t leave these ridges, but I just couldn’t get them all out. It was tough covering the texture, but I probably could have done super thin multiple coats, but goodness, that sounded like a lot of days spent just mudding the same areas. I don’t know.
I also know that you would probably never see a professional use a palm sander to sand said ridges down either, but hey, after 10 minutes of the drywall sander, my arms were done and I had 98% of the wall still to do.
I used 120 grit of which I only had one of, so then had to move on to 100 grit sandpaper in the palm sander. I liked the 120 grit the best, though they both worked beautifully. I was super happy with the results and think it was the best idea I had to get these walls smooth.
This wall is ready for the final “patching in” coat, which with any luck will be like what you do to fix holes and dents in your wall before painting.
I love them already and love to run my hand on them coming down in the morning. I have wanted to do something about these walls since I moved in over four years ago and if it weren’t for Sarah at Ugly Duckling House and Kit at Diydiva, they would still not be done. So in a moment of mushy sentimentality, I want to thank these two for inviting us to join in on their duel. It has really helped to keep me going, even on these messy, challenging parts.
Aside mudding the walls to get ready for wainscoting, paint and the new treads and risers, I have been finishing up those last four treads with some Waterlox:
Oh, this picture is sad and funny. You can see that I decided NOT to work in the creepy basement but instead put them in the massage room with whatever was around to elevate them up off the massage table. That is the funny part. The sad part is that after twelve years as a successful self-employed massage therapist, the room is so underused now, that I can do week long projects in it. For the last year and a half the Universe has pushed me toward change. Where I am going remains to be seen, I guess.
Anyway, be sure to check out the other ladies, whom I bet are wrapping things up. Even if we find out today that Sarah or Kit are finished and the DIY Duel is over, I am so very happy with what I finished so far and I plan on seeing it through to the AFTER pictures