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April 2008
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Wall Anchors

So you want to hang stuff on your walls. Okay. You need an anchor of some sort. I have used just about every wall anchor made for hanging stuff on walls. Toggle Bolts, Plastic Anchors, twist anchors, and some things that should never be mentioned.
These are the pick of the litter.
WalDriller Screw In Drywall Anchors

They come as a set with the anchor and the right sized screw. They screw in. You use the same phillips screwdriver to install the anchor that you use for running the screw. They come in a variety of weights for hanging your stuff. You really really want these.

Consider the odds of having things to hang on your wall that will balance on a 16” center, with a wall that has one stud in the center of the wall for you to work from.

As an added bonus, when you move your stuff and need to patch the hole, just screw the anchor just below the surface, prime and paint.

Highly Recommended.

Round Cornerbead Application

Round cornerbead gives you a softer line with remodeling. It has it’s own requirements. In a standard drywall application, you overlap succeeding layers of drywall. This acts as a base for your corner bead. It is important that your drywall is not extending beyond the other sheet. Your bead will twist and your corner will look squiggly.
Drywall for regular cornerbead

Round bead has a radius, so that your drywall needs to just come to the edge of your framing and not overlap. Remember that the radius is rounding the corner, and will not sit right if you do not do this. You also need to mud the inside of the radius bead to supply support and cover the raw edges of the drywall. This is especially critical for vertical applications so the bead does not dent when something hits it. Enough mud to fill, but not so much that the bead bows. It takes practice. Use regular 24 hour compound.
Below is a shot of one of the valance wings.
Here is a photo showing the drywall ready for rounded bead

This is a detail shot of the valance where it meets the wall. This is actually a 2fer. The radius bead is installed with screws as the framing is steel studs. Also on the right side of the photo is a piece of ‘L’ bead, as we are not going to re-texture the walls on either side of the fireplace wall.
Here is the bead installed on a valance

Here is a photo of the valance with the first coat of mud. We also ‘L’ beaded the top of the valance panel so we do not have to repaint or re-texture the ceiling.
Here is our valance with the bead mudded

Inside Mitered Corners
Mitered Corners are done with the Radius Corner Bead Miter Marker Here you see the inside corner, which joins the two beads. I mentioned that the little jog of the Miter Tool was important to cut. This is why. The outside corner is open as this is the real world and not the Remodeling Channel. A little mud and it is all good.
Here is an inside corner detail

See? Here is our corner with the last coat of mud applied.
Here is our bead with a final coat of mud. The extra mud will  sand off.

Here is our corner with primer and paint. Clean and Soft.
Finished product clean and soft

Round bead gives you some options outside of the square box of most remodeling. Enjoy!

Tools of Our Lives Radius Corner Bead Miter Marker

In applying ’round’ (radius style) corner bead, you need an ‘orphan’ tool.
The Radius Corner Bead Miter Marker is the tool. This allows you to cut miters for a clean professional job. This is a tool found at the drywall supply store. The big box stores sell round bead, but finding this tool is a problem.

Measuring for corners is simple, The tab you see on the bottom is where your measurement goes. Notice the little jog just above the edge. This is important as your bead is proud of the surface, and this creates the clean angle for taping. It is also the hardest to cut with your snips. But like anything else in remodeling, the more time you spend on the details, the better your project finishes.

Tools of Our Lives Folding Aluminum Utility Knife

This is a folding utility knife. Uses standard utility blades. This is just a nice knife to have in your kit.

Look for an aluminum body, riveted construction. Look for the ribs on the handle. This is a sharp knife with a new blade, and you probably would be surprised at the number of times your hands are wet while trying to trim or cut things.

Tools of Our Lives Irwin Quick Grip Clamps

Clamps have evolved over time. This is a 21st Century Clamp. It has a pistol grip and a sliding bar. Rubber silicone pads for not marring your material.(Although this is silly as these clamps will not mark anything harder than foam or maybe soft pine) They are not bar or screw pipe clamps, but they are very good at what they do.
For clamping things together as a third hand or holding things together while you screw them together.
Irwin Quick Grip Clamps – 12” about 20 bucks a pair.

I use them a lot in the field with an 8′ aluminum angle straight edge for cutting plywood straight.
They come in lots of lengths, but the 12” are probably the best for the houseblogger.

Tools of Our Lives – Panel Carry

Buying tools for remodeling is hard. Getting value for your dollar is important, as most of the house bloggers are not serial remodelers. I am however a serial remodeler. Here is one of the best tools you can have around.
This is the Stanley Panel Carry. 5-10 bucks.

This is one of those great tools. It allows you to carry plywood, particle board, sheetrock around without breaking your back. Of particular note is the rounded bottom. Once you get the material where you want to put it, you lift one corner, and the panel carry flops down so you can stack your sheets and get ready to get the rest of your sheet goods.

Fireplace Freshen 2

Here is the face ready for primer and paint. The fireplace door guy was by and measured for the fireplace door. About 4 weeks out.

Dust Control Drywall Mud Progress Report
This is for Jenni at 1311Vernon and Jennfier at Tiny Old House
Why didn’t they invent this stuff 30 years ago? At least I get to use it before I die.
Good Golly Miss Molly. This is the greatest stuff for remodeling since Loctite Power Grab.
The photo below shows the dust from sanding the side wall from the ceiling to about 2 feet from the ground. I took this photo about 10 seconds after I got through sanding.
Regular mud would have been spread to hell and gone, and you would have seen noting but white dots obstructing the photo. It sands like a dream, clumps and falls to the ground as advertised.
Look at the blue tape line where the trim meets the wall.

Here is a closeup of the same area. I am using sanding sponges for sanding. I am using them dry. The stuff sticks together and drops to the ground. As an added bonus, look at the bottom of the bullnose bead. See the overage? When I use the knife as a chipper to knock most of this off, it comes off smoothly. Regular mud and speed set has a tendency to fracture, and pull out chunks.

The only thing that you need to watch for is that it does fill up the sponge quickly and does need to be ‘tapped’ clean. A small price for the lack of dust and white boogers that regular mud sanding causes.
This is gonna make Smoothwall skim coating a pleasure…relatively speaking of course.
Why didn’t they invent this stuff 30 years ago? At least I get to use it before I die.

First Paint Coat

Dust Control Drywall Mud

Taping and sanding drywall are two of the messiest parts of any remodeling project. Sanding is especially nasty as until recently dust control was a real problem. Not anymore. The other day I mentioned that I was trying a new product for taping drywall.

USG, who literally wrote the book on drywall has come up with a new product.

Sheetrock® Brand Dust Control Joint Compound


This is amazing stuff!! It spreads smoothly, shrinks very little, sands like a dream and does as advertised. Dust clumps and drops to the floor. I will never use any other premix product for taping ever. It’s that good!

Fireplace Freshen 1

Fireplace Facelift
This is the before shot. There are few things uglier than painted brick. This is an unusual fireplace as it is not centered in the room by about 5”, and has some pretty awkward windows. The idea of covering or removing the windows was rejected as the light is an important element of this room. This fireplace originally was a wood burner, with an arched opening. The client remodeled it years ago by switching it to natural gas, adding the brick surround, and installing the fireplace door. At the time, this was much more cost effective as the cost of a glass fireplace door custom built with an arched top was at the far side of obscenely expensive. Even more so today, but that is a moot point.

First things first. Removing the hearth and brick around the fireplace. The vertical blinds were bagged as the decision for window treatments had not been made. The floor was covered as the client has more of the floor tile and it was going to be filled in after we got the facelift done.

Construction Note
If you are going to tile and may remodeling in the future, buy extra tile. Patterns, colors, and styles change constantly. Just ask any of the house bloggers who have been looking for plastic tiles or subway tiles for doing restoration.

The floor in front and to the sides is also covered with 5/8” chipboard, which to me is one of the few uses for the stuff. It helps to corral all the busted brick. With the brick removed you can see the original arch of the fireplace. What is not shown is the steel angle used as a header for the brick facing. We are going to reuse if when we square off the opening to support the brick face before we begin the facelift.

Since this is a covering and the fireplace is brick, we are using 1 1/2” steel studs. (Yes they make 2×2 steel studs, but you need to find them at a drywall supply store as the big box home improvement stores only stock 2×3” and 2×4” stel studs and track. We are also leaving a 1” gap between the brick and the face. This eliminates trying to use wood and concrete nails or Blue Screws to try to make the face flat. It also covers the 3/4”dip in the brickwork.

We have extra studs in the wall as the client has some large artwork which will end up on the wall.

Construction Details
The vertical and freestanding valances are finished with Bullnose corner bead to soften the corners. The corners next to the walls and ceiling are finished with ‘L’ bead, as the walls have been recently re-textured and painted. The ceiling had the popcorn removed and a light skimcoat applied.

Valance Detail
The valance area is open for the lights that will be mounted on the backside and area for the fabric panels that will be built to cover the windows.

The yellow mud you see is not bad photography, it is a recently new product from USG called Dust Control taping compound. It comes premixed the color of eggnog, and it is a thicker consistency than other premixed mud. Anything that controls dust during construction and remodeling is good by me. We shall see how it works.

The opening for the fireplace door is wrapped with a concrete board and finished with a quick set mud.
Monday the fireplace door guy will be by to measure for the door.