Sponsored Links


September 2021
« Jan    

Textured Drywall Patch

A recent job had me checking the plumbing on a house being freshened up. After replacing the mixing valve in one bathroom I came to find out that the previous owner had never used the shower, which filled the valve body with crap requiring replacement. This of course after the walls had been painted and carpet laid. Since the shower was tiled. entry from the front was a non starter.

After measuring the walls, I got lucky and discovered that the common wall was in a closet. In order for the plumber to get in, I needed to cut him a hole. Because the walls were textured, I needed to minimize the damage, so I cut the access with a utility knife. This takes longer than with a keyhole saw or a router, but the walls have been painted and new carpet installed.

I bagged and taped off the floor and cut the hole.

Here is the hole.  The studs were already in place. Yeah the plumber got his work done in that little hole. He is that good.

Next up is re-installing the drywall.  Because of  the backing screwing it back in was a breeze. Looking at the bottom of this photo you can see where I taped off the trim and taped it to the poly on the floor.

I used my old friend mesh tape for covering the seams. Here I have taped the horizontal and vertical wall seams. If you look closely you can see the tape line where somebody else  had opened this wall before to work on the drain.

Tech Tip: When you tape or repair drywall always do the butt joints first, cover the ends of the butt joints with the flats, (factory recessed seams) and finally the corners allowing you to overlap the ends with your corner tape. It makes taping easier as you will not telegraph the seams requiring more sanding to finish.

Here is the final tape. Notice the corner tape extends beyond the flat. This helps with finishing.

Next is the mud. Here your coats need to be thin enough to just cover without creating large bulges that are more work.

Because this is a ‘knock down’ texture After the mud is dry and you have sanded it lightly, texture in a can is applied. Follow the directions on the can as far as testing it on cardboard and following the directions in terms of drying time before ‘knocking it down’.

After this dries, before you repaint, lightly sand the area to match the original finish. You want to round the edges to hide your repair especially if your wall has been painted many times. I took the time to cover and texture the previous repair since I was in the neighborhood.

All done! the photo sucks but nobody who has looked at it can find it. And that is name of the game.

Storage Project 4 Details - Long Post

At the beginning of the Storage Project I said, “What I am going to do is to open this side of this wall, remove the pocket door and frame in the opening, remove the short wall between the existing opening and the new wall creating a long storage room. I will wire it for cable, network and electricity for future uses.”
This is standard stuff and sounds easy. If you do this for a living it is. If you are just starting with a small project around your house, here are some of the drywall detail work to help you conquer your projects.

I have mentioned that I screw drywall. After you have bought the basic drill, circular saw, and hand tools, you very next purchase should be a screwgun. Screws work better for holding drywall. A screwgun has an adjustable nose so you can set depth of your screws just below the surface. This is important because of the design of drywall screws and the ability of them to hold the drywall to the walls without popping.
You cannot use a regular drill and get a consistent depth for maximum holding power by hand. You will be either not deep enough requiring you to use a screw driver to get them deep enough or you will go to deep past the paper making the screw useless in terms of holding power. Trust me on this one.

Here are a few of the details on this project.
Wall Fix.
This is the wall where we removed the small wall that formed part of the old storage closet.

The ceiling is how they hung the drywall just over the top plate. You can barely make out the mesh tape I have bridged the gap with. The wall was a little different. I cut a line into the inside of all the corners before removing the old drywall, to prevent the walls from running. After I removed the old drywall and studs, I used a 4” mud knife and slid it along the wall cutting into the leftover corner material before filling in the gap left by the old studs. I screwed the drywall to the blocking that was in the wall that they used to build this wall. I meshed taped both seams. This will be filled with speed set. I use speed set for pre fill as it dries quickly and shrinks very little requiring much less labor to blend. (That comes later when I skim coat) Also I can add less water to produce a stiffer mix to fill these gaps without runs or bulges.

Ceiling Outlet Repair

This is a typical ceiling outlet hole.  This is made by using a circle cutter and then bashing it open with a drywall hammer. When you are hanging footage, it takes 5 seconds to bash the hole, and up to 30 seconds to use a keyhole saw. Bashing the hole this way breaks the core of the back side of the drywall, which you remove by sweeping it with the hatchet side of your drywall hammer. You should take the time to cut these out with a keyhole saw.

I mention this because if you have small pot lights or retro fit ceiling cans, that keeping falling down or loosening up, this is the reason. There is not enough material around the sides to allow the clamps to hold it tight to the ceiling. You can loosen the clamps, rotate the light and hope you get lucky, or remove the light and build up the top of the sheet with compound. It doesn’t work very well in most cases.

Squaring the hole.

Just like it sounds. Cut a square scrap of drywall, cover the hole, trace around it, and cut it with keyhole saw.


Install blocking above your hole. This is a scrap lumber that is long enough to extend beyond the cut line and narrow enough so that you can hold it tight while you screw it in place. The point here is to repair the area and keep it flat. On walls you can use the “tapeless drywall patch technique” But on ceilings I recommend blocking.


Screw in the block that you used as a template for cutting the hole.

Mesh tape and you are ready for mud.

Here is a wall patch. This was an exploratory hole for a cable run into the dining room. Measurements get you only so far, Sometimes you just have to perform surgery. Here also I used blocking rather than a tapeless patch which is really much better on smooth walls.

Here is our hole covered before skim coating.

Here is another patch. This is actually a twofer. When I disconnected this outlet, it turned out not to stop here but was also connected to the porch light. So I had to cut it open both top and bottom to trace the wiring. I wire nutted the connections, pushed them in the box, and will be covering this with blank cover plate.

Never !Ever! bury  a box that contains live circuits. It is against code, and if there is ever any problem, you or your electrician will thank me.

Note that I covered the box opening with blue tape. This prevents filling the box with mud as you work. This saves time and aggravation when it comes time to  install outlets,switches,  and cover plates.

It makes taping easier not having to worry about crap in the box or loose wires sticking out, live or not.

Drywall over Concrete
This is the west end of the storage area. On the left and back is the concrete block that forms part of the veranda in front and the garage wall.

Here we use drywall with heavy adhesive(PowerGrab) on the back and use short spiral shank concrete nails to hold it in place while the glue sets. Here is the intrepid client lending a hand.

In the photo below on the right side, the brown area is where we did not cut the inside corner deep enough  so when we pulled the drywall down, the top ran, taking the paint and texture off. This will have to be pre-filled before skimcoating.

The walls are taped and covered coated prior to skim coating the walls smooth. Because there is so much patching, skim coating is the best wall treatment.

Skim Coating
Because of depth of texture multiple coats of mud will be needed. This is the first coat applied vertically. The second coat should be applied horizontally, and the final coat, with vertically. I used speed set for the fill coats and Dust Control mud for the final coat. Because you have to sand it smooth eventually:)

Second Coat.

Sanded and Primed

Not everything goes according to plan. In finishing up one last connection in the attic, which is another whole post. Suffice to say , in arizona the shortest distance for wiring is anywhere you want.

Attics are dark dusty, and slippery.

One small step for mankind, one more repair for the taper.

Here we installed blocking between the ceiling joists, and screwed through the joists into the blocks with 3” screws, because folks will step on any thing that looks solid. So screw up the drywall, tape over the cracks, and skim over it.

The repaired area is in the middle of the ceiling over the end light. Came out okay.

These are some of the most common challenges you may face in remodeling, but hopefully not all at the same time or in the same room.

USG Dust Control Mud Coupon

dcmudTaping drywall is an art as well as one of the messiest procedures in remodeling. I have mentioned USG products before including their Dust Control Mud. It has its own website.

This is probably the greatest stuff for the home remodeler since the blue and orange stores.
I really wished they had this stuff years ago.

They have a coupon on their website.

Drywall Skim Coating – Outside Corners

My previous posting showed skim coating prep for inside corners. If you have outside corners they need to be fixed also.
Here is the soffit over the vanities at the Lightyear Sunken Bath Project. We are cornerbeading it to create a smooth job.

Cornerbead installation for skim coating

Cornerbead installation for skim coating

Cornerbead is available in 8′ and 10′ lengths most places. When you have a run that is longer, and need to butt two pieces together you bridge them. Bridging is using a small piece of bead behind your outside corner. This allows you to butt the next length to it and have a smooth line to tape and mud.

Bridging Corner Bead

Bridging Corner Bead

Now that the corner bead is installed the skim coating continues. Here I have skim coated the the walls of the soffit, but without running the beads. This gives a smoother area to run your knife against when filling the beads and the inside corners. A little work now saves a lot of work later.

I am using USG Dust Control Mud here as it works so well. Sands like a dream and clumps together for clean up.

Fill coat before running the bead

Fill coat before running the bead

Here is the corner with the next skim coat applied.

Here is the soffit and ceilings with the corner bead filled and second coat applied.

Here is the soffit and ceilings with the corner bead filled and second coat applied.

Here is the soffit area where we installed the bridging at the top of the post.

Here is the other side of the soffit with the opening into the utility room.

Here is the other side of the soffit with the opening into the utility room.

Drywall Skim Coating - Inside Corners

In remodeling you sometimes decide to bridge the new work to old or existing work. Matching or changing your wall surface becomes a consideration. This is a short guide on skim coating existing walls to match the new construction.

The previous wall surface is a heavy knockdown texture. Basically what happens is that the walls are taped and second coated, and then taping mud is thinned and sprayed on the walls with a texture hopper, and after a few minutes, it is ‘knocked down’ with a taping knife resulting in a textured wall. It is a cheap finish system and all too often is done badly.

This is the alcove where the toilet sits in the Lightyear Sunken Bath Project. In this case we decided to make the walls smooth. This has just about every thing you can run into when remodeling with drywall between old and new construction.

The left of this photo shows the edge of the drywall that covers where we installed a pocket door. The back wall shows where we installed a glass block for light and replaced the piece of drywall we cut out previously. You can also get a good idea of the ‘knock down’ texture.
The right side shows where we framed up the new partition between the toilet and the shower with the opening for the open shelf unit.

Throne Alcove with New and Old work.

Throne Alcove with New and Old work.

Here is the beginning of taping this area. We use mesh tape for the flats, and paper tape for the inside corners. Taping on texture has its own issues. When you feather your mud, the knife running over the texture telegraphs and creates ripples in your mud coat.
When taping inside corners on these areas, mud and embed your tape, and wipe down the new flat side first. This creates a guide area for wiping down the other side and give you a clean smooth corner.

Taping cracks and establishing Inside corners

Taping cracks and establishing Inside corners

Here the process is a bit further along with the introduction of the open shelf unit and the metal bead. This unit is trimless, so I installed ‘L’ Bead along the outside edges of the shelving unit. Not shown in this photo is a piece of mesh tape applied diagonally just below the high side of the bead. This strengthens the joint, minimizing cracking, and reinforcing the gap made by the bead and the drywall. We also taped the flats and installed the corner bead.

Wall and Shelf Detail

Wall and Shelf Detail

Look at the bottom of this photo and notice the grey triangular area. This is where I did not cut through the corner deep enough when I removed the old drywall prior to rebuilding this.

Here is where I have prefilled this area thinking that I had gotten all of the loose paper removed. Bzzt! not so fast. You can see the bubbles from a bit of the paper that had separated. You have to remove these and fill them in. If you do not, succeeding coats of mud will bounce, and look bad. You can also get an idea of the texture filling with the splotchy area outside of the triangle.

Paper Detail

Paper Detail

Here is where I have taped the flats and the corners. You can see the diagonal line of where the two ‘L’ beads do not match up perfectly. This will be fixed on succeeding coats. The magazine rack also gets taped. If it is an inside corner it gets tape.

Reading nook detail

Reading nook detail

The most important part of skim coating is taping the inside corners to provide clean sharp angles.

Inside Corner Taping

Inside Corner Taping

Once your corners are done, you can then begin the process of skim coating to smooth your walls.

Wall Skimming

Wall Skimming

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 11 Water Heater and Tub Installation

Tuesday and Wednesday had me taping up a storm to get ready for the installation on Friday. Thursday had me taping and painting the closet for Friday. I wanted to get the closet done so that I could paint before installing the water heater. Because I am basically lazy I don’t want to try to paint around 500 pounds of water heater.
So here we are Friday morning.


I mentioned previously that the floor sloped. I also built a platform for the water heater to get it off the ground and level. Here that is.


This is basically 26” square. The back to front drop from level is almost an inch. The side drop is a little less than a 1/4 inch. I bevel cut 2×4’s, screwed them together, and used simpson anchors and blue screws to attach it to the floor. The top is a plywood deck with a piece of 1/8” hardboard masonite material and ‘power grab’ glued it to the plywood.

I hope nobody tried to pick this up before I am dead or read this post, because it is one of those deals that will make them swear and go crazy trying to pry it up.

Chris and Vern from Exclusively Plumbing showed up and the installation proceeded.
First up was dry fitting the tub. Slid right in and surprised Chris. He mentioned and I know from bitter experience that this is not usually the case. Vern and I discussed the details and double checked everything while he was doing the rough in.


Some tubs come with a drain kit. This one did not. So while Chris went for parts, Vern installed the water heater and capped off the manifold that had been feeding this end of the house. Joe the electrician installed the wiring and we fired it up. One of the nice details was applying trims to the penetrations on the water lines.


Here is the light installed. It is a lot brighter than this photo.


Chris installing the drain kit for the tub.


This is why we built a form to keep this area clear of concrete.

We also installed an inline water heater for the Jacuzzi.


This was a weird deal as the cover had to be removed in order to get the nuts back far enough to slip into position. The plus to this unit is that it has a flow control switch, which means that if the water is not flowing, it is not on.

We have Bubbles!!!


Next thursday or friday the solid surface lads will be here to install their stuff. Meanwhile I will be taping and skim coating the walls, installing doors and trims and painting.

Todays brain fart… I can’t count the number of Jacuzzi style tubs and hot tubs I have installed, but I have never actually used one. Maybe when I win the Powerball, I will get me one.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 10 – Water Heater and Tub Prep 2

Having gotten the drywall hung it was time to tape. I always tape coat my flats and corners before installing corner bead.
It works out better for me. I have a tutorial with the long explanation
here. I am using 45 minute ‘hot mud’ ‘speed set’ for this as there is a lot to do and little time to do it in. Speed set is also moisture resistant and is preferred to tape tub and shower walls. The plumber and electrician are coming Friday. The closet needs to be painted by then and the tub area needs to be sealed for the solid surface guys who will be coming out to measure as soon as the tub is in.

Here is the ceiling in the water heater closet. The ceiling edge is covered with a 1/2” piece of ‘L’ bead to provide a clean line. This area was originally a privacy area with a block wall and a sloping sidewalk. It got some stub walls and a roof, which was attached to the original roof eave which led to ‘interesting’ details (the first photo shows you the ceiling line) to work around to make this come out.

Notice that I have bagged the sub panel and covered the outlet. As you can see, just in time by the glob of mud on the electric panel. Filling the electric panel with drywall mud or touching live wires with a metal bladed taping knife will piss off your electrician and generally ruin your day.

The tub area gets some corner bead on the outside corners, as well as coating. The small windows are finished as much as they will get as the solid surface will be wrapping the exposed areas.


The large block window gets corner bead to square it, and will be filled and finished coated to make it flat for the solid surface application. Here I have also bagged the window. 6a00d8345237e469e201157042de41970c-800wi

The inside corners of the tub area are sealed and will be primed but no further mudding will be done here. It is not necessary.

Drywall Taping – Taping Walls

If you are hanging drywall yourself, taping is the next step in finishing your rooms. Taping is a skill that can be learned. It requires feeling over brute force. 

Here are the tools you will need for taping. In the upper left is a mud
pan. They come in plastic, galvanized and stainless steel like mine. On
the upper right side is a 6'' mud knife, the work horse of the taping
game. It is used to scoop the mud out of the bucket, and into the pan,
applying the tape coat of mud, corners and spotting nails. It is also
the first call for doing patch repairs, and fixing problems like electric box cutout misses.

On the bottom right is an 8'' taping knife for second coats and areas
that need a wider knife, such as corner beads, and cover  or second
coats. On the bottom left is a 12'' knife for third or finish coats and
for running butt joints. Finally in the middle of the photo is a hand
sander. A necessary tool that creates the majority of the mess in
finishing drywall. How much mess you create and have to cleanup is a
direct result of your taping efforts.

In a perfect world we have smooth seams, no tears, damage, and the only butt joints are corners. Good Luck with that….

Here we have a wall that has a number of the most common features. We have seam joints,(the long factory edges) butt joints, (the short joints where two sheets meet) cutouts for electric boxes, cutouts for plumbing, a trimless window feature, and some common problems that may  occur when hanging drywall, such as the damage on the seam joint and the damage from mis cutting an electric box opening.

I have checked my screws by running my 6'' knife down the wall and listening for clicks that tell me that a fastener is not below the surface. I have cut away the loose drywall and paper on my seams and around the electric box. The next step if your walls have any of these problems is pre fill.

Here is our wall with taping compound prefilling the damaged areas of our wall prior to taping. 'Regular' mud/joint compound has a 24 hour drying cycle. You tape today, you cover tomorrow, and the next day you apply your third coat, and if all goes well the forth day is sanding followed by priming. Just because your mud looks dry after a few hours, do not be deceived, it is only the top that is dry.

You can use speed set/hot mud/ to do your prefills and get your tape  coat on in the same day. I show this here. I also spotted the fasteners.

Tapewall2 I have also taped and prefilled the butt joints as there were holes around the plumbing and elevation differences on the wall. 

Having finished my prefill, it is time for the tape coat. I use mesh tape on the flats and paper tape on the inside corners. Mesh tape is self adhesive and almost eliminates one of the worst problems(tape bubbles) with inexperienced tapers, and makes the mudding before tape application unnecessary in the flats, you still need to do it on your inside corners.

From personal experience you should tape the buttjoints first, running the tape within 1/2'' of your inside corner and a 1/2'' over the seam joints. This allows the butt joint tape to be underneath your seam tape and under your corner tape.  After mudding and wiping the butt joints, with the 8'' knife, you next mud and wipe the seams. Then you do the corners with your 6'' knife and paper tape.  Finally you coat any cornerbeads, box repairs, and spot the nails.

Tapewall3The next day brings us to our second coat. For those of you who are just starting the taping game, before you begin the second coat, take your drywall knife and lightly slide it across your seams from yesterday to remove any drywall mud that did not get wiped down or cleaned up from yesterdays taping adventure.

Like yesterday we will tape our butts first, our seams second, box repairs and spot nails/screws and finally one side of our corners.

Getting our walls flat is more about appearance than anything else. The seam joints are easy to make flat as the sheets have a depression from the factory that we are just filling in to make them level.


Butt joints on the other hand present us with challenges as the edges of the sheets have no depressions. With our tape and mud coat we  already have a bump on our wall. Relax, unless you are using screw blocks this is normal, and will be fixed. What we do is to apply wider coats of mud on either side of our butt joint so the bump gets spread over a much greater distance and gives us the appearance of a flat wall.

The photo below gives you a look at how much wider our butt joint is than our seam joint. This is where we use the 12'' knife.

Tapewall5After your mud dries, and you sand your joints smooth, being careful not to scuff the paper with too vigorus sanding, this is the point where those that desire it get texture applied to the walls.

In either case, after finishing your walls, it is Primer Time! Always Prime Sheetrock. No I do not belong to the primer lobby, I belong to the lazy and easy lobby. Priming drywall seals it, and as an added bonus allows you to see any imperfections that can be easily repaired with a bit of wall spackle. Raw drywall sucks up paint in a major way. Primer is a lot cheaper than that custom finish color that you paid big bucks for.

Also by sealing the drywall, you will need less paint to cover the walls. We fed our thirsty walls with primer,remember?


After the primer, you are ready to apply your finish coat. 


Flooring, trim and stuff, you can start living knowing that you did it.

Drywall Fun – Racetrack Ceiling

A Racetrack Ceiling is a ceiling with a band(s) of drywall applied to your ceiling and finished with 'L' bead. This is my living room with a single racetrack. It adds depth and interest for a small investment of time, over a more elaborate Coffered Ceiling.

For this project you will need a ceiling, some 1/2'' or 5/8'' drywall, enough 1/2'' or 5/8'' 'L' bead to enclose the inside edge, Powergrab adhesive, drywall tape and mud and a few coarse thread screws to hold the drywall in place while the Powergrab dries.

This is where I built a soffit for extending the HVAC for the media room. We are going to apply 6'' wide strips of drywall to the perimeter of the ceiling for our racetrack.
You want to cut these as straight as possible. Saves work later.

Here is the ceiling with the strips applied. They are held in place with Powergrab, and a couple of coarse sheetrock screws to hold them in place. Don't worry about hitting wood, you will be pulling them out soon.

I specify Powergrab because it just flat out works. If you want to hold it for 10 seconds you probably don't even need the screws. Liquid Nails, and other panel adhesives do not work this well.


Next, we tape out the inside corners around the perimeter of the room. Tape and coat the Wall angle of the corner before attaching the 'L' bead.
Then we attach our 'L' bead to the inside edge of the drywall with thin coat of powergrab and a few screws to hold it, while it sets up.

Fill coat the bead strips, mud the wall side of the corners, let dry, sand and repeat.

After sanding and before priming, run a very thin bead of caulk on the top edge of the 'L' bead to hide any holes that may peek out.

Prime and paint.

Depending on the size of your room, ceiling height, and amount of work you want to do you can apply a 9'', 6'', and 3'' racetracks around your room and 'step' it like a coffered ceiling.

Drywall can be fun!

Artroom Expansion 12

The electrician was a no show, as he had other work. This is okay as I got the sanding and we got the primer done.

Always prime sheetrock!!!

First, it will save you money. You really don't want to apply two or more coats of 30+ bucks a gallon paint to cover your wall.

Second, by priming your walls, you have an opportunity to fix any small problems that show up before you paint your finish color.

Third, cause I said so.


The ceiling came out pretty well.

The damage on this wall went away as well.

24 sheets of drywall, 2 bags of speedset, 2 boxes of dust control mud, and this is all the mess there is. Love that dust control mud.
Tomorrow I get to bite the electicians ass…