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October 2021
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Fireplace Freshen 3

Spent a bit of time last week detailing the fireplace including cutting in the edges where the new work meets the existing and painting the inside of the firebox with hi-temp paint. My son installed and finished the tile in the front of the fireplace.

One of the other details that will be addressed is softening the window openings with the radius corner bead used on the front. As I mentioned the other day, radius bead requires a different backing strategy than regular cornerbead. Here I will install drywall pieces on the window sides and attach our bead with one side on the new drywall and the other side on the existing wall. I will also skim coat the areas on the back wall. I will give the dust control mud a real test.
Typical square corner

In spending some time with the fireplace, it has been decided that we will reinstall the vertical blinds that were here. This is a mockup of what it will look like. These vertical blinds have the slightest amount of curve softening their lines. The fireplace door is not to scale. and the vertical line of the glass door are too fat, but you get the idea. The top bracket of the blinds will be hidden, and we are installing lights on the back side of the valances which will give this wall some real drama in the night.

The electrician will be by in a week or so to install ceiling lights, and the lights in the valances.

Door Stops and Drywall Patches

Doors and walls are dangerous together. Especially during puberty. Door slamming and banging is a favorite sport among a certain age group. Using a doorstop to prevent damage to your walls by the door pushing the knob through the wall is a good idea. There are many doorstops available.

These Doorstops suck. These are the cheapest ones available. Not just in cost but also in construction and durability.

Cheap door stops

These as you can see failed miserably. These are made by Stanley. They still suck.

In repairing damage to your wall, we will do a quick ‘tapeless drywall patch’. This is one hole that the homeowner started to repair the damage. Noble effort. The idea is great, the follow through is not. We want a square hole.

Cutting around the affected area

The first thing we need to do, is to square the hole. We are removing enough drywall to get past the cracked portion that the doorknob created. A drywall keyhole saw is the preferred tool for this.

Squaring the hole for the patch

Once we have our hole, take a scrap piece of drywall at least 2” larger in both dimensions than your hole.  We will make a ‘tapeless’ patch. We are going to remove an inch of drywall to leave a facepaper taping area.

Score the backside of the drywall so that you can carefully remove the edge piece so that the face paper remains. Do this with the other three sides. Your eyeballs are good enough to measure this as after the first cut, you can hold your patch up to the hole to see what else has to be removed.
Scoring the backside of our drywall patch

When you are done, your patch will look like this. We have eliminated needing a scrap of wood, screws, and drywall tape. This is for small repairs usually under 6” square.

Here is the front of our drywall patch using the face paper as our tape

Before we mud this in, we dry fit it to make sure that it will fit in our hole. Trim as necessary. It should fit snug, not tight.

Testing the fit of our patch before applying mud

Next we butter our hole with drywall mud. We are applying our mud to the surface to embed the ‘tape’ portion of our patch and the excess mud in our hole will seal the side edges when we install it.

Here we are prefilling our hole with mud applying enough to fill the gaps in our drywall and enough to fully embed the 'tape'

Insert the patch, and wipe it down, carefully so that you do not push it below the surface requiring more work.

Here is our patch in place, wiped down first coat

It will look like this. Let it dry as long as it needs to. With premixed mud, it is 24 hours. You can use “Speed Set”, which is taping compound that comes as a dry powder that you mix up yourself. It comes in 45, 90 minute times. It hardens chemically like concrete, but is a lot easier to sand. 45 minute ‘speed set ‘ has a working time, before it begins to harden and create a mess, about 1/3rd of the time (15 minutes)on the bag. You will need at least one more coat of mud before you sand.

Speed set is handy to have around, doesn’t dry out, and has an incredible shelf life. The down side is that it comes in big bags.

This particular wall was textured with a splattered ‘orange peel’, which requires more work. (don’t get me started on textured walls) The good news, is they sell spray textures in cans. so you can match this particular texture. One thing to remember, is that after you have re-textured, is to lightly sand the texture before you paint, so that the texture blends into the undamaged area. The texture on the undamaged area is smoother due to the paint that has been applied previously.

Finished and textured patch

Finally, before you repaint, put a quick coat of primer on the patch before you repaint the wall. This will hide the patch work that you did. Especially using semi or high gloss paints. Your finished repair should be invisible so that you can’t tell it ever happened.

Invisible repair

To insure that patching does not become a regular part of your life, replace all those bottom springy doorstops with a hinge mount stop like the one below. Take out one of the hinge pins, slide this on the pin, and set the pin back into the hinge. It is adjustable so you can limit the door travel. These were 99 cents at the home store.

Better Doorstops


It has been a while but I finally found the time to finish the Smoothwall Project in the living room.

Even in Phoenix, I had a white xmas. Mine was a bit different.

I spent xmas day sanding down the mud I had applied in the living room.

After sanding and before picking up the poly and the canvas drop cloths, I rolled on a heavy coat of PVA Primer. You need extra stokes as the primer gets little bubbles that need to be smoothed down or you end up with more crap on your wall.
Skimcoated walls

It was worth it.
Smooth Walls

Proper prep makes clean up a breeze and yes that is the carpet.
Yes indeed!