Maxson Painting recently had the privilege of participating in the restoration of the Ventura Missionary School gymnasium after the Thomas Fire had damaged a portion of the structure.
So you just got a great deal on a new home but the bad news is, the last people to live there were heavy smokers and the walls look as though they are dripping nicotine. Now what do you do? Well I am glad you asked because we have the answers that will get those walls looking like new. It is also helpful to note that this process will also work for damage from small fires. So let's get started.
The very first thing you're going to need to do is wash those walls thoroughly. Be sure to mask the electrical outlets as you'll be using a good deal of water and we don't want you to have a shocking experience. The walls will need to be washed at least twice with a big sponge and a product we recommend called Krud Kutter. This is a very strong product so be sure to use rubber gloves. Depending on how bad the smoke damage is you may want to mix it a little more strongly than it recommends but no more than a one to one solution. As we said wash the walls at least twice and then rinse them to be sure you've gotten all that nasty nicotine and cleaner off the walls.
Now you need to prime all of the surfaces in the home. We recommend you use BIN alcohol based primer. This has a very strong smell but it dries very quickly and that is key to locking down that nicotine smell. You may want to invest in a disposable respirator for the priming process. They are not that expensive and it will save you that nasty headache you get working around a strong smelling primer. Using water-based primer is not a great option. Even though they promise to block out the stains, the smell may not get locked in as well. Once you have primed everything one time let it dry thoroughly and repeat the process of priming. This ensures that smell and stains are locked down completely. This may not be necessary when using the alcohol based primer but it is critical if you have chosen to use the less smelly water-based primer. At this point you are ready to proceed like a normal paint job.
Some other things you will want to keep in mind that aren't necessarily related to the painting but will help you in this recovery from the smoke damage are…
- having the ductwork cleaned
- changing out all vents in bathrooms
- removing the carpet and
- replacing window coverings
Materials and Tools
Removing wallpaper can be a breeze or it can be a real challenge. The great news is that you never know until you are well into the project which of these experiences you're going to have. Okay that’s not such great news, but unfortunately, it is reality. Here are some tips to making the process a little more bearable and to ensure a long lasting, great looking finish.
The first step you are going to want to take is to protect the floor and other surfaces around the area. We recommend masking the floor and other items with plastic. Next, line the floor at the bottom of the wall where you are removing wallpaper with old towels or newspaper. This comes in handy later when applying the wallpaper remover or water to rinse the wall.
I would recommend buying a product called the Piranha because it is inexpensive and will make the whole job substantially easier. The Piranha perforates the wallpaper allowing the wallpaper remover solution to penetrate through the paper and begin softening the glue. Other companies make similar tools that can do this job.
Once the wallpaper has been adequately perforated you can apply a wallpaper remover of your choice. If you want to save a few dollars regular liquid dish soap also works pretty well. Apply the wallpaper removal solution generously using a squirt bottle or garden sprayer. If you are reluctant to do any spraying then purchase a large sponge and soak the walls that way. Remember to generously soak the surface. Let the solution sit for at least 15 minutes allowing it to work. Once it has had time to soak in I find it best to re-wet the surface at the point where you will begin the removal process. Re-wetting small areas as you work on removing the paper acts as a lubricant making the job easier and causes less damage to the wallboard.
Removing the wallpaper can be accomplished with special wallpaper removal tools or wide, stiff, putty knives. Take your time removing the paper. Every gouge in that wall is a gouge you will have to fix later. If the wallpaper is resisting your efforts and just plain refusing to come off then you may need to rent or buy a wallpaper steamer. These work well but they add cost to the project and can be messy. This tool is fairly straightforward, it has a tank with water that gets heated and a large square device that you rest on the wall to heat the glue to a point where the wallpaper can be easily scraped off.
Now that all the wallpaper has been removed go ahead and take a large sponge and a solution of that wallpaper stripper that we purchased earlier and wash those walls down as you want to get as much of that glue off as possible. I recommend sanding the wall to remove any debris left behind from the removal process.
The next step is to apply a full coat of stain blocking primer to the walls where the wallpaper has been removed. This is a very important step. The process seals in the remaining glue that has soaked into the wall. If you skip this process it is likely that a year down the line the finished paint will begin to crack as the glue seeps out.
Once the wallpaper is off, the walls are washed, sanded, and primed you can patch and texture the walls as needed. If you had to make some large patches or texture spots go ahead and seal those with the primer used earlier. Congratulations you are now ready to paint using one of those great zero VOC paints we recommended in our earlier blog. Good luck!
Material and Tools
Popcorn, Acoustic, Stucco, Cottage Cheese, whatever you may call it, removal of this type of ceiling finish is very popular. The temptation to remove this unsightly mess off your ceiling can be strong and you may want to jump right in. But before you start scraping it away there are a couple things you should know so that the project is done properly, looks good, and most importantly you stay safe.
The first thing you need to know is that homes built before 1980 could have asbestos in the acoustic. Asbestos is a fibrous material that was used to help protect against fire. It has since been linked with multiple lung disorders. Testing for the substance is an important first step. Homes built after 1980 rarely have asbestos in the acoustic ceilings but it may be prudent to test anyway. It is important to take responsibility for testing before you proceed with your project. If your test is positive you will need to contact a local asbestos removal contractor. Be sure to sit down before you get the estimate as this can be a very pricy endeavor. In lieu of removing the asbestos-filled acoustic, the acoustic can be painted using specially designed light weight acoustic paints. These products perform best when you spray them on. Often the directions say you can roll them, I would avoid that if at all possible as it may damage the ceiling and disturb the asbestos.
Now you are ready to start. Your first step is to fully mask the floor.
- Cover the floor with plastic
- Lay a second sheet of plastic over the first. (Trust me you will like this step)
- Lay some plastic outside the door of the room where you are doing the removal
- Place an old towel on top of that to help contain the acoustic being removed
Next you will want to wet the ceiling to minimize the amount of dust from the removal process. You can use a garden sprayer or carefully use a hose to do that. Make sure you do not over saturate the acoustic as you do not want the drywall underneath to become too wet. Once the ceiling has been dampened you can use a wide drywall knife, 8’’ or 12’’ knives work well, to carefully remove the wet acoustic. I say carefully because the more nicks and scrapes you inflict on the drywall the more you will have to fix later. Once all the acoustic has been removed roll up that second piece of plastic and haul it to the trash can. Let the ceiling dry overnight. Setting up a fan to keep the air moving is a good idea. The next day sand the ceiling to get any residual acoustic off the surface. Use 100 grit drywall sandpaper or drywall sanding grids for this step.
Next you should skim coat (apply a smooth layer of drywall mud on) the whole ceiling. This can be done by using a 9’’ roller, drywall mud and the widest drywall knife you can handle. Ideally you will have two people for this. The process goes like this…
- Thin the mud just enough to get it to roll out.
- One person rolls out the mud and the second person smooth’s it out with the drywall knife.
- Excess mud from each pass can be put in a drywall pan.
- Turn the fans back on and wait until the mud is fully dry.
- Once it is all good and dry sand the mud again and repeats the process.
Hopefully after letting the second coat dry and sanding it you will have a surface that can be textured using a texture machine or painted as it is depending on the finish you would like to have. Flat paint works best on ceilings as it shows less flaws in the finish. You will also want to caulk the corners in between paint coats to give yourself nice clean corners.
Materials and Tools
- Drywall knives
- Safety glasses
- Hose or Hudson sprayer
- Tape (red vinyl works well when using water)
- Drywall mud
- Sanding pole
- Drywall sandpaper or sanding screens
- Flat paint
- Dust masks
- An old towel
- Texture machine
- Mud pan
Examples of materials you may need
Asbestos Test kit
Dryfall Acoustic paint
Maxson Painting came on the job to finish up the interior and exterior painting after earlier challenges led to a change in painting contractors. Our responsibility was to go over every surface and insure that the highest quality finishes were achieved. Detailed sanding, patching and finishing done over finished hardwood flooring in fully furnished homes was no problem for our team. The time frame was critical as the condos were going on the market very soon. Maxson Painting work closely with the construction superintendant and in harmony with the other tradesmen to meet the opening date requirement.
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In our Pro Tip Series we attempt to answer frequent questions that homeowners have.
In today's post we tackle the question: Why is the paint peeling off my doors and trim?
There could be any number of reasons for this surface condition, the most common cause tends to be water-based paint having been applied over oil based paint. Water-based paints have a lot of great qualities, sticking well over oil based paint just isn't one of them. This can be a real challenge to repair, but it can be fixed if you take the right steps.
What are those right steps you ask? Well that’s a great question and I’m glad you asked.
The first step is to check and see how well the paint is sticking. Meaning, it is not coming off easily when scratched with your fingernail. In the best case scenario the paint is still sticking fairly well.
If this is the case follow these steps:
- Lightly sand the failing paint
- Apply a coat of oil based primer on top of the water based paint.
- Next lightly sand the primer to get a smooth surface
- Finally apply two coats of quality semi-gloss enamel and you're done
If the paint scratches off easily with your fingernail, you will need to follow these steps:
- First remove all loose and failing paint using a stiff putty knife, paint scraper and sandpaper.
- Once this has been accomplished sand the surfaces thoroughly
- Apply a coat of oil based primer
- Next lightly sand the primer to get a smooth surface
- Lastly apply two finish coats of quality semi-gloss enamel.
If you just hate the idea of using oil based primer, check with your local paint store and explain the situation. Depending on where you live they may have a water-based primer that will do the job for you. Good luck with your painting project!
Your friendly professionals at Maxson Painting