Spackling and sanding drywall is fun! Ask anyone that’s done it and they’ll look at you and smile real wide.
OK…so the big smile may not mean they had fun spackling and sanding! What their smiling eyes are really trying to tell you is… “You really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, do you? But go ahead and knock yourself out.”
Spackle is so versatile that you would be surprised at the many ways that people put it to use. For example, check out this crazy video for “Crack Spackle” from The Man Show. You’ll never look at spackle in quite the same way ever again. WARNING: Plumbers crack on display!
See…spackle is amazing stuff!
Anyway, back to reality and how most people put spackle to use. Well…I’ve got news for the DIY-type out there that hasn’t tackled this particular project yet but is willing to give it a shot with good advice and is not afraid to get dirty.
YOU CAN DO IT!!!
In my recent post about the best way to remove wallpaper I mentioned that spackling and sanding was stage 2 of our bathroom remodeling project, so with putty knife and respirator in hand, it’s time we dove right in.
I was not looking forward to this step of our project, although I knew what needed to be done to prep the walls for painting.
Rather than that, it was due to the sheer number of drywall anchor holes that needed repair combined with the fact that the wallpaper we removed was not pre-primed before it was applied and that our enthusiastic little helper had a grand time with the Paper Tiger (a scoring device) by applying just a bit too much pressure.
Homebuilding Tip: Priming the walls before the wallpaper is applied will allow for much easier removal.
How To Spackle Drywall Holes
First things first. You must buy a good, tight dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs while sanding. The brand I bought was made by 3M (model 8210plus). It worked very well and I had no ill effects from the dust during or after sanding.
By the way, the dust you see in my hair (what’s left of it) in the photo has aged me a decade, or so. There was a lot of dust!
That’s all you need to repair drywall anchor holes, nail holes, slight imperfections and wherever the backing paper on the wall board may have torn if you removed the wallpaper.
There’s really nothing to filling the holes. Put a little on your small or medium putty knife and fill all of the holes and even out any chips or imperfections you see.
Now is your chance!
The spackle in the deeper holes will bulge out initially, but don’t worry about it. Deeper holes may have to be spackled and sanded 2-3 times for a proper repair. You really need very little spackle for the tinier holes so smooth over it and scrape off as much as possible. Remember…you have to sand off any excess later which translates into more dust.
The deeper holes and divots will take a few hours to thoroughly dry and you can’t rush it. Be patient and take advantage of a little down time to work on some of the other honey-do items on your list… or play with the kids for awhile.
Sanding Technique is Key to a Smooth Wall
I used a multi-grit sanding sponge that fits in the palm of your hand made by Norton. It worked beautifully and we were able to sand the entire bathroom with only 2 of them — although I was beating the dust out of them frequently to keep the grit raised.
I’d highly recommend a sanding sponge due to cost, convenience and ease of use. It fits in the palm of your hand so it gives you excellent feel while applying varying degrees of pressure. I did not use the sanding sheets you see in the photo. I thought I would need them but I liked the sponges so much that there was no need for it. You may prefer a sanding block to the sponge. It’s up to you.
In order to get the walls to the smoothness of the original wall, I used the medium grit side of the sanding sponge to sand away the majority of the excess spackle. I then turned the sponge over to the fine grit side to smooth it down. I smoothed it out with steadily decreasing pressure to leave no trace that it had been sanded. The result was spectacular if I do say so myself!
Prime Before You Paint
Stir the primer with a paint stick and then close the lid tightly and shake it up thoroughly. Gravity separates primer quite dramatically so take your time here and mix it thoroughly.
Open all of the windows in the vicinity for fresh air to circulate. The fumes from the Kilz primer that I used were profound, so I took a few quick breaks to get fresh air in my lungs. Bathrooms are infamous for having no windows and ours is no exception. I didn’t use a respirator, but you certainly could for this step of the operation.
Why cheap? It’s quicker and easier to throw away a $2 brush rather than thoroughly cleaning it with mineral spirits, etc. (…especially at 1 o’clock in the morning when I finished priming). Save the expensive brush for the paint.
Finish it off with the (cheap throwaway) roller and wait an hour or two for it to dry.
You may then begin to paint.
See Part 3 for the painting part of this project.
See Part 1 for the best way to remove wallpaper.