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Skimming walls/ceiling as a beginner

Discussion in 'Plastering and Rendering' started by rborob, 17 Oct 2017.

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  1. rborob

    rborob

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    I'm fairly new to DIY and usually just fork out money to people better at it than me, however having just moved house i'm pretty skint and am looking to do some of the work myself. Our living room was pretty garish and we stripped the wallpaper off that and the hall/stairs but it's left some pretty unsightly cracks and bumps which will show through any paint and I'd prefer not to hang paper everywhere. So i guess I have a number of questions (please be gentle)
    1. Is a skim coat the best solution? The walls aren't falling apart, but they're not even so i'm hoping adding a skim coat will give me a paintable/wallpaperable surface
    2. What kind of joint compound would be best for me to use?
    3. Do i need to seal/prime the wall (bare plaster) before i skim or after? or both?
    4. I've done a lot of research and believe these are the tools I need. any advice?
      • 12" taping knife
      • 6" joint knife
      • 13" mud pan
      • pole sander
    5. how do you skim tight into the corners? there are very small gaps where the ceiling meets the wall...do you skim tight into the gaps?
    6. The ceiling was wallpapered too...so that's come off..do i use the same compound for the ceiling as I do the walls?
    7. Also the corners of the chimney breast are rounded so i was going to use some corner bead to "square it off" but should i could stick it on with the compound or screw it in?
    8. Any other tips?
    I appreciate any help or answers people can give. I really want to give this a go but it's obviously quite intimidating at first, so any help would be welcome!

    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: 17 Oct 2017
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  3. Sorry Rborob, but you're equipment list is completely wrong, so I think you need to go and do some more research before we can help you.

    As a starting point, you want a plasterers trowel and hawk, and get yourself a large flexi tub to mix the plaster in, and a bag of thistle multifinish. And you'll want some PVA.

    Have a look on youtube for plastering tips, and then come back. Putting up angle beads takes a lot of pactice, so you'd leave that aspect till last.
     
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  4. NickB_99

    NickB_99

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    Agree with doggit's comments.

    Also to add -
    I was in a similar position to you a few years ago.
    I attended a DIY plastering course which was well worth the money to get some hands-on practice with the basics. It won't make you an expert! But will get you going.
    I found this forum invaluable for advice too, posting pics of problems to look at. The combination of the two and starting with little jobs first has worked for me. On third house renovation, with the majority of each replastered.

    Good luck!
     
  5. rborob

    rborob

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    Even if I'm not plastering? I was under the impression joint compound was easier to work with and takes longer to set than plaster so is easier for a beginner.

    You mention a hawk and trowel compared to a knife and pan.. It's that not preference? Is a trowel better for beginners skimming?
     
  6. A knife is for jointing, so you're never really doing more than the width of the knife, but when you're plastering, you're working on a much larger area, and a knife would leave lines as you go over a wider area.

    A trowel is just the right way to do a wall - whether a beginner or a professional; and a knife the right way to do a joint. It's like trying to use a flat blade screwdriver on a phillips screw, you can sort of do it, but you also risk screwing it up in the process.
     
  7. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    Or not being able to screw it up as the case may be!:LOL:

    I am a beginner too, and I was doing the wall with a window on and also a bay window, I found the smaller than standard towel was the best size, the big one was difficult to control.
    However I've no doubt that on a full wall the big one would be better.
    Another tip is practise first on some plasterboard so you get a feel for the plaster.i didn't and the first area I did is full of bubbles and generally naff.
    Ceilings are a lot harder than walls for starting out. Although you're supposed to do the ceiling first in reality.
    Don't forget to scrim tape any gaps or cracks.
     
  8. rborob

    rborob

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    Is there an art to mixing? or is it just following instructions? I only ask as I've seen some premixed bags of thistle multi finish and some not...so was wondering which to get
     
  9. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    I just chuck water in a bucket, sprinkle the plaster on top, then use a clean bit of wood to stir well. The best wood is about a metre long and you keep the top hand still and circle the bottom hand.
    For larger quantities you can get special motorised mixers with a long paddle.
     
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  11. I use a paddle mixer for just a 25Kg bag, gave up using a stick a long time ago - well worth the £40 I paid at Lidls for it. Follow the mixing instructions on the bag as John suggests, and just make sure that it's mixed in well and there are no lumps.

    But there is no such thing as a premixed back of multi finish; there's only one type of product in the bag, so nothing to mix.
     
  12. rborob

    rborob

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    Should I do the inside corners first? And should I buy a trowel for the inside corners?

    Appreciating all the help and feedback.
     
  13. You'll only use a trowel for inside corners if you're doing two walls at a time - definite no no for beginners. Inside corners first if they're the simplest. And having done a wall, remember to PVA the edges of it when you do the adjoining wall, or the plaster will goo off to quickly on that edge.
     
  14. rborob

    rborob

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone...for some reason i'd gone down a different route of which videos i was googling (as the video I'd first watched had a guy skimming with a knife).
    I've watched a fair few more videos now and will be going out to buy my equipment this weekend. I'll start off with just one discreet section of wall first to get a technique going then hopefully take those learnings to the other walls. Just to put my checklist of items down i'll be getting

    • Bags of Thistle multi finish (not sure how many as i have a large room and hall/stairs to do)
    • PVA (will roll this on diluted)
    • Buckets/flexi tubs
    • Mixing paddle
    • Bucket trowel (to help mix and move mix to hawk)
    • Trowel and Hawk
    • Paintbrushes for cleaning etc

    So i guess thats all I'll need? Will watch a few more videos a few more times..but guess its all down to technique from here on out?
     
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  15. NickB_99

    NickB_99

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    Get a decent trowel.
    As you're planning already, go with a small one eg 12" long.
    I've got a couple of marshalltown stainless steel pre-worn ones, but there are other decent reputable makes e.g. Tyzack, ragni and prob others the guys could suggest.
    It makes a big difference using a decent one!
     
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  16. Sounds as though you're going to use a drill to mix the multi finish, in which case, run the drill on it's slow speed, and not too fast. If you mix it too fast, then the mixture overheats, and goes off quicker. Mix the PVA at 3:1, and use a roller and tray for large areas, and remember to do all the adjoining edges for about half inch. I'd personally go for a 14" trowel rather than a 12", as you'll cover the area quicker, and create less troughs. Ordinary steel trowels have less flex than stainless steel ones, but I doubt if you'd notice the difference, but you don't get pre worn steel trowels, so take a fine file to the corners to smooth them down a little so they don't dig in.

    But Chris is right, a decent trowel is the best investment you can make, so reckon about £45 for it, and make sure it has a soft handle as well as being preworn, as you'll soon pick up blisters being a beginner.
     
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  17. roy c

    roy c

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    Just a thought, when you clean your paddle out (by spinning it around in a bucket of water) after you have mixed your plaster up. Make sure you take the plug out of the socket before you put a brush on the blades to clean them. It's not always the first thing you think about but it is better to clean it straight away or you will be knocking the set plaster off it with a scraper later on!!! Get yourself a stiff bristle hand brush to clean it..
     
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