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I have done a lot of online research over the years about some of the details and instructions for interior house painting. I'm putting it out there that a lot of the information that one would find on the Internet is just plain wrong.

This Painting Blog tries to help provide better painting information so hopefully it will be useful for both homeowners and other painting contractors alike.

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All Types of Drywall Repairs Inside the Home

Repainting the interior of your home with a fresh coat of paint is a relatively straightforward task for most Home Owners. The job is even easier if the drywall and previous layer of paint that you are painting over is in relatively good condition. More likely than not, your home has been lived in by adults, children, and pets, and your drywall has a multitude of imperfections, perhaps even holes. Whether from installing fixtures or furniture moving mistakes, drywall holes happen to even the most careful homeowners. If the drywall shows signs of damage or wear and tear, then repairing the issues first is important in order to get museum quality painting results.

If it’s a small repair, you should be able to repair your drywall quickly and then your new walls will be ready for painting in no time. You should first consider the size of the hole that needs to be repaired first before you grab a putty knife and start spackling. Extensive drywall damage will sometimes require knowledge and quite a lot of work to ensure the stability of the wall and affected area. On the other hand, a small crack or hole can usually be repaired in just a few minutes providing you prepare the surface and utilize the correct type of compound. We refinish drywall everyday and hopefully this blog post will give you some insight on the overall process of fixing the most common types of cracks.

Stress Cracks and Nail Pops
These are common occurrences for both ceiling and wall drywall surfaces, and are caused by a slight shifting framing of the house which is related to the weather and changes of the seasons. For minor nail pops the solution can be as simple as recessing the nail head and applying at least two layers of compound over the surface. In some cases, nail pops that occur in ceilings may require the removal of the existing screw and then the re-installation of several new fasteners around the affected area. Although most small cracks in walls are innocuous, certain stress cracks can be a recurring problem are most commonly repaired with a nylon mesh tape and multiple layers of compound. More aggressive cracks can sometimes necessitate the application of a fiberglass mesh or a high performance bonding material like Plaster Weld.

Small Holes & Hairline Cracks
Hairline cracks in drywall can be caused by normal house expansion and contraction, misplaced drywall joints, or the application of joint compound during inclement weather conditions. It is most common to see hairline cracks in older homes, however, these types of cracks can also develop in houses that are less than 3 years old. Most small holes are caused by people living within the Home and are the result of staples and picture hooks placed in the walls. Luckily, hairline cracks and small holes in the walls can be fixed without much effort. The important step to be aware of is to be sure that the hole and crack are at least one millimeter below the rest of the wall surface. The hole may need to be pounded in slightly to avoid the buildup of compound and a resulting bump or bulged out look on the wall.

Medium Holes & Indentations
These problems can come about for any number of reasons, including the installation of a new fixture, or simply bumping a doorknob or chair against the wall. Depending upon the severity of the damage, the repair could require up to three drywall refinish stages which is codified as a level four type of refinish application. Under most normal circumstances, two or three skim applications of fast drying drywall compound which provides excellent bonding and resistance to cracking. Even though it is impossible to repair drywall without some sanding sanding, the goal is to do as little sanding as possible. We recommend Easy Sand 45 Compound as it is easier to sand if applied properly, and enables several applications to be distributed over a short period of time.

Large Holes with Replacement
Large drywall holes that require drywall replacement are often the result of some accidental or deliberate break in the drywall. Typical drywall damage that is large includes water damage caused by a leak, bathroom fixtures that are removed or replaced, and electrical wiring that has been redone behind the wall. If the damage was caused by water, it is important to find and fix the source of the leak before beginning the drywall repair job. Frequently the solution involves more than one drywall tape application or perhaps even the replacement of a drywall section. The replacement would be followed-up with a single block application, sanding, and two skim coat applications utilizing ProForm Taping Joint Compound. Needless to say, this type of repair job can take days to complete because of the drying stages, and it definitely requires a good deal of craftsmanship and experience.

Performing drywall repairs correctly and then preparing the walls prior to painting is critically important for a professional-looking paint job. We encourage you to research the methods described above further. The Internet is full of resources but please be aware that a lot of advice online comes from a handyman's perspective. Our Drywall Mechanics have over sixty years combined experience, and we specialize in the installation and refinishing of all types of drywall surfaces and textures. Davinci’s Painting Team of professional painters and drywall mechanics would love to consult with you on repairing your walls and covering them in fresh new paint. If you’ve never taken part in a drywall repair project and don’t feel comfortable about tackling the project yourself, give us a call at 571-314-7288 

How to Remove a Popcorn Ceiling

For many decades, popcorn texture was the standard way to finish the ceiling of a room, and thousands of homes in the Reston VA area still have this outdated style. Most new homes are now finished with flat ceilings, and painted ceilings are have become popular. Fortunately, this type of popcorn texture on many ceilings can be completely removed and the ceilings can be re-finished to create a more modern appearance.

There are a few Painters in Northern VA that offer popcorn ceiling removal, however, some homeowners prefer to tackle the project themselves. While the procedure is not so complex for a beginner, be aware it is messy. For those who have not tried it before, please realize that working with your arms above your head for extended periods of time can be somewhat difficult.

Begin by protecting your room with plastic sheeting, which can be bought at any paint or home improvement store. First cover the floor, then tape plastic to the walls, right below the ceiling or the crown molding. If you are planning to paint the walls, the plastic process can be modified, but it is still important to contain the dust.

The key to efficiently removing popcorn texture is to get it wet. Most people prefer to do this with a pump sprayer, which can be controlled more easily. If you use water, spray small areas of about 4-5 square feet at a time.  Spraying the entire ceiling would not be productive because some areas would dry before you had the chance to remove the texture. Some people have tried to use paint to wet the texture but this technique isn't something that we would recommend.  Nevertheless, the goal is to wet the popcorn so that it is soft enough to remove.

Once the popcorn ceiling texture is wet, scrape it off using a 10 inch drywall finishing blade. The larger blade will help increase the surface area that is being scraped. Provide long scraping passes and try to avoid scraping immediately above your head. Continue to pass the sections of the drywall ceiling until all the popcorn texture is removed. Remove and discard the plastic protection.

Before you paint, your ceiling will probably need some repair. Use wide putty knife to apply drywall compound to any places where the ceiling has been damaged or otherwise has nail holes or imperfections.  Our Drywall Mechanics utlize an electric drywall sander that comes with a drywall dust collector.  A pole sander is less expensive, however, also requires additional manual labor.  In any event, it's important to sand the areas that have been re-finished.

Now you are ready to paint! Begin by priming the ceiling with a drywall primer and then paint your ceiling with two coats of latex based flat paint.

Davinci's Painting provides popcorn ceiling removal, and we are also experienced and trained to deal with lead paint and asbestos issues. We work in the Washington DC Area, including Reston, Fairfax, Vienna, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria. Call us for a free estimate regarding popcorn ceiling removal.