How To Finish For Walls

March 22, 2023 By admin

How To Finish For Walls

The walls of your home are never mere enclosures for your furniture or dividers between rooms. You and your family live with your walls every day of your life. They influence your selection of furniture and, frequently, your moods. The range of wall coverings is so wide that there’s little reason why any family shouldn’t have exactly what they like. Whether you choose the dignity of mahogany or walnut paneling, the color and easy maintenance of ceramic tile, the luxury of leather or the simplicity of paint, you will find it all easy to apply.


Because of its variety, attractiveness and ease of application, many homeowners each year turn to wallpaper when redecorating. Washable papers, many already trimmed, offer a handsome finish with a long-lasting surface. Ceiling wallpapers create interesting decorative effects, and the fabric- supported type of paper not only hides imperfections in the ceiling but, as the house settles, the paper stretches and conceals minor cracks.

You can easily improvise a long table for pasting by putting a panel of plywood right over a table or laying it between two sawhorses. You will also need a 6′ stepladder, seam roller, scissors, sponge, razor and handle. One particularly useful tool is a steel straightedge. A plasterer’s mitering rod works best, but you can make one yourself from 14-gauge steel.

It’s about 4 by 10″, with a beveled or mitered side. The long edge is slightly sharpened, assuring a snug grip on the paper to be cut and a much neater result.
All surfaces to be wallpapered should be dry, smooth and even. If the folding wall was previously papered, remove all loose paper and edges and sand along seams to avoid ridges later. Lapped seams should be stripped with a razor, then sanded. If the wall is of plaster, check carefully for holes, bulges and cracks, and mend any defects, remembering to apply wallpaper size to new spots of plaster and any unpainted, dry, porous plaster. If the wall was enameled or finished with a glossy paint, roughen it slightly with sandpaper before papering.

If your paper is not pre-trimmed, mark matching guide lines with a light pencil at both ends of the roll. Then trim off the edges, using a straightedge and razor or scissors. To cut wallpaper to size, measure the distance from ceiling to baseboard molding and add 3 to 4″, always watching pattern to make certain of matching edges. If a length of wallpaper does not fit properly, it can be removed easily by just lifting it off. The paste remains pliable and 1 doesn’t dry for a few hours.

Don’t throw away extra pieces of wallpaper which can be used later to cover switch and outlet plates. A screwdriver, scissors, some rubber cement and ten minutes are all that are needed. First, take out the fuse which controls the current to the light switch box at which you’re working. Then remove the two small screws holding the plate. Line up a piece of wallpaper over the open switch box, match the paper pattern, and cut a piece 1″ larger all round than the opening. If the paper is not washable, spray it with clear plastic so that subsequent fingerprints can be easily removed.

Apply rubber cement to the back of this paper and lay it with pattern side down. Now place the plate over the back of the paper with the plate front turned down. With a sharp knife or razor, cut out an opening for the switch toggle. With an ice pick or the tip of a knife, puncture holes for the screws which hold the plate to the wall. Trim corners diagonally so that there will be a smooth surface when the 1/2″ fold of the wallpaper is pressed over the back of the plate. Apply rubber cement liberally to hold the side pieces in place. The plate is now covered and can be put back.

Plastic Wall Coverings

Extraordinarily resistant to household stains, particularly oils and greases, vinyl plastic is one of the most practical materials available as a wall covering. Upkeep for a wall of vinyl plastic is at a minimum. Made in the form of yard goods, tiles, simulated stone or brick and other designs, it easily conceals wall defects and irregularities.
If the walls were previously oil painted or enameled, they must be “pearlashed,” that is, washed down with a potash solution. Your wallpaper or paint dealer can supply the compound. If the walls were previously water painted, calcimined or whitewashed, they should be gone over with a wire brush and a strong detergent. This will assure a good clinging surface for the new covering. If the walls were previously unpainted, scrape them with a wire brush to remove all loose particles and wash with a strong detergent to remove any grease and dirt. If walls were previously papered, make sure there are no loose edges or peeling paper, and apply a coat of glue size, allowing it to dry thoroughly before applying the vinyl.

Fabric Wall Coverings

Cracks in the plaster, uneven ceiling lines and spaces in the corners where the walls have settled, can all be brought under control with a fabric wall covering. It helps the plaster underneath to hold together. Available in pretrimmed 24″ widths, all you have to worry about is cutting it to the right length. The straight edge makes it easy to do a perfect butting job instead of overlapping the strips as is done with ordinary stock. The procedure for hanging fabric wall covering is exactly the same as that for any other wallpaper.

Wall Panels

Relatively little in the way of building materials can surpass the effect obtained by the use of vertical boards – knotty pine, golden oak, redwood, to name but a few. When you visit your lumber yard, be sure to buy no grade lower than No. 3 common boards. Below that standard, the boards will have loose knots, splits along the grain and bad ends, causing waste. Lower grades may also warp badly. If you are selecting knotty pine, be sure all knots are small and not protruding on either side. Reject boards with long knots which have been sawed off along their lengths. Boards should be free of warps and twists, as they will be if properly stacked in the yard.

After delivery, stack the lumber inside the house at the future room temperature, if possible. Do this at least one week before putting them up. While stacking, examine both sides and choose the side you want to use as the surface. Paint the other side with a colorless wood preservative to prevent undue absorption of moisture through the otherwise unfinished back after the wall is up. Then stack the lumber with small blocks between boards at 4′ intervals along their length. This permits air to reach all sides.

While the lumber is drying, put the walls in shape. If you plan to put the wall up vertically, you will need furring. If you plan setting up the boards horizontally, then no furring is needed, but mark the location of wall studs so you can find them to nail into later. Plywood panels and preassembled sections of board wall materials also require furring for secure anchorage.

Begin the job in one corner. Nail up the first board with the tongue edge out of the corner. Face-nail (through the outer surface of the board) 1″ from the corner edge into furring. Then drive finishing nails (preferably 8d or l0d) at an angle through the tongue where it joins the boards and into the furring. Set the nails just below the wood surface with a nail set. The second board is placed against the first, the groove pressed over the tongue of the first, and then tapped tightly into place with a block of wood held against the tongue as a pad to prevent hammer marks. Nail up through the tongue as before. No more face-nailing is needed.

Cut all boards at least 1/4″ less than the distance from floor to ceiling so that, if dampness later causes them to swell, they will not bow in the centers and pull free. For an adjoining wall, the first piece is set into the corner, the groove end butted against the first board put up and face-nailed, then nailed through the tongue as on the first wall. In most cases, putting up a board wall raises the surface beyond its former limits, which means that some extra treatment around doors and windows is needed. Before applying boards to these areas, remove the original casings and put up 2-by-2’s of the same material as that selected for the wall, setting them flush with the inner surface of the window or door frame. These, plus the furring, will provide a flush surface when the final wall boards are butted against the 2-by-2 strips. New casings of the same lumber as the wall can


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