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Archive for Interior Painting

Repairing Holes in Drywall after the Electrician Leaves – Making it Look Like it Never Happened!

Holes in Drywall

Making holes in drywall disappear, as if they never existed, is one of the skills of a competent house painter. As painting and decorating contractors in the Chicago area, we are often called upon to do such repairs after an electrician has added electrical boxes or fixtures to an existing house. This is also a common occurrence when a house is being rewired.

The first picture shows how one of the walls looked when we first came on the premises of a recent project. On that particular project, there were sixteen holes that varied in size from ten square inches to three square feet. Our record is twenty-four holes in the plaster walls of three rooms – ouch! I think the electrician was a bit Sawzall-happy.

Wood bracing for Drywall Patch

How do you go about disappearing a hole in drywall? A drywall patch must be screwed to wood bracing. On occasion, there is a stud nearby that can provide bracing for at least one side of the patch. More commonly, we need to cut pieces of 2×1 wood and screw them to the rear of the existing drywall to create the bracing we need, as shown in the next picture. Sometime, we may need to enlarge the hole or combine it with other holes to make the repairs more efficient. We use our professional judgment to make those calls.

Repaired Five Holes in Drywall

At this point, it is important to ascertain the thickness of the surrounding drywall. In modern construction, walls are clad in 5/8” and ceilings in ½” drywall (but not always). If you have to, you are better off using a thinner piece that a thicker one, as it can be filled in with joint compound. The new drywall piece is then screwed to the wood bracing, taped and patched. A top quality repair will generally require three coats of joint compound and easily cover an area three or four times the original size of the hole. The patch is then ready to be primed. By then, the hole has disappeared!

Repairing holes in drywall is part of the skill-set of a competent house painter. Making it look as if it never happened is the result our clients can expect from us.

Drywall Repairs: Holes Can Be Disappeared

Drywall Hole Repair 1

Drywall Hole Repair 2

Drywall Hole Repair 3

As house painting contractors in the Chicago area, we often have to do significant repairs to drywall surfaces before tackling an interior painting project. The most common reasons that cause holes in the drywall are as follows. First, electricians and plumbers are known to make exploratory holes, or to open walls in order to install new pipes, conduits and electrical boxes. Rarely do they dare to tackle the delicate job of repairing the drywall (thank God!). Also, water damaged drywall, needs to be cut out and therefore leaves gaping holes as well. Over-active teenagers can also on occasion cause drywall damage – I will not mention the many ways this can happen.

How do you professionally repair holes in drywall? First, we square off the hole to a workable size. If the hole is relatively small, from 12 to 15 inch in length, we will create bracing on the sides of the hole by screwing pieces of 2×1 lumber to the edges of the hole. For smaller holes, two braces will suffice. For holes from 4 to 6 inch in diameter, we often use a ready-made patch, made of a light-weight perforated metal and fiberglass mesh. For larger holes, we will attempt to use the studs as part our bracing. In those cases, we still have to use bracing between the studs, on the ends of the opening.

The next step is to cut a piece of drywall, of the same thickness, to fit the opening. We then screw it to the wood braces to secure it in place. We then tape the joints with paper tape and apply two or three coats of joint compound. After properly sanding the area, we spot prime the patched area and repaint the wall or ceiling. The drywall whole has now disappeared! The drywall repair is complete!

Craftsman Tips for Painting Speaker Covers

Painted Speaker Cover

Painting parts of the electronic systems, in home and office environments, present special challenges to the interior painting craftsman. In the past week, I had the pleasure of meeting John Baumeister of Tech Tonic at a networking function. As a technology consultant to owners of buildings, John takes his work very seriously. At some point in the conversation, John voiced that one of his pet peeves has to do with mistakes painters often make when painting speaker covers. He queried me regarding the methodology our painters follow when painting speaker covers. I thought I would pass along the information I shared with John.

Our painting experience has been gained over more than twenty years of operation as painting contractors in the Chicago area. First of all, I recommend that the speakers be installed where they belong, prior to any painting, so as to prevent unavoidable touchups. When it is a new installation, we also recommend that the installer leaves off the speaker covers and instead uses the plastic covers supplied by the manufacturer, in order to prevent damage or dust contamination by other trades. For new installations, we also recommend that the installer tags the speaker covers to identify the room and surface they will be mounted on. The installer should also request a signature from the painting contractor (or the owner) when he/she takes possession of the covers. That form should list the covers, quantities and nature of the covers. The use of such a form will limit the opportunity for loss or miscommunication.

Spray Tool for Painting Speaker Covers

What about the painting? Covers will sometime have a liner acoustical fabric on their backside. That fabric should be removed and protected for reinstallation after the painting is completed. The most affective way we have found to paint speaker covers is a simple hand-held spray system called Spra-Tool. It comes with a propellant cartridge, a plastic jar to hold the paint and a connection to bring the propellant to the jar. The paint may have to be thinned ten percent and three thin coats may be required to avoid clogging holes. For darker colors, we recommend to first prime the covers with a bonding primer to ensure good paint adhesion. After the paint has cured, the plastic cover is removed and the custom-painted covers can be installed, for a factory-painted look!

Painting a High Ceiling? Why Not Give it a Little Panache!

When repainting a room, it makes sense to paint the ceiling at the same time as the walls, since the room is already masked off for the painting project. Most often, the ceiling gets painted a white or off-white color. The theory behind this approach to ceiling color selection is that a darker color has a tendency to make the ceiling appear lower and make the room smaller.

In many cases, the principle stated above has some validity, especially for light-colored walls. However, depending on the mood you want to create in the room, a color, even a darker color may be the right choice in order to create a warm and enveloping feeling. In other cases, when the room has high ceilings and abundant sunlight, a dark ceiling color can bring a room to life and add panache to a space.

Dark Paint Color on a High Tray Ceiling

In the past week, for a client in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, we repainted a twenty-foot high tray ceiling, dressed with abundant crowns and moldings. The room was large and had five sets of two-story windows. The size of the room, combined with its height, made it appear somewhat cold and uninviting. Additionally, a light color on the ceiling caused the beautiful crowns and moldings to overly blend in. We painted the ceiling dark brown. The whole room came to life!

Making such a bold color choice can be made easier with the guiding eye of a color consultant. When doing interior painting, clients often hold themselves back in their color choices, for fear of making a mistake. A little color consultation goes a long way to embolden clients in making color selections that express their personality and create a nurturing environment for them.

Combining House Painting, Color Consultation and Million-Dollar Views

We just completed the interior painting of two condos at the Aqua building on Chicago’s lakefront. For many reasons, it was a real pleasure working on this project, one of which was being able to work in such beautiful, air-conditioned surroundings, while Chicago was going through a spell of 90-degree days!

Award-Winning Aqua Building on Chicago's Lakefront

Aqua Building on Chicago's Lakefront

One of the Condo's Many Views of Chicago

One of the Condo's Many Views of Chicago

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a good client: “We just purchased two condos in Chicago. Please help us with color selection and the interior painting.” They purchased a 3-bedroom unit on the 69th floor and a 1-bedroom on the 73d floor. The condos’ floors are stained

Color Scheme for 73d Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 73d Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 69th Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 69th Floor Condo

a dark brownish/blackish color and the bedroom carpeting is a sandy color. The smaller unit is to be occupied by the grown son and the other by the parents and their guests.

In contrast to the traditional décor of their suburban residence, our clients wanted an “urban” look to their condos. This is where the paint color consultation came into the picture. After four hours of consultation with the owners and the son, two different color schemes were arrived at. The son’s painting of John Lennon inspired a “Retro” look for his color scheme, as shown in the picture, with chartreuse, gold and gray as some of his colors. The parent’s condo took on a more “Urban Chique” look, with a rich brown to match the leather couch, taupe tones and gray shades.

Painting in Partnership, a house painting contractor located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, stands ready to meet the sophisticated needs of its clients in the both the color selection process and the impeccability of the craftsmanship of its interior painting.