Walls & Ceilings - 2/11 - Bob Vila

Category: Walls & Ceilings

So, You Want to… Remove a Load-Bearing Wall

Get up to speed on some of the considerations, caveats, and planning involved with the decision to remove a load-bearing wall.

How to Remove a Load-Bearing Wall

Photo: istockphoto.com

In the old days, homes were built with a warren of smaller, sharply delineated rooms, each devoted to its own distinct purpose. Homeowners today often prefer open, fluid floor plans, at least on the ground level. For that reason, many renovations call for the removal of a wall, be it shear or load-bearing. No question, shear walls are a lot easier to knock down. Provided you take the necessary safety precautions and follow local building regulations, you might even be able to do it yourself. That’s definitely not the case with a loading-bearing wall. For a successful result, you must work with a reliable contractor, structural engineer, or both.

There are two common approaches. Both rely on the addition of a bearing beam to take on the load that had been absorbed by the wall being removed. The two approaches differ when it comes to the handling of the beam itself. The less ambitious and less expensive method involves leaving the beam exposed. You can paint the beam or box it in, but the discerning eye will probably notice it’s there. More complicated, labor-intensive, and expensive is to conceal the beam so that it runs between, not beneath, the ceiling joists. This approach leaves behind no visible sign that the load-bearing wall has been removed, only a flat, smooth ceiling.

How to Remove a Load-Bearing Wall - Demolition Work

Photo: istockphoto.com

Because it affects the structural integrity of your home, removing a load-bearing wall isn’t a casual undertaking by any stretch of the imagination. But for professionals in the building and remodeling industry, it’s more or less routine. That said, because every home features its own set of idiosyncrasies, strategies vary. Well before work begins, contractors and/or engineers have to confront a number of questions, chief among them: What type of beam should be employed? Each has its own pros and cons.

Dimensional Lumber: Are you removing only a portion of a load-bearing wall, perhaps to accommodate a new doorway? In that situation, the hired pro may recommend a beam made of standard dimensional lumber (provided doing so would be permissible under the relevant building codes). To create the beam, boards are typically bolted together, with a half-inch layer of plywood between. If you need to support a span wider than a doorway, though, dimensional lumber typically won’t cut it.

Laminated Veneer Lumber: In private homes, pros employ laminated veneer lumber beams (LVLs) perhaps more than any other type. Why? First and foremost, because they comprise multiple wood strands bonded under high heat and pressure, LVLs are exceptionally strong. In addition, as they’re factory-made, LVLs are both uniform and stable. Uniform sizing means LVLs are relatively easy to work with, and their stability (resistance to warping, splitting, and shrinking) makes them ideal for framing.

Steel I-Beams: Laminated veneer lumber has virtually eliminated the need for steel beams in average residential settings, but there are exceptions. For instance, as steel beams are more compact than LVLs, they are sometimes specified in situations where limited headroom exists. I-beams are costly, though. For one thing, they are heavy, which means that installation requires both manpower and heavy equipment. Plus, steel beams arrive on site in one piece, which, depending on the length of the beam, may or may not fit easily into the building.

Are vertical supports necessary to support the new beam? That depends on the length and type of beam, the existing framing, and a host of other factors. An engineer would perform a series of load calculations to arrive at a recommendation, which might call for vertical supports on their own, or possibly entail additional concrete footings at foundation level. A general rule of thumb: The larger the load-bearing wall, the more complex its removal, particularly if the goal is to create sweeping, open space interrupted as little as possible by visible structural elements.

If planning plays a critical role in removing a load-bearing wall, so does prep work. The most visible, dramatic changes take place at a relatively late stage, but a much more modest yet absolutely essential effort goes on at the start—bracing. Here, contractors carefully prop up the ceiling joists on both sides of the work area, using temporary support beams in combination with adjustable jacks. Once set, the bracing more or less prevents the building from collapsing when the bearing wall comes down. The demolition? That’s easy. It’s everything else that’s hard.

Removing Wallpaper—It’s Easier Than You Think!

Peeling back outdated wall coverings doesn't have to be a pain in the neck! Armed with a few wallpaper removal tools from HYDE, you can tackle this weekend project with ease.

How to Remove Wallpaper - With HYDE Wallpaper Scoring Tool

Photo: hydetools.com

No homeowner wants to be confronted with ripped-up wall coverings as a day-in, day-out reminder of a job not yet finished. For this reason, wallpaper removal is a project that should be done in one fell swoop rather than dragged out over the course of a week in odd spare moments. But the sheer scope of the project—imagine four long walls in a high-ceilinged master bedroom—and fear of failure can be just daunting enough to discourage even the most determined homeowner from taking on the project at all. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to get rid of that outdated, tired old wallpaper. (And no, we’re not suggesting you run out to hire a professional.) With the proper technique and assistance from the right tools, you can remove even the most stubborn wallpaper on your own and with ease, leaving you free to transform your walls with a fresher, more modern treatment.

– Nonslip drop cloth
– Wide painter’s tape
– Hot water
– Hand or pump sprayer
– Liquid fabric softener
HYDE Wallpaper Scoring Tool
– Ladder
HYDE 4-Inch Glass and Wall Scraper
– Large noncellulose sponge
– Trash bag

First, take precautionary measures to protect the flooring and baseboards in the room where you’re planning to remove the wallpaper. Spread a nonslip canvas drop cloth over the floors, then cover up the baseboards with wide painter’s tape. The tape will keep scraps of fallen wallpaper from coming into contact with your baseboards, saving the molding from damage and you from having to unstick the paper all over again.

Test just how tightly adhered your wallpaper is by soaking a corner of one panel with some hot water from a hand or pump sprayer. After 10 minutes, peel back the moistened wallpaper. If it comes off easily, you’re in luck! You have strippable wallpaper. All you need to do is spray each panel thoroughly with hot water and give it time to absorb. After a few minutes, peel the panel off. Work on one panel at a time until all are down, then skip to Step 6.

If, however, the wallpaper remains stuck after you spray on the water and wait 10 minutes, you may be dealing with a vinyl wall covering that resists water absorption. Proceed to the next step for the key to tackling your obstinate wallpaper.

How to Remove Wallpaper - With HYDE 4-Inch Glass and Wall Scraper

Photo: hydetools.com

To better reach the source of the problem—the wallpaper glue—you’ll want to make many tiny incisions in the wallpaper so the hot water will be able to reach and saturate the adhesive beneath. The fastest, most painless way to do this requires one simple-to-use instrument: HYDE’s Wallpaper Scoring Tool.

Position the easy-to-grip tool against the wall and move it back and forth in circles and swipes, taking care not to miss the areas closest to the ceiling and corners. With 96 amazingly sharp teeth, HYDE’s Wallpaper Scoring Tool makes wallpaper perforation a snap. After you’ve worked your way around the walls, you’ll see thousands of tiny holes in even the toughest paper.

After scoring the wallpaper, spray hot water on the wall; work on only one or two panels at a time so the water doesn’t cool off too much as you proceed through the next steps. Wait 15 minutes for the panel to saturate completely, then peel back a corner to see how easily it releases.

Do not despair if the paper resists your tug. If it’s still stuck in the same spot, repeat the spraying process. Depending on the thickness of the glue and how long it has been in place, you may need to apply hot water multiple times in order to loosen the paper enough for easy removal. Are you up against a real challenge? Mix liquid fabric softener—which helps dissolve wallpaper glue—into the hot water at the ratio of 1/4 cup of softener per gallon of water. Dampen your wallpaper panels with this solution as you did with the plain hot water.

Once the wallpaper seems loose enough to remove, climb your ladder to start where the wall meets the ceiling. Because loosened strips of wallpaper will naturally hang downward, working from the top down allows you to scrape and peel as you go. For best results, use HYDE’s 4-Inch Glass and Wall Scraper to shave the damp wallpaper from the wall. The blade should be turned to dull side out, instead of the sharp blade which will tend to dig into the wallboard.

While no one would fault you for wanting to finish up the project as quickly as possible, use a little caution while you scrape. You may very well be planning on painting the wall after the paper is gone, and you really don’t want to have to fill in nicks and gouges on the drywall or plaster before you paint. To protect the wall, hold the scraper so the blade is nearly parallel to the wall, and draw your tool along the wall carefully.

Keep a large noncellulose sponge and a bucket of warm water handy while you’re stripping off the paper so you can scrub down the wall frequently to remove residual glue. This is easier to do while the wall is still wet; once the job is complete, the glue can harden on the wall and require rewetting and scraping.

When all the paper has been removed, a final wipe down of the entire wall using the sponge and fresh water is all that’s necessary to prep the wall for its new look. Wait a day for the walls to dry completely, and you can move ahead with either a fresh coat of paint or another style of wallpaper—perhaps one with a timeless design so you won’t have to repeat the project too soon!


This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

How To: Texture a Ceiling

Things are looking up if you hope to add new character to a room. You can easily bring visual interest by texturing your ceilings, where DIY options abound.

How to Texture a Ceiling - Dining Room

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Sterling, VA

It all too easy to slap a coat of white paint on your ceiling and consider it done. But to really pull a room together, it ought to be stylishly topped off—and putting a textured effect on the ceiling is a great way to add impact to your décor. Another plus? Textured ceilings perfectly camouflage imperfections like cracks or evidence of water damage. There are a variety of techniques you can employ to create your texture of choice (way beyond the “popcorn” look popular in the 1970s). All it takes is a mixture of paint and drywall mud—and a little ingenuity. Read on for simple step-by-step guidance to texturing your ceiling, your way, without sending your budget through the roof.

– Drop cloths
– Painter’s tape
– Ladder
– Primer
– Pre-mixed textured paint
– Wall paint
– Drywall mud

How to Texture a Ceiling - Stucco Texture

Photo: fotosearch.com

Since you’ll be working against gravity, you’ll want to protect your furniture, floors, and fixtures from splatters. Empty the room as much as possible, which will also give you space to move around. Cover remaining pieces of furniture and the entire floor with drop cloths. Next, take off any faceplates, vent covers, ceiling fans, and/or light fixtures. Finally, apply painter’s tape around the edges of the ceiling, right where it meets the wall, being careful to keep it stick-straight all the way across.

You might think that because textured paint is part drywall mud it will adhere to any surface, but for a quality job, you still want to prime first. This step will make application easier and give lasting results. Choose a primer close to the color you’ll be using to texture your ceiling—a dark primer for dark paint and a light primer for light paint. Cover the entire surface in a thin, consistent layer and let dry fully (consult the can’s drying time guidelines) before moving on.

Prep your product. If you’re looking for a subtle texture, you’ll get good results with pre-mixed textured paint. But if you’re aiming for more depth or special effects, mix your own by combining paint with drywall mud. The standard rule of thumb is one part drywall mud to 10 parts paint. Pour paint into a bucket, add drywall mud, and blend, aiming for the consistency of pancake or biscuit batter. Depending on the look you’re going for, you might want a somewhat thicker consistency. Do a small batch first to practice getting it just right.

It’s always wise to start in the least noticeable part of the ceiling when applying the texture—perhaps the darkest corner of the room, or the edge of the ceiling closest to the door. Position your ladder there and make sure you can work from a reasonable angle without arching backwards. The exact technique (and subsequent tools you’ll need) depends on your desired effect.

For a subtle finish: Apply pre-mixed textured product as you would typically put on paint. Cut in at the edges first with a paintbrush. Then use an extended roller and paint tray, taking care to bring your roller as close to the edges as possible. To amp the look slightly, use a specialty roller with a texture of its own. Don’t be afraid to experiment; after all, if you don’t like the initial result, you can always switch gears and apply another coat.

For a stucco finish: To mimic the look of stucco, you’ll need a damp sponge or cloth as well as a wide compound knife or, if you’ve chosen a thicker-than-average consistency for aesthetic reasons, a trowel. Working on one small section at a time, apply the mixture to the ceiling, and then dab a damp sponge or cloth into your work in a repetitive motion to create the texture you desire. Repeat this process around the room, one section at a time, being careful not to let the pattern become too uniform.

For a popcorn finish: If you like this retro look, you’ll need to buy or rent a drywall texture sprayer. Purchase enough lightweight plastic sheeting to protect your walls from flying particles, securing it to the the perimeter of the room with painter’s tape and covering the walls like a floor-length curtain all the way around. Before spraying, choose the nozzle and air pressure setting that matches your desired result, and then follow its instructions as you move the sprayer across the ceiling. Again, allow your application to look as random as possible rather than aiming for a perfect pattern.

For an artistic finish: Truly advanced DIYers may wish to add extra character by creating a Victorian style rose rose medallion around a central lighting fixture or ceiling fan. This dramatic effect is achieved by using drywall mud and an array of texturing combs (two or three should do the trick, anywhere from 3 to 10 inches in length apiece). Working in concentric circles, you’ll use the combs to apply drywall mud (without paint) in thick, even, decorative stripes to mimic the look of plaster. When completely dry, you’ll paint the entire ceiling. Just keep in mind that this project will require a steady hand and a solid sense of design, so study up on the process before giving it a shot.

Whichever technique you choose, the end result will lend extra punch to your space’s style. The array of colors and effects is endless, so have fun and aim for a look that captures the personality of the room and those who live in it.

3 Fixes for Popcorn Ceilings

Banish that unwanted popcorn texture and lift your ceiling to new heights with these DIY solutions.

How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Photo: fotosearch.com

While popcorn is almost always welcome during a trip to the movies or a viewing of your favorite TV show, there is one place the texture of this favorite treat is generally not wanted: on your ceilings. Popcorn ceilings were a fixture in homes from the 1950s well into the ’70s, but their presence today has a way of making a space feel more old-school than cool. Rid your rooms of this outdated ceiling treatment using one of these three smart and stylish solutions.

Before embarking on any of these methods, first test your ceilings for asbestos. You do not want to ingest or inhale the dangerous fibers that can come loose during your project. If an at-home test reveals that your popcorn does contain asbestos, leave any alterations to the pros.



How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings - Scrape

Photo: instructables.com via Sonata85

If you can scrape together humble household paraphernalia like clear tarp, a flat-edged metal scraper, and a putty knife, you can scrape off that popcorn ceiling. Start by removing as much furniture as possible from the room, and then lay the tarp completely over the floor, radiators, and whatever else remains. Duct-tape the seams together and use painter’s tape to secure the tarp to the wall, creating a big concave sheet to catch all the debris. Next, get up on a steady ladder or stool and moisten a square area of the ceiling with water. Holding the scraper at an angle, use it to gently slide the popcorn texture off; work around hard-to-reach edges with a putty knife. When the ceiling is clear, bundle up the popcorn-filled tarp and dispose of it. Fill and sand any ceiling holes with spackling compound, and wipe the ceiling smooth with a damp cloth. Finally, prime the bare ceiling and paint it, reveling in its newfound smoothness.



How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings - Tile

Photo: epbot.com

Although scraping is an effective way to get rid of a popcorn ceiling for good, the process can be more than some are willing to undertake. If you’re not ready to tackle the job, consider concocting a clever cover-up using decorative tiles instead. Styrofoam versions like these are not only inexpensive and customizable, but also easy to cut and install. Calculate the number of ceiling tiles needed to cover the area, and then use an X-Acto knife to slice the Styrofoam down to the desired measurements. Dab construction adhesive on the tiles, and then press them onto the ceiling, ensuring that they fit flush next to each other. Caulk the lines for a seamless finish.



How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings - Plank

Photo: edithandevelynvintage.com

If popcorn ceilings are seriously compromising your decor, give them a modern makeover with rustic wood planks. While a higher-grade wood may be easier to work with, a thinner, lightweight version—like the planks that Cindy of Edith & Evelyn Vintage uses here—can suffice just as well and will cut down on costs. To get the look in your own home, start by using a stud finder to identify the ceiling joists, then mark them with chalk. After painting or staining your wood to suit your style, apply Liquid Nails to the back of each of the wood planks, and then nail them into the ceiling joists with a nail gun. Although this project requires a friend or family member’s helping hand and a great deal of patience, you’ll be delighted with the results when you gaze in joy at your ceiling that (finally) reflects this decade’s design choices.

How To: Sand Drywall

Choose from two foolproof techniques to sand out any glaring drywall imperfections—lumps, ridges, and the like—so that you (and your walls) can enjoy a flawless finish.

How to Sand Drywall - Sand Drywall Before Painting

Photo: fotosearch.com

Drywall—commonly known as sheet rock—is one of the most popular construction materials used in finishing interior walls. Cheap, durable, easy to install, easily repaired—it’s no wonder that it’s a go-to for do-it-yourselfers and contractors alike. But while drywall installation is admittedly an easy DIY project, a few tips and techniques borrowed from the pros can make the difference between a smooth, attractive wall surface and one riddled with imperfections.

At the top of the list of important know-how is proper sanding technique. Without it, any dings, dents, creases, ridges, or lumps in the joint compound will be magnified once paint is applied, and uneven sections in the drywall can prevent wallpaper from adhering correctly. Here are two sanding methods designed to produce a flawless finish.


Option 1: Dry Sanding

Dry sanding is the typical method used to finish drywall joints, as it produces the smoothest finish—ideal if you plan on painting the drywall. But be warned: It does create an unavoidable dust storm in the middle of your home, which can sway homeowners to consider wet sanding (see further down) in cases where a smooth finish isn’t absolutely necessary.


– Joint compound
– Putty knife
– Sanding block
– Sanding pole (optional)
– Sanding sponge
– Fine-grit sandpaper (120- to 150-grit)
– Flashlight or work light
– Pencil
– Wall primer
– Dust mask and goggles
– Plastic sheeting and tape
– Vacuum cleaner or shop-vac

How to Sand Drywall - Sanding Drywall

Photo: flickr.com via Georgia National Guard


Drywall sanding produces copious amounts of dust, but proper preparation can help keep the dust from infiltrating every nook and cranny of your home. Before you begin, assemble all tools in the room where you will be sanding, including extra joint compound and a putty knife to fill in any gouges or mistakes. Wear a dust mask and goggles to protect your face; you may want to cover your hair with a scarf and wear old clothes. If you have an exterior window, open it a crack to provide ventilation. Tape plastic sheeting across any doors leading to other areas of your home, as well as over the floor and any furniture in the room.


Affix a section of fine-grit sandpaper to the sanding block. You can purchase pre-cut sections that are designed to fit drywall sanders—anchor one end under the clamp and pull the sandpaper taut before tightening the clamp on the other side.

Attach the sanding block to a sanding pole, if desired, to better reach the ceiling or along the top edges of the walls. If you use one, though, be careful to keep the sanding head slightly angled—never completely perpendicular to the pole, to avoid gouging the surface.


Sand the joints, seams, and around screws lightly with the sanding block. A few pointers:

  1. Careful to not put too much pressure on the surface to avoid “fuzzing” the drywall or leaving sanding marks; sand the center of seams and joints just enough to remove ridges and bumps.
  2. Also avoid sanding in a straight line or going over the same area in the same direction, both of which can leave grooves or depressions. Instead, move the sander around in a curved motion.

Use a sanding sponge to get into the corners and around electrical boxes, again, applying light pressure to avoid damaging the drywall paper.


Shine a light parallel to the joints to reveal any gouges, grooves, or ridges. Mark these areas lightly with a pencil. Fill these areas with fresh joint compound, smoothing with a putty knife. Let dry completely, and then re-sand the area.


Prime the walls, then sand again lightly to remove any lumpy spots or paper fuzz.


Use a vacuum cleaner or shop vac to clean up the drywall dust. If your vacuum has a pre-filter, use one designed to capture drywall dust and other fine particles.

How to Sand Drywall - Drywall Sander

Photo: fotosearch.com


Option 2: Wet Sanding

The biggest downside to drywall sanding is that it produces dust—a lot of dust! Wet sanding drywall avoids most of this mess and the associated cleanup. The catch? It does not produce quite as smooth a finish as dry sanding, and therefore is not suitable for walls that will be painted. If the final finish is wallpaper or texturing, however, consider wet sanding to save a lot of time. Just add a bucket (and a mop for any mess) to the materials list above, and you’re good to get started.


Prep your space following the suggestions in Step 1 of the dry sanding process. This time, fill up a bucket about half-full with warm water and place it with the rest of your tools. Then dunk the sanding sponge in the water.


Squeeze all excess water out of the sanding sponge, so that it is damp but not dripping. Work your sponge’s abrasive side in a large, circular motion to sand the joints, corners, screws, and around electric boxes. (Here, too, light pressure will help avoid creating grooves or gouges.)

Note: Every few minutes, dampen the sponge in the warm water. This will also give you a chance to wash out some of the dust that collects in the sponge as you go. Once the water becomes cloudy, pour out the old water and refill with fresh warm water.


Look for any gouges, grooves, or ridges with the help of your flashlight, then fill these areas with fresh joint compound and (when dry) sand the area lightly with your wet sponge. Once the wall dries thoroughly, you can cover with primer, sand, and apply your wallpaper or texturing of choice.

Bob Vila Radio: For a Warmer Winter, Run Your Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans are synonymous with summer, but they can also be a blessing during the winter. Continue reading to find out why.

Everyone knows that ceiling fans provide low-cost cooling in summer. But did you know you can also use ceiling fans to distribute heat throughout your home during the cold months?


Photo: Zillow Digs

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CEILING FANS or read the text below:

Warm air rises, so if you run your ceiling fans clockwise, at slow speed, they gently nudge hot air up toward the ceiling, and then toward the walls, and finally down to the chilly areas below.

To reverse the direction in which your ceiling fan rotates, simply flip the switch on the motor housing. Remember to always run the fan on low speed in winter, as the goal is to recirculate air, not to create a draft.

To save energy, turn off the ceiling fans in any rooms you’re not occupying—except if it’s an area near your thermostat. Here, a running fan helps the thermostats more accurately gauge the indoor temperature.

Lastly, note that if you have an open stairway, a ceiling fan there can work to transfer warm air from the stuffy second floor back down to the chilly ground level.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

The Finishing Touch Homeowners Forget

If you're in search of the right molding to make a room look polished and complete, head over to The Home Depot, where you can pick up prebundled molding Pro Paks that offer convenience and cost savings of up to 40 percent.

Photo: fotosearch.com

In any remodel, the average homeowner tends to focus mainly on the end result, seldom understanding that overall success usually hinges on the handling of seemingly minor, insignificant details. Contractors know the fact of the matter: It’s the planning stage of a project that, to a large extent, determines the strengths and weaknesses of the outcome. For that reason, experienced pros encourage client participation early and often. Plenty of homeowners embrace the decision-making process with gusto, knowing more or less precisely what they would like to achieve. But even in the clearest vision for a given job, there are bound to be blind spots.

Take wall moldings, for example. While contractors appreciate their importance to the well-groomed appearance of a finished space, nonprofessionals rarely think of such things until the last minute, if they do so at all. Plus, even when directly addressing the question of moldings, the average homeowner may be at a loss as to which of the many options to choose. After all, there’s a great deal to consider, from the style of the home to the size of the room to the number and nature of moldings already present. Fortunately, there are a host of guidelines and rules of thumb to help simplify what might otherwise become a complicated, overwhelming choice.

Photo: homedepot.com

Moldings come in a dizzying variety, from the ornate and detailed to the simple and clean-lined. Best practice is to take a cue from the prevailing architectural style; moldings look most natural when their profiles harmonize with the overall aesthetic tenor of the home. Though a molding with an elaborate profile may be eye-catching, it’s likely to look out of place in a contemporary context. By the same token, the minimalist profile suitable for a modern space would clash with the decorative flourishes of a century-old Victorian. In other words, thoughtfully chosen moldings complement the home without drawing undue attention.

As important as it is to select an appropriate style, it’s equally important to choose moldings that are properly proportioned for the dimensions of a room. Designers buck convention all the time, but general practice is to let the height of the ceiling dictate the trim size. For rooms with standard eight-foot ceilings, choose slim (9/16-inch) moldings between three and six inches in height. Thicker, taller moldings may be considered where the ceiling reaches a more generous height. Also, where baseboard and crown moldings are installed together, be sure to specify the same size for both trim types in order to promote a visual balance.

From one room to the next, tradition holds that there can be varying sets of molding types installed. That is, in the living or dining room, it’s not uncommon to find a full suite of wall trim, including baseboard, chair rail, picture rail, and crown molding. In a less formal room, meanwhile, you seldom see more than one or a couple of types of trim. But even though the number of moldings employed may differ according to the function of the room, homeowners are wise to avoid mixing styles. Size may vary, but throughout the home, keep to a uniform molding profile. Inconsistency never fails to create a discordant, unsettled look.

Moldings come in a number of materials. Of them all, hardwood typically commands the highest price, especially when it’s “clear”—that is, free of knots and other imperfections. In cases where the homeowner specifies a stain finish, hardwood (usually poplar) makes the natural choice. If the moldings are to be painted, then multiple materials may be considered. Offering the look of wood at an affordable price is prefinished pine. Similarly budget-friendly are MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) moldings, prefinished or pre-primed. Ultimately, the right choice of material depends, first and foremost, on the desired finish, and secondarily on the preference of the homeowner or the budget available for the project.

In more than 2,200 locations nationwide, The Home Depot offers moldings in a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials. Most notable are the retailer’s Pro Paks, which are premeasured and bundled in quantities in 60, 80, 120, or 160 linear feet. Their grab-and-go convenience saves you time, and Pro Paks also save you as much as 40 percent versus buying by the piece. Call or go online, and you can even arrange for your Pro Paks to be ready for you when you arrive at your local store.

As you plan your next remodeling project, make sure to think about moldings early to ensure that your completed spaces don’t look underwhelming and incomplete. You certainly don’t want to become aware of their vital role only when you notice their absence! So, the next time you’re trying to bring a project from almost-there to full completion, visit The Home Depot for handy Pro Paks that make it quick, easy, and cost-effective to add that crucial finishing touch.

Photo: homedepot.com

This post has been brought to you by The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.

3 Fixes for a Hole in the Wall

Sure, you can go out and buy some spackle and a wire mesh patch to repair a hole in the wall—or you can use what you happen to have lying around at home with these 3 creative fixes guaranteed to leave your wall looking smooth again.

How to Fix a Hole in the Wall

Photo: fotosearch.com

While drywall is highly durable, it’s not indestructible. Over the years, interior walls take a beating, speckled with everything from nail nicks to doorknob dings. During your tenure as homeowner—or even as an apartment renter—you’re bound to end up with at least one unwanted hole in the wall. But don’t despair—repair. Read on for three unexpected solutions for your unsightly wall blemishes that won’t have you running out to the store for supplies.


How to Fix a Hole in the Wall - With Toothpaste

Photo: fotosearch.com

The Minty-Fresh Method
Need to fill a nail hole fast? For small holes up to one inch wide, look no further than your bathroom’s medicine cabinet. Believe it or not, toothpaste works wonders. When the paste dries, it forms a finish similar to spackle. Just squeeze the white paste (not the blue gel) into the hole, and smooth it over with a putty knife.

If you don’t have the right paste, grab a bar of soap from the bathroom instead. Simply dampen the surface of the soap with water, then rub the bar over the shallow hole until filled. Not only will the damage seem to disappear with either of these fix-its, but your walls will smell wonderful too.


How to Fix a Hole in the Wall - With Super Glue

Photo: flickr.com via pete_gray

The Super-Strength Solution
For an even stronger, faster way to repair a hole in the wall, add a little baking soda to a drop of super glue to form a super-strength sealant. After quickly combining these two products with the help of a toothpick, immediately apply the mixture directly to the wall. After it dries, start sanding the hard, plastic-like finish until it’s flush with the wall. Not only is this fix effective for small holes, but it can solve cracks in corner walls too! One word of caution: Wear gloves and be sure that this super-strength, fast-drying glue never comes in contact with your skin. Otherwise, you may have an even bigger problem on your hands than a hole in the wall.


How to Fix a Hole in the Wall - With Flour Paste

Photo: fotosearch.com

The Floury Fix
For a doorknob-size hole roughly two to four inches in diameter, you’ll need more of a patch to clean up your damaged wall. Make yours from scratch with just a few simple kitchen items, including a recycled cardboard cereal box.

Start by cutting a thick piece of cardboard into a square that’s slightly larger than the hole you aim to fix. Then, poke two small holes through the center of the cardboard cutout and thread a short string in through one hole and out through the other. Push the cardboard through the wall hole keeping the string ends facing you and ensuring that all corners sit behind intact drywall. Pull the strings tight to hold the cardboard in place.

Next, mix together one tablespoon flour, one teaspoon salt, and a few drops of water to form a paste. Apply the mixture heavily to your cardboard patch so that it oozes around the square’s edges and binds it in place to the drywall. Allow the paste to set, and then pull out the string. Finish the patch with a second coat of the flour-based paste, and smooth it out flush with the surrounding surface.

Genius! This Hanger Hack Organizes More than Just Clothes

Are you storage-starved? Hang on! Functional storage doesn't have to cost a fortune. Find out how one clever DIYer found a free solution—in her own closet!

DIY Wire Hanger Shelf

Photo: superziper.com

In most of the Western world, Sunday is the day of rest—and that means different things to different people. Do you spend yours with a book, wrapped in your blankets like a burrito? Or are you a true weekend warrior whose home improvement project is the preferred form of meditation? Claudia, a DIY blogger for SuperZiper, falls into the latter category—so she spent her weekend considering how to fix a nagging source of frustration and dreamed up this super-simple shelf for her entryway.

The crux of the problem was forgetfulness: Claudia never remembered to grab her library books on the way out the door in order to return them. Inspired by a magazine feature, she decided to try to reshape a plain wire hanger—the kind you get back from the dry cleaners—to hold something else entirely. Folded at two points and secured with a nail, the pliable hanger becomes a repositionable rack, perfectly sized to display a record or a few of your favorite reads. Planning on using it like Claudia? Location is everything! She hung the shelf by the front door as a reminder, where it could also serve to hold incoming mail, outgoing bills, or even DVD returns.

Sure, clothes on thin, wire hangers are more likely to end up on the floor than neatly stowed away in your closet. But if you’ve been tossing away these free hangers for years in favor of sturdy, non-slip hangers, this hack may prove that it’s time to reconsider. Finally, a reason to hang on to them!

FOR MORE: SuperZiper

DIY Wire Hanger Shelf - Side View

Photo: superziper.com

Bob Vila Radio: Texture Ceilings to Hide Imperfections

Remodelers often use drywall compound, not only to secure and conceal joints between wall panels, but also to add visual interest. On ceilings, in particular, applying drywall compound can be, not only a decorative decision, but a strategic one as well. Read on for the DIY details.

Adding a little texture to drywall compound can go a long way toward hiding imperfections in ceilings. And it’s an easy process. Here’s how to do it.

Texturing a Drywall Ceiling

Photo: idealhomegarden.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON TEXTURING WITH DRYWALL COMPOUND or read the text below:

Pour a box of drywall compound into a 5-gallon bucket, then enough add water to achieve the recommended water-to-compound ratio. Blend the ingredients using an electric drill outfitted with a paddle mixer. The ideal consistency is lump-free and just a bit thicker than paint.

Next, dip a long-handled paint roller into the bucket, coating the nap with the mixture. Remove the excess by tapping the roller on the side of the bucket. Now, working in one small sections at a time, roll the mixture onto the ceiling. After that, drag a clean broom, a comb, or a different texturing tool across the surface of the ceiling to create the texture you want.

If you don’t like the results the first time, simply re-roll the area and have another go. Be sure you’re satisfied with the look in one area before proceeding to another. Don’t dawdle, though, as the mixture can be expected to dry pretty quickly.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.