Walls & Ceilings - 3/12 - Bob Vila

Category: Walls & Ceilings

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.

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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

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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

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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.

How To: Install Chair Rail Molding

Historically used to protect walls from being damaged by the seat backs of chairs, chair rails now serve primarily as a stylish embellishment. With these straightforward instructions, you'll be able to install chair rail molding in a weekend—and reap its visual and practical benefits for years to come.

How to Install Chair Rail

photo: zillow.com/digs

Sometimes the simplest updates make the most impact in a room—and chair rail molding is no exception. More than an easy way to add architectural interest and classic style to bare and basic walls, chair rail is also a fairly straightforward addition that most DIYers can tackle in a weekend. Follow our steps for installation, and give your space an embellishment to brag about.

– Tape measure
– Chair rail molding
– Masking tape or pencil
– Level
– Compound miter saw or handsaw and miter box
– Hammer or pneumatic nailer
– Nail set
– 2-1/2-inch finish nails
– Wood glue or construction adhesive
– Wood filler
– Sandpaper
– Caulk and caulk gun
– Paint or stain

How to Install Chair Rail - Nailing

photo: fotosearch.com

Before you purchase materials, determine how much molding you’ll need by measuring the length of your walls at the appropriate chair rail height. As a general rule, chair rail should be applied one-third of the way up the wall from the floor—so for a room with an 8-foot ceiling, installing the chair rail at around 32 inches is a safe bet. When considering how much to buy, make allowances for miter cuts and mistakes by adding about 1 foot to the length of each wall.

Shop around for your favorite style of molding, mindful of the room’s existing trim when making your selection. Installation will be easiest and will look best if the molding is similar to and no thicker than the trim around the room’s doors and windows. Whether you’re interested in a simple, restrained look or something more ornate, most big-box home improvement stores will carry a wide selection of molding to choose from. If you strike out there, though, a local millwork dealer or lumberyard is sure to have options that suit your style.

If you’re looking to paint or wallpaper your room, do that before you install the chair rail, and plan to touch up afterward as necessary. Next, find the wall studs and mark their locations with masking tape or a pencil. Then, use a level and measuring tape to draw a guideline around the room at the height where you want the chair rail to sit. If your floor is not level (a common issue in older or historic homes), you may need to split the difference between the guideline on the wall and a consistent measurement from the floor, otherwise the chair rail could end up looking crooked even if it is truly level.

Evaluate your space so you can figure out a plan of attack for cutting the molding to fit. If possible, start at a window or doorframe that requires only one piece of molding that can be cut at a 90-degree angle on both ends. For everything else, you’ll need to employ a few other cuts to create specific joints.

• If one of your walls runs longer than your longest piece of molding, connect two pieces with a miter joint. The two should join over a wall stud, so first measure along the wall and cut the moldings to a length at which they will overlap at the stud. The cuts should be at opposite 45-degree angles.
• For inside corners where one of the strips of molding has been finished with a square cut, you will have to cope the end of the connecting piece for a seamless joint.
• For outside corners, a miter joint formed from two matching 45-degree angles will do the trick. Not all outside corners are perfect right angles, however, so it’s best to use scrap pieces to test the corner angle before making the cut on your molding.

If you want to apply a stain to your molding, do so before attaching it to the wall, and touch up after as necessary. But if you want to paint the molding, it’s best to apply a coat of primer first, attach the molding to the wall, and then paint the molding once it’s set.

To install the molding, apply wood glue or construction adhesive to the back of the first piece and attach it to the wall, placing the bottom edge of the wood at the guideline you marked in Step 3. Secure each piece with two 2-1/2-inch finishing nails in line with each other. When you’re bringing two ends together in a miter joint, add extra wood glue at the joint, and complete the seam with two finishing nails into the studs. Use a nail set to recess the nail heads to achieve a smooth appearance. Continue with each piece until you complete the room.

Once you’re sure all nail heads are recessed, use wood filler to fill the holes and any gaps at joints. Then, lightly sand the filler and the joints. Apply a bead of caulk at the top and bottom edge of the molding where it meets the wall. Finally, complete any touch-ups or finish coats as necessary and step back to admire a job well done.

Bob Vila Radio: Plugging Leaks in Concrete or Masonry

Specially designed to block running water in concrete or masonry surfaces, hydraulic cement is the one weapon you need to fight a leaky foundation.

A special type of cement, similar to mortar and easy to use, hydraulic cement is handy for preventing water from seeping through your foundation and into the basement.

Hydraulic Cement

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Listen to BOB VILA ON HYDRAULIC CEMENT or read the text below:

Once mixed with water, hydraulic cement sets and hardens in a matter of a few minutes. (Hot water quickens the setting time; cold water slows it down.) It can be used, not just on horizontal surfaces like floors, but also on vertical ones like basement walls. And it doesn’t shrink, rust, or corrode. It’ll remain intact even if it’s submerged in water.

So what’s not to like? Well, a couple of things. For one, exposure to hydraulic cement can be toxic, so you need to wear protective gear. And you need to work quickly, as the mortar only remains workable for about 10 minutes once mixed. One other drawback: It doesn’t work on frozen surfaces, so be sure to make your repairs before winter sets in!

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 Fastest, Easiest Fix for a Damaged Wall

The next time you need to fix a hole in the wall, try out this surprisingly simple approach for remarkably fast, satisfying smooth results.


Photo: thehydeway.com

Perhaps you swung the door open with a bit too much force. Or maybe the movers took a wrong turn with the dresser. Whatever its origins, there’s now a hole in your wall, and sooner or later it needs to be filled. Sure, you can always hire a pro, but why spend money on such a simple fix? Wall patching isn’t the hassle it used to be, at least not with HYDE Wet & Set. For holes or cracks in flat or curved surfaces—drywall, plaster, wood, or stucco—use the Wet & Set repair patch to achieve a quick and easy yet lasting result. Best of all, whereas wall repair used to take the whole weekend, including dry times, Wet & Set enables you to achieve same-day results.

Photo: thehydeway.com

Available as a sheet for a single use or roll for multiple applications, Wet & Set looks and feels a little like fabric. In actuality, it’s a rather sophisticated material, imbued with both joint compound and specially formulated polymers. Wet the patch, and it fully activates, becoming a fast-setting, firmly adhering fix-all for dents, dings, and openings that are smaller than a baseball yet larger than a nail hole.

Working with HYDE Wet & Set couldn’t be more simple. Here’s the process: Hold the patch over the problem area to determine how much of the material you’re going to need. From there, use an ordinary pair of scissors to cut the patch to the appropriate size. Next, dip the patch into any vessel of water, be it a bucket or a dishpan, and gently shake off the excess liquid. Last, place the patch over the damaged portion of the wall, using your fingers to smooth out the applied material.

That’s it! The patch sets within 30 minutes, at which point you’re ready to do a skim coat of joint compound or spackle. Because the patch contains the initial layer of compound, you need to add only one more. Once it’s dry, proceed to sand down the protrusions, then prime and paint the patched area to match its surroundings. Nobody needs to know your wall or ceiling was ever anything less than perfect.

Purchase HYDE Wet & Set, $14.33

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

Install Wood Paneling with Peel-and-Stick Ease

Get the look of the beautiful wood-paneled wall of your dreams without all the labor and costs involved with planking it from scratch. Stikwood's thin peel-and-stick panels get the job done in no time at all.

Stikwood - Wall Installation

Photo: stikwood.com

Want wood paneling without the hassle of nailing lumber to the walls? Meet Stikwood, the first peel-and-stick solid wood planking solution.

Stikwood planks are thin, flexible, adhesive-backed slices of real wood. The concept is reminiscent of contact paper, the old household standby that may still be lining your cabinets. Stikwood installation is similarly painless. Simply plan out your design, cut planks to fit, peel off the backings, and stick up the planks. The adhesive binds to any clean and smooth interior surface—walls, ceilings, doors, cabinets, and drawer fronts—and will last at least 10 years. Because each plank measures no thicker than three-sixteenths of an inch, installation—if you can call it that—is a snap. Indeed, Stikwood can transform an ordinary room in a matter of hours. And with 16 finishes to choose from, ranging from rustic white to a more contemporary mocha, there’s bound to be a texture and color combination suited to your taste.

Stikwood - Entertainment Center

Photo: stikwood.com

Stikwood can be purchased online in multiples of 20 square feet, with some 10-square-foot quantities available by special order. But whereas measurement would be a taxing step in a typical paneling project, Stikwood simplifies this portion of the job, too. Just plug in the measurements for the height and width of the surface you plan to panel, and the Stikwood site calculator tells you how many square feet of product you need. So really, the only “work” for you to do is in dreaming up a design.

Purchase Stikwood, $10 to $14 per square foot

Bob Vila Radio: Cleaning (or Concealing) Wall Stains

You can't always prevent stains. But with some know-how and elbow grease, you can either remove those stains or conceal them completely.

If you spy some ugly stains on your walls, don’t despair. Chances are there’s a way to either remove those walls stains or block them from coming through paint.

Cleaning Wall Stains

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CLEANING AND BLOCKING WALL STAINS or read the text below:

To clean water stains, of course you first need to locate and repair the leak. Once you’ve done that, and once the stain has dried to the touch, sand it with a medium-grade sandpaper, then use a brush to coat the spot with a good quality stain-blocking primer.

For stains from tobacco smoke or kitchen grease, add a quarter cup of trisodium phosphate, or TSP, to a gallon of water and—after you’ve donned gloves and goggles—use a sponge to remove the discoloration.

And what about squiggles from pens and magic markers—are they a lost cause? Not at all. Just dip a couple cotton balls in rubbing alcohol and, using a gentle, circular motion, wipe the stains away.

If you run up against a particularly tough stain, remember that a coat of stain-blocker combined with touchup paint can make almost anything disappear.

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.

Bob Vila Radio: Patching Large Holes in Drywall

It's easy to damage drywall. Fixing it: Well, that can be more difficult. But far from requiring a call to your contractor, patching drywall is a DIY-friendly job you can complete in a single morning or afternoon.

Need to patch a hole in drywall? While you can resolve smaller problems with spackling paste, larger jobs call for a commensurately larger commitment of time and materials.

How to Patch a Hole in Drywall

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First, cut a patch of scrap drywall that’s larger than the hole you plan to fill. Regardless of the shape of the hole, it’s best to work with a square or rectangular patch piece. Place that patch over the hole and trace around its edges with a pencil. Next, using a utility knife or saw, cut the drywall along the outline you traced.

Now cut a piece of one-by-two that’s a few inches longer than the width of the hole. Holding it in the middle, pass it through the hole and, from the outside, screw it into place on each end with a screw gun. Make sure the screws pull the one-by-two tightly up against the hidden, rear side of the drywall.

Once you have that anchor board installed, insert a screw into the middle of the patch piece. Then, using that screw as a handle, position the patch into the cutout, against the anchor board. At this point, finish driving the screw all the way through the drywall patch and into the wood anchor board. Add a couple more screws to fully secure the patch against the anchor.

Now you’re ready to complete the job by concealing your repair with drywall tape and joint compound!

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.