Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Removing Popcorn Ceiling Texture

Texture Removed

What kind of ceilings do you have in your house?

Over the years, there have been many different styles and fads in texturing drywall (sheetrock).  The styles typically range from a Knockdown, Orange Peel or even no texture at all on the walls.  Ceilings can have the same options, with the addition of an Acoustic texture (sometimes called "Popcorn"ceilings).  This is the particular one I'd like to talk about right now.  

The acoustic texture became wildly popular in the 70's & 80's, and is still used today.  Probably the main advantage of this texture is its ability to hide imperfections in ceilings.  Even newer homes can have imperfections, but in remodeling older homes, this can be a big help.  Regardless of its ability to mask problem areas, there is one major disadvantage to this method.  Because of it's roughness, it's easy for cobwebs to attach to it, and when you try to get these webs down what happens?  That's right, texture falls down.  Anybody that has had this texture on their ceilings know what I'm talking about.  It's not fun cleaning it up all the time and can be a real pain.  OK, enough of the history lesson, let's talk about how to remove this texture from the ceiling.

I'm going to explain the process for one individual room.  Obviously this can be done to multiple rooms at once, but if this is your first time to tackle something like this, I'd recommend starting with just one room first.

What you will need:

  • 10" or 12" Drywall knife
  • 2" Masking Tape 
  • Heavy mil plastic (covering the floor)
  • Light mil plastic (covering the walls)
  • Spray bottle
  • Step stool
  • Dust mask

The first thing you'll need to do is remove all the furniture from the room.  If certain things aren't very big, you may be able to leave them up against the wall.  Just remember, you will need to reach all areas of the ceiling so make it easy on yourself!  Some people may remove the light or fan from the ceiling, but I prefer to leave it there (I do enjoy light in the room I'm working at!).  If you have a ceiling fan, just remove the blades (usually a long screwdriver is all you need).  Also, remove the H&A vent cover (grille) if you  have one on the ceiling.  There again, just a screwdriver will take care of this.

Wall & Floor Prep
Walls & Floor Covered
Now that everything is out of the way, let's use some heavy mil plastic for the floor.  I suggest heavier plastic on the floor because you will be walking on it and this will help keep it from ripping on you.  Spread it out over the entire floor of the room.  It may be helpful to tape it to the floor at the edges of the room to ensure that it won't move around on you.  Using the step stool and some 2" masking tape, apply the tape to the top edge of the walls (where the walls meet the ceiling).  Painter's tape works really well because it will release without removing paint from the walls when your done.  When applying the tape, make sure to only stick the upper half of the tape to the wall.  Leave the bottom half to where you can stick the plastic onto.  Another option for you would be to buy the rolls of plastic that have the tape pre-attached to it.  It would cost more, but can make it easier for you if you need.  II prefer to do it the first way so I guess I'm just old school!  When covering walls, I like to use a roll painter's plastic.  It usually comes in a roll 400' long x either 9' or 12' (depending on how tall your walls are).  This may be more than you need, but you end up with one continuous piece of plastic without multiple seams to seal up (like you would have by using individual drop cloths), and you'll have plenty of plastic left for any other projects you may have.  If you're like me, you never know when you need some plastic sheeting for something.  Measure the length around your room and cut a continuous piece of plastic to match, making sure to add a couple of feet so the plastic overlaps at the seam.  Unfold the sheeting and, using the step stool, work your way around the room attaching it to the masking tape you previously applied to the walls.  At this point, you should have all the walls and floor covered and now you're ready to make a mess!!

Scraping Texture Off
Just removing pebbles!

Before we talk about how to remove the texture, let me suggest that you wear a dust mask.  This is a very dusty job.  It may seem uncomfortable at first, but you will get used to it.  Also, when you're done you'll appreciate not having breathed in all that dust!  You'll need a drywall knife to remove the popcorn texture.  I recommend a 10" or 12" drywall broad knife.  You may think to go with a wider knife, but I've that I have more control with a 10" or 12" knife than I do with any other.  By control, I mean that I can more effective at scraping off the texture and not damaging the drywall ceiling.  If you damage (tear or gouge) the ceiling, you'll need to repair the drywall before you can paint or apply the new texture.  Using the drywall knife, hold it at an angle, approximately 20-25 degrees from the ceiling and scrape the texture away.  This angle is important because if it's not right, you could damage the drywall.  Once you do it a little, you'll figure out the angle!  The purpose of this step is not to remove everything completely, but just the pebbles themselves (popcorn stuff). 

Spray Texture with Water
Spray lightly with water
Removing all of Popcorn Ceiling texture
Removing the rest of texture-
Keeping proper angle with knife
After all the pebbles have been removed, use the spray bottle and apply a light amount of water to the ceiling (work in small areas, one at a time).  Be careful not to apply too much water to the ceiling because if the paper face of the drywall gets too wet, it will rip easily and more repair will be needed.  Still using the drywall knife, just a light amount of water should allow the rest of the texture to be scraped away relatively easy.  

Texture Removal Complete
Texture Removed!

Once you have all of the texture removed and all drywall repairs (if any) have been made, give the ceiling a light sanding.  You are now ready to either apply a different texture and paint, or paint the ceiling as is (smooth, with no texture).  Hopefully it wasn't too dusty and messy for you, but just think....You did this yourself!  And without the need to call someone else and PAY them to do it!  Great Job!  
Be looking for my upcoming post about the different textures and how to apply them!  As always, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts about this post and don't hesitate to add any input to it, as well!  Thank you for visiting!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Installing a Shower Door

New Shower DoorDoes your shower have a curtain hanging and you'd rather have a door?  Or maybe you've got a shower door already but would like a new one.  Once again, I'm gonna show you how you can make it happen, and as always, save some money by doing it yourself!

What you'll need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Hacksaw
  • Electric Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Masonry Drill Bit (5/16")
  • 4' Level
  • Masking tape
  • Caulking Gun
  • Clear Silicone

The first thing your going to need to do is remove the existing door or curtain.  If you've currently got a shower curtain, then it should be relatively easy to remove.  Just release the tension on the rod or you'll possibly have to remove a few screws on the brackets at the ends of the rod.  Either way, it's a really quick process.  If you currently have a shower door, this will take a little longer.  The process goes like this:  The doors have casters attached to the top of them and are hanging from the top rail of the frame.  There is also a door guide attached to the middle of the bottom track.  Move both doors to one side and remove the screws in the door guide and take the guide out.  The doors will freely swing in and out at this point.  Swing the bottom of the inside door in toward the shower and lift up to unhook the casters from the top rail.  Discard the door.  Repeat this same process for the other door.  If there is any silicone or caulking around the frame, you will need to remove this.  With the doors removed. the top rail should just lift up off of the wall jambs (this is the shower frame on the side walls).  After the top rail is off, remove the screws holding the wall jambs in place.  The only part remaining now should be the bottom track.  Typically, this is just held in place by a bead of silicone underneath it.  Using a knife or screwdriver, slowly cut this away while pulling the track up at the same time.  After the track is removed, do a thorough cleaning on the entire area before you start installing the new door.

Level Wall PiecesBottom TrackNow that we've went over the process of removing the old shower door system, you should understand the install better.  It's pretty much the same process in the opposite order.  The first part you will need is the bottom track.  Measure the length between the side walls and subtract 1/4".  This will be the length that the bottom track will be cut to.  Transfer this measurement to the new track and cut it to length using the hacksaw.  Position the track on the center of the ledge.  If you are installing this on a fiberglass shower unit, you may need to file the ends to match the rounded corners.  If it's going on a tiled shower wall, the track will usually fit just fine with square ends.  Once you've got it in place, tape it down and mark the position.  You can now position the new wall jambs (side pieces) onto the bottom track.  Holding it against the wall and using a level, make sure the jamb is plumb (vertically level) and mark the screw holes.  The next step is to remove the side pieces and drill the holes in the side walls using a drill bit and Drill.  The hole size will vary with different manufacturers (typically 5/16") and if you are drilling into ceramic tile, you will need to use a masonry drill bit.  After all the holes are drilled, install the plastic anchors that should be included with the new shower door (these simply press into the holes that you drilled).  Now that the side pieces have been removed, remove the bottom track as well.  Apply a bead of silicone underneath the track along the groove on the outside edge of the bottom of the track.  Position it back where you had it marked before and apply tape to hold it down again.  The next step will be to place the side pieces back into their position and install them using the screws provided into the anchors in the wall.  On each side, there will be a door bumper installed with the screw in the top and bottom spots.  After this, the bottom track and the wall jambs are installed!  The HARD part is now done!!!

Wall JambMasonry Drill Bit

  Next you will need to measure the top, from one wall to the other.  This will be the length you'll need to cut the new top rail.  Just as you cut the bottom track, use the hacksaw to cut the top rail to length.  The top rail will just fit over the side pieces securely.  The weight of the glass doors will definitely hold it in place.  Now onto the doors.

Shower Door Frame  Using a screwdriver, attach the hanging brackets on the top edge of each door.  After this, attach the casters (wheels that the door rolls along the top rail with) to the hanging brackets using a screwdriver as well.  You're now ready to hang the doors from the top rail!  While holding one door upright, swing the bottom in toward the shower and raise the top (end with the casters attached) up into the top rail and hang the casters on the inside edge inside the rail.  Repeat the same process for the other door, except this time you will hang the door on the outside edge inside the top rail.  Now that the doors are hanging and able to slide either way, you need to slide the doors up against both wall jambs to make sure they close all the way up against the door bumpers that are on the wall jambs.  If they don't, you will need to adjust to fit.  The hanging brackets that you installed on the top edge of the doors usually have three separate holes.  This is to allow for adjustment.  If the door is not closing all the way at the top, you can adjust the casters either up or down on the hanging brackets to make it fit nicely.  Use the same process to make it fit better at the bottom, if needed.  After both doors are adjusted, the door guide will need to be installed on the bottom track.  This door guide will keep the sliding doors moving smoothly and not rubbing against each other.  Locate the middle of the bottom track and place the door guide in place at this location.  Using the self-tapping screws provided, attach the door guide to the bottom track.  Once this is done, the door handles can be installed.  Install one facing the inside of the shower, while the other should face the outside.  You're almost done!  Now that everything is installed and working, the only thing left is to seal it all up.  Apply a bead of silicone on the outside of the shower along the entire length of the wall jambs and the bottom track (silicone should be placed where the shower frame meets the wall and shower base).  On the inside of the shower, only apply the silicone to the wall jambs, NOT the bottom track!  This allows any water that happens to make its way behind the frame to drain back into the shower, not out onto the bathroom floor.  At this point, the shower door has been installed.  You should not use the shower or expose the silicone to any water at all until the next day.  This will ensure that all silicone has dried sufficiently and your new shower door system will not leak.

New Shower DoorWhile these instructions might make this project sound pretty easy, it does require patience!  I would consider this to have a medium range of difficulty and the time to complete this should be about 4-5 hours.  I hope this post gives you enough information and tips to help build your confidence in tackling a project like this.  As always, I am interested in your feedback.  Please let me know what you think of this post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll be happy to respond.  Good luck!