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Drywall tip of the day: Finding imperfections :)

21785 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Neurorad
Hey guys, Just thought I could be helpful to as least one person and post a tip that worked awesome for me post drywall installers...

I had some guys come in and hang the drywall, mud/tape etc. AWESOME price so I cant expect a perfect job however what Im doing is going around EVERY square inch of the room and doing some additional sanding and mudding.

So the technique which works wonders for finding imperfections in the mud is to turn off all lights in the room (ie completely dark), I have a trouble light (flash light or some other portable light will also work) that I held and then went again over EVERY square inch shining the light in different angles onto the wall using the shadows the light creates etc.

Before using the light, i was pretty sure that the mudding (after my additional touch ups) was almost perfect and ready for primer. However, 10 min ago, I found a TON of marks, scuffs, grooves that will surely show up once the paint is on there.

I'm soooo glad a buddy of mine gave me this tip. Although it will put me back a few more hours, it will surely be worth it in the end.

Not sure if this has been posted before or not, hopefully this saves someones day and avoids another post in the "what i'd do differently next time" thread

Have a good one folks!
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Take that technique around the rest of your house. You will find things you had no idea you've been living with.
That's what I did to my builder representative at my 1 year review. They looked at me like I was crazy. They fixed some of the major issues, but didn't do much for the rest.

I'd still be down in the basement "touching things up" if I did this. My twin shoplight did a good job of finding the issues too.

This is a good tip if you can stand the amount of work it generates.

LOL. Exactly. This is why I marked the spots, then stopped. I will fix the spots I marked then onto the priming stage.....if I keep going with the light the room will never be done. At least it will allow me to correct the obvious blemishes
The rest no one but me may ever notice.Anyways, back to some MGS4 on the PS3....jesus this game will look good on the "big wall". lol
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The guy that did my drywall actually did his sanding like this. went around with his light in the dark making sure it was done right. most of it look s quite good, but you know how that goes, you will always find things if you are looking for them.
oooor, you could just build a bunch of 2x4 wall panels, stick OC 705 in them and cover them with GOM. That'll hide those imperfections too.
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I did much the same thing. Eventually had to stop. The thing is that at first you focus on all of the "big" things. Once you fix those and go back all of the medium issues that you didn't bother with suddenly show up a "big" issues. Fix those and then you find all the "small" things that are now big, etc.....

It never ends. Having just painted I now found a few more problem areas I will likely go back and fix. After that I'm going to have to hire someone to pry the sanding block out of my dusty cramped hands.
really? You are doing this?

The way pro's do it is based on the room. Any walls that directly face a window will never show the imperfections, walls that are parallel to incoming light and close to a window will always show imperfections. Walls in hallways and dimly lit rooms will never show imperfections....

Drywall is by far the cheapest finish (even cheaper than crappy 1/8" paneling).

A big nappy paint roller that holds a crapload of paint and leaves a slight "paint only" texture is the way to make it look perfect.

Either that or do blueboard and plaster if you want a perfect finish.

If you really want to abuse yourself, then stick to the walls that receive light along their long axis...directly lit walls will *almost* always be too bright to see the imperfections!
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Whoa... good tip, but I'm scared. I am only 1/2 way thru hanging the first layer and I don't even want to think about looking at every square inch.
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You are so right!! After I read your comment on drywall, I went and got a flashlight since I'm planning on painting a screen.....and sure enough, I can see the ondulations on the drywall.

Thanks for the input.
Yeah, don't do this to finished walls, you will drive yourself crazy. It is great for between coat point up though. Also, when going around with your flashlight, use the edge of a quarter to make your marks. They are lighter than pencil and will cover more easily.
Totally agree with the guys that have had to lay down the sander. I did this with my family room and I finally looked at it and was like..."No one is going to have their face two inches from my ceiling shining a flashlight on it...and if they are...they're stupid and I don't care.

I would still be going if I hadn't forced myself to quit. Now I have it almost entirely painted and it looks good...I can still spot some issues I know are there - but it's a heck of a lot better than the rest of my house. lol
I have done drywall for 14 years and I use a big light for checking for mistakes all the time. It does work well...
For some reason, in Texas at least, everything is "textured" with "knock down" texture. The reason I bring this up is it makes painting a HUGE PITA vs. when I helped paint my in-laws house in Georgia. Non-textured walls are SO much easier to paint... very envious of you guys.

At any rate, it's really difficult to get into the rises and dips of the texture which leaves you spots the size of a pin drop of the prior color under your new color (usually bunched up in groups of 15-20). You can usually see them to the naked eye but for ceilings and higher up walls, the best way is to kill the lights and look at it with a flash light (method described above). The flash light picks up the prior color (especially white against dark) and they jump out at you.

What I thought was a completed paint job wound up looking like ass after I looked at it in this light. 2 more coats later... all was well.
We bought new construction, and the builder quoted some standard during the walk through. It was also quoted in our Home Warranty book. Basically, its called the 6' rule - if you cant see it from 6' away then its not a problem!

The other lesson I learned during the walk through concerned lighting. They put these low watt crappy bulbs in all the fixtures. After I moved in and changed the bulbs, all these imperfections suddenly appeared.

So definitely use a good light to find problems, and take a few good bulbs to your walk-through or inspection!
best thing to hide those imperfections is to do a one or two skim coats of the entire wall. Of course it is time consuming, but nothing compares.

Originally Posted by elvalle /forum/post/16416972

best thing to hide those imperfections is to do a one or two skim coats of the entire wall. Of course it is time consuming, but nothing compares.

That's actually what I ended up having to do on the soffits, is fully skim coat them. Too much irregularity after I put up the paper corner bead. Of course, like an idiot I thought I'd try 3M gluing the paper on. Bad idea. Took a whole of of mud to get things square again.

For the walls, a skim coat with diluted top coat mud and a 12" trowel did the trick for me.

What really made me notice problems, was painting the wall flat black. Stuff that didn't show up before became glaringly obvious when I painted the ceiling / wall / soffits flat. Ugh. Had to skim, sand, primer, again.

To the OP, that is a crazy way to prep a room.


Industry Standards are held by http://www.pdca.org/



Upon substantial completion of work, the Customer agrees to conduct an inspection of the work with the Contractor. All defects and uncompleted items should be noted at this time. The inspection must occur under normal lighting conditions, without magnification, and from a normal viewing position, in accordance to industry Standards.
Well my old HT is long gone. Plus it was a cash deal and wasn't passed or holding the drywall guy accountable. I was purposely being very picky and finished the rest off myself. I see your point though which may apply to others etc.
If you want a 'level 5' finish, the way to do it, I've read, is to skim coat it.

Most houses have level 4, if you're doing a photo shoot it's level 5.

Industry standard. Costs more. Drywalltalk.com is a drywalling forum:

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