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Skim coating walls

If you’re not familiar with skim coating walls, then GOOD! That is why we are writing this. We do not doing skim coating work, but it is needed as part of being a paint contractor.

What is Skim Coating Walls?

You can see in these two videos we have done recently, we have had to do some skim coating walls that had wallpaper removed, the other is skim coating over a rough texture plaster.

skim coating walls
here is a rough textured faux finish wall

The wallpaper that we removed took the drywall off with it, so it is a mess!

The other one we are working on is a Faux Finish- texture plaster that was applied to the walls about 9 years ago. Faux finishes can be awesome…until it it time to get rid of them. In this case we are power sanding walls, to get to some type of smooth, then we will have to skim coat the walls to fill in all of the uneven surfaces.

How to skim coat

There are a few methods to skim coat a wall.

The first is calling a drywall company. It is staggering how fast they are!

Skim Coating Tools

If you are doing it yourself, then we have several tools you need:

  • drywall mud pan
  • 45 min Durabond
  • pre mix 4 gallon bucket of Durabond
  • drywall knives
  • pole sander
  • vacuum
  • respirator
  • fan
  • drop cloths

When we are skim coating we typically use a pre-mix bucket. The areas are large so it just makes it easier vs. mixing up 2-3 cups at a time. The powder form is great for small areas.

We start with covering areas/floors. Then, we hang plastic so no dust gets to the rest of the house. Pole sand the walls to remove any burrs etc. from the wall. Next, just start grabbing some mud in the pan and use a drywall knife to apply it to the wall. Smaller, thinner applications work best. The more you can “scrape” the wall at a 40 degree angle to better as it will leave smaller amounts, which dry faster and sand smoother.

After the first coat, allow it to dry, then sand smooth. Apply as many coats as you need to get the wall smooth and ready for paint!

Other things to know regarding Skimming your walls

Drywall work is messy!! The dust gets everywhere. We use Festool sanders to make sure that the dust is contained as much as possible.

Make sure that the drywall mud is as dry as possible before sanding!!

You will have to prime the repairs before painting. Do NOT just use ceiling paint to prime these areas. Use a drywall sealer- that will make sure that the primer will penetrate the surface, creating a uniform, harder surface to allow sanding, to make sure that if at some point a piece of tape is applied that the tape wont pull away the paint! (SO frustrating!!)

repainting your entire home
Repainting your entire home

Have you just bought a new home? Or have you been in your home for some time and ready for a refresher? In either case, we thought we would do a quick blog post for you to show what repainting your entire home may look like.

Repainting handrails in your home

One of the most popular things to do is to refinish and or repaint oak spindles and handrails. The number one color is black handrails and newel posts with white risers, and spindles.

here is traditional oak handrails
handrails painted black - whole home painting
here is the after of oak handrails being painted black

Removing or stripping wallpaper in your home

Removing or stripping wallpaper accounts for quite a bit of the work we do. Most of the time we are removing the wallpaper in order to replace it with something new and modern. In this home that was the case. Their wallpaper selections are a few months back ordered, so we just stripped the wallpaper so the walls are ready when the wallpaper arrives.

bathroom wallpaper
a bathroom getting ready to be stripped of wallpaper
removing wallpaper from bathroom walls
bathroom stripped of wallpaper

In this bathroom, we removed the wallpaper, then had to skim coat the ceiling as the paper was a little difficult to remove because the previous installer did not prime the ceiling before installing the wallpaper. The ceiling will just be painted this time. We also repainted the trim in the room, and the home owner is going to repaint the vanity.

Repainting ceilings and walls in your home

For this home, we repainted walls, ceilings and trim. The older color of an off brown, was about 15 years old. So we updated the trim to a new brighter white, painted the ceilings a flat pure white, then painted the walls Agreeable Grey. I think it was a huge transformation.

before we started painting…
repainted home
repainted walls ceilings and trim
rooms being prepped for paint

Painting Kitchen Walls

kitchen before we painted
painted kitchen - entire home painting
kitchen after we painted

Painting a Living Room or Family Room

family room before we painted
interior home painting
family room with ceiling, walls and trim all repainted

Repainting your entre home is never without drywall repairs

As in any repainting job, this home was not with out the drywall repairs. Many of them were as simple as filling in holes from older pics. But some were a little more.

walls damaged from fish tank water
walls damaged from wallpaper removal

Are you ready to repaint your home?

Not a lot of words on today’s post. Sometimes pictures just do the work for us. The one question you may ask is how much will it cost to repaint my home? I would love to say here is the cost, but we can’t. Several factors are used to develop estimates on painting homes:

  • Are we painting walls?
  • Will the ceilings be painted?
  • Do you want doors painted?
  • Would you like windows or window trim painted?
  • Does the trim or doors require any repairs?
  • Changing colors can require 3 coats to cover older colors
  • The type of sheen you want will affect to cost of materials
  • Is there some, a lot, or no drywall repairs to be made?

These are most, but not all the considerations taken into account when we are doing a painting estimate for you.

When you are ready to repaint your home, give us a call to set up a free estimate, most of time we can use online listings of your home to do a virtual estimate for you! Either way let us know how we can help you love the space you’re in!

Water Damage Ceilings

It happens to almost every house in the United States -Water Damage!

If you have a house, you have water in it. Water is being introduced to your house from rain, snow, water pipes, and water from showers, sinks and toilets.  It is not a question of if you are going to have water damage, it is a matter of where and when. From our position as painters, that water damage most likely will come in the form of water damage ceilings.

For this post we will focus on water damage ceilings, mainly water spots or stains.

“Our bathtub overflowed and water came through the ceiling in the kitchen, can you fix that?”

Yes, we can. Once the water has dried there will be water stains on your ceiling as seen in the image below.

water damage - repairing cabinets

When you see this, and when we arrive to look at the problem area, there are few things we need to ask:

  • Is the area still wet?
    • If the area is still wet you may need a plumber, or roofer depending on the location of the leak.  They will determine if there is still a problem that needs to be addressed.
  • Do you know where the water came from?
    • This will tie into the above question, it may have been a small one time issue- kids spilled, leaking faucet now fixed etc.
  • Are we going to have a mold issue?
    • If the area is closed off, there can be issues of mold between two floors or between inside and outside walls.
  • When was the last time it was wet and how long has it been dry?
    • If this happened a year ago and it is still dry we know that a quick repair is what we will do.

Each of these questions is meant to get to the problem and help us make sure it is fixed the right way.  In the image above we don’t have to worry about the drywall seams being damaged so it makes our job easy…well, easier.

So the water stain is old and dry – what is next?

As we get ready to repaint the ceiling, we have to make sure we have our checklist of materials needed:

  • Masking tape
  • Plastic to cover the walls/trim from not getting paint splatter on these areas
  • Drop cloths to cover the floors
  • Roller handle and roller sleeve
  • Paint brush
  • Paint tray
  • extension pole used to reach the ceiling while painting
  • Ceiling paint
  • Spray can of oil-based primer such as Kilz or Bin

Once all the materials are in hand, prep work!  masking the walls and trim, moving furniture or covering it with plastic, and covering the floors with drop cloths.

Now that your ready to get into paint, get out the spray can of primer and shake well! (2-3 min) Spray the water stained area with the primer and allow to dry. It could be 30 minutes- it could be 2 hours. Once the 1st cost of primer is dry, the stain may come through, but usually it means the stain has bonded to the primer and become part of the primer, and usually it is now encapsulated so it cannot bleed through. However, I don’t like to take the risk, so we recommend a second coat of primer.

bin primer - painting water damage ceiling
here is a spot primer we use

Wait for the primer to dry!

This may seem pretty simple and easy. However, most people paint too fast and don’t allow the primer to dry.  Oil primers have to wait for the oils to actually dry out, it is a chemical process. You cannot mechanically force oil paint or primer to dry any faster than it was designed to dry.  Water based primers however, get a fan or hair dryer and dry it!

Paint that ceiling.

Your primer is dry. The walls and floors are masked.  You have paint ready to apply. So now it is just time to get to it.  Cut in the edges with your brush, if you have a fan blowing, you could actually apply the 2nd coat of primer by the time you get to where you are starting and have two coats of primer done right away. Then clean the brush! Roll out the ceiling paint, inspect to make sure you didn’t miss a spot. If it all looks good throw away or wash the roller sleeve, tape and plastic. Pick up drop cloths, move your furniture back and enjoy a spot free ceiling!

fixing water damage ceiling - ceiling painting
Here is ceiling freshly painted

Let us know if you have any water damage that needs fixing. We may be able to help you.

50k three ways instagram post - interior home painting elgin il
Check out some of our paint work we did on HGTV’s 50K three ways.
How to get your walls ready for wallpaper.

Are you having wallpaper installed in your home or installing the wallpaper yourself? If so, then you will want to read how to get your walls ready for wallpaper!

Hello again, this is David from D’franco Painting & Wallpaper, and I just wanted to share a few things to help you in your wallpaper installation so you have a trouble-free installation. Inspecting your walls or using this as a checklist of things to think about before you install wallpaper will make the installation that much better for you. Knowing what to look at will make sure that if you hire someone, you are hiring the right person. In any case, getting your walls ready for wallpaper is not just a nice thought…it is a must!

Do your walls need repairs?

In most homes that we inspect, there is little need for wall repairs. If there are any, it is usually from nail holes, old picture hangers, etc. But sometimes…

drywall damage - how to get your walls ready for wallpaper
Drywall damage from baseboard replacement
drywall damage from wallpaper removal
Drywall damage from wallpaper removal
drywall damage from tile removal
Here is drywall damage from tile removed from a wall

Each of these issues will need attention before you start installing drywall. These repairs usually take several coats to fill in the holes and make things smooth again. If you don’t know how this is done, it is one of the things you want to hire someone to do, as you will see every single knick, ding, scrape, bubble, uneven spot, or divot in the walls. You want to make sure the walls are ready for wallpaper by being very smooth.

Are you removing wallpaper?

This should be a yes or already done. If you have commercial wallpaper, it is against fire code to install new vinyl or old vinyl wallcovering.

Here is a quick video on one of our guys removing wallpaper: Removal

Are your walls sealed or primed and ready for the wallpaper?

If you have had any drywall repairs made, then you must seal those spots. We have several products we use, but one of the ones we have used more of lately is ROMAN 977 as it is a white pigment and can be tinted.

roman 977 white pigment primer
Roman 977 white pigment primer

Priming your walls video

Make sure that you are using a wallpaper primer, and NOT a drywall primer! There is a difference. Drywall primer does not really soak into the surface. It sits more like paint. Wallpaper primers do a better job, some more than others, of penetrating the wall surface to create a uniform solid surface that the wallpaper adhesive can adhere to. Are you asking or saying, “So what?” GOOD! If you have ever put a piece of tape on the wall, go to remove it and the paint and drywall rip off the wall with the tape? This is the reason we use what we do. The primers penetrate, almost gluing, the surfaces together. When it is time to remove the wallpaper, it comes off like it should, leaving a solid wall surface you can paint or hang new wallpaper.

Be sure of any other work you want done before wallpaper installation begins.

What we mean by that is:

  • Are you replacing a towel holder?
  • Getting a new mirror?
  • Changing your vanity?
  • Updating your toilet?
  • Removing the toilet paper holder?
  • Painting your ceiling or trim?
dfranco wallpaper removal
Wallpaper Removal
wallpaper removal - dfranco painting & wallpaper
Wallpaper removed, trim painted

If there is a “yes” to any of these questions, you need to make sure that you are having it done before wallpaper begins.

What else you should do before starting to install wallpaper?

Aside from the above…

Make sure you have the proper adhesive for the wallpaper you are using.

Double check the wallpaper for any defects. Here is our last install that we had to stop due to defective materials.

Have clean water, plenty of space, and READ the instructions one more time.

When done, have fun! Wallpaper can be fun to install. Seeing the transformation take place is worth the time.

If you have questions on wallpaper installation, let us know how we can help you love the space you’re in.

There is mold behind my wallpaper!

MOLD?! There is mold behind my wallpaper! What the heck?

This is not only gross looking, but dangerous. Hi! David Cook, owner of D’franco Painting & Wallpaper, with another quick blog for you with issues and questions we face when in customers homes and business locations.

The most common type of mold species that can readily be found under wallpaper is black mold. Black mold is also known as stachybotrys, and this type of mold can be very toxic to your health if left untreated.

mold behind my wallpaper
Mold behind wallpaper.

Mold that is in your home is DANGEROUS

As you may or may not have seen or heard, toxic mold and indoor air pollution from biological sources seem to always be in the news. This is due to several factors, there is awareness of how much mold, especially toxic mold, can affect your health.

Roughly 35-40% of buildings have some form of mold. These dangerous mold spores are in over 25% of residential homes!

Mycotoxins that are released by mold are more problematic than pesticides or heavy metals because they can affect a more diverse range of biological systems than pesticides and dangerous heavy metals.

The mold most often on walls behind wallpaper (Stachybotrys) emits trichothecene. Concentrations of this dangerous mycotoxin has the ability to inhibit protein synthesis and affect every single organ of your body.

It’s also worth considering that fungi like mold also have a high rate of mutation. This means it is possible for mold to produce novel species that is capable of evading your immune system.

One nasty mold that can be very hazardous is the type of mold known as Cryptococcus. It actually has a mortality rate that’s estimated as high as 30% for those who become infected.

Most indoor mold problems are related to construction defects or home maintenance issues that allow for water intrusion. However, things like localized flooding and certain lifestyle habits can also greatly introduce the chances of mold invading your home to establish a long-term presence.

It is NOT the wallpaper’s fault you have mold!

There are several reasons why mold will show up:

  • Water from leaking pipes, flooding, etc.
  • Walls that were not insulated. Moisture getting in behind the wallpaper through the insulation.
  • Contaminates. Sometimes wallpaper adhesive could have been exposed to mold contaminates.
  • Mold was already on or in the wall before wallpaper was installed.
moldy walls
Moldy Walls
moldy wall behind wallpaper
Moldy wall behind wallpaper

Removing Moldy Wallpaper

If you see that the wallpaper in your home has mold growth, you should remove it. If the problem is significant, you may have to have a professional mold remediation service with the right tools, training, and experience to effectively eliminate the presence of mold from the home or building. Here are the steps you should take to do it safely and effectively:

Step 1:

Wear old clothes that you plan to discard. Wear a respirator mask that is rated for to screen out microbes. Protective eye-wear is also a very good idea, as are latex gloves. Some types of mold can cause severe skin irritation. It’s also a good idea to cover all furniture with plastic in the room and keep the door shut.

Step 2:

Peel away a small strip of wallpaper. Take a close look for signs of mold on the wall or the back of the paper. It might look black, red, orange, grainy, splotchy, or discolored.

Step 3:

Carefully remove all the wallpaper from around the affected area. There are several different types of wallpaper stripper sold in stores. Renting a wallpaper steamer might also be worth the time and money.

Step 4:

Mix 4 parts dimethyl ammonium chloride with 1 part of water in a bucket. Brush the solution over the mold. Then be followed by applying a solution of 3 parts disodium octaborate tetrahydrate with two parts of glycol. Sounds fun, right?

Using these solutions in tandem has proven to be highly effective for killing mold on wallboards. The combination is particularly effective on mold on wallboards. Still, it is best to do multiple applications!

Step 5:

Allow the treated area to thoroughly dry before cleaning it with soap and water to remove the dead mold.

Step 6:

Shower and clean yourself thoroughly. Make sure to bag all the clothes you wore and discard them immediately.

So, what’s next?

Now that the walls are clean, it’s time to let the walls dry out. Use some fans and a dehumidifier. Once dry, use mold killing primer. Block it out, seal the walls. Once the walls are dry and primer is out, you have a fresh slate.

Are you ready for interior paint? Wallpaper? Now that you have fixed the problem, the walls are yours to do what you please! So, let us help you love the space you’re in…the right way!

What to do with a mirrored wall in your home.

Do you have a mirror on a wall or ceiling in your home? Do you know what to do with that mirrored wall?

Aside from tearing it out, I had no idea either until 3 weeks ago. We had a customer that hated it, but without ripping apart the wall, what were the options? I am David Cook of D’franco Painting & Wallpaper, and we are glad you are here to ask this question!

Ways to hide mirror walls

I did a google search on this myself and found some interesting ways a mirror can be used. Here is one of the articles I found:

7 Stylish Ways to Work With a Mirrored Wall 

They had some interesting ideas, but they never mentioned putting wallpaper over a mirror!

Removal of a mirror from a wall or ceiling

If you have ever done or been around remodeling a home, there always seems to be a room with a mirror stuck to the wall. I did not have any images of this to show you, but if you close your eyes- and think of this image:

  • A mirror is glued with high bond adhesive to a wall
  • It is pressed in place so it sticks to the wall
  • The glue dries hard as a rock to the wall
  • When you try to remove hard glue (like paneling) it rips the wall off as the mirror breaks into pieces

Well, now what? Now you have broken mirror all over the place, and a wall that looks like a war zone. The wall needs to be scraped, cleaned, then repaired. Not fun.

what to do with mirrored wall

Wallpaper over a mirror!

I honestly never thought about it until a customer asked me if it can be done. So after a few seconds, we have installed wallpaper on glass. There isn’t a difference, so I said YES!

So we took to the prep work.

  • We cleaned the mirror.
  • We primed the mirror with Roman Pro 935 adhesive promoting primer.
    • Here is a video of primer:

Wallpaper installation on a mirror

The prep work really was simple, but that is where most mistakes take place!

After the primer was allowed to dry overnight, we measured the wallpaper and cut into pieces for each section

The wallpaper was then rolled with adhesive and allow to book (set for 3-5 min). Once our timer went off we applied to to the mirror like any other surface. The slight difference- the primer is sticky like masking tape- so you have to really place it well or you have a mess.

We then trimmed the pieces as needed and KABAM! The mirror ceiling looked great. No mess, easy and cheaper than demolition.

Do you need a mirror to be Wallpapered?

Then text, call or email us right now! send us a pic and we can help you get rid of the mirror you don’t want!

Recurring Wall Cracks

Do you have recurring wall cracks in your drywall or plaster?

One of the repairs we often have to make in homes before we paint, is cracks in the walls. Wall cracks happen for a number of reasons:

  • water damage
  • stress
  • improper installation of drywall
  • age
  • settling of home
  • improper previous repair

Hi! I’m David Cook of D’franco Painting & Wallpaper, and I thought I could share one of the most recent and difficult wall crack repairs we have to make. Old plaster.

Identifying wall cracks

It is easy to see cracks in your walls. The type of cracks, may not be easy to determine. For most cases, just call someone to look at your wall cracks to make sure it is not paint cracking, age, or a structural problem. In the video, you can see it is a pretty sizable plaster crack we are dealing with.

The house we were working in had a few issues that had big cracks.  There are not a lot of great tools for this but we found a great product-Plaster Magic.

They have a great vidoe as well on how to use it.

Do not be shocked at the cost for these repairs. You will most likely be dealing with lead paint, with old dusty areas of the house which can take a LOT of dust containment.  The process as we used it, was time consuming as well. So again, depending on the type of wall cracks you have, have someone come out to look at to see what you are dealing with.

Here is a pic of the plaster that we are repairing.

Using the Plaster Magic Kit

When we bought this kit, I underestimated how many pieces would be needed to fix the cracks. We still made it work as we were on this site several days.

  • The 1st thing we did, was clean the cracks. After using a shop vac to get rid of dust, we literally washed with soap and water as they were very dirty!
  • Next up was cutting the crack away of loose materials. There was enough of the wall that was solid but plenty of spots where the plaster was flaking off the wall.
  • We then pre-drilled the holes needed so the adhesive could be used in the cracks between the plaster and wood lathe.
  • After we drilled the holes, we caulked in all of the adhesive in the little holes.
  • With the adhesive in the holes, we used the provided screws and screw caps to secure the plaster to the wood lathe. This got tricky! It took us 4-5 screws to find the right amount of pressure the plaster/lathe/screw could hole with out one of them “giving” (broken plaster, broken lathe, broken screw) .      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wa-7Cb4HHc
  • As per the the instructions we let things sit for 24 hours.
  • Once the glue was dry we scraped away the excess, and removed the screws.  It worked! Just as advertised.
  • All that was left was to get some 90 minute DuraBond to smooth out the walls. We sanded, the first coat, did two more, primed the walls and painted.

If we can get our video to load to YouTube we will get that in here.

Other ways to repair plaster

Another method to repair a hole or broken out plaster is to patch the area with drywall. This can be a pain, but it does work. This is another area that you should call a professional to have it looked at. There are different depths of plaster and drywall. Selecting the wrong one can make life a real pain in the butt. Why you ask??

  • Plaster can be 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick.
  • Drywall is 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick.
  • If you try and put 1/2 drywall where there is a 3/4 inch depth- you will have to fill in 1/4 deep void of drywall mud. It may sound like it is not a big deal- but when you have thick layer of drywall mud, it will sag, then you have to cut out the droopy stuff to put in new. NOT FUN!


This blog is short- but it is a good one to get you some basics of a plaster repair- not too bad with experince of drywall, but nothing to be tackled by a first time repair.  We would love to hear how we can help you with repairs to you walls and or ceiling and help you love the space your in!

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