How to smooth a wall

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What is wall shaving and what does it consist of

Smoothing the walls is one of the most important treatments that allow you to obtain perfectly smooth internal or external walls and constitutes the completion phase of the plaster thanks to the use of a particular paste which is placed on an instrument and then applied to the wall to be treated. The smoothing finishing process is the best choice when you are faced with a structure to be renovated characterized by old plaster, or in the case in which patching needs to be done in specific points of a wall. Smoothing also has the purpose of making the wall ready to be covered with wallpaper or other coverings which require a perfectly smooth, compact and as uniform base wall as possible. Any type of wall can be subjected to this treatment, whether it is an external wall that will need to be painted or an internal one that will undergo a series of subsequent processes and various applications of materials. Through the shaving process we give the wall the right porosity, to then obtain an optimal result both from an aesthetic and durability point of view; this last aspect is of fundamental importance and it is for this reason that the entire work must be carried out in a workmanlike manner; when just one phase of the entire process is not carried out in accordance with the requirements, the result may not be optimal and it is for this reason that you can also opt for a team of professionals who regularly carry out this type of work. Smoothing walls is not easy to achieve and depends a lot on the type of wall to be treated and the difficulties that may be encountered, the materials that are chosen and the tools for applying the products. In most cases we are faced with walls with minor imperfections which can be easily resolved with the application of a paste or stucco to cover the cracks or general imperfections; other times, however, especially when it comes to old homes with particular humidity conditions, the stucco could prove insufficient as a solution, if not useless and it is therefore necessary to resort to more massive and decisive operations.

How to proceed with smoothing the walls

Anyone who decides to use this operation must know the material that is used and all the equipment necessary for the application. To obtain smoothing, lime putty is used: a calcium hydrate obtained by slaking quicklime with excess water, until an elastic and fine paste is obtained. This material is a natural air-setting binder, composed of calcium hydroxide and water; it is very versatile and is used by painters, painters, professional installers but also for DIY. Lime putty is used above all in the preparation of mortars for its ability to give them excellent workability and plasticity; it can be easily purchased for your own work and is supported by precise indications shown on the product sheet. It is therefore important to first choose the material that will be used for the work you want to undertake; Furthermore, there are numerous types of smoothing plasters to choose from, which can be gypsum-based or alternatively cement-based. The latter preparations are also used to finish and level irregularities on different types of plaster. If you opt for do-it-yourself, these solutions are certainly more practical and allow you to avoid errors due to incorrect proportions during the preparation of the product; the application of the product must be carried out with a specific metal tool which serves to evenly distribute the product on the walls. Using the tool, the product is applied to the wall with a sudden and fast gesture, immediately afterwards the smoothing compound must be crushed to compact it, a certain pressure is applied to eliminate excess product. The pressure applied during this phase and the technique used are of fundamental importance: if too much pressure is applied, too much material will be removed, if the pressure applied is too little, the material will tend to be in excess and will compromise the success. of work. Applying the smoothing compound may be simple, but in reality it involves a particular movement that requires a minimum of experience; this activity is often entrusted to expert operators who have the ability to uniform the product on the wall as much as possible and avoid the formation of unevenness between one area and another of the wall in question. An important and not secondary aspect is represented by the condition of the wall that you intend to level, whether it is an ancient construction or a new construction. If the wall is in good condition and appears compact, a single coat of 80-100 grit sandpaper and therefore quite coarse is probably sufficient, only when the cement and lime have dried completely. Usually this drying phase for new constructions involves a period of up to thirty days, or in any case a period sufficient to be able to use sandpaper and not risk removing the wrong material, thus compromising the entire job. Once this drying phase has passed, in fact, you can proceed with the painting operation only after having passed a soft brush over the wall which will be used to remove the dust and small fragments of plaster that have remained stuck to the wall.

When plastering the walls to be smoothed is necessary

An inconvenience that necessarily forces you to postpone painting the wall is the formation of holes or craters, visible against the light and when observing the wall frontally and laterally. When such a situation arises it is essential to act by filling these imperfections, using a can of stucco or wall paste; the material must be applied with a soft spatula and trying not to exaggerate with the quantities: it is in fact recommended to use very small quantities to prevent the stucco from coming off in the future, due to adverse climatic conditions such as in the case of excessive humidity. Stucco and humidity are enemies of each other: the former does not adhere in particular humidity conditions, such as in uninsulated cellars or understairs and therefore risks detaching from the walls, causing damage to the paintwork or any wallpaper applied. on the wall. Generally, stucco can be found in two formulations: powder and paste; The powder one requires preparation, while the paste version is ready to be used and therefore recommended for DIY. Obviously, paste stucco is finer in grain size and therefore less effective in renewing the support in an optimal manner compared to powder stucco, which is instead more suitable for a qualitatively better renovation of walls. After the grouting phase it will be necessary to wait to allow the material to solidify; the expected time is approximately 6/8 hours, to then conclude this phase and be able to sand with fine sandpaper, usually 150 grit, so as not to remove too much material and try, at the same time, to level the treated surface.

Finishing operations in the wall smoothing process

Once you have obtained a wall without holes or craters you can proceed with the application of the fixative, which is very important for completing the preparation of the wall for painting or gluing wallpaper. The fixative is an insulator that is preferably applied with a roller or a brush, as it allows the product to go deeper. The application of the fixative is part of the finishing phase and has the task of compacting the wall and completing the phase preceding painting. There are precise rules for the application of this material, so as not to have unpleasant surprises in the subsequent phases: first of all, the right doses for its dilution must be respected as prescribed in the preparation instructions on each package, the application phase must be homogeneous over the entire size of the wall, you must finally wait for the correct drying period of the primer according to the requirements and depending on the climatic conditions. One of the most common problems is making mistakes in the dilution phase: if the dilution is not correct and the fixative is in excess compared to the diluent, there is a risk that the wall will be too shiny and waterproof and therefore make it difficult if not impossible. the application of the color in the following painting phase. If, however, a product is used that is too diluted, there is a risk of not obtaining a wall ready enough for the painting phase and therefore the result may not be as satisfactory as expected. The primer or fixative needs to dry for approximately two to three hours, with shorter drying times for hot, dry seasons such as spring or summer. Having reached this point we continue with painting with the chosen color or with another finishing operation: application of wallpaper, tiles, decorations, paints with particular materials. The purpose of smoothing, in fact, is precisely to prepare the walls for a subsequent operation which may consist of painting or the application of a coating such as gluing wallpaper, which requires a perfectly smooth base. in order to have an optimal result and to avoid encountering difficulties during the gluing operation. The advantages of smoothing are not only structural but also aesthetic: the surface in question is more elegant and allows you to finish the walls with the most disparate paints and create elegant and long-lasting paintings. More elaborate and more valuable decorative effects can be created, such as Venetian stucco, which requires a perfectly smooth background that only smoothing can give to the wall. The smoothed base can also be used for the application of tiles or decorative wooden slabs. The most important advice, when you decide to smooth the walls, is to follow to the letter all the instructions on the packaging of the materials you purchase; furthermore, it is essential not to skip any steps as they are closely connected and the success of the work depends on the correct execution of each of these phases. Finally, it is advisable to consider the conditions of the walls you intend to treat, whether they are new buildings or neglected walls that need adjustments; at this point we will evaluate the possibility of carrying out the processing on our own or relying on expert personnel in the sector.

Publicato: 2016-04-29Da: Redazione

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