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Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

I taped and spackled my kitchen, lightly sanded between coats. Well, I think I am on my final sanding and I am in pain! My right shoulder is killing me and I have worn off the skin on my left hand checking for bumps! I want it too look as perfect as possible to not only meet mine and my husbands high standards of "I can do better than they guy who did our bathroom" but also to impress those in the family who do not believe that women can do any home improvement projects. Also, I am guessing that when I see a mistake after we paint I will notice it every time I walk into the room. Anyway, am I missing something? Any tips to make this crappy part of the project any easier?
It is actually looking pretty good but I still have 3/4 to finish sanding. Luckily, I didn't go too crazy when I was layering, it is pretty even and smooth but of course there is still a lot of sanding to do.

A. Spruce
Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

Shayla, Shayla, Shayla, where to begin ... ;):p:D (I'm teasing ... )

Sounds like you're doing things right, in that you're applying thin coats and all. You don't really need to sand between coats, just skim your blade across the surface to knock off the lumps and bumps and carve off any severe ridges. If you've got a real booger than needs to be taken down that's one thing, but generally scraping with the knife will be sufficient between coats. I'm very glad to hear you have a discerning eye and are taking pains (a little too literally maybe ;) ) to do a good job. I have to ask, though, are you going to be texturing the wall or leaving it smooth? If you'll be texturing, then there's no need for the level of scrutiny that you're using because the texture will hide a multitude of sins. This is not to say that you don't still want a smooth base to work from, only that a few dimples or marks here and there won't be noticeable. If you're going for the "baby buns smooth" look, then yes, you need to take care and caution to get things as perfect as possible.

As for wearing the skin off your hand, try putting on a cotton glove. The glove will allow your hand to glide over the surface without blister causing friction, yet allow you to still feel significant defects in need of further attention. A vinyl or latex glove may work and still provide the tactile sense required.

Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

shayla ... here is a tip you might try ...instaed of sanding take a damp sponge ( not sopping wet ) to the drywall compound to smooth it out. It does work easily and there is no messy dust. Once you get the technique down you won't see any marks.

Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

Spackling is always gonna be a crappy job to do unless its just a small room. first coat is kinda fun...second coat you're kinda getting sick of it and the third coat you're scanning every little inch as you go along making sure it goes on reallllllll purty and then you find yourself pullin' a little shnitzel through what was "almost" a perfect run so you try again but by now yer gettin' a tad grumpy. By the time yer done you say to yourself that you just KNOW when you go back in there the next day you're gonna just have to go over a few more areas again to get it just right.
Then you go to sand the next day and find even more spots ya missed....grrrr...butcha keep sandin'...life isn't so great just about now....BUT...you're almost done...you hope...lol...all of a sudden its really not fun anymore and you start wondering what ya'd do if you had three or four rooms to do...hmmmm...how much does a spackle company charge again?...lol
Rock on :rolleyes:

Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!


I'm with Sprucey here. The only coat I sand (screen) is the very last....because it's the only one that needs any screening. Just knock/slice off any nibs/ridges from previous coat with the tip of your knife/trowel and carry on with the next coat. Setting type compound for the first two coats coats and pre-mixed topping compound from there on, unless you're in a bathroom. Setting type again if you are becasue it won't soften from the high humidity levels that may exist there. Figure on four coats from start to a perfect end result. (Never attempt to achieve a perfect result in one or two coats cause it isn't going to happen and you'll only frustrate yourself..........and get a sore shoulder from all that sanding) Each subsequent coat is far less applied material than the previous. Fourth coat amounts to teenie-weenie little-bitty dabs here and there. Virtually nothing. You'll be filling the occasional pinhole....literally.

Don't use your hand to feel for imperfections, but rather use a hand-held light instead. A "clampy" type work-light works well enough. Hold it very close to the surface so that the light RAKES across the surface and it'll show ya all the imperfections. Move it about/rotate so that the light rakes all areas from 360 and nothing will escape your gaze. Any and all imperfections will cast an obvious shadow. Fill any pits that remain with a swipe of a 6" knife. Let dry and then screen the compound just a bit to achieve uniform hold-out for primer and paint that will then match the hold-out of the drywall paper itself. The layers of compound will be burnished to some degree and will hold-out primer/paint differently if you dont' do that bit of screening. The whole procedure is a piece of cake and far, far less dust.

Take some ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and rest that shoulder.

C Ed Wright
Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

This may come a little late in your project, and the others said it all very well except for spelling out these little details (probably taken for granted due to their obviously long experience, after which you tend to forget to mention the most elementary tidbits):

When taping and finishing, there are distinct steps:

1. Using a 3" (4" max) taping knife, lay a thin bed of all-purpose joint coumpound (hereafter called "mud") into the center of the joint depression formed by the edges of the drywall and press the tape into it; go over it with a 4" knife to press the tape into the mud using a lengthwise wiping or squeegee motion; and wipe away any ridges of mud. Let dry.

2. Using a 6" (max) taping knife, lay a thin layer of mud over the tape and fill the joint recess. No more than just fill the depresseion more-or-less even with the surface. Don't fuss with it, just fill it. wipe up any mud outside the depression. Let dry.

3. Using the 6" knife, slice off any raised ridges, bumps, or other raised imperfections in the dried mud. Using the 6" knife, lay a thin coat of mud to fill any shrinkage and level the joint, feathering the edges. Then using a 10" finishing knife, smooth the fill even with the drywall. It should be flat and not much wider than the original depression, and the drywall surface should show through the wet feathered edges. Let dry.

4. Using a large firm slightly damp sponge, gently wipe the surface to wisk away any small raised imperfections. Let dry.

You should be done now, but if sidelighting reveals anything that still needs to be gone over to fill in, repeat #3 using the smallest knife needed to get it done. Worst case, you might need to give the whole joint one more very thin feathered coat with a 12" knife. Let dry and sidelight it again to check for imperfections. You should definitely be done now, but worst-case, repeat as necessary.

About 95% of the time required is drying time.

So you need a 3", 4" 6" 10" and maybe 12" taping knife, and a big flat sponge.

Save your sandpaper for wood trim, etc.

If after priming you still discover imperfections, fill them as above, let dry, and reprime the new mud. You can fill all kinds of depressions with all-purpose joint compound -- grooves in 1960s paneling, for example -- before painting. You can use it instead of spackle for picture hook & nail holes -- use a dab on the tip of a finger.

Re: Am I doing something wrong? My shoulder is killing me!

Wow! Thanks all! SO, I primed last night and it looks pretty good. Going to do some more inspecting before the final coat(s) of paint which will be applied tonight and tomorrow morning. Luckily, the room isn't too large but guessing that when we do our next project that will be about 1000 sq feet of floor space, I'll be calling in some pro's. At least now I know that I CAN do it and do it well...if I will WANT to do it will be another question! :D

Thanks again!!

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