This post is sponsored by Modern Masters who provided me with Venetian Plaster products and tools. The opinions I have shared about the products are my own.
Are you a faux finisher, reluctant to tackle old textured walls for a client? Or, an adventurous DIYer who would love to go from Old World décor to a more contemporary style, using Venetian Plaster?
Perfect! This project is for you! Modern Masters Venetian Plaster Ultra Deep Tint Base and Venetian Plaster Topcoat create a totally flat (non-textured), lustrous finish. It can even be burnished to achieve a marble-like effect, though I wanted a soft appearance for our room featuring a warm white glow without lots of sheen. You can tint it, but I used it in its simplest form – right out of the bucket.
Our project was in our family room. In order to get from the joint compound texture, to my goal finish of Venetian Plaster, a LOT had to happen. Right up front I will warn you that I REALLY wanted to do this, and it took time, enthusiasm, my sweet hubby, and our willingness to fit the project in among a myriad of other obligations. Like full-time jobs!
We both had to commit to getting this job done, and to juggle back and forth between all of the different steps, and our own parts of the process.
A little background: I became a professional full-time faux finisher, owner of Faux Design Studio in Greensboro, NC, over 20 years ago. Prior to honing my craft with several of the best finishing instructors in the US, I played with joint compound texture. It was applied with a trowel, then painted, and maybe even glazed and a very common technique here at the time.
Huge mistake! Not only was my style unpracticed, I broke lots of rules, including putting texture on top of paneling without filling in the grooves first! When the joint compound dried, the paneling grooves showed!
Yes, I am admitting here, in front of everyone that I was self-taught at first, and clearly willing to try anything!
I have hated these walls since the day I finished them, but life, jobs, children, and a shoulder replacement last year interrupted the major re-do that I craved so much.
ENTER MODERN MASTERS VENETIAN PLASTER & TOPCOAT!
Here are the Modern Masters products we will be using in Part 2, where I will demonstrate the application method to achieve this look:
So let’s jump into this very messy, often frustrating, and finally, rewarding redo! I am assuming in this post that you have some basic tools, and knowledge of how to apply and sand joint compound, like that used on drywall. If not, try to enlist a knowledgeable friend who can show you the simple steps.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN A DUSTY JOB!
Resist the urge to jump in and get started making any dust! We covered all of the returns in the entire house with cardboard, and turned off the air conditioning to prevent dust from covering every room, and to protect our brand new HVAC system. Then we covered the floors and furniture, and the one door to the kitchen. Before beginning to sand with the orbital sander, we hooked it up to a shop vac to try to eliminate as much dust as possible.
SUPPLIES FOR PREP
Lots of drop cloths and plastic to cover everything. Ladders, a large bucket of joint compound, putty knife, trowel, hawk (that’s what you put the joint compound on while you’re working), painters tape, water-based primer like Zinsser, paint roller, paint brush, paint containers, dust masks, eye protection, ear protection, tools like crow bars, rags, circular sander, sander sandpaper in 80 grit, regular 220 sandpaper, shop vac, painters tape, hammer, crowbar, and anything else you think will be handy.
Our home was built in 1977, and though we have updated quite a bit, the den where I committed texture-related sin had two ceiling beams that had to go. So, before we could even think of fixing the walls, Steve and I had to remove the beams, then repair and paint the ceiling and trim.
Hopefully, you can skip all of this, but I am including it in case you are making similar repairs.
At the top left you can see the beams in place, then Steve removes them, and finally, repairs the walls and ceiling. After removing the crown molding that was affected by taking out the beams, we were back down to the original paneling, which had to be filled in with joint compound, sanded, then primed. The same went for the ceiling, which was then primed and painted with two coated of ceiling paint.
In the middle of this whole process, I painted all of the trim, bookcase, fireplace, doors, and windows. And I was already anxious to be finished!
HOW TO SAND AND LEVEL THE TEXTURE:
Hook the orbital sander with 80-grit paper up to a shop vac, if you have one, turn on the sander, then the vac. (To do this, remove the little dust bag on the sander, then hook the end of the shop vac hose to the open end of the sander where the dust bag was. Make sure there is a good seal.)
Sand, sand, sand, sand. Then when you are sick of sanding, and want a glass or two of wine, sand some more. Above, you will see what our walls looked like after sanding: offensive panel grooves, and two layers of old paint. Kinda cool looking, but not.
Here, Gracie Lee, supervisor, arrives for a quality control inspection.
While I sand on other walls, Steve follows me, filling in the paneling grooves with joint compound, letting it dry. Then he sands it, and adds another layer.
Here you can see my progress around the room. Ugh.
Gracie Lee stops by for a pep talk and some petting, however she has no feline idea of what the heck we are doing, or how it can possibly make her life better. And where are her catnip toys!
After all of the grooves are filled in, sanded, leveled, and sanded again, Steve begins the BIG task of mudding over all the texture, to make it all FLAT. This is a job! Thank goodness he is a contractor, and knew how to do this already. However, you can also do it, by adding layers of joint compound, letting it dry, sanding smooth, then building up more layers until the walls are completely smooth again. Resist the urge to add one thick layer all at once.
WARNING! This step is a miserable mess, even with all of the prep, and using the shop vac hooked up to the sander. Since this is our favorite room to hang out in, we uncovered the chairs and sofa at night so we could watch TV, then recovered them.
If this step is a totally scary prospect to you, then a drywall pro can do this. If you are on a budget, have time, and are willing to try it, there is little expense if you have the tools already. Drywall mud and primer are cheap.
After all of the walls were perfectly smooth, it was time to prime. I used two coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Based Primer, because I planned to use untinted Venetian Plaster. This product has no titanium white in it, so any variation of color underneath it will affect the final finish.
At this point, Steve and I were, shall we say, exhausted and madly in need of a break. But we had come a long way: beams removed, texture gone, ceiling, walls, and trim repaired and painted, fireplace, mantel, and bookcase repainted.
So if I have not totally scared you off, join me for Part 2: Venetian Plaster Application Technique, coming soon, where we will get to the FUN PART and the gorgeous results I was craving!