Plaster, Mud, Repeat: Skim Coating the Ceiling and Plastering the Walls
Part 6: Kitchen Remodel and Structural Wall Removal
Welcome to part 6 of our biggest diy project to date! Even though we had finally hauled away the trailer filled with our huge mess we made another one during this stage of the remodel. This was the part where we had to fill in all the gaps, nooks, and crannies that were left from removing the wall. This was also when I was given the task of learning on my feet (my feet which were on a ladder, I might add) how to skim coat the ceiling so that it looked like the rest of the plaster ceilings in the house. Tricking the eye to thinking our imperfect old house has straight lines and surfaces has really become an art form for us lol! It’s one of those things no one told us and that I didn’t read anywhere so let me be the one to break it to ya, ‘while you’re old house is well-built it’s probably also completely crooked, un-level, and not square’. So there, now at least someone told you 😉
Materials used can be found below (pictures borrowed from lows.com)
Skim-coating a Ceiling
Let me start by explaining the process of finishing the ceiling. The ceiling is one of those things that I’m so incredibly proud of and no one else will ever even notice it, which makes me a bit sad, but was also kind of the goal. As I’ve mentioned before it was really important to me that the kitchen maintain the integrity of the rest of the house. Basically I wanted it to blend and not be an obvious change. All of the rest of the ceilings in the house are plaster so I wanted to keep that same look. I achieved this by what is referred to as skim coating. It’s a technique where a thin coat of plaster or mud compound is applied over the entire ceiling with a trowel in a way that captures the look of plaster.
The first step in this learning process for me was mudding the regular drywall seams. Trust me, this was a trial and error process that I ended up repeating in a couple of spots where I had bubbles under my tape. Honestly, I had NO idea that taping and mudding drywall was SO involved! I definitely have a new appreciation for this work! Each seam has to be mudded a minimum of 3 times in order to spread the mud wide enough so that it is blended out and not obvious. This sort of prepared me for the next level of frustration I would feel when skim coating the entire ceiling lol!
I literally watched 1 YouTube video how to do it and then jumped in because that’s how I personally learned best. I think it would be this way for many people because you have to learn things like how much plaster compound to use at a time for the area you’re covering, how much pressure to apply when swiping the trowel, and what angle to hold it at while doing so. These are things you learn by doing. It took me 3 days, mostly because I had to walk away out of frustration a few times. The whole process of up and down the ladder for mud, constantly looking up, and having to redo some areas (especially around the lights) what felt like a thousand times, was a challenge I hadn’t expected. I’d venture to say that it was the most trying thing I’ve ever done in diy land, but by the end I can say I’m pretty darn good at it 🙂 Like I said I know most people don’t ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over a ceiling but maybe now you at least have a bit more appreciation for it lol!
If you remember when we removed the wall we we’re able to set the king boards into the space that was left as you can see in the picture below.
We used plaster to fill in the gap and gradually built out the wall as flush as we could get it. This took several days because it took many applications which require dry time. At this time we also filled in any other holes or gaps present on this and the other side of the beam. It was a challenge trying to make all the different wall materials match up. In some places our new drywall met the old plaster and there was about an 8th inch difference in thickness. We used the same process as mudding drywall seams where we tapered the plaster off so that the difference is so gradual you can’t see it. This is the part where I meant that we got good at tricking the eye because let me tell ya it is far from perfect, but no one will ever notice 😉 After all the plastering was done we had to sand everything down (this was the mess I mentioned). However, to help lessen the dust mess we did borrow an electric sander that has an attachment that can be hooked up to a shop-vac. I did leave some natural lines and texture though, since I wanted to keep the plaster look.
The day we were able to finally re-hang the cabinets was a very good day. If you look closely you’ll see that our kitty, Taj, was happy about it too 🙂 And we were able to move the refrigerator and dining table back into the kitchen, which felt so fancy! Lol! This meant that we had our living room back! Yay! Living in a house that is under construction for a handful of months definitely makes you appreciate those small conveniences we usually take for granted!
The kitchen is transforming into an entirely different space and I can’t wait to share more with you! Thank you so much for stopping by our little blog! As always, we’d love to answer any questions you might have for us!