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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Drywall ceiling with sand finish was stained along a joint from a leak. Leak has been repaired. I'd like to replace the tape, where necessary, and match the sand finish as closely as possible. I've done drywall repair successfully, but only on smooth walls. Will it be possible to (carefully) sc**** off the old sand finish by softening it with water and using a taping knife, rather than sanding it? (The ceiling has been painted a couple of times over the years.) Does the sand go into the last layer of compound, the primer, or the paint itself? I'm figuring I'll need to sand between all procedures.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    If there is a noticeable sand texture, then it was probably sand added to the paint, not the drywall. If you've got a texture pattern with sand granules in it, then you probably have what's known as skip trowel texture. Either way, you'll remove any loose tape, retape the joint as you normally would and feather out the edges of the patch as best you can during application. When you're done, sand and feather the edges so that there is no sharp demarcation line between the patch area and the rest of the ceiling. From there it's a matter of matching the existing texture as close as possible. Without being certain of what you're dealing with, I cannot offer advice on applying the texture. Can you post a picture?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Coblas,

    Sand texture will not simply soak off as would a popcorn texture.
    The sand is literally sand and not absorbant, unlike "popcorn" which is literally blobs of chaulk adhered to the surface of the drywall.

    Make your patch using normal drywall mud, sanding as usual. However, to make a smooth transition from the smooth patch to the existing sand texture, use a wet block sponge to wet the edge and partially dissolving it. The "demarcation" line to which Spruce refers will then be avoided. This is a trick used by good drywallers on the final coat of mud to get rid of the fine ridges where the mud meets the drywall paper.

    The sand texture is put into the final coat of paint. It is added right into the paint itself. There are several possibilities as to pattern of the sand: some is simply rolled on evenly. Others are swirled with a paint brush or a stiff, wide brush. Obviously, you are tryng to duplicate the pattern which was used originally.

    There are different courseness' of sand. Also, sand texture which has been painted over several times will have a more rounded look to it then the sharp lines of fresh sand. You might have to give the patch a couple extra coats of paint to duplicate the look of the existing sand texture. Use unsanded paint for these additional coats.

  4. #4
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Thank you for the helpful suggestions. I can't post a picture, so I checked out some sand textures on the internet. Mine resembles a sand swirl or perlite swirl texture. I know it wasn't rolled on. What would be a good way to determine the coarseness of sand to use?

    The damaged seam is about 25' long. All of the tape isn't loose: Some of it bulges slightly along the seam, but some clearly needs to be replaced. I'm hoping you'll tell me that the new sand finish will hide small bulges and adhere to the previously painted ceiling, so I only need to replace the worst of the tape. I might have to work in sections since I don't expect it to be easy reaching up, but this might create other matching problems.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Paint stores carry various grits of texturing additives. You will just have to make a judgement as to which seems like it will work best. Take a sample of the your texture with you to the store.

    Some textures were swirled in an orderly pattern, some were random. You just have to repeat the pattern.

    Ideally, I would open up all the bulged tape and replace the tape. You don't neccessarily have to open up the entire 25 foot seam, just that which is obviously loosening.

    My experience is that textured finished really don't hide imperfections, although I think that is largely why builders use them. Texture does not hide a half-assed drywall job.

  6. #6
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Thank you for the helpful suggestions. The sand I've located (by phone) in a paint store comes in fine, medium, and coarse. They said they don't have a sample brush out that I can look at. I can't bring a sample of the ceiling texture without cutting a hole in the ceiling. This might sound odd, but I do have some sandbox sand I could mix with paint and try on cardboard. If it looks good, can that sand be used for repairing the ceiling? At least, it might help me determine the grit. Not sure what kind of brush to use, either, but it should be about 8" wide to match the existing texture which is in a random pattern.

    Aside from working in such an awkward position, the sanding part of this project is something I dread. Obviously, I'll cover everything as well as I can, but it's gonna be a mess no matter what. Any tips to make that part easier?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Quote Originally Posted by coblas View Post
    Aside from working in such an awkward position, the sanding part of this project is something I dread. Obviously, I'll cover everything as well as I can, but it's gonna be a mess no matter what. Any tips to make that part easier?
    A shop vac would be most helpful to grab most of the dust before it gets airborne and travels throughout the house. Another extremely helpful thing would be to tent the area of the work with plastic - tape painters plastic to the ceiling or use temporary poles to hold it in place. Overlap the door flap by at least three feet. Make sure you're wearing a dust mask regardless of using a tent or not.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    It sounds like you may be talking about a professional shop vac of some kind that vacuums while sanding. Is hand sanding a bad idea for minimizing the mess?

    Any opinion about usability of the play sand if the grit seems to match?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    Any shop vac will do. You could buy a sanding attachment for the vacuum, but in this case it's probably overkill. Just holding the vacuum nozzle near the sanding source will capture a good deal of it. You could "wet sand" it with either a sponge or rag, which will be faster and have zero dust emission, but this tends to pull out more than you want and can leave behind residual ridging that you'll have to sand off anyway.

    If the playground sand is the right grit, you could probably use it with little to no issues. The thing is, texture sand is a certain grit, meaning most of the particles are the same size, with little to no dust. Playground sand - likely beach sand - there is no known grit ratio and you'll have boulders mixed with pebbles rather than a uniform grain which will produce a more uniform texture.
    Last edited by A. Spruce; 05-13-2010 at 05:52 PM.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    50

    Default Re: Sand finish drywall ceiling repair

    The sanding I'm most concerned with is to remove the existing textured area from the side of the seam where the new tape with go. I realize I need to have it cleared away 6-8" on each side of the tape to allow for the layers and feathering of compound. That's a lot of old texture to remove. Is careful scraping most of it with a taping knife and then hand sanding the rest a reasonable plan?

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