April 12, 2013

Sand, Sand, & Sand Some More

I mentioned in an earlier post that the largest room in our new house sported dark green sand textured paint. Well, now only about half of the wall surface remains afflicted with unevenly applied, slice-your-skin-open sand texture. The photo below may not look exciting or appealing to you, but it is simply fabulous to me as it represents approximately 75 square feet of successful sand paint removal. The blobby white bits shaped like gigantic slugs are where I sanded out a big, bulging crack in the drywall.
Most of the sand paint removal advice I found stated that it is not possible to sand it smooth. I am here to tell you that it is indeed possible. Definitely not fun or fast, but possible nevertheless.

Compared to the alternatives, sanding seemed like the best solution. The most popular recommendations are to skim coat the walls with drywall mud or replace the drywall altogether. I rejected mudding the walls without even thinking about it. I am not experienced at mudding. The notion of skim coating a room the size of a 2 car garage is simply unfathomable to me. And now that I have mudded a few drywall patch jobs, eegads, sanding the mud would have been just as tiresome as sanding the paint. Replacing the drywall was not an appealing option, either. It would have produced an enormous amount of waste and cost a whole lot more than sandpaper. And would require taping and mudding (and sanding), which just means more expense and more labor. So, as far as least cost and least materials required, sanding wins hands-down.

Sanding may be the winner, but it is discouraging. Progress is S L O W. I'm using a vibrating palm sander that takes a 1/4 sheet of sandpaper. It's sanding surface is less than 1/4 of a 9" x 11" piece of sandpaper. Using that tiny surface to smooth 200 square feet of a single wall is a bit daunting. Thankfully, though, the sander has a dust collection bag attachment. It is an absolute life saver. Or sinus saver at the least. Between the dust bag, finally getting the proper fit on my dust mask, frequent shop vac attention, and thrice daily neti pot cleansing, my sinuses aren't too worse for the wear.

Despite my gratitude for respiratory safety, yesterday my sand paint removal discouragement morphed into an overwhelming sense of foreboding. When I arrived at the house, I noticed a couple of vultures in the large, mostly dead tree (I believe it's a beech) in the front yard. A few minutes later, there were 3 vultures in the tree. When I next looked, there were five. Nothing awful happened, but still. Massive carrion birds lurking in a dead tree? Not encouraging.

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