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How to Smooth Walls - 5 Ways to Achieve a Smooth Wall!

Creating a smooth wall surface is not an easy task, but with the increasing number of methods available, achieving perfectly smooth walls has become easier than ever. Today, we will provide you with tips on how to smooth walls and the products to use for the task.

Smooth Walls - Are They Important?

When it comes to finishing walls in rooms, paint is often the most commonly used material. Its wide range of colors allows for achieving desired decorative effects. Finishing walls with paint is also relatively inexpensive and, above all, easy. However, perfectly smooth walls are required for this process.

Even two coats of paint will not cover small imperfections, irregularities, or holes that may exist on the wall. The darker the color, the more visible these imperfections will be. It's not always possible to cover holes and cracks with pictures, posters, or cabinets. Smoothing the walls before painting is a much better idea.

At this stage, it's important to differentiate between wall smoothing and wall leveling. People who are finishing a new building can often proceed directly to the wall smoothing stage. However, owners of apartments in precast panel buildings will need to level the walls first. This is usually done using plaster or plasterboard panels.

Wall and Ceiling Smoothing is Simple!

Wall and ceiling smoothing involves applying a relatively thin layer of material to achieve a perfectly smooth surface. Depending on the depth of cracks or irregularities, choose products that can be applied as a thicker or thinner layer. If there are individual but deep holes on your wall, it is worth filling them with putty first and then applying a thin layer of smoothing compound to the entire wall.

How to Smooth Walls - Most Popular Products

The most basic materials for wall smoothing are various types of smoothing compounds. However, before applying them, remember to prime the surface. This is particularly important for freshly applied plasters or walls from which old finishing layers have been removed. Instead of removing the old layer of paint, you can also cover it with a deep-penetrating primer and then apply the smoothing compound. This will increase the adhesion of the compound to the wall and prevent it from sliding off.

Smoothing compounds are special materials used to level already plastered surfaces by creating a thin, smooth layer on them. They can be available as dry powder in bags (to be mixed independently) or as ready-to-apply pre-mixed compounds in containers. Depending on their main component, the following types of smoothing compounds can be distinguished:

  • Cement-based compounds, resistant to water and impact but offering less smoothness.

  • Lime-based compounds.

  • Gypsum-based compounds, which are the most popular.

  • Polymer-based compounds made from synthetic resins, which are the most flexible.

  • Various mixtures combining the above types.

Wall smoothing techniques

How to Smooth Rough Walls - A Few Words About Sanding

Your wall is already completely covered with smoothing compound, but you can still see small cracks and traces of putty? This is a fairly normal effect, and only experienced professionals can apply the compound in a way that minimizes further processing to a minimum.

How to smooth a rough wall with the compound already applied? The final step in wall smoothing is sanding. This is a tedious task that requires time, effort, and above all, patience. You can use sanding sponges, sanding mesh, or sandpaper with a grit size of 100 or 150. Unfortunately, sanding produces a large amount of dust that settles on almost every square centimeter of space.

To avoid dirt, dust, and shorten the sanding time, you can use an oscillating sander with a vacuum cleaner attachment. This way, you can avoid ubiquitous dust. These devices have a built-in dust collection system that helps minimize dust particles in the air and keep your workspace cleaner.

When sanding the walls, start with a coarser grit sandpaper (around 100) to remove any high spots or uneven areas. Then, switch to a finer grit (around 150) to smooth out the surface further. Be sure to sand in a circular or back-and-forth motion to achieve an even finish. Remember to wear a dust mask and protective eye-wear while sanding to protect yourself from the dust particles.

After sanding, wipe the walls with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any remaining dust. Allow the walls to dry completely before proceeding with the next steps, such as priming and painting.

In addition to sanding, there are a few other techniques you can use to achieve a smooth wall surface:

Professional plastering services

6 Ways to Smooth Walls and Ceilings

How to smooth a wall? You can use various products and choose between wet methods or invest in an orbital sander or sandpaper. Below you will find all the methods for smoothing walls. Check which one will work best for you.

Use Polymer Fillers

Where newer cement-lime or gypsum plasters have been applied, the wall surfaces are usually relatively smooth and even. In this case, a thin layer of filler will be sufficient. The best option in this situation is polymer fillers based on synthetic resins instead of typical ingredients like gypsum.

Due to the thin layer of filler, you can use regular sanding blocks or sandpaper for the final treatment. There shouldn't be as much dust, so you can quickly clean up after sanding the few uneven areas.

Apply Wall Fillers

This is a common method of leveling walls, especially in older buildings. The first task in this case is to level the surfaces of the old walls, which is done by applying relatively thick layers of wall fillers. These fillers can be applied up to a thickness of 6 mm, while the layer of filler itself should only be up to 2 mm.

It is much more challenging to level walls in buildings constructed with large precast panels. Usually, these walls were covered with a thin layer of cement plaster. However, such walls do not provide a sufficiently adhesive substrate for applying fillers or wall fillers. In such cases, it is necessary to use a primer or sealing primer before applying fillers or gypsum fillers.

You can sand the external layer of filler or choose the wet method of smoothing, which works well in this case and helps you avoid dust throughout the room.

Use Manual Gypsum Plaster

Gypsum plaster is excellent for smoothing rough walls with quite a few deep irregularities. The thickness of such plaster can exceed 8 mm, which is particularly important for significant wall unevenness. There are situations where applying such plaster can be the only or one of the best solutions for smoothing difficult walls.

Gypsum plaster is applied in the same way as filler using a trowel and smoothed with a float. For larger surfaces and thicker layers, longer floats or boards can be used to speed up the work. The final stage of wall smoothing is sanding.

Apply Gypsum Board (Drywall)

Gypsum boards are used as a last resort or when you want to carry out a quick renovation. It is essential to remember that these boards, when attached to the wall, reduce the room's area. They are also suitable for leveling walls, allowing you to complete two stages of renovation using one material.

Gypsum boards are smooth and even, requiring only attention to the joints. It is best to use reinforcing mesh in addition to avoid any potential cracks caused by building movement.

In the case of imprecisely positioned walls, this can be a significant facilitation while still providing a friendly wall finish. The boards need to be cut and fitted to the wall, and then either glued or screwed to a special aluminum frame. However, the frame additionally reduces the room's area.

Gypsum boards can also be applied to ceilings, creating suspended ceilings. In this case, the gypsum boards are attached to a specially constructed frame. The joints between the boards are reinforced with mesh, and the entire surface is worth covering with a thin layer of reinforced filler (polymer or gypsum) and gently sanding.

Use Smoothing Paper

Clean and dry the surfaces before applying the smoothing paper, and for absorbent surfaces, apply a primer. Apply the paper to the walls similar to wallpaper, using regular wallpaper glue or a glue with enhanced bonding strength, especially for difficult substrates. For humid rooms, it is advisable to use paper reinforced with textile fibers. It is suitable for concrete or wood surfaces as well. When finishing walls with wallpaper, it is best to lay the smoothing paper horizontally, while for painting or other types of finishes, it should be laid vertically.

Using smoothing paper works well on previously wallpapered, smooth walls that lack an external layer of filler. With the paper applied, there is no need to sand or level the walls in any other way, significantly speeding up the finishing work.

Hiring a Professional

If you find yourself lacking confidence in your DIY skills or if your walls require extensive repair, it is highly recommended to reach out to a professional plasterer or drywall contractor like Adus Construction. With their expertise and specialized tools, they can handle all aspects of wall smoothing and repair with utmost effectiveness and efficiency. Hiring a professional ensures that the job is done to the highest standard, saving you time, effort, and potential frustration. Don't hesitate to contact Adus Construction for expert assistance in achieving flawlessly smooth walls and ceilings.

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