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Old 04-08-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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Painted over drywall tape/screws w/o skim coating


I have a Cape that was originally built with an unfinished attic. The original stairs to the attic were plastered until half-way up (approx. even with the bottoms of the joists).

Sometime in the 60s the attic was finished and made into two bedrooms, when they did this they "finished" the staircase as well by building the tops of the stair case walls and drywalling them.

Unfortunately it apparently was never finished correctly, because they never skim coated the walls, they just painted (flat paint) right over the drywall, tape and nails.

I'd like some ideas on what can be done here.

Unfortunately the seam between top (drywall) and bottom (plaster board) halves is not good--on one side the top half sits proud of the bottom half by 1/4" and on the other side the bottom half sits proud of the top half by 1/4". I believe this means that going over the entire thing with 1/4" or 3/8" drywall will not work because of the bend it would cause. I'm also not into the idea of covering over because I think it will make the existing stair trim (such as it is) look even worse.

Can I skim coat over painted drywall like this?

Or will the results be so bad that I should just tear it all out and have it re-done? (I'd really like to avoid this one due to $ and the feeling that I'd have to star doing more to the area to improve it when all I really want is to make it not look like a crackhouse staircase).

I'm OK with creative trim work--for example I was thinking I could use a 1x4 to hide the seam between top and bottom halves of the wall. if I ran the board through my table saw while it's on the edge I could rip off 1/4" of material so that the board would sit approx. flush on the wall so that the two halves of the wall and the trim boards would all be parallel to each other even though there is a difference in levels.

For the nail pops I intend to just drive screws in nearby, then remove the nails where easily possible and hopefully skim coat over it all.

The paint that is there now is very flat and chalky feeling... is that a suitable base for skim coat, or should I first use something like Gardz or an oil primer?

I have a few pictures of the area to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Looking "up" you can see the row of nails which have popped (and been nailed back) as well as the seam between top/bottom halves... on this side the top sits proud of the bottom:



The other side of the stairs... one this side the bottom sits proud of the top:


View looking down the stairs. Top right you can see the untaped seam between two sheets of drywall on a side wall, and approx. center in the photo you can see the taped seam of another on the ceiling. I have complete access to the framing area behind the ceiling because it is an unfinished knee wall attic behind there. I will need to "shore up" the framing because if you push on the drywall it will flex about 1/16-1/8":


Another shot of the taped ceiling on the ceiling:

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Old 04-08-2012, 01:12 PM   #2
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Painted over drywall tape/screws w/o skim coating


That's what we call 'fire taping'---if the tape is on well,without bubbles or loose edges---Just finish tape that --

Dimple the nails a bit with a light tap of a hammer---

That transition seam will be a challenge---but you can make that acceptable if you tape that wide enough.

I suggest you use all purpose (green lid) for the first coat or two--it contains glue and will bond well to the painted surface--It is a hard to sand mud----you might want to use 'Light weight' (blue lid) for the top coat,as it is soft and very easy to sand.

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