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metazone 01-02-2014 10:34 PM

OK moisture barrier? -- Painted, caulked moulding instead of tape/spackle
A handyman/contractor replaced my bathroom ceiling (drywall). Instead of filling in the joint between the ceiling and the wall, he put in moulding (looks like 'chair rail' moulding). I then was responsible for painting the ceiling. Caulk was applied to the top and bottom of the moulding and the ceiling and the moulding were primed with Zinsser 123 (used a quart for 5' x 8' ceiling) and then one coat of semi-gloss Zinsser Perma White (almost a whole quart).

I then had some concern about the contractor not first filling in the ceilling / wall joint with tape and spackle before the moulding; my concern is I want to make sure I have an adequate moisture barrier to avoid moisture getting into the attic. I sent him a message and he's been responsive. His response seems logical. Following is a summary of his response:

"The top and bottom of the moulding are caulked, and the moulding has been primed and painted with semi-gloss paint. With the painted wood and this caulking, it's a much better vapor barrier than paper and spackle (which is what would be used for filling in the gap) because the latter is porous. Water-proof composite wood with semi-gloss paint and caulking on top and bottom make for a much better seal."

My thought is that this seems reasonable but, if this is not correct, I'd like to hear why.

Thanks --

oh'mike 01-03-2014 03:47 AM

He's right---your corner is sealed up nicely----

Gary in WA 01-03-2014 09:31 PM

The reason gypsum manufacturers require all joints filled/taped with compound is the fire resistance of it all= drywall in a house has a fire rating. It is a complete system; the gaps at wall/ceiling joint should have been prefilled before taping them; #4.6.7;
AND #4.9 for "floating corners" read on...

Another reason is that the ceilings of trusses on houses (not so much on frame roofs) move with the seasons, since he didn't tape the wall ceiling together, you may get some breakage in the caulking bond because it may not hold against the up-lift- allowing the cold attic air that settles on the walls past any gaps in insulation or right through fiberglass (think furnace filter) insulation---- but during the heating season your conditioned air will be exfiltrating out the cracks; be sure to keep it a continuous caulk bead, no pin holes; photo 4;

You could always spray some canned foam on the joint from the attic, required when air-sealing an attic as those joints are prone to leak air/moisture to attic.


metazone 01-03-2014 10:47 PM

Thanks, Gary. I told him that I'd think about what he said; after the info you provided, I'm considering having him come back but ... part of me wonders if I should have someone who made this mistake come back. I wish I had known beforehand -- I would have insisted that he do it right.

I'm wondering if the foam would be sufficient? If not, I can look into doing this myself. Take down the moulding (I saw some tips online) and then tape, spackle & reprime/repaint. Since it's my first time doing this kind of tape, spackle, I'll probably end up having to repaint the walls. The bathroom is small so ...

In retrospect, I was afraid of doing the sheetrock myself b/c of a) how to get it to my home [I know I could rent a truck at HD] and b) I was doing this myself -- but ... I asked another 'amateur' DIY'er who said that if they can't lift / manipulate the drywall by themselves, they just cut it in half (increasing their tape/spackle job, of course). I now wished I had done this myself.

So ... what would be the recommendation? Do it over? We're trying to get the house ready to rent it out and I don't want to leave the house in any compromised state for tenants.

Thanks --

Gary in WA 01-03-2014 11:41 PM

If you are unable to DIY, hire it out to a different person as the previous one does not understand how/why construction works. IMO, try it yourself first, even if just adding paper tape and two layers of setting type mud, there are many videos of this.


metazone 01-04-2014 07:40 AM

6 Attachment(s)
Here are some pics that I took of the joints before the moulding was added. Wondering if these joint spaces are too big -- can tape, mud fill these in? Not all spaces are big -- some are tight.

The last pic shows the chair moulding added before I painted the ceiling and the moulding and before I added the bead of caulk to the moulding.

Gary in WA 01-04-2014 02:54 PM

Poor drywall joint treatment right near the trim. They should have been prefilled, as per drywall manufacturer. Appears he replaced plaster&lath with some new drywall, looking at the gaps.... regardless- he should have shimmed the new layer down some- or filled the gaps. Say---- "shortcut".


metazone 01-04-2014 03:16 PM

Ok - then if I take off the moulding, I should be able to fix with mud and tape, right?

Fix'n it 01-05-2014 11:08 AM

i would fill it with "setting type" mud, first. then tape it.

jeffnc 01-05-2014 12:31 PM

Those gaps really don't look that bad to me. At this point if you were going for fire rating and want to tape it, I'd just go ahead and tape it. Those gaps look 1/4" or less, and I've taped those fine with standard all purpose compound. If the gaps are over 1/4" I'd fill them with drywall strips. It was a tad sloppy since I'd like to see gaps of 1/16 - 1/8", but I've seen far worse work than this. His reply was reasonable regarding moisture, it's just the fire rating issue. You might call your local building codes office to ask if composite crown can be used for fire rating, but I suspect they will tell you the drywall standard applies no matter what's on top.

metazone 01-05-2014 05:37 PM

Thanks for the replies. I looked at some videos and some online diy instructions; here are my steps that I'll follow if I do this myself:

SHEETROCK Brand Easy Sand 90 18 lb. Lightweight Setting-Type Joint Compound $11 HD
Wal-Board Tools 12 in. Mud Pan $13 HD
ProForm 2-1/16-in x 250-ft White/Buffed Joint Tape $2 Lowes
Kobalt 6" Drywall Joint Knife $2 Lowes

Remove moulding - use 5-in-1 painter's tool to move the moulding off the wall and then use a pry bar against a block of wood (to prevent damaging the wall) to pull out rest of it
Mix setting compound with water in mud pan
Using 3" putty knife, ress the setting compound into the gaps that exist - keep fill-level even or slightly below the surrounding surface
Using 3" putty knife, Apply the setting compound all along the joint between the ceiling and wall drywall - for the whole length
Cut off a piece of tape that can be a little longer than the whole length of the ceiling (cut off at end)
Crease the center of the drywall tape (where it will go into the joint)
Put drywall tape on - will cover gaps and half of it will be stuck on the ceiling and other half on wall
Using 3" putty knife (w/ no setting compound on it), Crease the paper tape and tuck into corner
Using 3" putty knife (w/ no setting compound on it),Apply more pressure on the tape on both the ceiling and the drywall (not too much pressure)
Using 3" putty knife, Apply setting compound on the tape on the wall or the ceiling (but do not do both sides) - technique: put more pressure on the
side of the putty knife where you don't want the setting compound
Using 3" putty knife (w/ no setting compound on it), clean off excess setting compound from wall and ceiling
Using 3" putty knife, When dry, apply the setting compound on the side that you didn't do - the ceiling or wall - and let dry
Using 3" putty knife, Apply a second coat - can do both sides of the tape - the ceiling and wall - at the same time

Paint the walls
Paint the ceiling again w/ Zinsser Perma White (one coat)
Consider putting back the moulding

Fix'n it 01-05-2014 08:30 PM

just be aware. that setting compound. while it is sandable, it is not easy sand. put it on carefully. the easy sand, blue lid, that stuff is easy sand. just worked with it today.

Fix'n it 01-05-2014 08:33 PM

oh. i have a corner blade. i think it works AWESOME. you just need some practice for it to work well.

jeffnc 01-05-2014 08:40 PM


Originally Posted by Fix'n it (Post 1287793)
just be aware. that setting compound. while it is sandable, it is not easy sand.

Well technically it is Easy Sand. As opposed to the original DuraBond. Easy Sand is much easier to sand than DuraBond.

One problem when using Easy Sand on the bottom and lightweight drying compound on top is that they sand differently. It's possible to sand through the top while not cutting into the bottom much, causing depressions in the finished joint that are sometimes visible.

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