This post may contain affiliate links. This won’t change your price, but may share some commission. Read my full disclosure here.
The dining room is at an awkward stage right now. Awkward, as in if I showed you a picture of this room yesterday, it would have looked exactly the same as today. Only the difference between them is a couple of hours spent sanding joint compound with my new favorite tool. And therefore rubbery arms. But I’m grateful to find new ways to get in shape (she said, sarcastically).
To give you the full history of progress, let’s backtrack a bit:
The wallpaper was taken down, which left an awful mess of torn drywall behind (before you regale me with your favorite wallpaper removal tip, I’ve tried them all on these walls. I’m 100% sure they work in most other situations, just not on these walls when the builders didn’t use any kind of priming on the bare drywall to slap a coat of glue and paper on top. Hence the shredded paper mess that has to be repaired. In most houses, people are a little smarter and properly prime bare drywall first before wallpapering, which helps prevent sheetrock from getting as damaged during removal. Not the case in the UDH, but now I’ve had the pleasure of honing my expertise with repair, which I have used to pay it forward, tutorial-style).
I slapped up a rough skim coat shortly thereafter to get me started on the repair job. And when my uncle came to visit to help me with the kitchen overhaul, we took a day to put up picture frame molding beneath the existing chair rail. Looking better already, right?
Because of the momentum going on in the kitchen (plus some motivational smack talk), the dining room was converted into a work space for several months while the kitchen cabinets were painted and other things installed. Basically, all DIY-related junk went into this room. On the floor. Classy.
And during that time, a contractor gave me a helpful tip that I should have used oil primer on the drywall first – to seal the torn paper and prevent bubbling when I added layers of joint compound (not so much a problem in the dining room, but the pantry area in the kitchen could have really used this tip). So that’s why I tried out some oil primer on the kitchen walls last week. It’s the last room to need wall repair, so… I guess that was good timing?
I’ve been really happy with the progress in the kitchen, but there has been one little detail that has been nagging me for months: I have everything I need for decorating the dining room. The curtains. The rug. The paint. The furniture. Everything (well, except a piece of original art – I’m still making my mind up about that).
So now that the kitchen is in reasonable enough shape, I simply can’t take it anymore. Two, side-by-side, broken rooms. And knowing that I have everything I need to get this room finished… it’s just driving me nuts. And all that’s been standing in my way are these unfinished upper walls.
That’s how I came to sanding this weekend. Actually, I did wind up adding oil primer to one of the walls – the one that I’d been debating on taking out to open up the floor layout (which seems kinda pointless to consider now when I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in the house). So far, it seems like the contractor was right: I added the primer, waited for it to dry, then sanded to get any little rough bits of paper to flake off. The result is a smoother finish to apply the skim coat, so I’m hopeful there may be a little less sanding work overall than if I hadn’t applied it.
Now that the oil primer seems to have done such a good job on the one wall, I’ve decided to just go ahead and add a primer layer to the other three walls to get them all evenly applied (plus, just in case a second layer partially re-wets the first, as joint compound tends to do, I don’t want previously smooth paper areas to bubble). I’ll be doing that this afternoon, and once dry, the second skim coat will go up. And then, of course, another arm workout.