Well, phase one of the entryway makeover is done and I am in love ❤! This project took 1.5 months from start to finish, and my naivety got the best of me at the beginning and I originally thought that this project would take maybe two weeks. I think a week of this project was just caulk and wood filler alone, so I completely misjudged the timeline. Luckily, there wasn't a deadline working against me, it was just the fact of wanting it done that was the motivation.
Along the way of doing this project, I learned A LOT! I learned a lot about different methods and ease of construction and I'm here to share my mistakes and knowledge with you so that you don't run into the same road blocks as I did. This is a very empowering and rewarding project that I would recommend to someone who doesn't have much DIY experience, like me. So, here are my tips and missteps to learn from ❤.
Smoothing the Textured Walls
The first and probably the biggest humbling experience of this project was taking the entryway wall knockdown texture to as smooth as possible. In our sitting room, adjacent to the entryway, my husband and I smoothed out our knockdown textured wall with joint compound to create a wainscot with picture molding. It came out perfectly, but it was A LOT of work to use the joint compound and smooth out the wall. So, for the entryway makeover, I decided sanding the wall with a hand-held orbital sander would be best...
Boy, was I wrong and here's why.
It took way longer to sand the entire entryway wall with a handheld orbital sander than it would have been to use the joint compound to smooth out the wall. For reference, our entryway wall is about 25'-4" long and 9'-0" tall
Sanding the wall made an absolute mess. The sander would spew the dust everywhere in the entryway to where you could barely see anything. I had a feeling this would happen, so before I began sanding, I closed off the openings between the entryway and the rest of the house with plastic, turned off the AC while I was working and I ended up getting a shop vac with a drywall filter to help filter and circulate the air better. Even though all of these precautions were put in place, dust still ended up getting all over the house and it took a solid 8 hours to clean and dust the house once the sanding was done.
Here's how I would make the wall completely smooth if I could do it over again. I would use the joint compound for making the wall smooth from the get-go. Sure, the joint compound was a lot of work, but it was nothing compared to sanding the entire wall. Now, I will warn you that once the joint compound dries, which takes about 24 hours, you still will need to sand out any imperfections and ridges of the joint compound to make it completely smooth, but it takes much less effort to sand raw joint compound over a drywall texture with primer and paint on it like what I did.
Smooth Caulk Lines
To really make the wall molding look clean and professional, you want to caulk all corners of the picture molding and anywhere the molding meets the wall. This helps seals the seams and fills in any gaps between the wall and the molding. I learned from doing the molding on the sitting room wall, that until I become a professional, it helps to tape the wall right at the edge of the molding and to leave a bit of wall between the tape and molding so the caulk can adhere to the wall. I then take baby wipes to smooth out the caulk while the tape is still on the wall and remove any excess caulk without having to clean it off the wall. What I would have done differently is once I caulked the seam between the molding, with the tape still on the wall, I should have removed the tape and done another smooth run with the baby wipe over the caulk line to smooth out the rough line left from removing the tape. I learned this about halfway through caulking all of the molding so some of the molding seams are more smooth than others.
Putting Down a Floor Protector
I know, I know, this should be obvious, but I should have put down something to protect the flooring from dust and paint splatter. Luckily, our floors are LVP which are very durable and waterproof, but it would save me some time if I could just throw away a floor protector rather than getting down on my hands and knees and scraping up paint splatter and vacuuming dust that piled up in the seam under the baseboards. Our rug runner that is in our entryway, that never moved, even throughout the sanding process because it has rug anti-slip stickers on it, had to be vacuumed more times than I cared to admit to feel completely free of dust. All this could have been avoided by putting down some builders paper or film for the duration of the project.
I learned a lot from this project, especially from the mistakes. Thank you for being here!