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project bathroom: fixer uppers

Doing corners and filling holes. Not one of the more exciting steps in the reno process, but I’m just keepin’ it real folks. This step always seems like it’s going to take all of 20 minutes and somehow becomes a multi-day project. We had a variety of patching to do in our wee little bathroom – fixing existing walls, working on the new areas of drywall, and filling some big gaping holes.

Let’s take a look at what we were working with.

One of the first things I tackled was the old walls. They had this weird subway tile pattern on the bottom half which at first glance looked like the real thing, but once you zoomed in you could tell it was just a painted vinyl. Not charming.

Since we didn’t want to rip down the walls and start over with new drywall, I figured I would try and patch them. I grabbed some handy dandy Polyfilla (the “prep” stuff is for smaller holes, and the “big” stuff is for the bigger holes.. duh!).

Basically you want to slap the stuff on and scrape it into the gaps, then go over it again to wipe away the excess. It’s kind of tricky to write into words, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Here is how the wall was looking post-pollyfilla.

Then you want to sand it down before doing any painting. I tend to use the block sanders since they are easier to grab than loose sanding sheets.

So that was one fix taken care of.

Next up were the corners. We had thrown up some new drywall all around our shower surround (see that here), so had to do something about the seams where the new met the old.

We grabbed some of this sheetrock flex metal tape from our hardware store…

… and a tub of drywall compound (or “mud” as it’s known in the drywall world).

Basically the flexible metal tape folds in half and fits into corners. We cut the pieces to size first, then put some drywall compound onto the wall, stuck the piece of tape on, and then layered more compound on top. You want to scrape it down and try to feather it out as much as you can. The aim is to get it to blend in with the wall.

Here’s how it was looking while it was still wet.

Once dry, you sand it down for a smooth finish (again, this is easiest when using the block sanders).

Last up was this big hole above the sink. We’re planning on putting a piece of trim where the tile meets the wall in order to make it look seamless, but knew that the trim wouldn’t quite cover that gaping hole.

Plain old polyfilla wasn’t going to be enough since there wasn’t anything for it to hold on to, so we used some of this wall repair fiberglass tape that we had on hand.

We cut it to size and basically just stuck in on top of the hole.

Then we put the drywall compound right on top of it. It was little messy and we couldn’t scrape it for a totally smooth finish (it wasn’t strong enough for that), but we just wanted to get that hole covered.

Once it was dry, we were able to sand it down and get it relatively smooth. All set for that piece of trim.

Remember those sanding blocks I mentioned? Well, there was a lot of sanding. Five blocks worth and a whole whack of dust.

So there you have it. Tales of patching holes and making corners. Thrilling stuff, huh?

Next up – trim, caulking, and then some paint. All of this prep work is going to make slapping that paint on feel oh so good.

So what about you guys? Do anything fun this weekend? Any super exciting wall-patching? ;)

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