Holiday Decorations that don’t hurt your walls!

Holiday brick

Whether you’re looking for a spot to put up your Christmas wreath for a week or need something more permanent, hanging decor on the exterior or interior of your home can be tricky sometimes. Where you’re hanging it makes all the difference.  So, here are a few ways to hang things on sheetrock, wood and brick without hurting your walls.

How to Drill Into Brick or Concrete

Brick can be a difficult material to hang things on. Its durability means you can’t use the standard methods that you’d use around the rest of your house. You’ll need special screws and you will need to know where to drill and how to repair the holes after the holidays. For anchoring something on a brick or concrete surface, masonry screws.  Make sure you drill into a mortar joint (one of the white lines in between the brick). Do not drill directly into the brick! Not only would that be difficult, but you would risk cracking the brick. A masonry drill bit is designed for brick and concrete and is identifiable by a triangular-shaped tip. Screw a masonry screw into the mortar. If you are drilling into concrete, you are going to want to use a power drill.

If you plan to remove the screw after the holidays, buy a tube of mortar repair and squirt a little into the hole. You can also use 100 percent silicone, which comes in caulking tubes and squeezable tubes.

Sometimes the mortar can become loose after it’s been drilled. You can apply a little adhesive into the hole if you feel like you need a little more holding power, but,  installing adhesive will make it very difficult to remove the masonry screw later on. Consider this a more permanent installation.

If you do use adhesive, you can also substitute a common nail for the masonry screw. Drill the hole, put in the adhesive, and hammer the nail into the hole when the adhesive is dry. You can leave a nail like this up for a wreath (or anything else you want to hang) every year. The nail and the adhesive are pretty subtle, but if you’re worried about it you could pull it out and cover everything up with mortar. This will be a lot of work, though, because using adhesive makes it more permanent.

How to Add a Hook to Sheetrock

It’s always best to use professional hanging hardware for hanging things in sheetrock. These more modern versions of picture hangers can hold a tremendous amount of weight. Each package is rated by how much weight it can hold. Often the hangers in a pack can hold up to 50 pounds, and larger versions can hold up to 100 pounds.  Simply install the nails that come in the package, and you’re all set. There’s no need to find a stud. That’s what makes these special hardware hangars so versatile and easy to use.

There are also anchors for more permanent sheetrock hanging solutions.   These can hold a lot of weight (again, each package is rated) and are very easy to install.  These anchors can be easily removed but will leave a hole about the size of a dime in your wall, so use them for more permanent decorations.  Anchors typically require no drilling. Just hold the anchor where you want it and tap it with a hammer until you reach the screw portion. Next screw it into the wall with a screwdriver until it is flush with the wall. But, do not over tighten. If you keep turning the screw, it will break the sheetrock around it, and the screw will just spin in place, creating a hole that’s larger than the diameter of the screw. Next insert the screw that comes in the package. Screw it in to the required depth.

Tapping Into Wood

Don’t underestimate the value of a simple trim nail. Nails are easy to install, can hold a lot of weight and are usually pretty easy to remove.

After removing the nail, you can easily fill the nail hole with colored putty. There is a matching putty for almost every stain imaginable, and there are also colored putties to match painted surfaces.

Just a few more expert Holiday Decorating Ideas from Guy Calor, the Caulk King and CaulkWarmer!

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Perfecting Drywall Application in Cold Weather

The days of plaster and lathe were pretty much gone as soon as drywall came along and builders discovered they could finish walls very quickly, without waiting for plaster to dry.  Today’s drywall gives a smoother, cleaner surface, and it is much easier for the DIY  homeowner to install… especially if you have the right materials and right conditions (humidity and temperature) to take full advantage of one of the finer features of drywall; the tapered edges. As manufactured today, the long edges of drywall are slightly tapered so that when two sections of drywall are joined (tapered end to tapered end), it will create enough of a recess to accommodate drywall tape or mud, otherwise known as joint compound, as a finishing material, filling that space and creating a seamless join.  Cold weather and winter conditions can affect the way you can work with drywall. If you want your drywall job finished properly, (and who doesn’t?) we have a couple of recommendations for you that specifically refer to interior walls, partitions and ceiling drywall installation.

Recommendations:

1) Thickness – Half-inch drywall panels are pretty much the standard thickness for interior walls. However, when installing drywall on a ceiling, you may want to use half-inch or even 5/8” inch thick panels to prevent sagging. Sagging can become a problem even with extra fasteners, and any texturization (Popcorn anyone?) or other types of heavy surfacing material can add to the weight problem. So… what you need to remember is, when you’re working against gravity… think thick.

2) Curvature – There is also a much thinner drywall, 1/4″ inch thick. While not appropriate for the more robust requirements of a ceiling installation, this drywall is excellent for installation on slightly curved surfaces. If a tighter curve is required, you can try slightly dampening (damp… not wet!) the surface to make it more flexible. If you are working toward an extreme curve, like an arch, 1/4″ thick drywall can be scored about every half inch to achieve the desired effect. An added benefit to this method is that the more scores there are on the back, the fewer ridges there will be on the front that you have to cover with finishing material.

3) Code Standard – Thicker drywall, up to 3/4″ inch thick is also available and it’s typically referred to as “fire resistant drywall.” It may be that rooms such adjacent to garages or other potential sources of combustion are required to have fire resistant drywall, according to your local building code. Where a vapor retarder is required, use foil-backed gypsum board, vapor retarder faced mineral wool or faced-glass fiber insulation batts. When a polyethylene vapor retarder film is installed on ceilings behind gypsum board it is important to install the ceiling insulation before the gypsum board. Failure to follow  this procedure can result in moisture condensation on the backside of the gypsum board, which will cause the board to sag

4) Humidity – The interior temperature of your application site shouldn’t be any colder than 50 degrees for at least 48 hours before taping and finishing. This will allow the drywall to be completely… well… dry.  This means that you should start your 48 hour countdown only after any texturing or priming has been applied  and the previous coating has dried completely.

5) Temperature – If you use a setting type joint compound in cold weather you can can avoid many cold weather related problems. And, of course, the use of warming bags, and wraps for all your ready-mixed joint compounds and textures will protect them from freezing in storage and make all these materials more fluid and easy to apply.  It should be no surprise that we believe products like CaulkWarmer are perfect for this part of any cold-temperature drywall installation. If you absolutely MUST use a localized temporary heat source, the temperature should not exceed 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) in any given room or area, and heaters should not be allowed to blow directly on wall surfaces because excessive localized heating can cause joint compound to dry too rapidly resulting in cracking and localized delamination