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(not so) QuikWallTuesday, January 06, 2009
The basement walls... They've been patched, and sealed, and painted, and who-knows-what over the past hundred years. Now it's time to try to make them look good! After some initial research online, we decided on a product called QuikWall, which is a mortar-like bonding cement with glass fibers that is specifically recommended for what we're doing. So, here's the wall, and here's the QuikWall:

We bought 400 pounds of mix and a few bottles of acrylic fortifier (basically a glue that they recommend mixing into the mortar when covering over other materials) - now if only it could magically apply itself!

To mix a whole bag at once (and for other uses around the house) we decided to buy a wheelbarrow, and as you'll see in the last photo, this project has been a great way to give it that been-around-for-a-while look! With a little over a gallon of water, half a bottle of the fortifier, and a 50-lb bag, we?re ready to mix.

The two tools that I've found to work really well for this project can be seen in the right-hand photo - the small margin trowel and a pool trowel (right now, this is my favorite non-powered tool - it's designed to flex and give a nice, smooth surface finish, and the rounded ends prevent it from gouging - perfect for this task).

Here's the general process I've developed:

Step 1: throughly clean the wall, then brush with water to moisten.

Step 2: apply a generous layer of mortar to the wall using the margin trowel.

(at this point I really felt like I was frosting the sides of a giant birthday cake - and this is precisely what any cake I've ever frosted looks like!)

Step 3: float the pool trowel over the mortar - this will start smoothing things out and reveal areas that need more goop.

Step 4. add extra mortar to the low spots, and refloat.

And that's it (well, basically)! Here's the sequence - each photo is the end of a full 50-lb bag (the first section looks different because I actually did that one as a test a couple days ago):

And then some highlights - cutting in around the windows was actually rather fun, though a bit tedious!

Then there's the well-worn wheelbarrow - impressive what a night of cement mixing can do!

So, that was 5 bags of QuikWall, and it took about 12 hours (yes, the not-so-quick part)! We'd originally thought we'd do this to all the walls, but we're rapidly developing alternative solutions...

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