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Unread 05-03-2021, 06:30 PM   #46
Lou_MA
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Thanks Davy.

How soon do you scratch the mud? Watching videos, it seems like people get a very smooth scratch. But whether I used ditra trowel or lath, I can hear (and see) small chunks of mud falling all around me. My scratched furrows are just ragged as heck.

As far as float strips, the shower walls are just shy of 37” wide and I was going to use my 3’ “L” straight edge. That’s why I was thinking set my 3/4” wide float strips right in the corner, and use a really small sawing motion (like 1/2” side to side). But I take it that’s not a good idea?
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Unread 05-03-2021, 07:10 PM   #47
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Davy told me once( that is what I remember anyway) that you want your float strips about 4" from the wall that way the "L" of the your straight will line up with the float strip on the wall next to it. I think you will want more than a 1/2" to saw
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Unread 05-03-2021, 08:08 PM   #48
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Lou, glad you’re at the mud stages, whatcha think? Sounds like you had some trouble with the scratch coat. .

On the scratch I don’t try to key the mud into the wire, it’s mostly laying it on so I use the least amount of mud possible. I generally only have up strokes because a down stroke will push the mud behind the wire.

If you don’t have a scratcher, a 1/4” trowel works nicely, but you aren’t pushing too hard with whatever you use. It’s just to get it roughed up for a good mechanical bond.

You don’t have to scratch solid backing, but like Davy said it takes a bit longer to set up on mud day.

You definitely want to leave some space to slide your edge back and forth on the sticks, those micro sawing motions you are going to try and do will make you even more frustrated when you get into the thick of your first mud day .

If you don’t saw the edge back and forth the mud will drag.

Your scratch will be pretty firm, you might be surprised.

Timing is a couple hours maybe even 3 with no scratch behind the mud setting it up.

So on mud day it’s a good idea to burn the mud into the scratch in sections as you mud it. If you try and and just mud the wall without keying it in you can get pockets behind your mud that won’t stick as well, just like back buttering tile. I’m not saying burn in the walls before you mud, but AS you mud. So if you start on the back wall and start at the bottom, key in the bottom half and then pile your mud on. I also burn in a trowel width of mud vertically before I lay on the mud that I set my sticks with.
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Unread 05-03-2021, 08:22 PM   #49
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By the way, nice looking scratch!
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Unread 05-04-2021, 03:31 PM   #50
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Thanks!

For second coat, how long do I let float strips set up before filling in and screeding off?
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Unread 05-04-2021, 04:32 PM   #51
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If I had to guess time... 10-15 minutes. But when I usually set three walls of sticks I can screed off of the first ones I’ve set, that’s how I normally “time” it.

Edit: oops I read that wrong, for pulling the sticks I like to pull them right before the mud is ready to wood float. I think for the stick pulling its like a window of time, you want the mud firm enough to pull them without any trouble, but could pull them way late and still be fine. You just would want to pull them before the end of the day really so when you fill them your filler mud incorporates with the mud already on the wall and not so late that it’s two separate entities.... that make sense?
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Unread 05-04-2021, 04:47 PM   #52
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I mudded a wall yesterday that was extra thick due to it being out of plumb. Plus, the back wall wasn't parallel with the sheetrock on the outside of the shower. So the left stick had more mud behind it than the right stick. I should have checked for that ahead of time, I could have made my scratch thicker on the left side. With about 1 inch of mud behind the left stick, I had to let it set about 45 minutes before I could put pressure on it with the straight edge. I spent that time filling in the middle area and letting it firm up a little before adding more mud. I sprayed the scratch coat with my garden sprayer and got it a little too wet. That didn't help.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 05:39 PM   #53
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Thanks guys.

Justin - you got my question right the first time. I didn’t know how long to wait after getting float strips plumb before I could apply pressure and screed off of them to fill in the rest of the walls. If I try to set sticks on 3 walls I’m guessing it’ll be 45 minutes (or more) before I get back to fill in 1st wall.

Quote:
your filler mud incorporates with the mud already on the wall and not so late that it’s two separate entities
Makes sense. Any guidance on what that window of time might be? My scratch took me *hours*. Say I do final float and it’s like 4-5 hours after I start and I notice low spots. Can I still just fill them in, no problem?

Davy - thanks for jack’s video. Looking at how his mud flowed off the trowel when he was loading up his hawk, mine was too dry. That might be one reason my scratch was so crumbly.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 06:17 PM   #54
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Lou, I figured watching Jack handle the mud would help you out.

Many times I do like Justin and set my sticks on 3 walls at one time but for a beginner, you might want to do one wall at a time. Once the mud firms up behind the sticks enough to apply pressure with the straight edge, apply the mud and slide the straight edge upward. I usually start at the top and work on the upper 3 ft or so. Once that top area is done, I move down and do another section. If you see any low areas, which you will, apply a little more mud over them and slide the straight edge upward again. Don't forget to saw the mud back and forth.

Edit; Also, I grabbed a few of those bags of Sakcrete and Justin was right, it didn't work very well. The sand is too fine.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 08:01 PM   #55
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I’ll echo Davy and say it’s always good to add mud to the wall as long as your sticks are still set, once you pull them though... you are basically saying I’m in the finishing stages and will just be patching quarter size spots that bother you, definitely not screeding anymore.

You’ll know the mud is ready by touch, when you can lightly touch the wall and not leave a deep imprint/no imprint it’s time to think about pulling them. I think timing everything is the biggest hurdle to learning mud, especially your first time because you have no “feel” to it yet. After one time though you’ll know exactly what we are taking about on different stages of the mud. There’s ideal times to do certain tasks because they will just be effortless during those times. Kinda like grouting, you wouldn’t wash it right after your smear it (on a normal non-premixed grout) because washing out would happen, wait too long and you’re scrubbing grout off the tile.... mudding is like that. Once you learn those peak times to cut the mud, pull the sticks, rub it down... you might wanna mud another one.... then another... and soon you’d rather mud than tile because it can be WAAY more therapeutic
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Unread 05-04-2021, 09:25 PM   #56
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Davy - I could’ve sworn my local masonry place had the sakrete scratch and brown but they say they've never carried it. I looked online for any kind of stucco or scratch & brown and the only choice was the mortar / stucco product I linked to earlier. Local places, big boxes, etc - no one had anything, I was very surprised.

Justin - yep, you hit it on the head, I really have no baseline for any of this. Hanging lath, mud consistency, timing, feel...heck, even getting mud from the board onto the wall is barely controlled chaos. Everything trial and error at this point. But it’s all just getting some experience.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 10:19 PM   #57
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Muddawgs,
I've been following the thread and it's cool to hear about your techniques. I do have a question. How do you handle the return from mud to drywall? Say if the wall was well out of plumb and the mud at the top sticks out a more than the bottom? How do you handle the tile in that situation? Do you skim the drywall side to make the thickness even? Hope the question makes sense.

Lou,
Great job learning to mud! I'm excited to see how it all turns out
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Unread 05-05-2021, 06:19 AM   #58
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There's no rules to the best way to do this so we all have our own way. Where the sheetrock/mud comes together, I like to nail a thin stick on the sheetrock side using small finish nails. I never ride my straight edge right against the sheetrock because it's usually textured, painted or covered with wall paper. The thin strip of wood is only about 3/16 thick. Then when I remove the strip and tile it, I'll have a 3/16-1/4 inch grout joint behind the tile at the sheetrock. I also will shim out the thin strip to get it plumb. Like I did on the right side using pieces of tar paper.
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Unread 05-05-2021, 10:36 AM   #59
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Hi Phil,
I mostly use 6 mil poly behind my wire, in certain instances depending on trim options available for the job I’ll mud flush with the drywall in a method Davy shows in other posts. I’ll run my poly long and screed off the drywall gently. A lot of times the drywall is loose on the edge and you can shim behind it to bring it closer to plumb. And doesn’t affect anything to run it slightly out of plumb (3/16ths max in 8’) is my unofficial rule to not ruin the glass door guys day.

When I do a normal mud job and the mud is thicker than the drywall, I run my float perfectly plumb, and cap the sides with bullnose scribed to the drywall. Even really bad drywall still looks pretty clean when you scribe your bullnose caps to it.... BUT if it’s more than 1/4” change or so I always bring the homeowner in on the plan. I find keeping the homeowner/contractor in on things of that nature has always served me for the better. Forging ahead with no one knowing the plan is the real issue I see that causes misunderstandings later.
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Unread 05-05-2021, 12:19 PM   #60
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Davy and Justin...thanks for the tips! Justin, I can see a 1/4" being no problem and bullnose caps scribed makes sense if the mud is proud of the drywall. I suppose each situation is unique and what it'll bring and what you have to do to make it look the best. Thanks
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