View Full Version : Wall & Floor Contractors

September 8th, 2008, 06:51 AM
Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if I could get any advice on how to approach my upcoming wall and floor home improvement project.

I live in an apartment where the walls are all cinderblock. I want to change the appearance of the walls by smoothing it out and making it look "normal"
I also want to take out the carpeting and put in wood flooring (probably laminate since it seems like it would cost less). Part of the floor is tile too (by the door). I want to take out out the tile and put wood there too.

In what sequence should this be done? My guess is that the floor needs to be done before the walls to make sure the walls get seamless coverage & so the molding can be put in right after the walls.

But I've never attempted a project like this so any tips would be helpful. Also, if anyone has recommendations on a contractor it would be greatly appreciated.


Glen Miyashiro
September 8th, 2008, 08:29 AM
Before you go any further, I just want to check. Do you own your apartment? Or are you renting?

September 8th, 2008, 09:46 AM
My mom owns the apartment I'm living in.
Do you think I should get some sort of authorization letter from her?

September 8th, 2008, 12:24 PM
I drywalled over my cinderblock walls. The walls were first furred out with 1/4" strips of wood.

Personally, I'd do the walls first, butt the laminate up to it and finish with baseboard. That way, if you or someone else wants to change the flooring (which is more likely than changing walls), there won't be a gap under the drywall or chipped wallboard that is bound to happen from removing the laminate. Also, thickness changes with the type of flooring.

September 8th, 2008, 01:00 PM
And, there is another reason you want the walls completed before redoing the floor. The last thing you want is to put in beautiful floors and then have a dry-wall worker drop something heavy on your new floor, or scratch the floor with a ladder or tool, etc.

Unless, of course, your drywallers are going to cover the new floor, wall to wall, with a heavy protective covering (not just a drop cloth). But, good luck with getting them to do that!

And yes, definitely get your mom's written permission. You'll want her to have full awareness of what is going on in the unit. It is suprising the "bad things" that accidently can happen in a condo or apt unit during construction that the owner is held responsible for, and in fairness to your mom she needs to know ahead of time of the extent of the work.

September 8th, 2008, 01:19 PM
Part of the floor is tile too (by the door). I want to take out out the tile and put wood there too. You've been given good advice so far, but remember that removing that tile will be messy and dusty. The thin set (tile adhesive) will probably have to be removed with an electric chipper to get the floor level, and that creates a really fine dust that will get everywhere. You'll want to surround the area with a heavy plastic, floor to ceiling, to try to contain that dust.
Ditto for when you do the drywall.

September 9th, 2008, 05:40 AM
In what sequence should this be done?
As has been mentioned, walls first. The dust/debris will be epic and even if the contractors covered the floors with cardboard, in some mysterious way a scratch would appear right where you'd always have to look at it.

Molding's not an issue. The floor guys will butt their products against the drywall.

But there may be other considerations:
- How noisy is the apartment? Do you want to line the cinderblock with something like AcoustiBlock before you drywall over it?

- How's the ceiling? Do you want the drywall contractor to do anything to it? Repairs, updates, or other work? If it's a popcorn ceiling then the drywall guys will not be happy about working joints to it.

- Do you have enough electrical outlets in the room(s) and are they where you want them? Cable TV? Telephone outlets? Computer network plugs? Do you want to route any new wires or switches up to the ceiling for other lights or ceiling fans? Now is the time to move/add before adding drywall.

- How will the drywall's thickness affect the windows & doors? Will the existing window/door trim be moved or will new trim be added? Is this a good time to consider new windows & doors?

- Are you planning to mount window curtains, valance boxes, or other heavy items on the new drywall? Talk with the drywall guys about putting extra furring strips in those areas for better support. Even heavy picture frames will do better if there's wood underneath the drywall.

- I don't think anyone uses metal corner beading anymore, but the plastic is preferred in areas that may see water or even high humidity.

- If you're planning to replace any heavy furniture or major appliances, it would probably be safer to do so before the new floor is installed... especially refrigerators or washer/dryers. (I don't really care to discuss how I learned this.) And for moving room furniture on the new floor, I've heard that furniture glides now come with felt in addition to plastic.

- Do you need to have the subfloor drilled/treated for termites before you put down the new floor? If you're flooring in a kitchen, are you working around the existing cabinets or would this be a good time to replace them (or their toekicks)?

- Flooring direction is a design decision. One thought is to run floors toward lanai doors to invite your eyes toward the view. Another thought is to run floors on a 45-degree bias to make the room more "visually interesting".

- And finally, every room renovation I've been involved with has been used as an excuse opportunity to replace, move, or otherwise mess with all of its contents. This would be a good time to think about what you want to keep or discard, and where it's going to go after the renovations are over.

September 9th, 2008, 08:44 AM
I have cinder block walls and didn't like the look, so I just plastered over them. First you prepare the surface (if the paint on the wall is in good shape, washing(TSP)/rinsing is enough), smooth it out with plaster (took me 3 layers), then add texture (if you want) and paint. It maximizes your retained space and minimizes cost (a few buckets of 'mud' and a professional grade 12" hand float). I started in a closet in order to hone my technique (same with painting). Caveat - this may not be the cheapest route if you rely on professional labor.

September 12th, 2008, 12:32 PM
Thank you so much for all your advice!

I've had several estimators come in and I've learned that there are many different ways to do this.

I'm going to note my learnings for other people, and also note the price range estimates I've gotten:

1) Drywall with furring
- Pro: Can customize how your electrical outlets are - the number, placement, etc. You can also put in wall scones too.
- Con: For a small apartment, losing 3 inches can make a noticeable difference. This process is also very noisy since they'd be shooting stuff into the cinderblock to secure the furring.

Price: $2000 labor for 5 days of work. Doesn't include materials

2) Drywall glued on
- Pro: Get the drywall look without losing so much space.
- Con: I hear the glue is expensive but I haven't gotten a quote back for
This one yet so I"m not sure.

Price: No quote yet

3) Mudding with Drywall
- Pro: You don't lose so much space. Quieter procedure.
- Con: If it cracks, it won't look pretty.

Price: $1,200 incl materials for a 242 sqft room.

4) Plaster (Imperial)
- Pro: Fast procedure.
- Con: don't know of any right now.

Price: $2400 incl materials for a 700 sqft apartment.