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Thread: Level 5 finish

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Middletown, Ohio
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    Default Level 5 finish

    I have recently been aware of a finish called a level 5 finish (thanks Dave). I see that there are a few products out there that can be applied like paint and say you can achieve this with there brew. I'm wondering if there is any truth to this. It seems to me that I remember some painters that used a simillar product in a Medical facility and it didn't work well (especialy where light splashed across the wall).

    I am doing a new office for a local Architect and want to do the best possible job. Would I be better off going through the process of skim coating?

    Just wondering.
    Last edited by No faux zone; 09-11-2007 at 03:33 PM.
    Jason E. Whipple
    Historic House Restoration
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    http://www.facebook.com/RestoreOhio

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    It depends on the size of the job, I guess. If I had to skim a large job I would get a laborer to use a 9" x 1/2" paint roller to roll on loose mud on the walls / ceilings. I would then use my 12" flat trowel and wipe it smooth. If the job was smaller I would do the same process, by myself. It would be hard to me anyway to justify the cost of a sprayer capiable of spraying a high-build primer / level 5 in a can, for a job here and there. That is unless you are "KGPHOTO". A Graco Mark 5 is over 5k! How many paint rollers and laborers can you get with 5k?
    "cheap labor pays for expensive headaches"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    A level 5 finish is a skim coat. Paint is paint. If the spec says level 5 you give them level 5 if the spec says paint you paint. If you can convince the owner and architect that a your paint is equal in quality to a level 5 finish and you can stand by it then it's up to you to convince them. Personally if it were my job I wouldn't go for it, no coating that Ive seen can take the place of a proper skim coat.

    In my experiece if an architect specs a level 5 finish you have to give it to them and that's that.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    Davek,

    I don't think these products are paint. They specifey that they are for level 5 finishes.

    I was hopeing that someone had good luck with these products.
    Jason E. Whipple
    Historic House Restoration
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    http://www.facebook.com/RestoreOhio

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    You need a level 5 finish to hide the glares of the drywall finishing (screws/joints) because when natural sunlight hits a wall at a certain angle, you can see through 4-coats of paint and primer. I am doing an Autozone and they painted the walls like 5 times, and you can still see where the drywall finishing was done. In 1 section I rolled on mud, like Mike said with a roller and whipped it off. Did it twice, looked great! (Sherman Williams Primer, and Glidden Paint - Architects call...)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    Every spec that I've seen specifies tape and 3 coats of compound on the joints then a tight smooth skim coat. You can't spray or roll the skim coat.

    I have heard about these materials as well but I haven't seen them used, I've seen it mentioned in some manufacturers drywall handbooks but I've never seen it done in practice. I do a lot of retail stores with level 5 finishes and they are always skimmed. You can't skip a step by using them, they just replace the skim coat. You still have to prime and apply 2 finish coats of paint so all the outfits I've seen just skim it.

    The way I see it half the time these proprietry systems are expensive and don't work as advertised. You know it's a level 5 finish so hopefully you've priced accordingly, most tapers seem to skim coat pretty fast and don't seem bothered by it. Drywall mud is cheap so why experiment when you know the tried and true works? It's not like the product is eliminating a couple of coats of paint, you still have to prime and 2 coat. I don't see any super being too happy with tapers shutting down his job for a day so they can spray their product.

    This is just my opinion, the stuff may be great but I can't see it as a viable shortcut.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    He is talking about the drywall mud products that have sufficient solids to serve as skim and primer. I think one is called Tuff coat? I am too tired to do a search. IT is applied by the drywaller with a strong sprayer. Instead of spraying orange peel, he sprays this stuff. USG has one, and there is one more.



    Yeah the Mark V baby! That is the one to get. Maybe one day Michael, you will see the light.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike from NH View Post
    use a 9" x 1/2" paint roller to roll on loose mud on the walls / ceilings. I would then use my 12" flat trowel and wipe it smooth.
    I recently heard this called "P Coat". Anyone else use this term?

  9. #9
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    Lincoln NE
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    Proof positive most of us are resistant to even trying new things.
    Nothing matches a drywalled wall . . . except this stuff. Which beats it and then some.
    The stuff is out there, has been for years. Do a search on Tuff Hide (made by USG) or Builders Solution by Sherwin. Both do nearly identical things.
    They are marketed as primer/surfacers meaning in one step you prime the wall as well as achieve a level V via spray. They do this with a very high solids content and heavy application.
    They do have their own set of rules, and goofing a job up aesthetically looks really really bad. I should have taken pictures of my first go. Ow.
    Applying the product correctly yields amazing results. Like perfectly even glass smooth polished plaster results.
    Nevertheless, one of the hurdles I've seen at least here locally dave kind of hit on with the cant spray or roll a skim coat commentary. Not to pick on him at all, its just emblematic of the issue. Drwyallers have their way, Painters have theirs. Heres a product thats kind of a hybrid between the two. Painters see the stuff as drywaller work. Its a level 5. And, it occurs in process before the painter would show up - at the end of drywall, right before trim. Why does the painter want to make another trip?
    Drywallers look at the pump required and say 5 grand . . . no way. Really, I can't think of any other reason a full time DW sub would need a pump like that for anything else. Its not a TexSpray, and few people have enough clients with the demand for the thing.
    So neither wants to try it because its the other guys arena.
    The people who end up doing it are neither.

    Ok, that said, senior no faux, look into it. Use the search. I know a couple of us have discussed this to some length in the past. It is pretty neat stuff, but I wouldnt go investing in a pump for one job, and I dont think, unless you're already very adept with a variety of airless applications, that you attempt to wing it on one. You might, via the people who sell the stuff, be able to find someone who does this with frequency and can tell you if it fits your job, and your price point.
    Real trucks run on compression

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    The product you are referring to is prep coat it serves as a level five finish. It will not only save on labor but is has a a primer in it to save on the extra coat of paint. If I was you I would try it out on a smaller job to get used to using it. I personally have used it, and I enjoy it.

  11. #11
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    Atlanta
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    We use these products nearly every day, the only obvious difference being cost..... USG's "FirstCoat" and Tuff-Hide", (Southern Wall Products)Ruco's "Equalizer", Magnum's "Level Coat", and Sherwin Williams "Builders Solution". They will give you a level five finish if applied properly and thick enough to allow it to "self level". Most of what this hides, is the slight difference in texture between the drywall paper and mud which sometimes be greatly exaggerated by indirect and direct light conditions. We also "glaze" (rolling thinned mud and back knifing) on low budget jobs where we identify some ceilings or large walls with potential lighting problems.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    We apply loose compound with a roller or knife and scrape with a wide knife much the way Mike described. A light sanding or sponge wipe is sometimes required. This sets 24 hrs. and gets primer/sealer with 2 coats paint. This is what we call a level 5 finish.

    I'll leave it to you drywall specialists whether we call it right or not, but the end result is invisible seams which is the objective.

    Good Luck
    Dave

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    My perspective on this subject is from the position of project management. The way I look at it it all comes down to risk. If the owner or architect is willing to spec a product and I have a sub who is able to use it great. If there is a tried and true method I will never recommend a new product or method I can't stand by 100%. I have a fair amount of experience using sprayed coatings on millwork. I can see a few pitfalls in spraying a heavy bodied material to flow out to a glass like finish. Unexpected results can always happen with a finish like that at the best of times and it's not like it's dry fall being sprayed on 25' high deck or block filler that you back roll to get the finish. It has to be correct right off the gun.

    If I were doing this on someones house where I didn't have to meet an occupancy date on a tightly scheduled job with severe economic and personal impact if I don't meet it, I might consider it.

    I remember back about 20 years ago the company I worked for used a self levelling topping to fix a 20000 sf concrete floor that got away from the cement finishers. The salesman said this stuff was fool proof, you mix it up runny, squegee it on and it flows out to a perfect, level finish. Well it didn't.
    The cement finishers measured out the mixture under the salesmans eye and did everything according to the mfg. directions. The ambiant temperature was right where it was supposed to be. For some reason the stuff just didn't want to flow that day. The cement finishers had to chip the topping out, chip down the slab, shotblast and trowel on a conventional topping. I never heard of that topping being used again.

    Ditra is an example of a new product that has gained acceptance quickly. It's a substrate used under ceramic tile floors that allows for movement. I first started seeing it a couple of years ago now it's speced on nearly every job. The reason. It adds real value to the installation. The owner gets longer life out of their floors and it eliminates the need for sawcutting over control joints in the slab. If I recommend Ditra the I know the owner is getting a better product and I have nearly eliminated a cause for callbacks down the road.

    Like I said before these products may be great. This is just my point of view and reason for taking this stand. I am not against using new and innovative products I just have to be convinced that they add value to the job without putting myself or any of the other stakeholders at risk

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    I use a Mark IV ( a mere $3200.00) and spray all-purpose for level 5. Works great. It leaves the wall feeling smooth as glass. When you hand trowel, it still feels soft and fuzzy, like drywall compound does, but spraying it makes it slick. We still prime the walls after that, cause its bid into the paint price, so they get it. Haven't tried any of the products for level 5 because we are going to prime anyway, and AP sprayed, is what a level 5 finish is, so thats what we give em. Not saying that theres anything wrong with em, but we haven't had any call for them yet, till someone asks for em, we will continue to use AP.(its that tried and true thing).
    I also use the Mark IV to run the alphatech tools, so it wasn't an exspense based solely on level 5, Most contractors want a lvel5 finish for the price and time span of a level 3. Just finished a 75 board addition on a 1 million dollar house today, started tapeing it yesterday at noon,will sand it tomarrow, why? cause they are in a hurry and don't have time to let the coats dry before recoating them, cause the trim is going in tomarrow, any talk of level 5? or "doing it right?", no, just get it done!!!
    GIT-R-DONE
    Capt-Sheetrock---Drywall Master of the Universe
    Craig D

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Level 5 finish

    So if you are using joint compound of one form or another (we use the 45 or 90 powder almost exclusively) is there any real difference with the finished product if it sprayed vs. rolled on?

    Thanks
    Dave

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