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Levels Of Drywall Finishes

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Old 05-15-2006, 09:49 AM   #1
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Levels Of Drywall Finishes

I have recently been contracted to install some very large murals in casinos around the country. In my contracts, I specify that the walls/ceilings needs to be ready for me when I arrive. Ready they are, but I haven't been happy with the finish at all. I need to be more specific to how I need these surfaces to look/feel for a successful install. I have heard of a 'level 5 finish', so I assume there are levels 1-4 too. Can anyone explain or where can I find accurate descriptions of these drywall finishes so I can specify what I need to the architect for these projects.

TIA, any help is much appreciated.
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

Typically level 3 is texture ready, level 4 is paint ready. The majority of walls you have encountered in homes are level 4. Level 5 has had a skim coat of compound applied over the entire surface. This skim coat is what separates a level 4 from a level 5 finish.

Do a search for ASTM C840. There should be a section with the exact wording for levels 0-5.


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Old 05-15-2006, 10:44 AM   #3
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

Sounds like I have been encountering level 3 or lower.
It gets scary telling the architect that it is NOT a bubble in the vinyl, its the drywall. They don't like to hear that for the $$$ they are dumping on us.
Thanks for the link!
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:45 AM   #4
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

usg.com has the "construstion handbook" which also defines level 0-5.
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:52 AM   #5
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

Thanks again. The actual document for the finishes is GA-214-96.
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Old 05-16-2006, 05:20 AM   #6
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

That is very interesting, I believe I mostly run into level 2 finish work around here! Pro Wall Guy, That is some nice work you do
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

Lafarge just came out with a pre-finished Level 5 wallboard called Rapid Deco L5. It finishes just like regular drywall.

See the link.

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Old 06-02-2006, 08:24 AM   #8
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Re: Levels Of Drywall Finishes

You can put a line in your proposal stating walls must be finished to a level 5. There are several ways of achieving this. The easiest is to use a spray application of Sprayplast or Tuffhide. If you inspect the walls with a hallogen light placed at the bottom of the walls shininig up them prior to your installation, this will highlight any imperfections. Take the GC with you when you do this so they "SEE" for themselves. Once you apply your finish whatever it may be paint, murals, paper etc. you've bought the wall and it is now your problem. Make sure the GC tells the drywaller of your needs prior to your starting of the work so they can remedy any imperfections. If the GC wants you to proceed on imperfect walls simply write a letter stating the problem(s) and have them sign off on it. This puts the onus on them!


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