First of all, what is hop? Hop is a mixture of water and grit that when combined and applied on a ceiling or wall, will add acoustic properties to a room. In some cases, rather than using the term hop, people use the terms texturing or acoustic applications when referring to hop. It is frequently basted on ceiling to hide damage, repairs and sheet rock tape lines.
If you have ever visited a hotel where the walls have a stucco application, these are walls that have been hopped with compound, and then flattened down with a trowel while the hop is still wet. Hopping walls and ceilings deaden the sound in a room, because the uneven surface absorbs sound as opposed to flat surfaces that repel the sound.
Grit grades of hop
There are three grades of grit, fine, medium and coarse. Medium is the most popular, with fine being the next popular. Using coarse grade grit is usually done to cover repairs or to deaden the sound in a room beyond the norm.
When preparing to hop a room, the temperature must be above freezing, otherwise the hop won’t stick. For hopping materials, you will need a 5 gallon bucket, a hopper (which can be rented at Lowe’s or Home Depot), a compressor, a spray gun and a gun tip. Different tips provided different patterns. You will also need to use taper’s compound, water and the grit that you have chosen to use.
Although manufacturers’ do not recommend it, it is common in the industry for painter’s to also add paint to the hop mix, at a ratio of 1 gallon of paint to 3 gallons of water. The reason they do it is because it helps the compound adhere to the surface, and it eliminates a second step of having to paint the hop after it is applied. The problem is that the paint is sticky and can ruin the paint gun and hose by coagulating in the equipment if it isn’t washed out meticulously immediately following the application. Hop needs to be liquid enough to shoot through the gun and solid enough to stick to the surface.
Bag the room
Before hopping, it is recommended to bag the room so that clean up is a cinch when you are done.
After bagging a room, get dressed in your hop clothes! Hopping is one of the messiest jobs out there. You must use a respirator because the air will become thick with humidity and it will be hard to breathe, particularly if you choose to add paint.
Wear clothes that you don’t care about and wear a hood to protect your hair as the hop will cover you as you work. The final accessory for your hop outfit is safety glasses. You will be spraying above your head, and you will want to cover evenly, which means you are going to have to watch what you are doing. Depending upon how runny the liquid is, may mean that some of it falls on you. You don’t want that combination of paint, water, and grit in your eyes.
Mix the hop
Mix the hop according to manufacturer’s instructions on the bag. You will need an electric screw driver with a paddle attachment, and add the hop slowly to the water mixture as you stir until the liquid is like pancake batter. It needs to be liquidy rather than firm.
Prepare to hop
Set up your compressor, sprayer, and gun with the hopper. After mixing the hop in a five gallon bucket, use an extra give gallon bucket to set the hopper in, and fill it with the mixture.
Start in the corner, and keep your pace and movement consistent as you use the spray gun with the hopper attached to begin shooting the hop.
Work diagonally across the room holding the hopper between 12-18″ from the ceiling. Use the sprayer handle to push the hop. Watch what you are doing, and if you miss a spot, go back and blast that area when you are all done being sure to blend it in so that the area looks consistent.
When to call a contractor
If you are not sure what you are doing, it might be best to call a contractor for this job, as they have the equipment and they know the consistency required to blast the hop without leaving water marks. As with anything, quality will come with experience. For about $150.00 – $300.00 dollars depending upon the size of the room, a paint contractor can come in and do this for you in under a 1/2 a day. If you have cathedral ceilings and this job involves ladder ballet, then definitely consider hiring a contractor for this messy and meticulous job.
Bob the painter