December 2007

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1 December 2007 — Wallpaper Removal

I had planned to install some low-voltage boxes to terminate the conduit we ran for cable tv, phone, and ethernet sometime back in August, but ended up getting sidetracked by wallpaper in the master bedroom.

This paper is some kind of cloth material over a paper backing, and it is really easy to remove. This first shot is just after I started pulling the cloth layer off the wall below the chair rail. Since the top layer comes off clean, no scoring step is required.

Oh well, even though it wasn't what I had planned to do, it's really good to see this stuff go. About half of it is down and the walls look good, so it should be fairly easy to patch the few holes and paint.

2 December 2007 — Conduit and Sheetrock Patching

Today I got the boxes installed, so the conduit job is finished.

Here are the master bedroom walls with the paper removed and sheetrock patches in the holes. These were mostly left over from early electical work, which I had never patched. I don't think the funny splotches and different colors on the wall are actually there. It must be some shadow from the flash. Hmm.

7 December 2007 — Front Entry Taping

I started the taping job in the front entry and closet. There sure are a lot of corners, and I'm not very fast with this job anyway, but it is progress.

8 December 2007 — Rebuilding the Hearth

Today I started reframing the well in front of the fireplace. It's only been about ten months since I started the demo on this project. I decided to remove the gas line from the fireplace and completely reframe the well area to bring most of it up to the level of the living room subfloor. Since the boards directly in front of the fireplace opening are actually embedded in the wall under the floor of the firebox, I chose to leave them in place, but shorter and supported by a 2x6 that spans the opening. Then I sistered a 2x8 on to the 2x6 so that beyond those boards, I have the right height for the subfloor. On the opposite side of the opening I mounted a 2x4 cleat to support the new subfloor across the opening.

9 December 2007 — Hearth, Joint Compound, and Kitchen Ceiling

Today I poured about 50 pounds of concrete in the well that runs just in front of the fireplace. The next step for this probject will be to put a layer of cement board down, then tile.

Next, I mixed up some setting joint compound and filled in some of the larger gaps and holes in some of our many plaster repair projects. I only have a picture of the one in the basement stair area. It will take some more work, but it is nice to see this hole disappear.

Finally, we removed most of what was left of the the kitchen ceiling and generated some demolition debris to fill the garbage can for a few more weeks.

There is definitely some creative framing going on here. We also discovered that a portion of the ceiling had already been pulled down once and replaced with 5/8 sheetrock, possibly because of a water leak in the bathroom above, or when the bathroom above was remodeled (the connection to the tub drain and the water supply lines have been modified). The original drain lines appear to be lead. And of course we found some badly notched floor joists. Most of the joists under the bathroom are just 2x6 as well, since the floor is tile, and like the hearth, the original builders apparently created a well and filled it with concrete to provide a stable floor under the tile. So not only are they small, they've been compromised by some plumbing hacks and they have a relatively heavy concrete floor on top of them. At least the span is only about seven feet. In the second picture, you can see the original water supply lines that have been abandoned were apparently installed on top of the joists just below the subfloor.

12 December 2007 — Living and Dining Room Ceilings

I spent some time putting insulation up in the living and dining room ceilings over the last two evenings. I hope this will block some of the noise from the second floor and also keep the floor somewhat warmer if there is any cold air getting in to these joist spaces from the exterior walls.

We also put up two more sister joists in the living room. They maybe helped stiffen the floor a small amount. It's still not exactly rock solid, but putting up these last two boards at least allows me to say that I did all I could to keep the floor from being bouncy in the master bedroom.

13 December 2007 — Kitchen Ceiling Joists

Today we put up two more sister joists in the kitchen ceiling and added the rest of the insulation for the area where we will be installing sheetrock this weekend. This picture shows the first board up. The second picture is a close-up of the big knot at the bottom of the board in front of that. We doubled that one as well.

This handy new toy is a power planer. It worked great to shave off a few of the low spots on some of the joists in the living room and dining room.

14 December 2007 — Finally, Sheetrock on the Ceiling!

I picked up this lift from a rental place at around 5pm today and started hanging sheetrock. Using the lift, I was able to do most of the work myself and we had more than half of the living room covered by around 11pm.

15 December 2007 — More Sheetrock Lifting

By 5pm Saturday, we had all but the last small corner by the stairs done and I returned the lift. Not bad for a single day's rental charge.

16 December 2007 — More Sheetrock Screwing

On Friday and Saturday, I just used enough screws (well, really more than enough) to hang the panels on the ceiling. Today, I finished filling in the rest of the screws in the dining room and then we cleaned up. I'll finish the rest of the living room over the next week or so. Then it will be time to move on to the excitement of tape and joint compound!

18 December 2007 — More Screwing with Sheetrock

I finished filling in all the remaining screws in the living room this evening, and put up the last two small pieces around the stairwell. Matching the plaster here required a bit of shimming and it will probably also require a fair amount of joint compound to make it look right.

25 December 2007 — Taping

We taped the sheetrock joints on the living room ceiling. I used mesh tape and setting compound on the butt joints and mesh and paper tape with regular all-purpose compound on the tapered joints. Here's hoping it doesn't crack.

I also started fillling a hole above one of the windows where a big chunk of plaster came loose and fell out. OK, so it took some help from me to get it to actually fall out, but it was loose, so I'm sure leaving it in would have caused some trouble in the future.

27 December 2007 — Filling Gaps

Today I used setting joint compound to fill the gap between the old plaster walls and the new ceiling. Eventually I will put up some corner reinforcement strips and all-purpose compound over these cracks, but I think it will be better to have them mostly filled first. That way, the layer of regular compound won't be too thick, so shouldn't shrink and crack.

I also filled in more of the big hole over the window. That sucked up a lot of material because the existing plaster there happened to be fairly thick (at least an inch, maybe more).

Sorry, no pictures.

27 December 2007 — I Love the Joint Compound

The first coat over all the screw heads is up, along with the second coat on all the taped joints. Things are looking much better. No matter how many times I do this chore, I think I will always be amazed by how much it improves the appearance of a room when all the screw heads are covered.

29 December 2007 — Mudding Progress

I've been making slow but fairly steady progress with the living room ceiling. These pictures are after two coats on the seams and just after getting the corners between the ceiling and walls up with the first coat.

I also put up a lot more setting compound in the corner to try to put a smoother taper on it so the difference between the existing corner and the new drywall is not so noticeable.

30 December 2007 — Second Bedroom Closet and Arch

We started to patch the cracks in the plaster in the second bedroom closet, but then decided it would just be simpler to tear out the back wall and replace it. When we did that, we found another hidden electrical box and some galvanized drain line that was standing out from the studs (probably the reason for the cracked plaster. I spent some time shimming the studs and reframing, then discovered a small leak in the drain line, so I decided to try to fix that before putting up the new sheetrock. Ugh. Sorry, no pictures.

After the bad experience with the closet wall, I salvaged something out of the day by framing the arch for the doorway between the living room and kitchen. This is a sandwich made from some 7/16 OSB and 2x scraps. It may need a little fine tuning before putting up the sheetrock, but I think it should work OK.

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