Wednesday, 21 November 2012

With what shall I mend it, dear Liza, dear Liza?

Sorry about how late in the day this post is coming, it has been a bit of a hectic week.

With the removal of the boiler system and radiators, we were left with some serious wall to patch. Unlike bucket holes, a straw just wouldn't do (I've never understood the whole straw as a patching system in that song if someone wants to explain that to me).

Philip enjoying the last moments before patching the unplastered area of our wall.

We're new to the idea of plaster walls and so we weren't exactly sure what material we should use to patch them. Our window installer  (clearly the leading expert in plaster repair) recommended quick-drying drywall compound, the kind that dries in approximately twenty minutes. His reasoning is that longer-drying mud is more likely to bubble and takes longer to be sandable, so you can do more coats faster with the quick-drying stuff. So off we went to The Home Depot (are there any other Home Depots that those orange big boxes should need the preceding "The")  and purchased it for $7 a box. We ended up using about two and a half boxes so far, and will probably buy more of it for doing the living room and guest room when we get to them. 

Sheetrock 20 "The name the pros trust" - by pros they clearly meant us.

The only food Philip makes in our kitchen is waffles, so this was right up his alley.
Before getting to the real patching, we practiced with this snow woman, our snow wasn't perfect and kept falling apart so we had some serious hole patchage to get to. (Yes, I made up that word. No, it won't be the last time.) Here's the finished result. You can also see our updates on Instagram if you follow myself or Philip.

Cassy and Concetta, in order to give a better idea of how our snow woman is posed.
Concetta - named after the person who I've made friends with at the Bomber stadium. We don't know her real name, but this word is on her sweater.
The first patching assignment we began to tackle was the baseboard radiator's previous residence, below the window in both the office and master bedroom. We mixed up the drywall compound, which I would compare to mixing pancake batter. Basically you just add more or less water depending on the consistency you're going for. We mostly followed the instructions on the box (but I've been known to be a little free with the measuring cup - we've talked about my lack of measuring skills in the past and that happens to continue in the kitchen where I prefer to "eyeball it" when baking or cooking). The final consistency ends up being crepe-like (really thin pancakes) and can definitely be a little drippy at first when it comes to troweling it on, but is best in order to get a thin and smooth coat. 

Yes I am wearing klompen slippers. Heritage heritage.

Me patching away, as you can see we have some floor to patch after this from where the radiator pipes came up from the basement.

The basic idea was a bunch of thin coats, so we spent the past few days patching, followed by sanding, followed by patching again. It's not easy work, and it was complicated by... well, I'll let Philip explain it in his own words:
"Some mistakes are worse than others. On a scale of "minor miscalculation" to "Steve Smith in the '86 Stanley Cup Final," this one might not even rank.
You see, we've been patching over the spaces where our baseboard radiators used to be, and if you've patched an area that large and with more than one section you know there's an intense amount of sanding required. And being so close to the floor, it's tough to get a good angle with decent leverage.
Now, put yourself in my shoes. You're halfway through the sanding you have to do. Your arm and shoulder are hurting. And you look over and see a power palm sander.
I made what I thought was the logical choice. I even remembered to close the heat vents in the room and wear a dust-filtering mask. But I didn't remember a few other also-critical details. Which leads me to my list of 5 Things I Should Have Thought Of (But Didn't):
5. How much dust will this create?
4. Where will that dust go?
3. Should I put the door to this room back up first so the dust stays contained in this room?
2. Should I attach the dust filter to the palm sander?
1. (Halfway through) Is it getting cloudy in here?
Long story short, when I finally looked up from what I was doing, the room looked like how I imagine a London morning, except replace Big Ben with Dumb Philip. And when I walked out into the hallway, it wasn't much better. It appears I had inadvertently discovered the Best Way to Make Your Whole House Dusty in Half an Hour Or Less! (Patent pending.)
As you might have guessed (since she probably would have talked me out of it), my wife was not home at the time, and so I fired off the following texts.
I love her objection at the end. You're about 20 minutes too late with that one, honey.
On the plus side, the dust did make my hair look salt-and-peppery. I'm not going to be so forward as to say I looked devastatingly handsome; I'll just say, if I go gray instead of bald, my wife is a lucky lady."
Thanks Philip. By way of update, the walls did get pretty smooth, thanks to another layer or two of the crepe batter and my mom coming to help me out.

And, yes, the dust is still everywhere, partly because we've been advised it's not smart to vacuum it up (it can really clog a vacuum's filter), so we've mainly been avoiding wearing black socks and eagerly awaiting the day we'll be done with the patching so we can Swiffer the house to death.

But that won't happen until we're all done. And we can't show you the final results until we tell you the tale of how we patched the holes left by the A/C vents. Which were in the ceiling. As in above our heads. Despite making those sentences real short, they don't convey the epic nature of this challenge. But believe me. You. Will. Be. Stunned. (There, that's better.)

By the way, anyone willing to leave a comment with your biggest, bone-headiest mistake you've ever made while renovating? It would really make Philip feel like less of a doorknob (or at least less alone in his door-knobbedness).

No comments:

Post a Comment