Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Nightmare Behind the Walls...
I finished with the floor in the foyer and decided to take a break from reno for a while. I was worn out, tired and depressed. One day, feeling somewhat better, I decided the time had come to remodel my oldest daughter's bedroom. Her bedroom used to be the back half of the old thirties garage. It was very dark, with just one window and a door and beat up white paneling. I figured it would be an easy job to just replace the paneling with drywall, paint and recarpet. HA! how the gods must have laughed as I moved my daughter out of her room and into my youngest daughter's room. I told them it would only be temporary, just until we could get the other bedroom back in working order. HA! (Two years later, they are still in the same room)
I started by attacking that ugly white paneling. I pulled off a large piece and then I just stood there with my mouth open. I could not believe what that paneling had been hiding. Underneath was a green (ugly, ugly, thirties green) stucco? Concrete? at any rate some kind of masonry wall. The stucco was falling off. There were huge cracks and large pieces of it had fallen to the floor. The P.O.s (previouse owners) had placed plastic across the entire bottom half of the wall, I presume to hold in the pieces as they fell. I reached out and touched a loose piece of wall and watched it fall to the floor as my hand moved away. Worst of all there was no framing whatsoever. Behind the chipped cracked wall was the exterior brick of the house. The P.O.s had nailed one by twos into this masonry and then the paneling on top of that. The nails were not holding into the wall, they were loose and had actually worsened the cracking in the wall.
After a few minutes of looking at this, I decided to take a look at the other three walls. I pulled off some of the paneling around the door. It was even worse then the first.
At this point I knew I was in way over my head. I just left the paneling where it lay and walked out of the room. I pretty much gave up. What little knowledge I had about home renovation did not extend to framing and drywall.
So while that project was sitting on the back burner, I began working on my downstairs bathroom, the one that had previously had sewer problems. These problems being resolved, I decided now was the time to get it up and running again. You will recall from my last story that there was no toilet sink or walls left in there after the last sewer explosion.
I decided that I wanted to try to tile the bathroom. I had never tiled anything in my life before but I had seen it done so many times on HGTV and This Old House and so many other shows, that I felt really confident. (I used to work at Michael's doing demostrations on the latest craft ideas and got really got at reading and watching instructions on video and then following through with the project, so I knew I could do totally do this.)
I bought the tile (Hubby and I almost got divorced over the tile selection) and a tile saw and came home and got to work. I could not believe that for once, a project actually went the way it was supposed to go. I laid it all out, mixed the thinset according to the directions, troweled it out and laid the tile and made it as level as I could in the unlevel bathroom. Then I mixed the grout and applied it. It came out wonderful.
After the floor was done I decided to try my hand at a little drywall. I had left the top half of the drywall up, since the rising water had only damaged the lower half of the room. I measured and cut, and remeasured and recut. I'm not good at math, so I think I had to recut everything twice. They way "Measure twice cut once", but for me, I have to measure three times, just to get it right. But in the end I was successful. The drywall came out great. The electrician who came to put in the new light fixture was impressed when he found out I was the one who did the work.
This got me thinking. Maybe we could drywall my daughter's room, after all...