Sunday, August 27, 2006
Logarithmic DIY Disaster
Me, 8 weeks ago:
“We can do the bedroom before we move in. I was thinking about blues: we paint the ceiling pale blue and then we put a slightly darker blue wall paper on the walls.”
My wife, a couple of days later in the DIY store:
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we took this dark blue wall paper too and do one wall with it?”
We get the key, three weeks before we have to move. My father and mother start taking off the old wall paper.
“Son, I think you should take a look at this.”
“Just come and see.”
“You see they put some thin insulation material underneath, but we can’t remove the wall paper without making holes into it.”
“That’s no problem, just take it off.”
“Well, yes. But then the plaster comes off too at some places.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll repair it.”
A week later:
We realise that we won’t have enough time to finish the living room, the dining room that we won’t be using to dine and our bedroom all at once. We decide we have to prioritise and focus on the two rooms downstairs. The bedroom gets a lower priority, but my father continues to work there when he has to wait until something downstairs dries. He also removes the dreadful fake wood panelling on the old chimney, and replaces it with nice clean plasterboards.
When the big day of the move arrives, the bedroom isn’t ready, but it won’t take another couple of days to finish it. We already decided at that point that the horrible wall-to-wall carpet has to come out and that we’re going to clean up the wooden floor beneath it. We have ample experience with cleaning wooden floors. But then I get crazy ideas.
Three weeks ago
“You know, now that we don’t have to rush anymore, I could put some more time and effort into the bedroom. I could remove the lowered ceiling and replace it with wooden or plaster.” (The old ceiling was made of horrible cardboard tiles)
“That would be nice, I do prefer a clean plastered ceiling though.”
After my return from Africa...
...I set to work. I remove the carpet and discover that the planks underneath are nice, although they have some burn marks as if the room was ablaze at some point in time.
“Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make false walls (to solve the plastering problem) and put isolation material behind them. That way we won’t hear the neighbours kids anymore.”
“You mean the neighbours won’t hear us fooling around in bed.”
“That too, yeah.”
“Honey, I removed some of the tiles from the ceiling. It looks as if the old ceiling itself is in pretty bad shape. I don’t want to risk hanging those heavy plasterboard plates on the old structure. I think it would be best if I removed the old plaster all together, right down to the wooden frame.”
“Oh right, maybe it would be better if you don’t put plasterboard up there. I’d like it if you could leave the wooden beams like that.”
“Well, they’re not very clean. Besides, I’ve been thinking (something I really must stop trying). I could put rockwool isolation between the beams. Otherwise we well hear every noise in the children’s bedroom on the second floor.”
“You mean you’re afraid that the kids will hear us fooling around in bed.”
“That too, yeah.”
- The remainder of the ceiling tiles.
- The wooden frame on which the ceiling tiles were attached.
- The plasterboard structure my father made around the chimney, in order to remove the plaster on the ceiling.
- Half of the plaster on the ceiling.
- The wooden sticks on which that plaster was stuck.
- The electrical wires and the lamp in the middle.
- The wood panels at the base of the walls.
- A telephone wire and connector.
Taking down the plaster was fun, carrying it in a plastic box past the closet (very narrow), down the stairs, through the hall, through the dining room that we won’t be using to dine, through the kitchen, trough the place next to the kitchen that has no official name, outside past the huge mountains of rubbish already piled up there to a free spot at the other end of the garden, was no fun. I think I removed about three tonnes of ex-ceiling by means of an uncountable number back-and-forth-s between the bedroom and the garden. Tomorrow I will be about 85% handicapped for sure.
Meanwhile, the bedroom looks like a disaster area. When I worked in Bosnia, I saw houses that came through five years on the front zone of a civil war in a better condition. And I still have to break more things down before I can start rebuilding it. This is going to be a five year project, at best.