Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome home

In less than 12 hours a brave set of parents will be coming to visit us. Here are some pictures of what will be greeting them.

Living Room/Dining Room:

These rooms have consumed most of our time these past few months and are our most finished space.

This room is still on our to-do list. The main progress in this room came when our dining table returned to its place in the dining room (it took up a good amount of the kitchen!).


This room is next on our to-do list (after some last electrical/insurance inspections *ugh*). It may not look too bad in this picture, but creative cropping is hiding a hole in the floor covered with plywood and some holes in the plaster and lathe from our electrician.

Guest Bedroom

This is where my parents will be resting their heads. We patched the holes in the plaster left by our electrician. The trunk in the second picture is an antique we picked up in Vernon (BC) one summer. It's a nice place to put extra blankets for guests.

"Master" Bedroom
Yes, this is where we sleep right now. The channel you see was cut so that we could have a plug in next to our closet that we will probably never use (not to sound bitter or anything...). We'll be fixing it the same way as we fixed up the guest bedroom.

That's all folks!
Here's hoping next year brings more renovation progress.

Below is a picture of our most recent project.. a maze in the snow for Trinity.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busted Plaster: Round 5 & Conclusions

The last stages of plastering were less exciting than the first parts (*yay*). After sanding we primed using a tinted primer. After the tinted primer we went over the walls and patched any left over ridges/pock marks that we missed during the sanding phase (once you have enough plaster dust in your eyes it all looks smooth :P). After sanding the patches we painted the walls and finished our adventures with fixing plaster. Below are some pictures from various phases of the plaster job. Most of the pictures are of the same wall (with the window) for reference.

A small note: Any references to products are for informational purposes only, we did not get any money from the makers of these products.

Photo Issues

There were some issues with some Flickr photos in our older posts. They should be resolved now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Busted Plaster: Round 4

Not quite the white Christmas we were hoping for...

Today we did the least pleasant part of plastering... sanding. When we did our drywall taping we were pretty shocked with how unpleasant sanding can be (nevermind that our complete lack of skillz meant there was a lot to sand). Being a type A personality it's very easy to get very neurotic when you start to sand, obsessing over every dimple, every crater. Our contractor friend came over during that first project and informed us that we were being a bit nuts and that primer would help a lot (and it does!).

Since our last plaster project (drywall seams in our living/dining rooms) our plastering has improved a bit so we had a lot less to sand and we were a bit more realistic with our expectations. Even with these advantages, I have to say sanding is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. Combine a respirator with a stuffy little room (because it's sealed off so dust won't go in other parts of the house), add ample amounts of dust and you have a great evening of work :P.

At least it is done now and we are on to bigger and better things... like primer and Ikea furniture. *woo*

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busted Plaster: Round 3

This weekend we continued skim coating. On top of our original thin layer of Durabond 90 we put 2 layers of Sheetrock 90. This is another setting type compound, but unlike Durabond it is sandable. Given our limited plastering experience the Sheetrock was more forgiving for the bulk of the skim coating.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Busted Plaster: Round 2

Since our last entry we've continued patching and plastering the guest room. Here's a step by step of what we did.

1. holes where there is no lathe and no studs visible:
For these holes we had to modify our original strategy slightly. We ended up putting some drywall screws through the wood that we had attached to the backside of the remaining plaster and lathe. This helped keep them in place when we screwed drywall patches into them.

2. holes with just lathe:
For holes in the plaster where the lathe remained we cut patches out of 1/4 inch drywall. Similar to what we did for holes where only studs remained, but the thinner drywall was needed so that it would not be thicker than the plaster.

the main event: plaster
After patching all the holes as best we could we got started on skim coating. We started out by doing a very thin coat of Durabond 90 (a non-sandable compound that will set up in about 90 minutes) over the walls/ceiling. We used extra Durabond to fill in around our drywall patches and a little extra on the cracks with the fibreglass tape. In some spots the corners of the plaster were a bit cracked too. We treated these like a regular corner drywall seam with paper tape.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Busted Plaster: Round 1

We're on our way to getting the guest bedroom ready for plaster. Today's task was putting various things into the holes so that we could put plaster over top. Here's a breakdown of the different types of holes we tackled.

1. holes where there is no lathe and no studs visible:
For these holes we put PL (construction adhesive) on a thin piece of wood. Then we tied a string around the wood and put it in the wall, using the string to pull the wood so it could stick to the back side of the lathe. We then used the string to tie the wood to another piece of wood that sits on the outside of the plaster. This other piece of wood + the string will hold the wood in place until the PL dries.

2. holes with no lathe, where studs are available
These holes were more straightforward to fill. We used some left over drywall strips (3/8") and screwed them to the studs. A small before and larger after is below.

3. cracks
These aren't really holes. They're just cracks. We put fibre glass tape over them. They will be treated like mini drywall seams.

Well these were today's plaster demons. Stay tuned for holes where only lathe is exposed, finishing up the holes that had no lathe and no studs and the main event, plaster!

Small disclaimer: This is our solution to the plaster problems we faced. Mileage may vary.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Main floor update + picking colors for the guest room

The grate(s) we ordered arrived at The Door Store this past week, so we finished up the flooring and got the majority of the downstairs trim done this weekend. Given that we have a guest room to redo before the holidays this is likely it for the main floor for a bit. We've started making the space a bit festive for the holidays with a tree and some furniture.

The guest bedroom has been on hold for a bit while we finished up the main floor. We had a bit of a rush since our neighbor that lent us most of the tools needed them back today. Tomorrow we'll be starting up with insulation and putting some drywall in the holes. Then it's on to durabond and 2 coats of sheetrock.

We did pick up some paint chips today. Trinity has an eye for color and decided to help us out with our selection.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

1 week and alot of scraping later...

All the wall paper is off the walls in the guest bedroom and the ceiling is well under way. We removed 2 layers of paper from the walls and 2 will come off the ceiling as well. So far 4 big black garbage bags of wall paper have come out of the room. It's amazing how much more room the stuff takes up when it's not on the walls anymore.

For anyone else removing wall paper, fabric softener and water works pretty well for softening the paper and getting it off!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flooring + the next project...

The days until Christmas are ticking down alarmingly fast. We have a set of parents showing up on Dec. 23 and are hoping to get quite a bit done between now and then.

Main Floor:

Hardwood is nearly done. We're just waiting on a table saw from our neighbor and a new grate from The Door Store to finish it up. Our floor plan meant that we started flooring in one part (the line between the dining/living rooms) and had to meet it back up with itself the hallway doorway. We were a bit nervous about the meet up but it all worked out and looks really great.

The Next Project: Guest Bedroom

A brave set of parents is showing up on Dec. 23. This is what our guest bedroom looks like right now. Our plan is to remove the wall paper, patch the holes/skim coat, paint and cram it full of Ikea goodness. I feel a renovation all-nighter coming on...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

living room progress

this weekend was a good one for the living/diningroom. they got a nice layer of underlay and 2/3rds of the floor covered in hardwood. the living room is now clean enough to house furniture which is pretty cool. we are a little early bringing furniture back into the space since there is still a lot to be done but we had to get it out of the way of another project (a guest bedroom for a certain pair of parents that are bravely coming to share christmas with us).

Below are some pictures of the living room before, during and now.

Before we moved in.

Right after we moved in, trying to make it livable.
This was quickly destroyed by our need for new wiring.

Fixing the walls up with some drywall. We would have liked to tear down all the plaster and lathe but given our hectic schedules and the fact that we had to live in the space that wasn't really an option.

Mid-way through flooring. Even renovators need to eat!

After moving some furniture back in and putting up drapes. Still a lot of work ahead but the space is comfortable now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

End is in sight...

Tinted primer went up today!

A week more of patching and painting and we should be starting floors next weekend. The mass wrapped in plastic in the middle of the room is our couch... we haven't seen it in 2 months.. we miss it alot.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

White powder coated hell

Not much to blog about at the moment. After our neighbor did the first round of mudding with durabond 90 he showed us how to do the rest of the taping. We finished taping Tuesday and are currently in the middle of sanding. Our living and dining room (and to a lesser extent the rest of our house) are covered in a fine white powder. On the bright side it's cleaner than plaster dust.. but still unpleasant enough to get us working on it non-stop to bring this phase of the reno to a close.

Monday, October 27, 2008


look like this...
Our neighbor came through for us and started taping this weekend. The living room and dining room are nearly done their first coat of taping (they'd probably be done but because of a water main break we are without running water which means no taping :\).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Windows and Floor

It's been an exciting week for the house. We had our windows installed. We went with Royal Deluxe windows on the recommendation of one of our neighbors and they turned out pretty good. The windows are pretty standard white vinyl single hung, except the large livingroom window where we went with a bottom slider. Here are some pictures of the new windows in action.

pewter mullion borders in the master bedroom.

large living room window

The frosted glass in the bathroom meant we could get rid of the ugly curtains which helps open up the space... now to do something about that "light fixture".. this room is next on our list. :P

In other news, our hardwood was delivered today. We got excited an laid a bit of it out.

Unfortunately our walls still look like this, so the hardwood is going nowhere fast. This house is definitely an exercise in patience!