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One room, one week, one DIY failure
|The week saw us beaten by the rock-solid wallpaper, cracks in the ceiling and letting heating pipes in.
||You'd think it would be easy, wouldn't youYYY One room for two people to sort in one week. It seemed like it was going to be so easy, for about ten minutes that is.
So, what went wrong! Well, firstly the whole room needed the wallpaper stripping off - ceiling and all. Should be relatively easy with a steamer you might think. Well, on the ceiling it was, but left behind a terrible residue of glue. This then had to be scraped off carefully, with one of those stanley blade scrapers meant for getting paint off glass, and then lightly sanded.
Sadly, the steamer had no effect on the wallpaper on the walls. We tried scoring it and Becca got a little over zealous and scored the wall, but still the paper wouldn't budge. In the end we hit upon a three stage process: 1) Braze with blowtorch to lift paint layer off; 2) Brush with sugar soap and allow to soak in; 3) steam and scrape off.
Two days, three gas canisters and a lot of scraping and swearing later the walls and ceiling were bare but badly marked. Particularly bad was Becca's little mishap, which looked like it had been flagellated. So, then followed lots and lots of filling and sanding. For two days we looked like ghosts!
While Becca was on with that I added two extra sockets, dropping the cables down from upstairs and chanelling into the wall; unfortunately, we've got solid floors. Bit the bullet and also let the heating pipes in. God what a mess. This place looks worse not better!
At least opening up the bricked-up fire place was easy - if a lot messy. I lined the hole with a CLS timber frame. The plaster was chipped off down to brick on the front of the breast to mantlepiece level. Then the front of the breast and hole were lined with 9mm plasterboard and skimmed. Grip-fill and screws hold it onto the frame and brick. A little filler at the join and the result looks really excellent.
Meanwhile time was a wasting - over a day replacing heating pipes, setting them back into the wall and running the return behind the radiator. Progress on putting sealed units into the 9 windows in the bay had ground to a halt and we'd still only got it filled and sanded by Thursday. Thank god things then started coming together and everything was painted white on Friday, including undercoat on the skirting, picture rail and architrave.
But, this only proved the ceiling needed some special attention. There are some 14 inch cracks running along a few of the plasterboard joins. I am slowing filling them up with flexible gap filler. See sidebar for a link to this tip.
Yesterday, we started sorting the floor. Solid oak parquet that all needs sanding by hand. So far we've done about half. Becca's back to work tomorrow and that leaves me to finish the floor, paint the room properly and sort the windows etc. Oh, dear...
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