DH really is the best. Last weekend he took the kids, all by himself, down to Houston to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa. He does this a couple times a year in the name of Home Improvement. I stay home and get to turn up the music and power through some dusty, messy, inconvenient projects.
And what could be dustier or messier than removing your old popcorn ceiling and putting up a new (flat) one? Nothing, believe me.
We started removing the popcorn two years ago and got pretty burned out after many, many failed attempts at getting a smooth ceiling and putting up joint tape. But we improved a lot as we went along, so this final stage (Master Bedroom and Bath) turned out great.
Here's how it goes for us:
1. Scrape off the old texture. We found a good method using a spray bottle and a joint knife. Spray a section (maybe 4'x4') and let it soak in for a good 5 minutes. Then spray it again and start scraping. If it doesn't come off easily, it needs more water. You want to soak the popcorn without soaking the drywall above it. Sometimes when you've got it right it comes off in one huge, lacey piece. And THAT is a good feeling... (Check to make sure you don't have asbestos in there first)
2. Sand the ceiling. I don't think a lot of people would recommend this step because it creates a lot of potentially dangerous dust and it may be unnecessary depending on how well Step 1 went. But I think it really speeds up the steps to follow. I use sanding mesh attached to a pole sander.
3. Wet sand the ceiling. Just run a damp rag over the ceiling. Without this, anything you try to put on the ceiling next (joint compound or paint--don't know about spray texture) won't stick.
4. Re-texture the ceiling. I've seen a lot of sites that say you just need to touch up the ceiling with joint compound at this point. Maybe the drywall guys who worked on their houses did a much better job, in fact that is pretty much certain, because there is no way a touch-up is ever going to cut it at Besotted Cottage. Our ceilings are much like the surrounding geography: Hilly. So I put on a wall to wall swathe of joint compound, sand it with sanding mesh again, wet sand it again, and then touch-up.
5. Prime and Paint! Huu raa! This step is SO much easier than every step prior. You'll probably need more paint than you think. The joint compound absorbs a lot.
I think the worst part is scraping the ceiling. It is just so messy. It gets everywhere and because of the water it sticks everywhere, too. I was listening to Delilah while I was doing that part, maybe I was a little slap-happy, but I decided to call in to the show. She kept saying "The lines are open! Its Girls' Night!" And I thought "Hey, I have a pretty good story here: all alone, missing my family, working on the house--I might get on the show." So I dialed the number. I heard some music and that seemed right, but imagine my surprise when I heard a woman ask, "Are you a hot guy who wants to talk to a h---- girl?" Yikes! Needless to say, I didn't get on the show.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I don't want to make anybody jealous, but I live in a magic house.
Besotted Cottage is the House that Heals Itself.
I'm not kidding.
First of all, the day we bought the house, I noticed a sizable scorch mark on the kitchen counter-top. But where is it now? It has Disappeared.
Also, soon after we moved in, the toilet in the hall bathroom started running. But then, while we were trying to figure out how to fix it ourselves, as if by magic, it stopped.
Then there's the doors. Sometimes they stick, but they always stop sticking all on their own.
And finally, two days ago, the air-conditioning broke. We are in Texas. In June. It is 100 degrees. But guess what? Immediately after I hung up with the repair-man, it started working again. When he came out to the house, he said it was working perfectly; nothing to fix. Spooky, right?
But seriously, whether its magic, or miracles, or just residential ADD, we were sure glad not to have to shell out $1500 bucks to replace the A/C coil on our Trane unit (which is "super old," according to said repairman, and whose installation is "crappy"). He said its on it last breath and its just a matter of time until it goes out completely, so we should try to make it until the off-season when it gets a little cheaper to fix.
You can probably guess that this repairman was a bit of a character. But he had some good information. For instance, a lot of a/c companies around here try to get you into a bi-annual maintenance program. According to him, it's a total scam. "Its a closed system, either it works or it doesn't. That's just a way for them to rip people off," he said. Guess what was #42 on my New Year's Resolution List of Things to Do? HVAC Check-up. I guess that's done now.
So the award for Best Air-Conditioning Company in Austin goes to Texas Air Conditioning Specialists (not to be confused with Air Conditioning Specialist, because I did make that mistake) They're honest, just don't be offended if they call you crappy and super-old.
And the Razzie goes to Trane. You know, "It's hard to stop a Trane." They should change their slogan to "It's hard to stop a Trane. Completely."
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
This week we paid off our car. Huu raa! The downside is now the only projects I can do now are the ones that are free. Suprisingly, there are a lot of projects that don't require money. IF you happen to be someone like me who plans projects, buys materials for projects, starts projects and then...just moves on to something else. I probably have a dozen projects I could do today without effecting the budget at all. But will I? Honey, don't get your hopes up.
Case in point: five months ago I decided we needed to get the garage organized. "We have to use the vertical space!" I ranted. So I went out and got hooks and bins and such. And they sat there, judgmentally, until last weekend when I took 15 minutes and got the darn things up.
Or consider the rain gutter over the back porch, which has been separating from the roof for the past two years, and only needed two screws and some pruning seal to get it back in working order. Did that last week. Check.
Or there's the grout in the kitchen, which is so universally stained that it has become a new color. I bought the special cleaner for it two months ago and finally got around to it on Wednesday. (Special cleaner, however, didn't do jack. This project is still pending. Oh well. Two months to get something done would be way below average. It would totally blow the curve.)
My tendency to procrastinate and lose interest in something I'm working on really isn't my fault though. I come from a long line of Project Starters. My great-grandfather passed away with all of the supplies and materials to make a grandfather clock, all the wood for a hardwood floor, and a kit for an organ. That's gonna be me. But in the meantime, I'm chipping away at the cheap stuff.