Plaster disaster

Plaster is down - Master bedroom south

Plaster is a mess.

We’ve been racing to try and get our master bedroom done so we can move in as soon as we have the kitchen ready to go, making a nightmarish dusty mess in the process. Our current plan is to try and do everything that creates dust now while we’re not in the house so as to avoid it later on when it’s full of our stuff. And full of us and our lungs.

So wallpaper and paint are coming down by the pound, revealing the plaster walls underneath. Good plaster is being skimmed and sanded, and bad plaster is coming off the walls, to be replaced with drywall hopefully before the week is out. And ceilings that are wallpapered and painted are just going to get a new layer of 3/8″ drywall laid over top of them. No way I’m pulling the wallpaper down on the ceiling.

I had always thought that nothing could be dustier and messier than sanding drywall joints and compound, but this plaster destruction might just take the cake. I basically get a hole started in the plaster and then use a square shovel to just scoop the plaster off the wall. Every piece that hits the floor breaks into a billion smaller pieces, filling the air with a cloud of dust. While waiting for my new pro-grade respirator, I’ve been going through a foam mask per night, as it’s completely coated in brown dust on the outside at the end of the night.

The good news is that we have new windows on the back of the house that I can open to let the room air out. (Pictures to come.)

Last night I finished taking down the second of two walls that had cracked plaster on them, filling up at least 3 contractor garbage bags in the process. And by “filling,” I mean about 1/4 of the way full, because the plaster is so freaking heavy that’s all I can carry down to the front porch. When I sat the 8th or 9th bag of plaster on the front porch last night, I could feel the already weathered and begging-for-replacement porch creak and groan and flex under the pressure. I’m halfway expecting to go over to the house tonight to find the porch caved in and 8 bags of plaster sitting on the ground in the hole. (Can the plaster go out in the supercan? Or do I need to take it to Ft. Totten?)

But I now have two walls and a ceiling ready for drywall in our bedroom, which means in another day or two, they’ll be taped and spackled and ready to be sanded. One more skim coat on the other two walls along with some sanding and we’ll be ready to prime the master bedroom. I have a friend with a truck who is going to come over and help me buy the drywall and hopefully get it installed on the ceiling. I can manage the walls with Rachel or by myself, but those ceilings will be a bear. Not looking forward to taping and spackling the ceiling. Ugh.

The only question is what to do about the baseboards. The plaster goes down behind the baseboards, but I haven’t popped them off yet and removed that plaster. Should i just run the drywall down to the top of the baseboard flush, or pop them off and put drywall underneath? Gotta be the latter right? Can’t take a shortcut and lose all this house karma I’m building up by removing painted wallpaper.

More pictures tonight or tomorrow. The new back of the house is coming along. Windows are in upstairs and downstairs, and the new back door is in place. House has been wrapped in Tyvek and the HardiePlank and window trim will go up today or tomorrow.

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