Sunday, August 21, 2011
Say No to Crack
In my last post, I'd mentioned maybe fixing the plaster cracks on my next day off. That didn't happen. I got sidetracked on stripping the narrow moulding that goes around the double doors. Even though I had to strip through five thick layers of paint on tedious millwork and was outside for hours in 90deg weather, I enjoyed it more than what was planned. I could have endured my shoulder surgeries without anesthesia and had a better time than doing anything that involves drywall or plaster. Painting is high on the list of things I hate doing but using joint compound ranks higher on the hatred scale. The only conclusion I can draw to explain my almost irrational abhorrence for both is I am such a perfectionist when it comes to that type of work because it's so visible. I'd sat in the house since completing the partial bathroom make-over, many days not wanting to work on anything since I didn't have the money to start on what I wanted rather fixing what I could with what I already had. Practicality and boredom eventually took over and, part of Wednesday and yesterday, the crack repair began in the living room. It's not terribly difficult; just time-consuming and messy. Some of the cracks are fairly large, as you can see in the photos. The smaller or hairline cracks have to be cut a little wider with a utility knife to give the mud more room to "take" and that leaves dust and crumbles everywhere. Self-adhesive fiberglass tape is used in place of paper tape, as it is stronger and less likely to tear or split if the plaster shifts again. The first coat of mud is applied, and seeps through to fill the gap . Thus far, there have been around 25 first-coat patches with five more to go, not counting the corners and the ceiling one that goes the full-length of the room. I also mudded the build-in gaps around the double doors that were installed a couple of months ago. (On a side note, the moulding stripped wonderfully and looks very nice reassembled onto its counterparts around the door.) Every inside corner, including wall-to-ceiling, has to be repaired. Those especially test my patience and I'm sure some things will be said that will slick back Brian's ears. I think, for the corners, I'll get the metal reinforced tape to help form a solid and smooth foundation. They are now somewhat irregular and uneven so trying to use folded paper tape (can't fold the fiberglass kind) may result in my spontaneous combustion. After all the first coats are done, I'll start on the second. It's easier, then, to keep up with what I've done and encourage me to keep moving forward. The difference in the way the room looks already is pretty amazing. My plan is do all the plaster repair throughout the house prior to painting. For one, it's cheaper and secondly, it keeps me focused on one task. Here are a couple of pictures. One darker one, where the wall is half green, is where a built-in bookcase sat. There were several cracks and holes behind there. The corner one has yet to be fixed. Both are examples of the typical cracks I've been filling throughout the room. I'll post "after" pictures when they're all finished.