The lounge room wall in our house has always looked like it was trapped in the 1970’s . My parents dropped down for visit and to help with one of the many house repairs needed. As this is one of the cheaper repairs required on the house we decided to rip into it. I’d investigated under the fake wood sheeting previously and the plasterboard underneath was heavily damaged and covered in (if you can believe it) a wallpaper even uglier than the fake wood. Additionally we wanted to remove a door that was present between the lounge room and the hallway as it was damaged and we rarely use it.
We started off by ripping the fake timber pattern of the wall, this pretty much fell off and we were left with an ugly wallpapered wall. Next step was to start removing the old plaster board sheeting with the lovely wallpaper stuck to it. This was a fairly easy task with two pry bars (although three dead desiccated mice did fall on us), we also removed the door jam from the wall side of the door. This was pretty tough as the builder had used very heavy duty nails (10cm) through the jam into the house frame which is some form of Australian hardwood. After much prying with the old blacksnake(6foot crowbar) it came free:
As the doorway was slightly narrower than the hall we had to relocate the uprights that the door Jam on both sides were attached to back in line with the wall. Oddly enough the support on the hinge side of the door that the door jam had been fixed to was actually sitting on nothing…no floor boards, no joist, no bearer. Best guess we have is that the upper massive nails were holding it in place. This of course meant we had to fill a hole in the floor with a small piece of wood. Talk about building to a price :). Unfortunately I didn’t get a before photo but here’s a shot after we had patched it up and set the up right back inline with the wall(it was a right pain fitting the patch in):
After we had the above framing elements all adjusted we put up the new plasterboard on the wall using standard plasterboard nails and glue. Our house has about 2.5m ceilings so when we fitted the two 1.2m wide sheets we had to locate them fairly accurately to ensure we didn’t end up with a gap at the top or the bottom. It would seem metric modern plasterboard really isn’t designed for old houses with high ceilings. We successfully got the top and bottom sheets up and began the plastering, we also painted the lower edge were the skirting go’s to save on cutting in later on when painting. This was pretty much the end of day one’s effort (the below photo is a composite of two photo’s):
The look of the wall didn’t change to much during day two. We started of in the morning by doing some sanding of the plaster we finished up last night and putting down the first finish coat of fine plaster in a few places. The big job or fiddly job for the day was trying to fill the gap in the ceiling and match the cornice up from lounge room to hall.
The gap in the ceiling was a problem as the hall ceiling is slightly higher than the lounge room ceiling plus we had a support beam at about the same level as the lounge room ceiling. We ended filling the gap between the support beam and the lounge ceiling with a small piece of plasterboard. Then sanded the support beam surface a little to smooth of the rough edges, finally we skimmed a layer of plaster across the whole lot. We then just made a small plaster step up from the support beam to the hall ceiling and plastered it. The end result looked okay and should look fine once all the sanding is done.
The above problem of course meant the cornice also didn’t line up, so we had to try and custom fit two small pieces of cornice between the existing/new cornice in the lounge room and the old cornice in the hall. This required a lot of fiddling and use of plaster to shape and streamline the pieces together. The result looked okay although a fair amount of sanding and shaping will need to be done tomorrow.
The remains of the day were spent sanding and plastering so as we could hopefully have the wall ready for painting, by the end of tomorrow. We also adjusted the laundry door so it opens and closes easier, although not really part of this project we were waiting for plaster to dry. Below is a picture of what the wall and door (or not door?) looks like at the end of day two:
Very little building work today, other than tiding up some skirting board and door architrave. We spent most of the day sanding down plaster and smoothing it out ready for a coat of paint. The house of course ended up in a nice fine layer of white powdered dust from all the sanding as did I :):
Not all the painting was finished but the little bits left can be done later on. A fairly tough 3 days and I’m pretty tired, but I’m very happy with the result and the way it opens the room up, you can see the result in the below picture:
Another project down and time to move along to one of the others 🙂