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Bare old bones

A couple of very focused, very knowledgeable drywall and plaster experts started in on my bedroom this morning at 8:30. It's been a noisy, chaotic, somewhat nerve-wracking day.

Plaster debris in the afternoon sunlight against a wall of ancient exposed lath

On tearing out the first chunk of ceiling, the guys discovered that it wasn't plaster OR drywall, but some kind of weird cardboardy stuff about 50mm thick, mounted to an insufficient lumber framework. Above this false ceiling was a gap of 30 cm (14 inches) or so, and above that, the original plaster ceiling. Apparently someone in the 70s wanted to lower heating costs. Or something.

the cardboard ceiling, its fragile superstructure, and the original ceiling above it
The cardboard ceiling, its inadequate superstructure, the wide gap, and the original ceiling.

So I guess my new bedroom is going to have a relatively soaring 9-plus-foot (275 cm) ceiling. I did not see that coming. The difference this will make in the room's proportions is startling:

A view of the room prior to demolition, showing the low ceiling

a view of the room after demolition, showing the much higher original ceiling

The guys sealed the bedroom door with plastic to protect the rest of the house from dust, and they came and went and carted lumber and debris out all day long entirely through the west window:

The west window of the bedroom from the outside, and a pile of discarded lumber in the garden next to it
Not the usual ingress and egress point.

They'll be back in the morning to finish the demolition and clean up the mess. Electrical work is on Friday. Sheetrock goes up on Saturday. Taping and mudding next Monday. Then I can paint.

After that, it's flooring. Then furniture delivery, assembly and installation. Then I move select items back into the room and have a yard sale to get rid of the rest.

Then done. Done done done.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 18th, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
Ooooh, higher ceilings!
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:04 am (UTC)
Right? I know why the drop ceilings were put in--I remember those Energy Crisis days--but I'm pretty excited to have the originals back.
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:42 am (UTC)
Watching drywallers work is amazing! It seems like such a boring thing but it really isn't.

And higher ceilings--niiiiiice! Also, people did really weird shit to their homes in the 60s-70s. What the hell was going on then?
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC)
What the hell was going on then?

Modernism followed by the energy crisis, I'm pretty sure. Old houses that weren't re-muddled in the spirit of "longer, lower, wider" succumbed to the trend of not wasting heat up in those useless empty ceiling spaces.

Drywalling is a fascinating craft. I did a little of it once, under the supervision of my contractor brother in law, and it was really quite engaging. What's amazing to me is how fast the pros work! They will install all the drywall--walls and ceiling--in a single day, then tape and mud and sand and plaster-coat it on the second day. I'm itching to see the finished work.

Mar. 18th, 2014 08:05 am (UTC)
Wow! I'm sure one used to have to wait ages for plaster to dry thoroughly before one could paint, so obviously plaster technology has moved on - unless "mudding" means something else. You do seem to have found some very professional, efficient workmen. I'm pleased that you're glad about your new old ceiling, but won't you find the heat disappears up there?

Well done on all this!

Mar. 18th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
You got me wondering, so I consulted the experts this morning when they arrived. They assured me that I could prime the new walls almost as soon as they leave. From my one experience with drywall work, there's no plaster added to the paper surface of the Sheetrock except what goes over the taped joints. It's a thin coat and dries quickly--depending on the weather, it can be sanded later the same day and primed the next. I think a top coat of plaster is added only if you want a texture, but I want s-m-o-o-o-o-th. I am very excited about smooth walls!

The ceilings were dropped originally in this house, I'm 90% certain, in order to help conserve heat. Between vastly superior insulation, improved heat systems, and climate change, I don't think the extra foot overhead will be an issue. Besides, I don't even heat my bedroom at all except in the deepest couple of weeks of winter. It will be my Snow Queen Palace!
Mar. 18th, 2014 11:48 am (UTC)
Do you remember how much of a bee in my bonnet I had about the upper corners of the room being visible above the wardrobes? I am LOL'ing at myself, because sure they will be now... This looks amazing! Exciting times, DEm. Will they let you help? (And just how perfect do you want the walls anyway? Isn't it more characterful to have a few flaws here and there? :D)
Mar. 18th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)

It was the very first thing I thought of when the builder showed me the hidden ceiling. And everyone in my family has said, "So won't that mean that there'll be a big gap over the tops of the wardrobes?"

Much as I dislike the idea of a creepy dust-gathering surface too high overhead to easily keep clean, I do like the possibilities it presents for some interesting LED lighting applications.

In my lifetime of living in old and cheaply-remodeled places, I've had all the imperfect-wall character anyone ever needs, thank you. I'm going to paint the new ones bright white and glaze them interference blue pearl powder. It will be like the inside of a shell. Maybe I'll paint secret sigils around the top of the walls.

Oh wow, I really like that idea! What should I put?
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
How exciting! Thanks for sharing every detail - even the ingress/egress! ;D
Mar. 18th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)

I'm always so impressed with the work that skilled builders do. Their combination of physical energy, technology, and old-fashioned craftsmanship is wonderful. These guys are super-efficient, too, and very tidy. It's always disruptive to have workers in the house, but they're minimizing the impact, and I really appreciate it.
Mar. 20th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
I am vicariously excited for this project!!
Mar. 20th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)

There's been a scheduling delay (surprise, surprise) so I'm spending my time obsession over details. Right now it's paint, but a few minutes ago it was lighting.

I'm having a lot of fun. Expensive, expensive fun.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )



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