Saturday, 22 November 2014

Week 6 - DIY Christmas Countdown

Okay, so this is a little late and it's closer to the end of week 5 than week 6 but that's because we've been doing the work for the week 5 update! (Which has a bit more to it than week 6 - yay!)

Weekends have been taken up with other things: SBB has been working Saturdays and I've been trying to do the things I haven't been able to do in the week... Laundry mainly.

This week saw me finally start to tackle the living room window alcoves. SBB was rained off one day so he put a first coat on the smaller window and I did the larger window. The previous colour on the walls - a pale blue - seems to be quite reluctant to be painted over and it's taken three coats to cover it up.

SBB also did a first coat of primer around the skirting board

The kitchen is still coming along too and measurements have been taken to put the worktop on and the rest of the lights have gone in! Look how pretty they are:

SBB also managed to plaster the hallway ceiling! This makes me more happy than I can say.

Yucky stippled ceiling
I'm not a great fan of artex - especially the stippled kind - so I was glad to see this go. We'd had the kitchen ceiling done by a professional as the ceiling was such a large area SBB was worried he wouldn't get it flat (and would injure himself in the process). However, while the guy did a good job I felt myself a little underwhelmed. Some of the edges close to the ceiling weren't straight and in a couple of patches near the window I could still make out the pattern. To be fair, I could only see it if I stood right underneath it and stared straight up at it and how many people actually do this on a daily basis? My Dad came round and I pointed out all my little niggles and he was a bit disappointed - the plasterer has done several ceilings at my parents' house and they've all been very good. Dad suggested that I call the plasterer and give him the opportunity to correct the mistakes but SBB and I decided that we needed to crack on with the painting as the vinyl was on it's way (and I had no intention of trying to paint with my lovely new flooring down!).
As it happens, we painted the room and the 'problem areas' weren't that obvious, unless you knew where to look. It doesn't help that SBB, Dad and I are all perfectionists. SBB and Dad most of all because of their jobs. So, I'm not going to mention the plasterer's name because he did an okay job and we didn't give him the opportunity to sort out our issues so it's not fair to 'name and shame' the poor man.

Right, back to the hallway ceiling. After our experience with the kitchen SBB was a little reluctant to get the plasterer back in to do the job, but also didn't really want to do it himself. He ummmed and ahhhed over it for a while and even, at one point, suggested that we leave the ceiling as it was.

'How important is it to have a flat ceiling?' he asked.

I scowled at him and reminded him that I'd bought lovely new spotlights and didn't want them ruined but having them put into a crappy ceiling. Spotlights and stippling? I don't think so.

My knowledge of plastering is fairly limited - being only what I happen to see when I pause from whatever I'm doing to wander in see what SBB's up to - but I think the process is this:

1. Prepare the surface. In this case that meant scraping off the stipples - or 'blunting' them. This was SBB's job - I don't have the arm muscles for that sort of thing! Essentially you just have to wear down the worst of the 'bump' to get the ceiling as flat as possible. (The first time that SBB did this, in our hallway at home, he scraped off almost ALL of the artex which we later learnt wasn't necessary!) Then it's time to glue. This is always my job and I always end up with glue splodges on my glasses. In this case I only did one coat of glue but previously it's been two. We waited for the first one to go off, then applied another coat and when it's reached the correct amount of 'tackiness' SBB moves on to...

2. Apply the first coat. This coat seems a little thicker than the subsequent coat and when it's on the board it looks like chocolate mousse to me - a really think luxurious one. At this point I don't think it's too important to get it mirror flat but it is important to get it level. Wait for it to go off a bit then...

3. Apply the second coat. As I said, this one is a little thinner than the first coat and, if I remember correctly, looks a bit like chocolate yoghurt. This is skimmed over the first coat and worked together to make it smooth.

4. After waiting for the plaster to go off for a while, it's time to spray with water and smooth off with the finishing trowel any bits that need attention. This is the bit that takes a while because this you don't want a bumpy wall/ceiling and you have to make sure you don't over soak the plaster otherwise you get dribbles and it looks bad. This is the bit that I really enjoy watching (and not just because I get to 'help' by pointing out bits SBB misses) because with each go over with the finishing trowel the wall gets smoother and smoother - like magic. (Although I'm sure SBB would prefer me to think of it as his hard work, rather than magic...)

5. After the plaster is dry any remaining bumps - usually at the edges of the adjoining wall/ceiling - can be sanded down.

I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, an expert and I've never picked up a trowel in my life other than when SBB asks 'Can you pass me the...' so this is definitely not a 'how to' (!)
Luckily for me though I have a man who does know how to plaster and -


A plastered hallway ceiling. It's so pretty that if I could reach, I would stroke it.

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