wall preparation

Hole In The Wall Cafe

Posted by Steve on Wed, 06/28/2017 - 11:26pm


Yeah, Cafe. Because there are several things on the menu... several tips from my tyromaniac's bag o' tricks.

First thing, I apologize for the long lapse in updating BrookynRowHouse.  Fact is, there haven't been anybuild-y things to talk about around here.  The house is just about done, and "just about" is the same as "done" in a DIYer's vocabulary.  So I don't promise to be more active here. I also accept the fact that my Google ranking has dropped like a pigeon dipped in plaster from its #1 position five years ago under "Brooklyn Home Renovation" to, hell, I don't even know where it is now.  Probably where they hide dead bodies

Anyway, a friend asked me a couple of years ago to write an article about fixing large holes in walls.  He had recently installed central air and wanted to remove all evidence of where the in-wall air conditioners used to be. IIRC, he had plaster-over-wood-lathe walls like me.  If you've read my blog you know that I prefer the look and sound control attributes of plaster better than drywall.  In a nutshell, I use drywall for new construction but I always repair existing plaster walls. 

Coincidentally, an air conditioning installation is why I have to repair these holes too. I had an 18,000 BTU split-unit air conditioner head installed in my living room and the installers had to open up some 10" holes in the wall to pull the copper, control line and drain.  I also replaced my absolute CRAP Fujitsu split unit system with a new Mitsubishi.  Warning: if you have a Fujitsu spilt unit system, the company doesn't stock parts for old products. Mine was only 12 years old when one of the compressors croaked yet Fujitsu America told me it couldn't help me. A local Russian A/C tech found a compressor for me in a shop in Moscow and it cost me nearly a thousand bucks!  But I'll end this rant for now.

The Mitsubish installer is Russian as well and gave me a great price for this three-head system.   He also did a very clean job.  The last guys took sledge hammers to the walls, which loosened the old plaster all over both sides of the wall.  These guys used an oscillating saw which makes very clean cuts, as you can see from the photos.  I'm happy to give them a recommendaton: EDITA MC CORP, Heating and Cooling, 646-719-4559.  NYC only though.


Ready for paint? I wish.

Posted by Steve on Sun, 09/07/2008 - 3:56pm


I'm gonna change the name of this blog to something more relevant, like Life Sucks And Then You Renovate. My apologies to anyone who might currently be using that name. I feel your pain.

It was supposed to be an easy, brain-dead job: just slap up some primer and paint over walls that had already been skimcoated and prepped several years ago. But I quickly got derailed and had to spend a couple of evenings last week dealing with this. That wasn't in the plan, however it's an old house so, you know, what else is new? But it gets better.

priming I managed to pick the day that Tropical Storm Hanna hit Brooklyn to roll on the primer. Even before the rain the outside humidity felt something like warm chowder. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day to paint but I also didn't want to push this off another week. The last time I did that, a week became eight years.

The priming was uneventful. Painting isn't something I like to do. It's boring and there's way too much bending, climbing and twisting, especially with my back in the shape it's been the past week. Fortunately, my next door neighbor is a terrific chiropractor so he fixes me every evening so I can mess it up again the next day.

Cutting in around the stairwell ceiling was a bitch because it's so high: sixteen feet from the ceiling to the stairs. I don't have a ladder this tall so I borrowed my neighbor's 18 foot articulating ladder. John's ladder is heavy steel and weighs about 75 pounds. Just unfolding that thing is a chore, especially in a confined space with nice, finished floors I didn't want to gouge. I had to put the ladder into three different configurations to get the job done. After I finished, I reminded myself that I had to do it two more times to paint the ceiling and to paint the walls. Yay, fun.

Huh? What happened?

Posted by Steve on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 12:57am


It started as an easy breezy project -- an (almost) laborless Labor Day. Seven years ago, I scrubbed, scraped, skimcoated and primed the first and second floor hallways. Last year, I did a little more scraping and added another coat of primer. So why have these walls not been painted since I moved in nine years ago? Call it Home Stretch Complacency, Last Lap Crash, whatever. I just never got around to deciding on a color. Primer white was fine for now.

This weekend my intent was to deal with this, or at least add another coat of primer. I narrowed the finish paint down to two colors and had every intention of painting it today. I'd decide on the color at the Benjamin Moore store.

It was gonna be such an easy job, something that this old house doesn't throw at me often. I mean, the walls have been prepped twice. All they needed was a tinted primer coat and paint. But just to be safe I decided to inspect the walls and take care of any nicks and gaps around the baseboards.

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