Sunday, November 25, 2007

One step back

Two steps forward with new cabinets, one step back with plaster removal

I have finally conceded to the north kitchen wall.

The other walls were either so damaged that drywall was a given, or the cracked areas will be covered by cabinets or the tile backsplash.

The north wall, I tried to save. It clearly was the best of the group, but that's not saying much.

It had a funny rise in the center, a gentle speed bump running vertically. There already was a thin layer of something -- not quite fabric, not really wallpaper -- that I presume was added to conceal cracks at least 30 years ago.

So I tackled it with patching plaster and sandpaper, hoping to save a little money.

When I began another round of work, the previous "fabric" layer had turned brittle and pulled away from the wall. A tiny bit of probing created the holes above.

I looked around the kitchen at the new maple cabinets, the smooth drywalled corner awaiting a fridge. The north wall was the big flaw in an otherwise upgraded room.

So out came the crowbar.

Plaster removal tips:
  • The ceiling had already been drywalled. Blair the contractor told me to slice a line along the top end of the wall with a utility knife. This cut the drywall tape in half. Otherwise, the tape would have ripped off the ceiling, too, and created even more work.
  • Smash the crowbar hook into the plaster about every 3 to 6 inches in a vertical line.

  • The plaster may crack, connecting the crowbar indents. Sometimes it needs some extra encouragement from a hammer.

  • I then use the crowbar's flat end to pry off the loosened plaster.
  • I cleaned up the wall's edges by taking a smaller pry bar with a sharper edge and hitting it with a hammer.

See the vertical line that is different than the rest? It was a section of 4-inch lathe, where the rest is about 4-feet long. That's where the wall's "speedbump" was. It seemed to have an extra thick layer of original plaster. Go figure.

In the upper right is the hole where the original electrical box was. The wires come up from the basement and connect to the upstairs wiring there.

Of course, I realize now that I should have done this at the beginning, but live and learn.

1 comment:

Mark said...

When you say you used a crowbar, do you mean you or the big fella? I know from our time together on the mean streets of Omaha that you know how to handle a crowbar, but demolition is Britt's forte. I hope you let him play.