Friday, April 13, 2012

Removing Popcorn from Dining Room and Guest Bedroom

The weather has been nice for digging outside, but it's also been almost pleasant enough to leave the windows open both night and day -- actually a bit too warm in the daytime (up into the 80's), but not bad. This is probably only a temporary situation however. Soon we will need to keep the house closed up and air conditioned.

But it's been obvious that the hardwood floor in the dining room needs to be re-finished. And I had been intending to remove the popcorn from the ceiling in the guest bedroom and then paint the walls and ceiling. Both of these will be easier to take if we can leave the windows open to allow the paint to dry and air out. So now is the best time to do this, at least until October or November.

And to refinish the floor in the dining room, I have to move all the furniture out. As long as it is out, I may as well remove the popcorn from the dining room ceiling and paint the walls. And as long as I have the furniture out of the guest bedroom, I can refinish the floors.

So two rooms, the same process: remove the popcorn, texture the ceiling, paint the ceiling, paint the walls, sand and re-finish the floor.

Monday, I put down plastic on the floor, and taped it up to the baseboards. Then I hung plastic down the walls and taped it right up to the ceiling. Once this was done, I removed the popcorn from the ceiling in the dining room. This involved wetting it down to make it soft enough to scrape off with a hard plastic trowel. I brought in a garden hose from outside, with a hand sprayer set on "Mist" to spray the water on the ceiling.

The dining room is sort of a sloped tray ceiling -- the walls go up 8 feet and then there is a 2 foot section at a 45 degree slant to the horizontal ceiling. This gives the room somewhat higher ceilings without having walls that are not a standard 8 foot height. Plus the slanted part matches the roof joists on the outside walls.

The slanted part was harder to work with since the water would tend to run down the slant towards the walls. The water on the horizontal part pretty much just stayed there.

The easiest thing to do was to just scrape the popcorn ceiling off and let it drop on the floor (which was covered with plastic). After the ceiling was all done, then it had to be scooped up off the floor. And the plastic on the walls was also covered with a wet popcorn/drywall-compound mix. It was easiest to just take that plastic down, roll it up and throw it away. I tried to clean it for re-use, but it was wasn't really possible.

Tuesday morning, I repeated this in the guest bedroom. The guest bedroom is somewhat smaller (12 feet by 12 feet) and the ceiling is all flat.

Tuesday night I went over to my daughter's place and borrowed her husband's tools for texturing drywall: an air compressor, a hopper for holding and spraying the drywall compound, and a big blade for flattening the half-dried drywall compound.

Wednesday I textured the ceilings.

Texturing the ceilings involves mixing up a thick soup/gravy consistency of drywall compound (mud), and spraying it on the ceiling. This creates lots of little lumps of drywall compound. Let it dry for 15 to 20 minutes until it starts to harden, then run the big trowel over this to flatten everything down -- a "drag" texture.

I had never done this before, and had problems with too runny a mixture when I started, but by the second room I thought I was doing okay.

By Thursday, I painted both ceilings with a simple pure white primer. At this point, you can actually see how well (or poorly) you've done. I should have learned on someone else's house first.

On Friday, I put the final coat of paint on the ceilings. Linda had picked out "heavy cream" from Martha Stewart Living(MSL058) for the ceilings. I got two gallons from Home Depot for the ceilings.

Linda picked "hemp" (MSL229) for the walls. I got the wall paint up in the dining room on Friday afternoon. It took a bit more than a gallon to do the dining room walls.

Saturday I painted the guest bedroom walls.

Also, I went back to the dining room and repainted part of it. The sloping part of the ceiling can be considered either part of the ceiling, or part of the wall. Kat and Linda had suggested painting the sloped part to match the wall, rather than the ceiling. I used masking tape to try to get a nice straight line and repainted the sloped part in "Hemp".

After all this, I was able to remove all the plastic -- from the walls and the floors. The walls and ceiling are done, so the ceiling fans and light switch plates and outlet plates can be put back on.

To refinish the floors, on Monday, I rented a sander and sanded the dining room and guest bedroom floors. I started with 120 and later with 150. The idea is to get part of the polyurethane finish off, but not the wood itself. After sanding, I used a 150 grit sandpaper by hand to sand the baseboards.

Then we need to vacuum completely, and I mopped it with clean water in a bucket with a rag.

Tuesday morning, I went over the rooms with a rag and paint thinner, to get up all and any dirt and dust. Then I coated it with polyurethane. I did the baseboards first, with a brush, and then the floor itself with a lambs wool
applicator. (I think this was a mistake since afterwards I found a lot of stuff in the polyurethane that I think came from the lambs wool; I should have used a brush).

Wednesday and Thursday was letting the floors dry. On Friday, we put the furniture back in the rooms.

In all, it took 2 weeks to redo these two rooms, with the windows open almost all this time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Filling the North Bed with Lavender

None of the lavender seeds that I planted came up. After about a month, nothing was growing. So I gave up on the seeds and went to buy plants to put in place.

We had one plant that I bought last year and put in a corner of the raised bed until the North Bed was ready. That plant is doing really well. So I transplanted it from the raised bed to the North Bed.

Barton Springs Nursery had a wide variety of lavender in little plastic pots. I bought eleven plants -- two of each, except for one Hidcote which had no other. Then I stopped at Lowe's and Home Depot. They only had a Goodwin Creek variety, so I got 3 more of those. HEB today had another variety -- Fernleaf -- and I bought one of those.

The different varieties are scattered around the bed, as shown below.

The various varieties are listed below:

Linda has asked for some space in the North Bed for something other than lavender.