Monday, December 12, 2005

Getting Plastered

This is NOT a post about over indulging in egg nog. Pete and I have embarked on the journey of learning how to cover up the destruction we have made: Filling in the first floor walls where we had to put in the supports for the upstairs gable. We had discussed many options for this, and had decided to fill the areas with sheet rock just less than what was needed. We were then going to cover the difference with a mixture of joint compound, first coat primer and plaster of paris that I had read about on the American Bungalow Bulletin Board. We even had the sheet rock in place in the hallway, dining room, and kitchen. Then we talked to John…

He said to just fill the areas with metal lathe, and use Structolite premixed gypsum plaster. He said that's what he had done on his house and you couldn't tell where he had patched. The stuff will fill large depths, doesn't shrink, and will adhere to any exposed wood lathe, and to old plaster. So we ripped out the sheetrock and decided to try it.

John said the key was getting the right consistency of plaster. His comparison was to meringue. We read the directions carefully

and made our first batch on Saturday night.

Our first batch was usable but not what we expected. But when we worked again Sunday afternoon we hit on a formula that we had great success with: 2 inches of water in the bottom of a five gallon bucket and 6 half gallon scoops of plaster. It really did set up like meringue, and was easy to work with, and had a pretty long open time.

Pete did most of the troweling. We did the hallway first because it was the least noticeable place, was pretty narrow, and both the hallway and dining room had a pretty rough finish coat, with pebbles in it. We speculated on just how that finish was achieved our guesses range from sweeping it with a broom when nearly set up, to dipping the float in sand before doing final passes over the plaster.

We got most of the hallway covered Saturday and finished it with our better stuff on Sunday

We then started on the dining room, the area to be finished there will be partially covered by the buffet, and should also have a chair in front of the lower part. We worked MUCH faster than we had Saturday. We covered the area in a little over an hour.

Our most efficient work seems to be to have Pete trowel, while I wet the old surfaces, fill his hod, and mix new batches of plaster as we go. We used up our two bags, and called it quits. We ran pillars of plaster up both sides of the opening so that when we come back to finish we will have a narrow area that can be covered in a single float width.

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