Tim (littlebluedog) wrote,

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HA: making old plaster look like old plaster

OK, high time for a home improvement alteration ("HA") post.

The thing about me and DIY projects is that I'm overthorough. One job requires the prior completion of six others, or else it won't be done according to my improbably skewed standards of what's acceptable. Plus, I'm incredibly indecisive, because I want it done perfectly the first time.

So here's how the recursive algorithm worked in this case:
  1. I decided to put a new hardwood floor over the old floor.
  2. The base trim has to come off to install the new floor.
  3. A lot of the base trim could use replacing, along with the door and window casing. So might as well take the casing off.
  4. Since all the moulding is off and the floor is going to be replaced, I should take this opportunity to paint the walls.
  5. Since the walls are cracked and patched, I might as well try out the idea I had of texturizing the wall surfaces before I paint.
  6. Since texturizing wall surfaces is something I've never done before, I might as well give it a try in the spare bedroom first.
Luckily, I was able to stop there.

The entire chain collapses if the initial decision is challenged, but I was pretty sure I wanted a new floor before I started yanking wood off the walls and slapping primer on everything. The existing floor is as old as the house, and has been resurfaced so many times that the tongue is visible on a few boards. Also, adjacent boards are starting to gap, some are loose, and most creak like crazy. It looks ok right now, but I'll have to do this sooner or later, and I might as well enjoy a new floor while I'm there, rather than put a new one in right before I sell.

I started in the dining room. Here's a shot of the floor and the base trim (clicky):

A closer look at some of the base trim and floor (these are the pieces in good condition):

This damage is about typical of the 80' or so I pulled off the wall:

The casing around the kitchen doorway was about as bad:

OK, after removing that pesky moulding, it was time to get to work on the walls. The color of the dining room, living room, hallway, and stairwell is a uniform cool minty green ... I really don't like the color, and it's kind of shiny, giving the impression of a hospital hallway or something.

Also, the walls are all lath and plaster, and thus a lot more uneven than drywall to begin with ... and they've been painted, patched, and papered several times over the past century, so the surface is really uneven. This is even more noticeable from the high-gloss paint on it now. Here's a sample shot:

Even after sanding a bit and patching, still not so good:

I want something warmer, that doesn't gleam, and that hides the surface flaws. So I decided on some texture paint. The consistency of the stuff I found (Behr's "Smooth" texture paint) is somewhere between heavy cream and toothpaste. You roll it onto a 4' x 4' wall section with a thick-nap or loop roller, let it set for a few minutes, and then make whatever texture you want in it. I opted for "faux plaster." I was really happy with the results:

So that's where I finished up on Sunday, these two pics are of the spare bedroom (I didn't tear off the trim up there). I've got to prime over the dry texture paint and then apply my finish coat ... after I decide on a color, that is.

But actually, one of the cool things you can do with this stuff is put on a few layers of color, like a light base and then a colored glaze or wash of a darker color to really augment the texture. I haven't decided yet whether I want to go to this in all of the textured rooms, but I'll definitely do it in the living room.

As for colors, here's a bunch I am auditioning right now on the dining room wall:

Center left is going to be my living room color; it's actually a warm, dusty taupe, although it might look yellow. I think I'm leaning toward the bottom left for the dining room; it's a mellow reddish orange. I like the green for the spare bedroom, and the light greenish gray (center right) for the hallway and stairwell. I don't know if I have the guts to use the orange (bottom right), and the light blue (center) is just too bright.

But, of course, I haven't decided for sure yet. :)
Tags: home alteration

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    Yesterday: 13:17 File under "neat!" - RT @dstroy: wow thats an addictive little game: machinarium.net

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  • beyond good and eljay

    And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks back at you.

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  • microbloggin'

    Yesterday: 13:17 File under "neat!" - RT @dstroy: wow thats an addictive little game: machinarium.net

  • hmm

  • beyond good and eljay

    And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks back at you.