Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hello, Walls

A couple weeks ago, I set forth to turn the cobbled-together hunks of sheetrock into legitimate bathroom walls with a roll of fiberglass mesh tape, a 6-inch taping knife, a 10-inch taping knife, a corner knife (borrowed from Uncle Keith), a huge bucket of joint compound, and a head full of drywall "mudding" tips (also courtesy of Keith).

I was prepared for some seriously patience-taxing work, especially since I'd never done this particular task before (though the tedious nature of it definitely felt familiar). First I taped all the joints with the mesh tape. Next, I used the 6-inch knife to scoop mud out of the bucket and apply it liberally along the joints. Then I went back with the 10-inch knife to spread it out as wide and flat and smooth as I could. After about 24 hours of drying, I attacked it all with sandpaper, wiped the dust off with a damp sponge, and started again. The second time, I applied the joint compound in a much thinner and wider layer. After more drying and more sanding, I evaluated things. Surprisingly, most of it was looking much better than I'd thought it would.

There are certainly some spots here and there that will need at least another coat, but I would say that most of it needs only another light pass with some fine-grit sandpaper before it's done.

(Progress on the ceiling part, small as it is, is lagging behind; the joints were very wide and uneven, so it has taken a lot more work to get it close to acceptable...not to mention that working overhead is about five times more difficult than working at eye level.)


Some friends of ours recently bought an old house in which the previous owner had left a bunch of old junk. This junk, though, included two old claw-foot bathtubs. They knew we might be interested, and we looked at them and took some measurements. One of them was just the right size for the master bathroom and looked to be in pretty good shape, although it clearly needs refinishing. A few weeks ago, we bought it from them for next to nothing (compared to what we had planned on spending on a new one, at least), and my dad helped us haul it home.

Jessica wanted a preview of what it'd be like once in place, so Dad and I lugged it into the bathroom and situated it roughly where it would ultimately be.

(Yes, there is one foot missing in the two above pictures. It fell off while making the journey from the front porch to the bathroom. Not to worry, though. It didn't break; it just came loose.)

I browsed the phone book and found a guy in town who's been doing bathtub repair and restoration for 35 years, and their cost to refinish a tub like ours was, I thought, pretty reasonable. He came and picked up the tub, and they're holding it for us until we're ready for it. We're supposed to call them about three weeks before we want it back, at which point they'll start working on it, and then deliver it when it's done. He sounded very positive about the quality of the tub, and said he thought it would look very nice when it was finished.

This was an exciting find, especially because of the money we're saving versus buying a new one. Even with the cost of refinishing added in, we'll have acquired this tub at well less than half of what we would have paid for a new one. We're very much looking forward to seeing what it looks like when they're done with it.