DIY Home Improvement

So it has been a while since our last post, but that is not to say we have not been busy doing things to talk about. It’s just we have also been busy doing real work and usually spend our down time doing more productive things…like DIY home improvement projects!

So, ever since we purchased out first home last July, we have been working to improve the odd fixes from the previous owners, and update a few things to make it more our own. You can see the blog post about that here. My most recent accomplishment is much of the same, only an order of magnitude larger and more technical than my previous jobs.

Shortly after moving in, we found some type of leak causing staining on the lower portion of the dividing wall between our shower and commode, where the shower plumbing is located. I first called a plumber, but was told it was not a plumbing issue, based on the location of the staining in relation to the pipes in the walls. Unfortunately, this meant it was NOT covered by our home warranty. It came down to two potential issues: 1) the steamy air from the shower was condensing and soaking into wall, or 2) there was a crack in the tile/grout.

I found some cracks in the grout, so I bought a kitchen and bathroom waterproof caulking and fixed that real quick. However, I still had a stained and ruined wall (unfortunately, I no longer have a picture pre-work). Again, I have two options: 1) hire a contractor/handyman to fix the wall, or 2) try to do the work myself.

I first contacted a local contractor and was given an estimate to fix the wall. They would tear out the current drywall, see if the wood frame would need replacing, put up new drywall, spackle, texture and paint. It was estimated to take 1 day and about $450 dollars. !!Ouch!! Not exactly the result I was hoping for. 😦 So here was my thought: I could try to fix it first, spend under $100, and if it turns out completely wrong, I can then hire someone. That sounds much better to me.

So this is where the fun begins…

Though the contractor quoted a full day of work, this project ended up taking many weekends over the past 6 months. I don’t exactly have the time or resources for the quick fixer-upper jobs, so I don’t recommend my work if you are on a quick timeline. 🙂

To start off, I took a hammer and chisel to the wall to remove the drywall from the section that needed repaired, so I could see what I was really working with. I left the original metal corner piece in place, as, even though it was rusting, I figured it was salvageable.

I found the bottom portion of the frame black with rot and mold. However, after getting a few second opinions, I was thrilled to find that the wood was also salvageable. I made a mixture of bleach and water and misted the wood, letting it air out for a good day to kill the mold and dry out completely.

After watching a few YouTube videos and finally getting up the courage to try my hand at fixing the wall, I took a trip to Home Depot and asked a worker what all I would need to get the job done by showing him a picture of the project. I picked up a scrap piece of 3/4 in. drywall, a small bucket of joint compound, a cheap set of plastic putty knives, and a box of drywall screws. When I got home, I measured the length and width of the wall edge that needed repaired and marked out two strips on the drywall sheet. I used a box cutter to score and cut through the drywall, leaving a somewhat clean cut. I placed the drywall into the hole in the wall, sliding it underneath the metal corner, starting at the bottom of the wall, and hung it using the drywall screws. I did the same thing for the piece directly above it, making sure the gaps between the two pieces and the existing drywall were not very wide (it was actually a really snug fit, which made me happy).

The project remained in this state for quite some time before I was able to get back to it. On my next project work day, I used one of the medium sized putty knives (wider than the wall edge) to apply a liberal amount of joint compound onto the surface of the drywall and smoothing it out into the cracks and making sure it covered the drywall, metal corner piece, and smoothed into the existing wall. A few days later, after it had completely dried, I applied a second coat of the compound to fill in the remaining cracks and to make the wall as flush as possible with the corner and the existing wall, being sure to not leave any ridges or ripples and trying my best to make a 90 degree angle at the edge.

Again, it was quite awhile before I moved on to the final stage of the project: sanding, texturing and painting. The sanding took no time at all, but it did leave a little bit of a mess, with spackle dust all over. After cleaning it up and checking my work, I was satisfied with the result. I now needed to research how to apply texture to the wall and be sure it blended smoothly with the existing texture. After a few more YouTube videos and some internet reading, I first found I needed to seal the wall. I purchased a spray can of primer/sealer, some pre-taped painter’s plastic in a roll, and a can of spray-on orange-peel texture. I used the plastic with the pre-taped edge to make the work area look like a laboratory clean-room, and then primed and sealed the surface of the wall and some of the surrounding, existing wall. After drying, I tried my hand at the can of texture. I first tested it on a piece of cardboard, noting that I needed a pretty coarse spray pattern. I then took a leap of faith and sprayed the wall, going in a circular motion to apply the texture, and blending it into the existing texture. It turned out so much better than I imagined! In hindsight, I probably should have purchased the oil-based texture, instead of the water-based. I feel it would have stuck better and given a little more of a thicker texture without it running as much.

After I let the texture dry, I pulled off all the plastic and tape, re-taped around the molding and floor, and painted the wall. I then re-nailed the small piece of molding at the bottom and painted that too. After all the paint was finally dry, I used the waterproof sealant to fill in the remaining gaps and corners.



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