Prepping the floors, priming the walls, and cooling the air.

While Joe has been busy continuing window reglazing, door restoration, and plaster repair, I have been chipping away at the floors….literally. I talked a lot about the mastic tar and horse hoof glue removal process in this blog post when I was about half way through the job. Now that job is officially finished and I’m so glad to have it behind me!  The last section of the house that needed mastic removal was the kitchen. Here’s a picture of me working on removing tar from the south side of the kitchen.

removing tar from the kitchen floors

removing tar from the kitchen floors

On this section I used a product called Citristrip. There are two versions of this product that I used. One is orange and one is clear. They both work equally well at removing mastic and glue but I felt that the clear version left much less of a residue behind. I tried a lot of different approaches to the removal process but ultimately developed a method that worked best. Joe would apply the Citristrip during his morning shift at the house. Then three hours later I would come in with a wallpaper steamer and scraper and alternate steaming and scraping taking it one small section at a time. I also found that wiping each area with water and a sponge after the tar was removed helped remove the film I was getting in previous areas. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure that out.

Mastic tar removal process

Mastic tar removal process

Bucket of mastic tar

Bucket of mastic tar

Taking a little Cliff Bar break on the porch

Having a little Cliff Bar/apple slice date on the porch

I’m happy to say (after several weeks of work) that the floors are free of all linoleum and adhesives. The floors are patiently awaiting their moment to be refinished, as are we. BUT FIRST we need to get all the walls primed and clean. I’ve been busy priming all of the new drywall as well as Lucy’s clapboard room. It’s felt really great doing a job that has a nice, clean and satisfactory result. Joe had gone in before me and scraped and sanded down all of the chipping paint in Lucy’s room to get a nice smooth finished surface for priming. This resulted in a very rustic green and cream patina. Possibly original milk paint? We we’re a little sad to paint over it. Here is a look at the first layer of primer…

Clapboard walls

Clapboard walls

in progress

in progress

Primer complete

Primer complete

Since painting Lucy’s room I’ve been working my way through the first floor, getting a layer of primer on all the new drywall. The center area of the second story was especially problematic for me in terms of reaching it. The ceilings in that area are extremely high. I was able to get them painted by sitting on the top of a ladder (sometimes standing….shhh) with the roller on a long pole. This whole house project has effectively cured me of my fear of heights. #ladderskills

paint on a roller on a pole on a woman on a ladder in a house

paint on a roller on a pole on a woman on a ladder in a house

So, the upstairs is nearly finished  with it’s first coat of paint.  I have been shocked at the effect a simple coat of paint had for making the house feel (and smell) near completion. Which is, honestly, such a lie. Once Joe finishes his plaster repairs I’ll be able to paint the plaster walls as well.

[Side note from Joe:  It’s interesting to experience the progression of smells in a rehab project.  At first the house just smells stale, then the distinctive smell of plaster as demo begins, then the exciting smell of fresh lumber and new drywall, and now we are in the “new house” smells of paint and poly.]

20150623-DSC_0150

outside Lucy’s room

Highest point

Highest point

Aiden's room

Aiden’s room

With summer heat in full swing we scheduled the HVAC guys to come back and install our air conditioning units. Joe was especially excited about this. [Edit from Joe:  Yes, I was!]  In preparation for this I needed to clean out all of our vents. This seems like a pretty quick and easy job but when you spend 12 months cleaning your floors with a snow shovel you can bet there’s going to be some junk down in the vents. I’m not talking about bobby pins and spider webs here. Remember when we did this?

Yeah, that'll get into the vents

Yeah, that’ll get into the vents

So I spent the good part of a day taking off the registers and scooping/shoveling/sucking out all the plaster dust and debris. I remember demoing the kitchen and watching plaster crumbles falling down into the ductwork and thinking to myself, “At some point, I’m doing to have to dig that out.” Well, that day came.

scooping out a bucket's worth of plaster dust

scooping out a bucket’s worth of plaster dust

I love having to reach my arm into vent shafts to feel around for and grab unknown objects. what a fun game.

I love having to reach my arm into vent shafts to feel around for and grab unknown objects. what a fun game.

After all the prep work and anticipation of relief from the 90 degree temps, we were disappointed by another snafu.  The HVAC guys came out to install the AC but they were unable to make the hook up because I had failed to make a connection for the units to draw power from the electrical system. Ummm….what? The electrical work was my big winter project and in the “heat” of the moment (or rather while I did most of my work clad in a snowsuit) I clearly didn’t consider that we might want to COOL the house at some point. My bad. To make matters worse, my husband is a polar bear of sorts and working under hot and humid conditions is not highly recommended….when one considers marital happiness.  [Edit from Joe:  Yes, that’s true.]

only half finished

only half finished

Feeling like a heel, I went back to my old internet haunts to gather information on how to remedy this oversight and quickly found that although I know how to install electricity for every other thing in the house, this whole AC thing was out of my league. I was going to need to learn a whole new set of vocab words just to translate the instructions. So, what’s a girl to do but call in the father-in-law. Thanks to Jim for taking the time to install a very impressive looking hook up for our AC units. One thing I’m glad to say I didn’t have to do. My hat’s off to you Jim. The AC guys came back and got everything hooked up without a hitch. Now the house is nice a cool.

Installed units

Installed units

For now, I’m going to keep on priming the walls. Soon all the walls will be fully repaired and have fresh coats of paint. Weird.

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