The impossibility of walls

So things are gradually progressing.

After a mere 5 coats (5!) our front door is adequately painted. I realised after about the 3rd coat with pathetic coverage that we really should have sprayed it. Of course, the challenge would have been getting a colour match for the colour we’d chosen… Or, I suppose we could have got a spray gun for the acrylic paint. Either way. At the end of the day, it looks pretty good.

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5 sodding coats

We also sprayed the frame a sort of bronze (dark walnut), which matches the windows pretty well.

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It’s not perfect by any means, and on the back of the house where the frames are all easily visible in line, I think we’ll use some of the touch-up spray we have for the windows to get a closer match by throwing a thin topcoat of bronze over the brown.

Inside the mudding and taping is more or less done. There’s an n’th coat to do on the ceiling above the lounge, and the second bedroom / office has much of it left to tape / mud (because we’re using it for storage). But all the rest of the house is mudded and taped. Now comes the pain of sanding. Most of it we’re hoping to get away without sanding (at least this coat), just taking off any really high spots because we’re going to skim it. At least that’s the theory.

The ceilings however, they need sanding at the very least. We’ve skimmed a chunk of the top – which attempts to ameliorate the change in pitch caused by adjusting elsewhere for unsquare framing, and the exterior walls being variable distances from the peak. The skim does make it less obvious, but needs a lot of sanding. A lot. Which given how long and how tiring it was to sand the little bit of hall ceiling that I did today is… not something to look forward to. I am thinking perhaps we should invest in a proper drywall sander, given that they’re only $100.

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This ‘Level 4’ finish is what we’re hoping to get away with, but we’ll have to try painting it and then see how it looks. Apparently on ceilings it can be more obvious that there are multiple unevennesses. So we may end up covering all of it in compound and flatting it back. Of course, the front hall was so shoddy anyhow, that for big chunks of it it’s effectively covered side to side.

We’ll see.

The bathrooms are more-or-less done on mudding (in this case thin-setting on the walls and ‘mud’ on the ceilings). There’s a need for a bit more thinset around the shower-shelves, in which I’ll probably embed some more mesh (I’ve got loads extra anyhow).

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These obviously need sanding on the ceilings, then the whole kit and caboodle needs painting – ceilings with ceiling paint, and walls / floor with waterproofing goop.

Mind, the en-suite has to wait until the floor is down before gooping, because the goop makes a waterproof membrane which is what allows that to be a wet room. Irritating, because that room we actually have a toilet for, so if we could get all the plumbing pipes and heating down in there, it’d be nice to have an indoor toilet.

The biggest hurdle (other than time) is wall finish.

We wanted to use a substance called Murco M-100. This is a hypoallergenic joint compound a friend is using as a wall finish. But it’s made in Colorado and sold in the mythical land of Cal-I-Forn-Iay. A place from which it is almost impossible to obtain things. At least at a reasonable cost. The local supplier who sold it for $12/bag closed, as did the one in Portland. The only local place we can get it from now quotes $38 a bag, then tacks on the $300 shipping, which would put up the cost for our house by $1300. Which hurts. A lot.

Now our friend has a friend visiting from this mythical place who could bring up some Murco, but that means making the decision now. Right now. Before we’ve played with it ourselves.

Given the endless phonecalls, and the requirement to sacrifice the first-born goose from the leader of a gaggle under a waxing moon on the 32nd day of July before we could order Murco, we decided to get a natural plaster book. That and having discovered that lime is readily available around here, relatively cheap AND there are techniques that allow you to put less earth-destroyey plasters over drywall.

Nice, we thought.

Only, yes, you can get Lime. That’s easy. You can get sand. Probably. Although lime plaster is apparently pretty picky about sand and to quote the guy at the Masonry Supply place I went to “no one really does that stuff anymore”. But I think sand should be doable.

But it also wants things like “hemp fibre”. Which you can’t get locally, which means ordering it online. Which means paying shipping.

And that’s irritating, because what we really want is a small amount to work out if we want a large amount, but what we’re probably going to end up doing is getting much more than we need and then concluding the lime plastering is waaay to hard. Then we’re going to have to work out some other plan.

Either that or we’ll get a little bit, realise it’s perfect and then need to order a lot. Because we have a lot of wall. And a lot of corners. Because we are insane and made our house incredibly complex.