Home Improvment, How Not To Fix Plaster
When you are a property manager for you own rentals, you learn a lot about fixing up a place. One day, a tenant called about an issue in his bathroom, he said the ceiling was drooping down a little. So I head over to assess the damage and repair. When I got there, I could hardly get the bathroom door open! The ceiling was hanging down about 2 feet, obviously a slow leak from the bathroom upstairs. I begin by cutting sections of the drywall that’s hanging down, a whole 4*8 sheet by-the-way. I thought I was doing great, I cut small sections and let them drop into a bucket. I was really doing a good job, not one mess on the floor. After about the second time I emptied the bucket, the last cut I made, must have weakened the rest of the ceiling. And here I thought I was removing weight from the board. To say the least, the entire ceiling collapsed on me, I was covered in drywall and so was the rest of the bathroom! Oh well, so much for not making a mess. From there I found what was leaking upstairs and took care of that issue. Now it was time for a new sheet of drywall and a lot of cleaning downstairs.
Well, I got the place cleaned up, at least the big pieces of drywall. Then I got the new ceiling up and got it taped and mudded. Now it was time to let it dry so I could take care of the sanding and painting. I looked over at the window sill, and saw that there was some loose plaster. Well, I thought, I might as well fix that since I’ve got to paint the whole bathroom anyway. And that’s when it got real interesting.
I took my trusty scrapper and scrapped the window sill. Well, about half of the sill fell onto the floor! I really didn’t scrap very hard. After a few more light scraps, I was missing the entire left and lower sill, not to mention a good quarter of the upper sill and even a good portion of the wall. In the meantime, my wife came by with lunch. I sent her to the home improvement store for a gallon of wood putty. (Oh, did I tell you, I was new at the time?) While I’m cleaning up my NEW mess and making the hole bigger and bigger, she runs to the store for me. She asks for a gallon of wood putty, and the guy asks her with a perplexed look “What are trying to do?” Hey, I didn’t know what else to ask for. He sent her back with a big bag of Fix-All. To this day, I love Fix-All! I think I could build a house with it after this situation. OK, now it’s time for the second repair.
Now that most of the wall is missing, it was time to start patching, or as I saw it, building a new wall and sill. I was too cheap to buy the required mesh backing that you should use for this type of project. So I ended up using an entire roll of aluminum foil that I had on hand to fill the 2 foot wide holes. It probably would have helped if I hadn’t ran out of aluminum foil half way through. Hey, I’m trying doing this cheap, remember? I found that while trying to work on the upper horizontal area of the inner window sill, gravity doesn’t help you at all! With no mesh, the goop kept bowing down like a beer gut. So, for the next 20 or so minutes I had to run my trill over it pushing the goop back up into place. Even after it began to set, I still had to trill it again and again over another 30 minutes while I began trying to sanding the ceiling.
All-and-all it went back together OK. After the sanding, cleaning, and painting, it actually looked pretty good. And it’s held up now for over 8 years. Sometimes it’s easier to do a job the right way the first time rather than fix a situation later. This time, I just got really lucky. I’ve long since learned, but sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes! Besides, who said you had to read the instructions?