At 5:00 in the morning this past Tuesday, my dad trapped me as I was trying to get from the bathroom back to bed and said, “I think we need to tear out all the drywall in the living room and master bedroom. Walls and ceiling.”
I stared at him blankly. “Why?” I asked, with the diplomatic eloquence that comes from being a not-necessarily-morning person who finds herself trapped in a sort-of-major decision-making conversation two full hours before her preferred decision-making time zone.
“Well, it’s a weird thickness,” he said. Regular drywall comes in 1/2″ and 5/8″ thicknesses, and this stuff is only 3/8″ thick, he said, or something. I don’t know. It was 5:00 in the morning.
I continued to stare blankly, because my brain turns on at 7 and there were literally zero thoughts or words forming in response to this strange new proposition. Also, that line of reasoning did not compute. “I’ll have to talk to Derek,” I finally mustered, because maybe he has some thoughts and words, I don’t have those, can I go back to bed.
That evening, when everyone was home from work (also when my BRAIN was functioning), Derek came up to me. He’d talked to my dad, he said, and he really thought it was a good idea to replace all the drywall, because of the insulation. Wait, said I, what’s this about the insulation?
“Oh, your dad didn’t tell you? There’s basically no insulation in those walls. It’s absolutely freezing in the wintertime.”
No, he did NOT tell me that. That’s COMPLETELY reasonable. I also LATER found out that if we take the ceiling down in this part of the house, we can reinforce the attic floor joists, which are currently very poorly put together and therefore make the attic suitable only for being an attic, not for my cool other plans. That’s ALSO a good reason. Know what’s not a good reason? “They used the wrong drywall thickness.”
The lesson we learned here is: know your audience. And the outcome was…WE RIPPED OUT THE DRYWALL.
If you’ve never ripped out drywall, it is a BLAST. We all had crowbars and just absolutely got after it.
I’ll be honest, it is a little weird to go at your childhood home with a crowbar. Your mom’s standing right there and you’re like, hey mom, you did a great job painting this wall. Remember how you had our school photos hanging right here? I’m just going to rip it all out, cool? She seemed ok with it, though.
I was waiting to pull something cool out of the walls, since they were so old: newspaper with sexist ads, weird old toy…really whatever. But we didn’t find anything. EXCEPT…
The old external siding! The part of the house we tore apart (living room, two bedrooms that we’re combining to make the master) was an addition to the original part of the house. The original part (kitchens, bathrooms, upstairs bedrooms) were built around 1908; the addition was built about 50 years later. So this siding was part of the original 1908 house. I spy the makings of a cool plank table…!!
Buster, poor baby Buster, was TERRIFIED throughout this whole process. He’s been really helpful every time we’ve been out at the house (destroying sticks, finding all the old lost dog toys, etc.), but us literally bringing the walls down around him was TOO MUCH. He anxiously followed us around until I gave him a rug out of the way but still in view, so he could supervise. He tolerated this for a while, as long as we occasionally went over to reassure him, but eventually, around 8:30, the poor guy was just pooped and ran away to a quieter place to sleep.
Good work today, Bubba.
The other thing I did, before we started ripping walls out, was to scrape off the popcorn ceilings in kitchen #1! Here’s the “before” shot…
Ewww. Get rid of that ish. Now for the “after” shot!
Done! You can tell there’s still some texture, but it’s really SO much better. (There’s actually not as much texture left as the picture makes it appear…turns out it’s hard to take detail shots of ceilings.) It essentially matches the rest of the house now, since scraping off a bunch of popcorn ceilings is exactly the treatment my dad gave the house 25 years ago. Having never paid much attention to ceilings before, I didn’t really come into this project with much sense of “And I want my ceilings to look like THIS.” (Without looking up, tell me what the ceilings in your house/apartment look like, I dare you.) I’ve seen other farmhouse renovations where they take the drywall off and uncover the “true ceiling” which is always like gorgeous wood planks and whatnot. I’m pretty sure that is not the case in this house, so we’re just going to leave it like this until I find a better (but REALLY EASY) alternative. At least no one is going to look at them and say, “WOW THAT’S…SOMETHING.”
Also, if you’ve never scraped off popcorn ceilings, it’s fast but it is DIFFICULT. Wow what a shoulder workout. I had this weird scraper tool on a long pole that I had to slide along the ceiling…essentially like shoveling really hard-packed snow, but with your arms raised above your head. I just tried to Google a picture for you guys, but then I got really disgruntled by how smooth all the people in those pictures got THEIR ceilings in comparison to mine, so I’m not showing you that. Sooo maybe I’m going to go over the ceiling a couple more times.
That’s all for now! The plan for this upcoming weekend is to clean up the drywall that we left all over the floor, take out the old, junky insulation, and rip down the ceiling. Next time I’ll show you some paint colors, plus my awesome plans for the bathroom sink!