I’ll be the first to admit that when we bought my 1890 Victorian home, I was a little naive to the cost and the work. Sometimes, I regret the purchase, other times I’m so glad we purchased it.
We bought it at an absolute auction. The flaws of the house were covered, hidden in 1970s shag carpeting, wood paneling, and lots of lots of caulk. (Caulk seems to be the favorite thing of the previous owner. We even found a pocket door underneath wood paneling that was caulked shut.) We even had wooden door frames encased in sheet metal.
Some of the reasoning for these crazy finds was that my home served as a nursing home in the 70s and apparently this was some of the things that brought it up to “code” during those times. We also had exit signs over multiple doorways, which was interesting, to say the least.
Once we got in, and slowly started stripping that away, we found a lot of the problems. I also realized shortly after the purchase that flushing the upstairs toilet caused rainfall in the below butler’s pantry… but that’s another story.
We did a lot of work that costs a lot of money, but can never be seen by the naked eye. We had it completely rewired, new plumbing, new boiler, and more. Unfortunately, because it can’t be seen, it seems to the outside world we’ve done nothing. Also, the required updates aren’t very fun.
We finally had to replace our roof and box gutters. That was the largest cost we’ve had yet. However, now the roof is fixed, we are nice and dry inside and ready to work on things more interiorly. And this is the fun part! The part you can see – when you can see everything come together!
The first place I wanted to work in was in my son’s bedroom. He was tired of the baby blue walls.
Before he was born, we had hired someone to fix the plaster after I had stripped away wallpaper. I had fixed his room into an adorable nursery with these light blue walls. Unfortunately, a leak had ruined a corner of that bedroom after he was born – hurting the plaster and bubbling up the old paint.
The plaster had to be fixed before I could repaint the room into a big boy oasis for him.
Fixing the Plaster in a Corner of Our Old Victorian House
I considered hiring it out again, but it was just a corner – not a whole room. I questioned if I could do it myself…
So, I started researching. I read several web sites and watched a lot of YouTube videos. My favorite video was from Ron Tanner on YouTube.
I won’t pretend I’m an expert on anything home DIY. I’m just someone trying to do what she can to save this house while saving my money to preserve things I don’t have the ability to do on my own (like roofing). What I hope to share with the DIY posts, though, is motivation to other people (especially women) that they can figure out how to do basic home improvement on their own!
I ventured to the store and bought the needed items:
Lightweight Setting-Type Joint Compound Easy Sand 20
Next, I just went for it. I was already going to have to hire help, so if I messed it up, I’m just out a few dollars and back to square one. I really didn’t have a lot to lose.
I chipped and scraped away the old loose plaster and paint. My favorite tool to do many various things around my house is this Painter’s Tool. It’s cheap and I use it for everything!
I sanded the area down.
Tackling the corner was a little intimidating, but I put up the drywall tape and just used the joint compound as a way to adhere it to the wall.
Next, I put the drywall compound on the area I needed to fix in very thin layers. I ended up doing 3 thin layers, sanding between each layer.
After that, the final finishing compound and another good sanding. The last sanding used 220 grit.
The key to the whole project truly was patience. I found that taking the time needed and not worrying about finishing it fast, but rather finishing it well, really lent itself to a good outcome.
It was ready to paint next!
Do you have plaster walls? Have you repaired them on your own? Do you tackle your own home DIY repair? Did this article give you the courage to do your own?