Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not lazy, efficient

Water damage

We just got the estimate for fixing the ceiling in the library from our general contractor. $300-400. I'm starting to think that I'll do it myself, especially as the amount of work that our roof seems like it will require mounts up - but that's a story for another entry. It's a chunk of money that the house probably needs more in other places.

The challenging part of the repair is the crown moulding, which is plaster. I'd have to cut a straight line near the edge of the crown moulding, cut out the existing plaster and fiberboard, and put in new drywall. Messy but relatively inexpensive. $30 worth of materials - $40 at the most, knowing how I go through mud.

I'm starting to think about a much easier alternative, thus the title of this entry. Perhaps I could just paint over the water stains with Killz and then repaint. What are a few unsightly bulges in the ceiling, anyway? No one (except me) complained when they were smaller.

My real fear, I think, is that I'll tear out the ceiling and be forced to deal with the plumbing for the bathrooms, which sit above the library. While it would be quite handy to have access to them, I fear all the things that might be wrong - and if the ceiling is going to be open, they should be dealt with now.

There is a problem that many of my projects run into while they are in my head, in the planning stage of the game. We plan to be in this house for at least the next 27 years (not that I'm counting down the years until retirement, but I doubt I'll ever find a better place to work, so there's no real reason to move until then), and probably the next 60 years. Thus, I look at things here long term. If I can do something once and do it right, I want to do it that way. I don't want to take the cheap short cut.

It seems, in my head, that every project leads to another project. Fixing the roof requires insulating the attic which requires rewiring the attic... does it never end?


Jason said...

That's a killer library that deserves a top-notch ceiling, whether it's DIY or professional. Here's how I'd justify it to myself - if it's drywall, that's at least easy to tear out and patch if you need to access the pipes in the future. Bingo - there's my justification to ignore the plumbing!

I wish you had installed the paneling yourself - so you could post a tutorial. My office looks so...uninspiring without paneling and built-in bookcases.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Jason, I like that justification. At the very least, I could fully document the state of the plumbing, so that I would know what to expect in the next few years. Further, such documentation would be useful to any plumber I might hire to address problems.

If I ever have to pull off any of the paneling, I'll be sure to write it up fully. It's not as fancy as it looks. The large areas appear to be hardwood plywood (although they could, theoretically, be thin-sawn lumber). The crosspieces seem to have been nailed on top of them. The bits that make it look like fancy cabinetry are just very small beveled mouldings. I can shoot some more detailed photographs of the construction of it, if you'd like.

I'm not completely certain that it was finished like this at the time of construction. I say this primarily because the baseboard radiators fit in too well.

Now that you've started me thinking about the construction of the walls, an awful (i.e. timesucking and impossible) idea popped into my head. Wouldn't a coffered ceiling make the room really stunning? It would have to be done in a manner to match the walls. The only issue would be figuring out how to deal with the crown moulding.

Shane and Casey said...

Ahhh, look at all that beautiful woodwork. Isn't amazing how you *never* find that kind of woodwork in new homes? I don't see how someone would not want to put a chair in front of that and stare at it all day.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

If you want to come over and stare at it, you're more than welcome to. If, while you're at it, you could stare at the bulge in the ceiling and get it to flatten out, I'd really appreciate it.

Mary Beth said...

Confession time:

I have a section of ceiling that needs pulled out and redone (though not plaster, so it's a little easier). And I did - in fact - simply paint it over with Killz as a short-term "fix".

In my case, the reality was that there were pressing issues that had to be resolved first (like fixing the leak that caused the ceiling problem, LOL). And the stain/etc was depressing me. So it was worth the 10 minutes, for the peace of mind knowing that I'd get to it when I could.

So if you're pressed for time/money right now - and have bigger fish to fry (roof) - this seems a perfectly reasonable interim step.

Why S? said...

That paneling really is beautiful. We're doing something similar in our living room but now I'm really starting to have doubts about the stain we've selected and that we chose oak. I don't know why I chose oak but there was a reason at the time. Oh well. We're committed now.

You're spot on that every project leads to another. And no, it nevers ends.