Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Walls...Came Tumbling Down

Well, not the walls, technically.  It was actually the ceilings.  But Def Leppard sang about walls tumbling down, so that's what I'm going with.  When I was house-hunting, I had only one major criteria that had to be met: NO POPCORN CEILINGS.  I hate them.  They are my nemesis.  I know they don't offend some most people, but for me, they are just u-g-l-y and icky and date a house.  But guess what.  I went and bought a house that had popcorn ceilings.  And they had. to. come. down.  Unfortunately, I don't have a great before photo.  Bad blogger, I know.  But just imagine a ceiling looking more pimply than a thirteen year old boy.

For anyone who has ever tackled popcorn ceiling removal, you know it is one of the messiest projects on the planet.  If you haven't tackled it, allow me to tell you.  It is one of the messiest projects on the planet.  Because of this, it's something that is much easier to do when there is no furniture in a room than when all of your stuff is settled.  So, being that I was moving into a new (to me) house, I had a small window of time in which I could go crazy and make a mess without having to worry about my belongings getting dirty.

If you're not familiar with how popcorn ceilings are removed, it goes a little something like this:
  • Wet the entire ceiling.  Not delicately dampen it.  Soak it.
  • Using a scraper, gently scrape the gooey wet texture off the ceiling.  It should come off in sheets as you scrape against the sheet rock.
  • Find out there are all kinds of imperfections in the ceiling sheet rock that need to be spackled smooth.
  • Spackle.  Let dry.
  • Sand.  Sand.  Sand.  Create the biggest dust storm imaginable.  In your house.  (Wear a mask!) - Note: if your house was built in the 1970s or earlier, have a sample tested for asbestos before you start bringing down the ceilings.
  • Prime.  Paint.
  • Bask in the glory of smooth ceilings.
 After forking out a lot of dough at closing, the last thing I wanted to do was spend another small fortune on getting popcorn ceilings removed.  But remember, I loathe them.  With every fiber of my being.  They absolutely had to go - there was no way I could live there with those ceilings hanging over my head.

The day after I closed, I had a couple of companies come out to give me quotes (a lot of painting companies do popcorn / textured ceiling removal).  I nearly had a heart attack at the estimates they gave me.  Then I had about an hour of insanity where I thought, I can do this!  It's not that hard!  Aaaaand then I came to my senses.  I decided if I wanted it done before I moved in, I had to pay someone to do it.  It's do-able as a DIY project, but not with my timelines.  I went with a company who had a lot of experience doing the removal (you want to make sure you work with a good company, because you really don't know what you're going to find under the popcorn and you want to make sure they will know what to do, no matter what they find hiding underneath the texture.)

Here's a poor quality shot that I snapped with my phone one night after the workers had left for the day and I was checking out the progress.  You can see that the ceilings are down and the sheet rock and joint tape are exposed.  Excuse the freaky shadows cast by the ceiling fan.

Even with a team of professionals, it still took about three and a half days to get everything done.  It was the biggest mess imaginable - it looked like a crime scene.  There was plastic covering all of the floors and walls, and I am STILL (three months later) cleaning up dust.  Being a DIY girl, I really hated to pay someone to do a project that I theoretically could do.  But in reality, it just wasn't something I could get done with my timelines.  So I paid a pretty penny.  But it was worth it.  Sooooooo worth it.  Look at these beauties (this is the tray ceiling in the master bedroom - you're looking at four separate ceiling surfaces in this picture).

I could lick them.

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