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Progress Report

Hello, strangers!  🙂  My father-in-law has been here for a week helping me with the house, and he’ll be heading back to Oregon this Friday, so I thought I’d check in and share a progress report with y’all.

We haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I thought we would, but that’s because I tend to have totally unrealistic expectations when it comes to work timelines and how long projects will take.  And then there’s that whole “one thing leads to another” thing that generally occurs when I start working on projects.  A ceiling drywall project turns into so much more by the time it’s finished.

The first room we worked on was the music room.  Back at the beginning of January, I decided to remove the polystyrene tiles from the ceiling to see if the drywall was in good enough shape to salvage.  I removed a large section and had high hopes when I didn’t see any damage, but then I hit an area that was just awful.  Not only were there big cracks in the drywall, but there was also an area with mold from a leak that used to be in the roof.  So I stopped removing the tiles, and I’ve lived with the ceiling like this for 3.5 months.

I can’t even tell you how good it felt to see all of that come down!

music room ceiling 1

Of course, removing the rest of the polystyrene tiles, the 1 x 4’s that were attached to the ceiling, and the old drywall, was the easy part.  Doing all of the cleanup was the hard part, and messing with all of that old fiberglass insulation made for some pretty miserable work.

music room ceiling 2

And of course, with the ceiling open, we were also able to see all of the old, scary wiring above this room.  I have junctions like this all throughout my attic…

music room ceiling 3

It’s completely illegal to have open, exposed junctions like that in a wall or in an attic.  And if I’m seeing that correctly, there’s even one black wire and one white wire with no wire nuts on them.  And that was buried in old insulation.  That’s what you call an electrical fire waiting to happen.

So with the ceiling open, it seemed like the perfect time to have all of this old wiring in this room updated.  I will have such a peace of mind when every single bit of this old black wiring is gone, along with all of those open junctions in the attic, and replaced with new, up-to-code wiring with non-exposed junctions.

With the new wiring in place, we were finally able to install the new drywall.  It’s not pretty at this point, but it’s way better than what I had before!

music room ceiling 4

And yes, my striped wall treatment kind of got destroyed.  🙂  I’m okay with that, and to be honest, I wasn’t really being careful with it.  I realized a few days ago that the new paint on that wall will easily peel off in sheets.  That’s not normal, and when that happens, that generally means that latex paint has been used over oil-based paint.  So I’m guessing that all of my walls were painted with oil-based paint.  It didn’t even dawn on me that my walls may have been painted with oil-based paint.  The latex may hold for a while, but eventually latex over oil will cause a big problem, so I may as well correct the problem now.

With the music room ceiling finished, we moved on to the entryway and dining room.

dining room ceiling 1

This time, after we got all of the polystyrene tiles and 1 x 4’s removed, I decided to go up into the attic with a long piece of 1 x 4 and use it to push the old drywall down, rather than pulling it from underneath and getting showered with old insulation.  That system worked much better.  Of course, it didn’t make the cleanup any easier.

dining room ceiling 2

It made me so happy to see all of those old ceiling tiles and cracked drywall come down, but of course, it just exposed more old wiring, more illegal and dangerous exposed junctions, and more work that needed to be done before new drywall went up.

dining room ceiling 3

But every time I see one of those old black wires being removed, I feel a bit safer.  And now I’ll have much more light in this room.  In addition to the chandelier that will hang above my dining table, I’ll also have four recessed lights, controlled by a separate switch, that I can turn on if I’m using the dining table to work on a project and need more lighting.

dining room ceiling 4

That’s the progress so far, and today we’re ready for drywall in the entryway and dining room.

I was a bit discouraged that we hadn’t made more progress, but last night I got to thinking about it.  Once this ceiling in the entryway and dining room is drywalled (which will hopefully be finished either today or tomorrow), that means that I’ll have new ceiling drywall (and no more polystyrene tiles!!) and updated, up-to-code wiring in my kitchen, music room, entryway, dining room, hallway, and hallway bathroom.  That’s quite a bit of overall progress!  That leaves me with two rooms (my office and our bedroom) that have the polystyrene tiles, and six rooms/areas that still need updated wiring (bedroom, Matt’s game room, my office, sunroom, breakfast room, and garage).  I will breathe such a huge sigh of relief on the day I see the very last bit of that old wiring disappear from my house!



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  1. Kristi, I can’t even imagine undertaking the things you are undertaking…So proud of you and your efforts…The light at the end of the tunnel is a LOT closer…

  2. You are right, you have made a LOT of progress. I think we all have high expectations time wise, but in the end it all works out. Slower is better, right? Less mistakes. Just seeing that mess on the floor must seem so overwhelming, but thankfully you have family to help. As always cheering you on from afar. I know I post that comment a lot, but it’s true. Proud of you!

  3. I was happy to see an update. Wish I could help you with the clean-up. It looks like loads of progress, your father in law must be a great guy. My Dad was like that, always ready no matter what was going on to help with a project. I say help, but he lead and I followed. We were a great team and I miss him. Your house is going to be beautiful with all your fine ideas. 🙂

  4. Hey Kristi, just a quick lesson in latex to help you out for your striped walls. Latex paints actually dont have latex in them and can be made from a variety of synthetic polymers similar to rubber (which is used to make latex gloves). What classifies latex paints as latex is that they dry flexible. You may notice the paint is still kind of tacky and soft even after its dry, this tackiness can stick around for weeks after the paint job is done before the latex firms enough on the surface to lose that flexible feeling. However, the paint will take years to lose that flexibility as a whole enough that it will not peel like you saw in your dining room. I had this happen on fresh drywall where I had set a chair up against the paint after it was “dry” and then a week later moved the chair and had the paint peel away like you saw. I also painted my hallway prior to replacing the base boards almost a year later. The paint stuck to the baseboards when I pulled them off and did the same as you saw, pulled off little sheets of paint. This happens because its the nature of latex paint to do this.

    So the good news is, its very very unlikely you have oil based paint under your striped walls. If you did you would have seen the ill effects of this long before now because the paint would have bubbled/ruptured/peeled of its own accord long before now in huge amounts almost immediately. This effect is caused by the fact that oil based paint does not expand or contract and is not flexible, it dries lke nail polish and chips like nail polish. So if you place latex over top of that, the latex does expand and contract, and if things get cold the latex will contract and the oil based paint wont which will cause the latex to peel away because its moving and the oil isnt. Or if its humid it expands and causes huge bubbles in the latex paint (size of dinner plates).

    You dont have oil based paint in there, its just latex and how it works, if you paint something with latex paint and get beneath the layer it will always pull up that way unless its several years old and has completely dried out to the point that it will chip instead of peel. Your only worry now is there is probably a little gap left where the latex peeled away and where it didnt. You will need to find someway to fill that in before you put more paint on or it will be noticeable in the next layer.

  5. Good to get a peek at what’s been going on! Wow, what a daunting sight that looks like!

    Even if you don’t get everything done you had hoped to those are some huge tasks! Major accomplishment!


  6. Even though it seems slow to you, the stoppage for re wiring is so important. I think you will be pleased when the week is over and you have a couple of ceilings completely dry walled and wiring done. Go get ’em Kristi!

  7. That seems like a lot of work to me! Did you lay down tarps before the floors got covered? That mess alone would take me a week to clean up I think. I bet the feeling of looking at that new ceiling is so satisfying.

  8. So glad you are able to replace that scary wiring. Now on to the pretty with no fears that you have a fire waiting to happen.

  9. Time to rent a dumpster!
    That clean up looks overwhelming to me. I have a room that has antique wall paper that needs to be stripped. The only thing holding me back is the thought of the cleanup. I HATE cleaning old wall paper leavings. It is a messy, sticky, smelly job. Good for you for plunging ahead.

  10. Kristi, while you were up in the attic, did you replace all the bad wiring or just the rooms you were working on? I hope all of it so the whole house is legal and safe. I just admire you so much. Every time I start to make excuses for not doing something, I always tell myself to channel my inner Kristi. You are truly an inspiration.

  11. Now would be the perfect time to completely open up that ceiling and make it a vaulted/cathedral ceiling. Imagine how grand it could be! I just wondered if you had ever considered it?

  12. That’s a ton of work. That clean up is sure scary. My OCD would kick in and I would cover even the walls! I’m working on something similar in the bathroom downstairs. When the ceiling drywall was removed. Romex was laying on top of the ceiling. And I found junction boxes going no where. Im’ waiting for the plumbers to get here, remove a gas line also going nowhere and redoing the galvanized pipes in the house. Thank goodness all the pipes are on only one side of the house. By the way, Kristi, my granddaughter pointed me to Youtube video of a Manga Japanese cartoon of a guy named Death the Kid. He has severe OCD and even the clouds have to be symmetrical. I laugh really hard. My granddaughter says: ‘Grandma, I think that is really sad.’ At least she has a heart. 😀

  13. You ROCK!! I love the fact that the ceiling tiles are gone. Wish I could help you clean up. Man, what a job. I bet Matt was not rolling through that mess. Keep up the good work. It is awesome.

  14. Kristi, it is so great to get an update form you. I always look forward to seeing what you’re doing with your remodeling projects. Well I guess its a blessing that you decided to re drywall because that wiring really needed to be redone, right?

  15. Thank you for the update report. We’ve missed you. That’s a lot of work to get done and a lot of cleaning up. If I lived closer, I’d for sure come and help you. What a blessing to have your Father in law come and help you with this huge task. You must be so proud of what the two of you have accomplished in a week. Well done!

  16. Thanks for the update, I was needing a Kristi fix! 😉 It is obvious that you have been uber busy and getting a LOT accomplished. It gives so much peace of mind to see that old wiring replaced with new, up-to-code wiring, and now it’s on to the pretty stuff!

    Onward and Upward!

  17. Good to see your progress, Kristi, congratulations. You didn’t mention new insulation; are you going to blow some in after the drywall is done?

  18. Holy God,what a mess! I know you all were wearing your masks when you did this, right?
    So glad you discovered all the bad wiring. Thank goodness you did not have a fire. That is so scary. It looks like you are moving along. Guess you did not get to the condo. That is a shame since the faster it is finished the faster you get you HVAC done in the house. It would be nice for you to have AC while working through the hot summer months. Best of luck to you, hope you FIL was majorly impressed with the kitchen, pony walls and bathroom. Blessings

  19. Oh Kristi, please tell me that you wore a mask while working all that old insulation? My husband worked In the weatherization field for a few years, and now he has awful lung disease. He has been on oxygen since Oct. and he is rapidly getting worse not better. I’m taking him to Boston for the 3rd time to get another opinion.

    I’m glad you are replacing the old wiring. I once looked at a house, but when I saw knob and tube wiring I changed m mind

    Keep inspiring all of us!

  20. You are going to have essentially a brand new, custom built house by the time you are finished! That electrical stuff looked NIGHTMARISH – glad you will be safe now. Every give any thought to vaulting that ceiling, or exposing the rafters and/or adding skylights?

  21. You have the greatest father-in-law in the world! Give him a hug from your friends. You could not pay me a million, no make that a billion, dollars to do what ya’ll are doing. I am glad the wiring is being corrected and the smooth ceilings will be beautiful (I would love smooth ceilings in my house) but this is nasty, back breaking work. You have a heck of a father-in law and he has a heck of a daughter-in-law. It is a good thing you both love DIY and each other, cause trust me on this, he would not be doing this for just anyone 🙂

  22. Damn that rock wool insulation!! I’ve got it in my rancher attic, too. 3 bays x 25 feet long fills up one trash bag at a time. Hope you are wearing correct filtering mask while deconstructing.
    It’s gonna look great.

  23. Holy Hannah! What a mess! I gotta hand it to you. Your motivation level is miles above mine. I can’t imagine doing what you are doing here but in the end I know you are going to have a gorgeous place to live and can hardly wait to see it completed!

    Keep up the excellent work Kristi!