I don’t want to give anyone the impression that it’s all “oh, look, I’ve never roofed a donkey barn before but I gave it a shot and it was a cake-walk” around here. I mean, that stuff does happen but the flip side of the coin is that sometimes I’m sweating my ass off standing on a 2×10 over a stairwell covered in drywall mud with a constant stream of profanity coming out of my mouth because shit is not going well.
And by “sometimes”, I mean “last night.”
It was bad enough that I had to wait 24 hours for my temper to cool down before I could write about it. Well, that and I was too busy stripping down in my back yard at midnight and using the garden hose to shower all the mud off. Yes, it was that bad.
So, in the spirit of telling an authentic story, let’s talk about how I thought this would go. Getting to the texturing part was actually pretty smooth sailing.
I attached some nailers around the old skylight holes, using a scrap piece of drywall to set the depth. (There are rafters on either side of the drywall there, so I was nailing into something solid.)
I shoved some insulation in the whole and used my whack-a-stapler to keep it in place.
Then the wallboard went up.
And then I did it all again, while standing here…
You can also see why it’s a bit of a pain in the ass to get from the first to second floor these days, right?
Up until this point things were going pretty well. I taped and mudded the seams, then sanded, then mudded more, then sanded again, then mudded more. It was freaking awesome. Particularly this part on the curve.
But I feel like I did a decent job on it all considering. Or at least I thought I did.
The “texturing” part is one of those projects I’d been avoiding, probably because deep down inside I knew how this was going to go, but finally last night I had to sit myself down and have a little “strap your big-girl toolbelt on because no one is here to do it for you” discussion before I finally decided to go for it.
My awesome drywall mentor from back on Memorial actually showed me how to do this oldschool “roll and smack” method of texturing ceilings, so I’ve seen it done in person, and then I watched a couple of YouTube videos to brush up on the basics. Here’s how it’s supposed to go down…
Take some joint compound…
Mix it with water until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter…
Use a roller to roll it on the ceiling…
And then use the brush to “smack” the wet compound, creating the texture.
Where things started to go downhill was when I was rolling the first coat of compound on to the ceiling and the roller literally snapped off the handle and hit me in the face.
As you can imagine, this is somewhat time sensitive work, and is also slightly harder to accomplish with joint compound in your eye. So. Here I am running around the house with one functioning eyeball trying to find my spare paint roller– which, as it turns out, was inexplicably located under a pile of clean socks in the laundry room– and by the time I get back to rolling the rest of the area of the ceiling, I’m a little frazzled. Then, I start using the brush to smack the texture into the wet compound, and I can tell right away that it’s not going to match the current texture.
I had a guy price out patching these holes and a few miscellaneous ones in the Parlor ceiling and he basically warned me this would happen. Depending on how “broken in” the brush was when the original texture was done, you’ll get a certain look to the texture that it’s hard to replicate without the exact same brush. So, on one hand I’m slightly mollified that this isn’t strictly a newbie mistake and I’m also glad I didn’t pay someone $1500 for something I can screw up perfectly well on my own, thanks. On the other hand, not thrilled with how it turned out.
I tried wetting the brush down (bad idea) and I tried giving the wall another layer of compound and retexturing (waste of time) and definitely still wasn’t getting anywhere.
So finally I just moved on to the second patch, swore a lot, likely traumatized the flock of wild turkeys that live in the field by running around naked in my back yard and swearing even more, and then decided to call it a night.
This morning I gave the ceiling the stink-eye when I walked out of my bedroom, and even though it looks slightly better dried…
From a certain angle the mismatched texture is brutally apparent. Plus I’m not thrilled with the tape job, now that I see it in context.
That shit sucked.
I’m still going to paint the ceiling and then avert my eyes from it for the next six weeks or so, but hey, Meryl and Chris from Picardy Project are going to be visiting to help out for a day in the not-to-distant future, and I’m kind of thinking two more sets of hands will be useful for covering up this disaster with some white wood planks on the ceiling, right?
The moral of the story is some projects don’t go as planned and you occasionally find yourself in the middle of a frustrating, sweaty, tool-throwing disaster. But, part of what makes us “do it yourselfers” is that we stand up and say, “This could be an effing disaster, but I’m going to give it a try anyway, and if nothing else at least I’ll learn something new.”
This one was an effing disaster, but hey, sometimes that’s DIY.