We bought an old farmhouse several years ago for $24,000. It was sitting on 20 acres and had not been lived in for at least 10 years (it had been a hunting cabin). The yard was a hay field. Structurally, it was sound. But, we knew it would be a lot of work.
Most rooms needed to be insulated and drywalled. I kept trying different methods of drywalling, such as stucco and texture paint, in hopes of eliminating the necessity of sanding, and breathing all that drywall dust. I also wanted to save time. I'm a person who does well with weekend tasks, but I don't want to invest too much time on any one project.
One person suggested wet sponging on almost dry plaster, which didn't work for me. It ended up looking like a gritty paint job. It was then suggested to me to mix one gallon of paint into five gallons of drywall plaster to stucco a ceiling. I used a brush to stamp it on my kitchen ceiling. That was better, but hard work. At least, I didn't have to sand. My kids complained it was too poky!
I still wasn't quite satisfied. However, when we turned a junk-room porch into a computer office, I finally hit on just the right technique. Now when I finish a room, I tape the seams with drywall tape. I use the gauze-type that is self-adhesive. This is necessary to avoid cracking seams. Then, I trowel on the plaster. I just take drywall compound and a 10-inch trowel and literally wipe the plaster in every direction. I smooth it a bit, but make sure it is going every which way. After it dries, I then cover with a coat or two of paint. (washable satin finish is good) This technique eliminates hours and hours of sanding. A room can be done in a weekend, instead of weeks. The biggest cost is the paint (I use Kmart or Wal-Mart brand) and approximately five buckets of drywall compound, depending on the size of the room.
I just finished the living room. Everyone says it looks fantastic. We have an antique wood stove. With a few splashes of color in our all-white room, it is bright and beautiful. It is such an incredible improvement! A brand new room for less than $75! Our little farmhouse in the country is now worth four times what we paid! And we wouldn't think of selling. (unless we start over! Hmmmm!)
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com
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