Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We are plastered...or is it plastered out...or out of plaster...?

We are just about out of plaster to smash. 

And we aren't sad about that at all.

We have a little more in the bathroom upstairs but we haven't pulled the wall out yet to get to the plaster and lath. 

plaster and lath removal
I find our plaster clean up crew absolutely adorable.  Just to be clear...she doesn't always look this 'put together' while working on the house.  My kids wear whatever they want to the house.  Usually we all look like a bunch of squatters milling about the house.  In fact, we have noticed that after a day working on the house, the homeless no longer ask us for money.  When we are sitting at the stop light they are likely to ask us if we are ok..."rough day?  do you need a water or something...?" 
You know you have sunk to a new low when the homeless feel pity for you. 
The plaster clean up crew

I don't remember seeing this on the '5 year old chore list' but...
removing plaster from the chimney
I worked long and hard at removing the plaster from the chimney.  It is not easy work.  The bricks are so old and the mortar so crumbly that it is a slow process.  I found that using a pry bar (my favorite tool EVER) and a hammer worked the best for me. Using the tip of the pry bar I would angle it is toward the brick, tap with the hammer until the plaster starts cracking, work the end of the bar under the plaster and keep hammering until you get a chunk of plaster to break loose. You quickly get the feel of it and can feel the difference between the layers of plaster and the edge of the brick.  You want to scrape along the brick to get the plaster off but being careful not to chip the brick.  It isn't easy work on the hands, especially not for those of us who have arthritis in our hands!  I would work on the chimney for an hour or so, or until I couldn't grip the hammer and pry bar any more, then I would have to let my hands recover for a bit. 
I was a little sad about the shape of the chimney, way more cracks than I was hoping for but we are still hoping we can get it fixed and working. 

living room chimney

Meanwhile, we continued removing and hauling plaster. If you look on the internet you can find the "best" way to do the job. Actually, you can find several different "best" ways to remove plaster.  I'm sure the best way depends on the house you are working in, number of people involved, time frame, etc.   We found that the best way for us was to smash and break loose the plaster from the lath. Then stop and shovel all of the plaster into five gallon buckets and haul it outside to our plaster pile.  Then we would pry the lath off of the studs, stack and carry it outside to our lath pile.  Once the lath is off you have to do another plaster cleanup to get all the pieces and 'fingers' of plaster that are behind the lath. 

hauling plaster, 10 gallons at a time

pouring plaster into the pile

conquering Mt. Plaster

The kids, the plaster pile and stacks of lath in the background
'til next time...

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