Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Removing Popcorn Ceilings

Matt and I decided that it would be best for us to tackle our messiest projects first (after the roof was finished, of course). Our three messiest projects were removing the popcorn ceilings from the entire house, tuckpointing the fireplace, and adding a doorway from our kitchen to our front room.

The popcorn ceilings were a huge mess and I would not recommend doing it in a house you are currently living in. There are tools to make it cleaner (a little vacuum thing that attaches to whatever you are using to scrape. I have heard great things about these tools, but since we didn't live there yet, and we were planning on replacing all of the floors anyways, we weren't too worried about a mess and we just wanted to get the project done as quickly as possible. The only tools we used were water and some wide putty knives. All in all, it took my mother in law, my mom, and myself (with random help from other people) about 3 nights after work to remove the popcorn from 8 rooms and two hallways.

This is what my ceilings looked like before.
In an effort to make clean-up easier, we first layed down a sheet of plastic drop cloth. On top of that we layered Red Rosin Paper. The red rosin paper absorbed a lot of the liquid from the water sprayed on the ceilings and made clean-up a breeze.
Here's Matt's dad helping us with some of the prep-work in my soon-to-be sewing room:
This is what the kitchen looked like prepped. We knew we weren't replacing the cabinets in there quite yet, so we took extra care to keep them clean.
Another shot of our well-prepped kitchen.
Once our prep work was done, we got to work. We quickly found out that the most efficient way for us to work was for me to spray the ceilings while my mom and mother in law scraped of the popcorn. It comes off very easily and cleanly when wetted a little.
Grandma took over for a bit.

Here's a shot to show just how quickly it comes off. We weren't worried about the walls in the hallway because we knew those were going to be covered with dry wall in the coming days.
Here's a close-up of the hallway being done.
And this is what the popcorn in the hallway looked like when it was down. To finish the clean up, we just rolled up the paper and plastic and threw it out. The floors were left un-popcorned and the walls were eventually covered with drywall.

New Roof

Before we closed on our house, our inspection revealed that we would need a new roof ASAP. The biggest problem that this posed for us was that we were planning on closing on our house at the end of November (we ended up closing on Dec 2nd). This meant that we would need the new roof put on before the snow fell for the season. This left us about a week to get it done. Luckily, Matt had spent a summer working construction before he went to college and he had made some pretty great connections at that job.

Our nasty old roof and broken vents that let raccoons into our attic:

If you're looking for a great roofer in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago, I would highly, highly recommend Miles Construction out of Lockport, IL. Miles' team came out the day after we closed (Mr. Miles himself came out to our house before we even closed and took measurements and surveyed the work).
They tore off the roof in two days and started putting the new roof on. We were delayed in finishing the project because we had some hail for about two days, but they covered the roof with tarps until they could get back up there and put the shingles on.
Since we were getting the roof done anyways, Matt and I decided to use that opportunity to add two skylights to the front of the house. We got the skylights and flashing kits from eBay for about half of what they would have cost at Home Depot. Miles' team started by cutting the holes for the skylights from inside the house.
They framed the holes out with wood.

And they finished the wood with flashing to make it watertight. I like this picture because you can also see the style of shingles we picked out.

My brother sweeping up some of the construction mess inside. We seriously would not have anything done on this house without the amazing help that we received from our families.

Finally, they installed the skylights. It makes such a huge difference in our front room

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Home, Sweet Home

Well, this blog has, in the past, been devoted to my ramblings. But since it's been 5 years since I updated it, I'm going to start anew. And I've decided to give it some focus.

Matt and I closed on our home on December 2nd and started removating it that night. We officially moved in about a month ago and have been continuing to work hard since. I'd like to use this forum to document the changes to our house. It's going to be a lot of major changes, so stay tuned.
The house is a 5 bedroom, 3 bath ranch on a half acre wooded lot built in 1979. After we closed, we learned that the house was actually built by Matt's great-uncle. That proved to us that this house was fated for us. Matt's family owned a couple of lumber companies and his great-uncle built this house for himself. It's about 2 blocks from where the lumber yard used to be.

The sellers made buying the house a hassle, but in the end, I feel like we got a great deal for our house. Originally, we were planning on getting a cute little starter home and moving in 5-7 years. That was before we found our forever house. This house needs so much work, but I know that in the long run, it will all be worth it.

Here's the floorplan of the house. The arrows indicate the stairs to the basement, the side door and the front door.