A (now Un)Hole-y Mess

test-fitI’ve been mum here as of late – too much plaster and joint compound crusted on my fingertips to type.

The base cabinets for the sink wall are finished, and after hauling them home two weeks ago (which took three trips in my Subaru), the first thing I did was give them a test-fit of sorts. Yup; ’em’ll work. (They will, I’m hoping, look much better once the face frames are on.) They’ve been relegated to my dining room ever since.

Instead, I moved on to the cabinet tear-out on what I thought was the less problematic wall – an interior one with no plumbing with which to deal. And I thought the interior wall was drywall, so it would be relatively easy to run a new 12-gauge wire to my electric panel and install a few pigtailed receptacles (after being taught how to do so properly and to code by my kind electrician neighbor, Jason). And yes, it is drywall…of sorts. It’s that old 3/4″-thick stuff with the really hard 1/8″-thick shiny layer on top that crumbles with an alarming spiderweb of cracks in all directions, no matter how sharp one’s razor knife or one’s new drywall knife.

cornertearout

I mean really. Who leaves holes like that?!

Also, the last person to install cabinets (in the late 80s, I think?) left some large holes that mice seem to have found handy; to avoid contracting hantavirus, I had to wear a proper respirator whilst cleaning up decades-old droppings. (There were, as far as I could tell, no fresh droppings. Good kitties.)

So most of my recent kitchen rehab time has been a mix between trying not to electrocute myself and trying to patch old walls perfectly with thinner, modern materials. I had to screw braces across the interior of the holes to give the new drywall and shims something to which to attach (rather than cutting back to the studs), so I cleaned out my scrap bin of a lovely assortment of cherry, walnut and white oak offcuts. Whomever gets inside that wall in the future will be wondering what the hell was wrong with the last person…just as am I.

With the exception of a skim coat, the holes are patched. There are three new electric receptacles installed, and new plugs in the old ones (grounded outlets seemed like a good idea).

Bplasterrepairut things are now dire because I can no longer make a cuppa; I’ve turned off the gas to the stove and moved the range out of the way so I can install the subfloor on that half of the room. Tomorrow, I pick up my cork from the store, then finish the base cabinets for the run on that side. While the cork acclimates (two days at least, I’m told…but I fear mine will acclimate for far longer), I’ll get those base cabinets installed. (My countertops are acclimating right now in my hall…even though they needn’t.)

Then comes the scary part: the sink wall. It’s an exterior wall, with plaster over lathe on brick. I’ll be hiring my neighbor to help with the electric on that side, and a plumber to deal with the sink and dishwasher. I can only take this DIY-thing so far and keep what’s left of my sanity. With help, hope and a checkbook, the goal is to have the old out and the new in on that wall within a day (it’s also where the stove will end up…must not forget to tell the plumber to run the new gas line).

I can’t wait to get to the part where this is fun. That’s coming, right? No? Oh dear…I need a cuppa.

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About fitz

Editor & content director for Popular Woodworking, ABD PhD focused on early modern drama, freelance content and copy editor/writer, ailurophile
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8 Responses to A (now Un)Hole-y Mess

  1. “Press on with PRIDE”, Megan That’s Professional Results In Daily Efforts, Thanks for the up-date. Russell Pitner

  2. Tom Dickey says:

    Welcome to my world!

  3. Sean Wisniewski says:

    The fun really doesn’t come until you’re using your remodeled space, unfortunately. Hopefully that exterior wall will go smoothly and you’ll keep rolling on. DIY can be really tough, but is solidly rewarding. In the mean time, stay strong and press on.

  4. John Wolf says:

    A Coleman camp stove is very nice to have at this point. Also a couple of large metal dishpans (one to wash, one to rinse).

  5. Our whole house, built in 1940, is clad with that “somewhere in between real sheet rock and old plaster and lath” abomination. It’s closer to an 1″ thick bust man what a pain to do work on… I feel ya on that one. Keep up the good fight, you’ll get there!
    Cheers!

  6. durbien says:

    GFCIs on the countertop receptacles?

    • fitz says:

      There will be on the wall with the sink on it; the ones on the opposite wall are well away from water.

      • durbien says:

        Your local codes may vary, but I doubt it.. In CA all kitchen countertop receptacles in new work have to be GFCI protected per the NEC. You never know – there might be an unforeseen incident that creates a fault away from the “wet” wall – ever had water where you didn’t expect it? Ever have a broken appliance? You can also bet on potential buyers adding that to your punch list, local codes or not. Just sayin’.

        Ps I hope your neighbor helped you converting from 2 wire to 3 wire receptacles. If all you did was replace one for the other that’s really not enough.

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