So the plaster work continues in the wet areas this week. We have also booked in the waterproofer to start on Monday, so a set date has meant we are working most nights to get the wet areas prepped. 

Anthony has really pushed himself hard for a couple of weeks now, cycling back and forth to work 24kms a day, working his full time job and then in the evenings resting for a quick dinner and then working on the house for a couple of hours. It is taking its toll and he’s exhausted – not to mention our 16 month old wakes in the middle of the night. Like this time last year, we are again on a very busy and tiresome schedule.

Despite how hard everyone has been working there is definitely progress! After a bit of puzzle solving, we finally figured out how to cornices in a mitre box. It took a few watches of some YouTube videos and some practice cuts, but we got there in the end. We used a mitre box to cut the 45 degree angles and it was just a case of measuring the lengths, cutting to size and sticking them up. A lot harder than I’ve explained it, but the pain points were figuring out how to cut the cornices; getting longer lengths in as they are awkward to handle; and getting the adhesive quickly as we only had 2-5 minutes to apply and stick it up over the joins. To handle the longer lengths of cornices, Anthony hammered in nails to provide support and we used a scaffold to be able to move along.

We now have our bathrooms cornice complete! For now we have left the laundry as we will be adding cupboards that will hit the ceiling.


Joints and corners

As we are pushing ourselves to get waterproofing and PCA sign off by the end of this year, we have been working in the evenings to try to complete the plastering of the wet areas by this weekend.

Now that the wet areas and niches have been covered in villaboard, we have been applying the self adhesive tape over the joins and have put on 2 base coats of Gyprock compound so far. We are continuing with the corners and the ceiling joins and though there are still a few more coats to go, which we feel we can manage by this weekend, we have decided to invest in an electric sander.

Plans for this weekend include picking up some cornices. I’ve gone for Gyprock’s standard cove cornice. The cost for the detailed ones seemed a bit too much at about $40 per 4.2m length, the standard is about $11. I felt that if you’re going to go with a decorative cornice, you might as well go the whole hog with a decorative ceiling and a ceiling rose. The wet areas will be modernized, so I didn’t think ornamental cornices would work (cheaper on the pocket too). So we will continue on the joining, sanding and then hopefully finish off 3 more walls in our bedroom. 

We aren’t able to completely finish off our bedroom walls because we decided to make a change to the entrance to our bedroom. We are swapping the entrance to be on the left rather than the right. Luckily this is something we can do and we figure it is best to tackle this now rather than later. It will mean having to re-wire the electrical cables to move the switches to the left. By making this change though, it will allow us to keep the walkway to our room clear, add space for a table on the outer wall and some privacy to Anthony’s study nook in the bedroom.

Today we have pest control over as well. The neighbour found termites in their backyard and so to protect our home we organized for termite control as well as added pest control. It seems that Sydney, particularly the inner west is prone to cockroach infestation. I was finding cockroaches around our house on a daily basis. The only good thing about having them was they kept our cat entertained.

Tonight the husband and I are having a break, spending some quality time together before we start tackling the house again over the weekend.


The morning of the start of the weekend was a trip down to the hardware store to buy the cornices and some extra angles for the niches. After we got them into the house we started on sanding and adding some base coats to the plaster walls. 

It ended up that we had a lot of issues with sanding back the wet area base coat. This compound is super hard when it dries so we were really surprised how difficult sanding was becoming. When we had applied the wet area base coat to the corners we applied it on too thickly thinking it would shrink. It was a mistake on our part when we tried to sand it down. Luckily we had the electric sander and after a few trials of different sandpaper grits, we found the 80 grit worked the best. Be prepared for the sandpaper to clog up a lot too. To fix our corners, we sanded down the corner coats so they were smooth and all the raised areas flat, then we applied the top coat wider than the base coats and feathered these out. The result is a decent finish! Phew!! Not bad for our first time plastering too!

Unfortunately the sanding has pushed us back from being able to install the cornices this weekend. We really wanted to get these wet areas complete so we could organise the waterproofer to come in this week, but I think I’m going to have to get him in either at the end of this week or the start of next. Things like this always happen, but we would rather have things right than do a dodgy job.

The finish on the corners is a lot better now


More plastering

This weekend has been a full on one for just two of us working on the house. Saturday consisted of finishing off adding the villaboard to the wet areas. While the husband put the ceiling into the laundry room, I finished off putting the wall insulation in to the walls. Handling insulation is fairly easy, but it is a bit irritating to the skin. I also ensured I wore a mask so I wouldn’t be breathing in the small fibres. I didn’t realize that insulation is made of glass and formed into a woolen texture.

Anthony and I then finished of our ensuite by adding the ceiling, putting in the cavity slider unit and then adding the last of the villaboard to the cavity door wall.

After a full days work we headed out for dinner with Mum at the city buffet…a meal well deserved I think!
Sunday: We spent half the day doing clean up. Since a 4 tonne skip arrived on the Saturday, we focused on cleaning up the front of the house. We had a huge mound of dirt left over from when the rainwater tank was installed, not to mention all the random piles of construction mess we seem to be generating. Anthony also bought himself a Gerni (high pressure washer), so he took some “time out” to wash the car and make use of the rainwater tank water. Feels good that we are getting free water!

The rest of the day we continued inside the house, this time adding the gyprock to a few walls. It has been a lot easier to handle than that villaboard stuff! Much lighter but it is quite fragile, so we need to be a lot more careful with it. So far, 3 walls are now covered with plaster sheets. It’s really starting to become like a home out there…


Plaster continues

It’s Sunday and the weather is being a lot kinder today, but instead of the searing heat we’ve had a very windy day.

The men continue where they left off yesterday and put up more of the villaboard. Measuring, cutting, transferring the cut board into the room, putting daubs of adhesive onto the wall, pressing the board on and nailing it in…and so on and so on!

They used the lifter today in the bathroom and with the help of this nifty machine got the villaboard onto the ceiling with little hassle.

Now we have a bathroom that is completely boarded up and ready to be waterproofed, so 1 down 2 to go.

Next they worked on the laundry, the challenge with this room has been the brick wall side, which is irregular and putting plasterboard on this would mean a wobbly wall – not good for when you want to tile and hang wall cabinets. Anthony and his Dad had a bit of a miscommunication, butting heads over a few things and being close to the end of a very long and tiring weekend, sometimes these things are to be expected. Eventually though, they worked through it and there was a solution made, which allowed them to move on and get on with it. This wall is currently awaiting to be covered.

I was glad I was able to contribute too as I proposed a solution to a potential issue. We only had 3 and a bit sheets of villaboard left, so thinking it through, I managed to suggest we use 2 sheets to complete the laundry, leaving us the remaining 1.5 sheets for the ensuite. Pat on the back for me as it was a solution that not only solved our quota of sheets, but also meant there would be a single and shorter join on the ceiling – the least amount of joins the better apparently.

Unfortunately the in laws will be heading back home tomorrow as they do have their own lives and home to get on with. It’s always been so good to have them around and helping us on the house – don’t know how we would have done it otherwise. This week, it will be Anthony and I left to our own devices, but we are getting closer to reaching our end of year target for the house.


Plaster faster! The plasterboard goes up

What a full on day it has been today! In 33 degree heat Anthony, his Dad and I worked on putting in the villaboard sheets in the wet areas of the house – ensuite, bathroom and laundry.

Generally there really wasn’t too many issues in putting the sheets up. There were some smaller challenges like getting pipes and powerpoints through the villaboard, but the men measured things up well and were able to get these pieces through. My job was to clean up, help with the heavy lifting and apply the adhesive to all the studs. In one day we managed to get all the walls in except for 3 walls in the laundry. Tomorrow we will continue and then add in the ceiling sheets using the lifter.

We only had 1 accidental snap and crack of the board today, but have been able to retrieve the sheet and use it in another room. Villaboard sheets are about $50-$60 each, coming in 4.2m lengths, so they were very careful in cutting them. In the end we actually ordered more than we should have and have an extra 2 sheets. They will decide where else in the house we can install these.

Plastering will continue through the week during the evenings. Once the wet areas are done we can organise the waterproofer to come in.


The woolly mammoth

Today was a fairly productive day on the house and a good one for Daughter-in-law/Father-in-law time. The in-laws have come to provide us support yet again (am always so grateful!)  so today my MIL (Mum in law) babysat the kids while I worked on the house with the DIL (Dad in law).

After deciding I had enough of the mess on site, I went and bought a couple of storage containers to help with the organisation of all the tools. Spending half of the day cleaning up, while DIL used his electric plane to even up some warping stud walls in preparation for the plasterboard. He taught me how he was straightening things up, where to pack and how the gyprock was going to go up. It’s been great to learn and get a better understanding of the building process.

Although I’m not nearly as involved in this part of the build however, cleaning up the site really goes a long way. I was then able to clear way for the gyprock and villa board delivery that arrived this morning. Before we tackled shifting and lifting these 4.2m long boards, we continued with the insulation. My DIL really is a machine, I often leave him be to work on the house and I am left astounded with the progress when I check in, as if I have blinked once and it is done. Most of the insulation has been added including the ensuite wall. Standing inside this room you really feel toasty warm. Handling the stuff you feel super itchy, so wear long sleeves, gloves and a mask. Of course, my DIL manages without the gloves…

When my husband arrived home from work we got started on moving the 30 sheets sitting on our driveway into the house, including walking up 5 flights of stairs and going round an awkward corner. Note to self, villaboard weighs a lot heavier than it looks. We were really lucky too, because our neighbour is always so obliging and was able to give us a hand. So when we got halfway and I could see my 60+ year old DIL absolutely red in the face, it was then that my husband made the decision to get help. 4th person on board and we smashed it. The downside to the boards was that 2 of them were slightly damaged – we believe were poorly handled on delivery, and with them costing about $35-$60 for a single sheet, you want to make sure they are in perfect condition. This will be one thing that Anthony will be rectifying.

Plasterboards are now ready for the weekend…I can’t wait to see the change!

Oh and on a side note, pest control was rescheduled for 2 weeks time, will be seeing those darn cockroaches for a little while longer 😦


Catchups and cavity sliders

It feels like several weeks since I’ve posted now and I wish I could say we have completed a lot more house renovation tasks, but unfortunately it’s been a quiet few weeks again. Life has got in the way and so it should since both husband and I work regular jobs and look after 2 younger children. I had to call it time out for Anthony when he fell off his bike a week ago and had minor injuries, enough for him to not work on the house. So instead we took it as a chance to break, spent time together as a family and went to a baby shower 3hrs from Sydney.

In the meantime though we have done some shopping, checked out the closing down Masters home and hardware store – unfortunately we missed the boat on this one as the popular items are all gone. Anthony managed to finish some odd jobs at the back of the house, like spray painting the steel beams to stop them from rusting, finishing off the battens in the laundry and installing 1 of the 3 cavity slider units that we purchased from Hume Doors.

During this week we will be adding more insulation to the roof to finish off. This weekend is planned to have the wet areas with plasterboard and the ceilings plastered in the master bedroom as Anthony’s Dad is bringing along a lifter. 

With Summer weather becoming a consistent we have had more cockroaches entering the house, so pest control and termite treatment has been organised for this Friday. It will be a busy weekend now that I think about it…

I have also been doing some research on cornices and door handles for the cavity sliders. We decided for the cornices that we would stick to something traditional, convexed to match the front of the house, but with no ornamental features – no florals, wattles, bows or ribbons…

We have had a quote from a local waterproofer which we are happy with and are aiming to get the bathrooms and laundry waterproofed and inspected by the end of this year. This will leave us the Christmas/NY break to tile the bathrooms and get the next stages going in the new year. All plans, but am not holding my breath as I understand everyone starts to go on holidays and our PCA may not even be available. Let’s see how this next phase pans out…