Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sinking to New Lows


Because I can't ignore it forever, I've resumed work on the restoration of our bathroom's 1920s plaster tile. I had such a busy year at work that the last thing I wanted to do after a grueling twelve-hour day of painting was more grueling painting. 

There's no way of glamorizing this. It's miserable work. I'm contorting myself into the tightest corners of my bathroom. 

Our bathroom has an interesting wall surface: fake "tiles" made out of plaster. The original installers were real masters of their craft. They must have smoothed on the plaster, and then incised the lines that simulate the spaces between tile. I imagine that in its day, this was a cheaper option than actual ceramic tile. 

I'm restoring all of the damaged "tile" faces.  I tape around each unit, and then smooth on a mixture of joint compound, glue, and paint. It's not the same material as the original plaster, but it's something I've used for years with great success. 

After I "schmoo" the tiles, I'll sand them and then prime then.  After that, I'll paint them to look like glazed ceramic tiles. 

What I find so interesting about our little house is how it was originally built with fairly humble materials. But the building industry has changed so radically since the 1920s, that we couldn't hope to afford this house, if we were to build it today. 

To put that another way: I'm happy to do this rather hateful work, because I could never be able to pay anyone else to do it for me. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go Lisa Go!!
Someday someone will buy their first house and have walls like this in their bathroom and wonder how to repair them. They will google and find your site and appreciate your explanations and photos. Keep it up!! I don't have plaster etched tiles but I find your process fascinating. You love your house and your creativity in finding solutions is awesome. Thank you!


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