Recently I completed a full house refurbishment for a landlord client. We’re talking new kitchen, bathroom, some plaster repair, full re-decoration and new flooring throughout. It was a pretty big job, and you can see the full set of before and after images on my gallery just here but if you’ve not already seen them, why not save the big reveal and wait for part 2?!
I just love getting my hands on a full kitchen or bathroom replacement because they’re about the biggest change you can make in a house aside from extending. But as we were renovating the house, I thought: most people probably haven’t experienced a full kitchen replacement, so maybe it would be nice to show the steps through photos. And that’s what I’m going to do in this post for you :)
The first step was clearing and removing everything in the room. It had been decided nothing was being kept, so the lot got ripped out and skipped. This involved:
- Capping the gas pipe & removing the cooker
- Removing the worktops
- Detaching the cabinets from the walls
- Chipping off the tiles
- Removing everything to a skip
Once the old kitchen and tiles had been removed, we were left with this.Clearly a lot of plaster had come off with the tiles, so we looked into why.
The guttering over the exterior wall to the left of this picture was broken, so rainwater had been cascading down the outside of that wall causing it to become very wet – you can see in the left corner it looks discoloured. Solutions:
- We immediately repaired the guttering to stop further problems
- We chipped off all the damp and loose plaster
- A heat lamp was left in the room for as long as possible to dry out the walls
In this picture after much of the plaster on the exterior walls has been removed, you can really see how wet the walls are in that corner…
The sink has been removed, with the water pipes capped off so we didn’t have another water issue inside, and the electrician comes in to do what’s called the first fix – running cables and leaving them ‘flying’ so the plasterer can hide the cabling in the walls with the ends poking out where the sockets will be.
Of course what I’ve not said is that you have to know in advance of the first fix exactly where you want those sockets to go – designing a new kitchen is a bit of a to and fro process, with some things needing a good few dozen revisions ;-) At this stage I had a preliminary design for the kitchen to allow me to make those socket position decisions, but you’ll see later that the plan evolves as work progresses.
Now we start to put things back together: plastering begins.
The totally bare walls were boarded out. Two new window recesses were carefully created with straight lines and sharp edges, and the other walls were bonded to create a level surface that could then be skimmed. You can see where the electrical cables poke out of the plasterboard and the bonding coat, to be connected to sockets later. The ceiling wasn’t too bad, just discoloured, so we kept it as it was to save on cost.
Once the bonding coat had dried, it was time for the whole room to be skimmed. I love this part! It’s great to watch a skilled plasterer at work, and trust me it’s not easy! You’ve either got it or you haven’t, and I’m just too impatient to make a good plasterer ;-)
This photo shows the room fully skimmed, and you can see the lighter patches where it’s starting to dry. Plaster starts out a deep salmon pink colour and it dries to a much lighter pink that’s similar to, well, new plaster! I can’t really think of anything else it looks like!
If you’re wondering why the base of the walls doesn’t look that tidy, well it’s because of the wet wall problem. We left the bottom section of the walls un-plastered to allow the walls to breathe and dry out, and since that part will be completely hidden by cabinets, no-one will ever see it. In future whoever replaces the kitchen we put in will probably question why it was left untidy and brand us cowboy builders, but you see in building projects you never ever truly understand why things were done the way they were, so you learn to shake your head and just deal with what you’ve uncovered!
Well that’s quite a lot for one post, so I’ll leave the rest for Part 2. Make sure you subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it! There are Subscribe boxes at the bottom of every web page :) See you soon!