Mats Bengtsson Home Improvement and Do It Yourself

The do it yourself tasks performed the first month

Mats Bengtsson mib over the years


First set of jobs we did was during the first month, as a part of moving in, before getting the furnitures from our old apartments

At this time we had no furnitures in the house and we also had vacation during a part of the time. Both helped.

Repainting a number of things

This was not much new, this is the stuff most people do.

  • We bought a number of paints, and rollers, and roller trays.
  • We took down all curtain rods and holders
  • Some curtain holders and bolts where stuck in the wall and was removed with an impact screwdriver, or a screw extractor, and where that did not help, an angle grinder
  • All fodders were masked with tape
  • The rooms were painted in the roof
  • The rooms were painted on the walls (entrance hall, little hall, living room, dining room, kitchen hall and working room)
  • The fodders were painted
  • We used basically three colors in all rooms (one for roof, one for walls, and in some rooms a separate color on the back wall)

Basic learnings:

  • If you are on vacation and working full time on painting, it goes a lot quicker than when doing it besides the job
  • If you do it without the furnitures in the room, it speeds up things a lot as well
  • Rolling paint is a lot more efficient, and gives a better finish, than brush painting unless you are really good at painting
  • Basic car repair knowledge (impact driver, angle grinder) is reusable in a house as well

Taking down two trees outside the house

We did have two trees outside the house, close to the house, that we considered a risk. It was a pine and a fir. We considered the roots to be a risk for the house, and a problem for the garden and the plants. So the first thing we bought the house, we asked to get them taken down.

This was done by:

  • Asking a vendor to bring down the trees and remove the wood

Basic learning:

  • At this stage, very little, but later on we learned we were right, there was a lot of roots from these two trees, and some too close to the house, all to close to the garden.

The two sets of footage below is taken with about a weeks difference.

alt: Here you can see a video showing the house when the two trees where still there, and after that the house when the trees has been removed

Draining and isolating the front side cellar walls

This job was also done through calling for an expert, who used a compact excavator. With the help of that one, a ditch was built along the front cellar wall, and then isolation was placed onto the cellar wall, and draining through stones and a connection to the municipal draining system was added.

This was done by

  • Calling for a vendor who did the whole work

Basic learning

  • At this stage, very little, but later on we have become quite happy with the knowledge that the house is well drained, since the raining has increased, and since we are nowadays using the cellar more than it was used at that time.

Building a simple double bookshelf and two tables for my work room.

This was done by:

  • deciding the sizes
  • buying two pieces of wood
  • ordering the woods to be sawed after the sizes we had specified
  • buying metal wooden legs
  • screwing table legs onto two of the wood pices
  • screwing some consoles onto the other two pieces (the shelf parts)
  • fastening the shelf parts to the wall.

It was not neccessary, but in order to make the tables and book shelves look nicer, I added a bevel onto the parts that did not have bevels after we had gotten the parts sawed. This made it look nicer, and was my first use of a router in the house. The router was a very cheap one (30 Euro including both router and electrical plane, from Alpha Tools).

Basic learning:

  • Buy the boards pre sawed, especially if they vendor has an advanced saw (wall mounted saw table with movable saw).
  • A router can do some very nice things that can not be done as good in any other way



Bringing down a painted sea grass wallpaper

This was something we expected to be easy, we did not think of it as a separate project, just another part of the repainting. We rented a gadget that steams the wallpaper so that it can be easily taken down from the wall. The theory is that after that, the glue has loosened its grip and the wallpaper can be torn from the wall.

Not so, that is about as true as saying that all living things need sun and nutrition, and then including weed in the theory. The wall paper hardly got wet behind the paint, and a lot less wet behind the sea grass. After two days of constant steaming, we had gotten only a small part of the wall paper down, and since we were approaching move in time, we started to feel the panick.

The day after, when I got to the house after a day of working, where my wife had instead spent the time taring at wall paper, the project had changed. My wife had found a better way to get the wall paper down: steaming violence. It had worked, only problem was that one of the walls had been a drywall, and the paper protecting the plaster in that wall had gotten seriously damaged by the attacks on the sea grass wall paper.

So my new project was putty coating the remains of a drywall where sometimes the protective paper existed on top of the plaster, and sometimes the plaster was the only remaining face on the wall. It was some work, specially grinding after putty coating was a delicate job, since the paper from the drywall now and then tore off. However, doing this took considerably less time than trying to remove the sea grass using steam.

When all walls where as expected, we painted three of the and put wall paper on the forth of them, which was the original plan. Putting up wall paper, which was a first for both us, but where we knew how it used to look when others did it, turned out to be quite easy. Only thing was that we lost a few pieces extra of wall paper since it tore off when trying to untangle it after putting the glue on. The total job took us four days, where three days and a little more was used to get rid of the old wall paper.

This was done by:

  • Steaming off som pieces of wall paper
  • Taring of other pieces of wall papers
  • Cutting loose pices of wall paper with a wide scraper
  • Mending holes by the use of putty
  • grinding putty until even
  • Gluing wall papers
  • Putting up wall papers
  • Cutting wall papers in place to fit nice on fodders

Basic learning:

  • Not all machines work as advertised
  • Violence does now and then work better than patience
  • Putting up wall papers is not too bad, but slower than putting up paint. Do buy some spare lengths of wall paper.

After some work, the wallpaper was completely removed from the concrete walls, but only small fragments has come off from the drywall.

Destroyed Plaster WallAfter a lot more work, a lot of the wallpaper still clung onto the drywall, and we started to remove it with force and a large putty knife. It hurt the drywall but was still a lot faster way of working than relying on the steam doing the job.




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