Monday, March 9, 2009

More Fun Than Humans Should be Allowed To Have!

About 5.5 years ago, Vicki and I had some uninvited guests - termites! Their appearance was manifested by peeling paint on the bathroom ceilings. A visit by a pest control company confirmed they were a type that ate the paper on the drywall in the more humid rooms of the house, and likely lived in a ground colony nearby. A simple perimeter treatment got rid of them almost immediately, and they have yet to return. But being the dorky sort of guy when it comes to home improvement, I wasn't sure how to repair the cosmetic damage.

Well luckily, I married into the Johnson family, and after living here for 4 months, Melinda moved this job up to the current project queue, promoted a bit because her good friend Carolyn is visiting this weekend! So yesterday and today, armed with putty knives and an assortment of other tools, it was tackled. As the pictures show, they really did just devour the paper layer of the drywall and as a result, the paint peeled away as it's backing disappeared. So we were able to easily remove the damaged paint layer, and the gypsum underneath was mostly undisturbed, though there was an abundance of what appeared to be residue likely bound with termite spit and excrement (yummy!). The residue was also easily removed with a stiff brush mounted on a pole, and interestingly, the residue fell into the brush bristles, and fell out when inverted over a waste basket - little of the residue became airborne. As an observer, even the pattern recorded in the gypsum of the drywall was interesting. There are the thoroughfares they used to travel to the "excavation sites", then there are what looks almost like growth rings as the feeding continued outwards from a central location. Similarly, the other bathroom had the same sort of damage, and initially looked to have less activity, but after removing the paint and exposing the damage, both bathrooms looked to have about the same amount of area affected.

Once the damaged paint was removed to solid material and the loose residue removed, we got out the drywall mud and started rebuilding the damaged areas back up to the original paint layer. We got the first layer on tonight, and it is looking better already, though it is a lot of work, and a lot remains with sanding, more mud, more sanding, then priming and finally paint. Eventually it will look great with a new color scheme with no evidence if foreign invaders. I'm just lucky to have one of the Johnson girls who enjoys getting her hands dirty and appreciates that the work we do now will result in a great final product!

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