Or “The Time a Dog Ate Our House”
Last week we did an adoption trial with a beautiful and sweet greyhound called Helen. She was just about perfect – except for two things. The first was that she was NOT cat friendly, as her foster mum had said. This was quite a problem, especially for our cat, Lara. The second was that Helen was used to spending all day with her foster mum at work.Consequently, she was very upset when we had to leave her, even for a few hours, and in the space of five days, she managed to do this:
After we had the frightening experience of seeing Helen go for Lara twice (with her muzzle on, luckily), and realising that, despite our best efforts, she was miserable at being left at home while we worked, we made the very hard decision to send her back to foster care, in the hope that she could find a better suited family – she is such a sweet dog, and we have heard that there is already another family interested in her (the dad even works from home!).
On her last night with us, about 5 minutes before her foster mum came to pick her up, Helen got a little excited about hearing Mario head for the stash of treats, and jumped off the back of the couch. The result was this:
It was MUCH bigger than it looks here – about the size of a large watermelon. I like to think it was Helen’s way of telling us we made the right decision.
Anyway, so this weekend was my big day of D.I.Y. Got any holes in your own wall? Read on, and I’ll tell you how I fixed mine.
1. The Damaged Architrave
The architrave in our laundry is made out of MDF – medium density fibreboard. MDF consists of wood fibres that have been separated, combined with resin and wax, and put together by being compressed at high temperatures. It’s kind of like tough cardboard. MDF is not at all water resistant if it isn’t protected with paint or another type of sealant, and will swell and be forever ruined if it is allowed to get wet. With this in mind, I didn’t want to use any type of watery glue to do the repairs, worried that it might get even more damaged than it already was.
So, I turned to my ever faithful D.I.Y. companion – superglue. I had saved the larger bits of MDF that Helen had scratched off, and I glued them back onto the architrave using liberal amounts of superglue and lots of pressure. The problem I encountered with the architrave was the machine tooled shape of it, which would have been very hard to recreate flawlessly using only putty. I thought that reattaching what I could of the original shape would make the process a little easier. Here are the before and after shots:
As you can see, just gluing on the bits that I could salvage made quite a difference. Once I had let the glue set (which didn’t take long… because it’s super !), I used a sanding block to smooth it out. This was hard because of all the ridges and curves, and I didn’t get it quite as good as I would have liked – making it better might be a job for another day though. Once it was sanded, I filled the remaining holes with a versatile filler, and let that dry.
After that it was a simple matter to sand it and paint it (and then, because I’m pedantic, sand it and paint it again). As I said, I wouldn’t mind going back and having another go at sanding to get the shape just right, but I think it looks pretty good to be going on with!
2. The Dog-Eaten Door
The door and window frames in the backyard were a little harder – there was less to salvage, as they are made from real wood, and splintered accordingly. I started by clearing off any loose splinters with an x-acto knife, and then used my trusty superglue to replace any pieces I could. Before and after:
Lara came to investigate while I was working – she was slinking along very low to the ground, and I’m certain she heard the noises outside and was convinced her tormentor had returned.
After I had put the bits I could back, it was the same process as with the MDF inside – filler in all the gaps, sand when it dried, then paint:
Not bad, huh? Then it was time for the kicker…
3. The Giant Hole in the Wall
To begin with, I did a search on how to repair holes in plaster, and I found this VERY helpful pdf from Bunnings. I took a quick trip to Bunnings also, where a nice man sorted me out in no time. I picked up a sheet of plasterboard of the same thickness as my original one. At home, I measured the hole and cut out a rectangular patch from the new plasterboard that would cover it.
I put the patch against the wall and traced the outline, then used my brand new plasterboard saw to cut out a rectangle from the wall.
Then I glued two pieced of of plasterboard behind the hole using liquid nails to hold the patch.
When they were firmly in place, I covered the pieces themselves in liquid nails, and put in the patch. It was (almost completely) flush with the rest of the wall.
I filled the gaps around the edge with filler, and let it dry. I had to do that step twice, because I over sanded it the first time. The filler sands away MUCH quicker than the plasterboard (funnily enough), so it’s easy to overdo it. I used a flat sanding block to keep it even.
Once I had it looking as flat as I could, I painted it. You can see a very small raised edge on one corner if you look for it, which is very frustrating, but it sure looks better than it did before!
If you ever have to do this yourself, do spend some time making sure that your patch is flush with the surrounding wall – it makes a massive difference aesthetically. Don’t rush!
So that was the end of my Big Day of D.I.Y.. It’s hard to believe one doggie could do so much damage in five days, especially one that was as sweet as Helen was. We miss her like crazy, but I think it is best for her, and our house, and our cat, that she finds a home where there are no furry menaces running around and she has some company during the day.
What a beautiful and special girl she is.
Superglue… I already had plenty of this.
I already had this one too.
The plasterboard cost $11 from Bunnings.
Liquid nails was $4 and the plasterboard saw was $7.
I already had this cute mini roller and tray from when we painted the house.
So if you’ve got holes and chunks missing from your own house, what are you waiting for? Get fixing! :)