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Our first three-way (light switch, that is)

Electrical, Hallway

Get your mind out of the gutter, would you?

Light Switch
While I have no cool photos to post (left the camera at a party this past weekend, but it will be back home soon!), rest assured we spent most of our holiday weekend tackling home improvement projects. In fact, we managed to gut the rest of the stairwell and the upstairs hallway – all 20 or so feet of it, including most of the ceiling. Mess? What mess?

We started out Saturday thinking we’d pull out the dropdown ceilings found in various places upstairs. To throw them out, since we had the dumpster and all. That turned into some cracked plaster removal, which turned into “Let’s go ahead and gut the hallway so we can rewire the upstairs.” It’s amazing how quickly things escalate when we’re feeling energetic.
Removing the walls/ceiling was an involved process….

  • Remove the drop-ceiling tiles and framing in 2 bedrooms and one long hallway.
  • Remove all bits of loose or crumbling plaster.
  • Pull the lathe and remaining plaster off the hallway walls and ceilings with a crowbar.
  • Go back in and pull all eight zillion nails that held the lathe on.
  • Shovel mounds of demo-mess (plaster, nails, wood, dust) into a garbage can.
  • Drag the garbage can (which now weighs about three hundred pounds) down the stairs, out the door, and over to the dumpster.
  • Hoist the garbage can up into the air, dump everything in it.
  • Repeat the shoveling, dragging, and hoisting about 40 times until all of the debris has been cleared.
  • Sweep, and vacuum, and sweep some more. Then vacuum again, because that plaster dust is stubborn stuff. Mop about 5 times. Give up and decide it’s “clean enough”.

It took two days of sweat and frustration. The good news is that we’ve exposed nearly all of the remaining knob and tube lines; this ought to make rewiring much, much easier than we had originally anticipated. Teague got busy the other night and wired up a brand new three-way light for the stairwell, which is AWESOME. Previously, the only light available for the hallway/stairs was a little night-light plugged into an electrical outlet. And since our stairs are a deathtrap full of odd angles and sharp curves, good lighting is key.
It’s a small thing, but I feel very fancy having a three-way light switch in our house; given that most rooms didn’t even have light switches when we moved in, it feels like a huge upgrade!Wondering how three-way switches work? Check out this page:

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Greg had this to say on 07.06.06:

I know this feeling well. After I rewired my house a few years ago I gloated to coworkers how (say with an air of superiority) “I now have electric lights in every room that I can turn on with a wall switch”. Of course, they all looked at me like, “Uh, yea Greg, most people have had that for decades”. These accomplishments are just lost on people like that.

merideth had this to say on 07.06.06:

wow. that’s some major week-day progress. I’m impresseD!

Gary had this to say on 07.06.06:

Most of our rooms have two entrance doors. Some have 3 and one has 5 so I have 3-way switches in place everywhere and a few 4 way switches too! My big thing was putting in 3-way dimmer switches. Oooo-ahhhh! Ambiance in every room,

Leah had this to say on 07.07.06:

The best is when the dumpster is close enough to the house that you can just open the upstairs windows and HEAVE trash into it. Though you don’t get quite as many muscles that way ;)

robert had this to say on 06.27.07:


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