2016-04-19

Drywall, the Continuing Saga

No pictures again, but they'll be coming. Work progresses, but slower than I'd hoped. One expectation is playing out, however: white drywall dust is slowly filtering through my house, carried by small stocking feet that had no business being up there in the first place. Most of the upstairs is coated in a fine layer of dust, except the areas under construction, which are coated in a thick layer of dust. Additionally, I discovered a few areas with more dirt than normal - the tops of doors. More on that later!



Unfortunately, I'm running into a fairly major problem with the ceilings: crooked joists. The far west wall, it seems, has nearly an inch difference from 'straight', which means all the joists that I install have the same problem, since I measured from there... which means my perfectly squared sheets of drywall need to be parallelograms. The problem got worse with distance, so the last sheet of drywall in the closet is terrible; I had to do some creative joining just to get it up there. It's not a huge problem once it's done; I'm using 5/8 inch drywall, which is thicker and stronger than 1/2 inch, and 16 inch joist spacing instead of 24 inch. Once it's finished, it'll work just fine. However, thick drywall in a confined space with only one ladder is... well, it's impossible to install alone. I'm immensely grateful to my wife Lindsay for helping me get it all done; I wouldn't have been able to do it without her.

The nook ceiling was easiest by far; without a north wall, it meant that I didn't have to measure super carefully, and with a wide expanse of 3/4 inch ceiling board to attach it to, installation was a breeze. Or at least as much of a breeze as holding 50 lbs of drywall above your head can be. Next was the hallway; it still needs a one-foot strip of drywall to be done, but that's no biggie. I'll do that tonight. With only one sheet, it didn't take long to get done. The closet, however, took quite a while, and caused me quite a bit of grief. Still, it's done; I finished it last night. Hooray! The only ceiling left is likely the worst of all, the bathroom. It's similar to the closet, except for the bathtub divider that sticks out. The way the joists are set, I can't put drywall on this side and that side - I'll need to wrap a piece of drywall around it. That will be interesting to maneuver for certain. As terrible as I am at measuring, I just hope I manage it the first try! And, as my last blog mentioned, it uses greenboard, which has some interesting properties of its own.

Whenever I finished a piece of the ceiling, I went ahead and worked on the walls next. Walls are easy; you can lean them in place and get a drink of water without worrying about them falling on your head. The nook is a little patchwork in places, but really only because it's a bit of an odd shape. It's missing one piece, opposite the bathtub; I'm leaving that off until I can get the plumbing hooked up and tested. I don't want to have to tear out brand new drywall to fix a silly mistake - or worse, a leak. The closet's closet only needed a couple pieces on one side, though it does need some tiny strips around the door. I'll leave that until the very end, and just use whatever scrap is left. The closet itself wasn't too bad; the studs were the right distance apart, and nothing was too terribly crooked.

The hallway, however, needed more than just drywall. What is currently the hallway used to be the outdoor porch, which means the hallway entrance has a door. That door will soon become the closet door, leaving the hallway open. The bathroom is inheriting the old master bathroom door; I'm certainly glad I saved it. It was stuck behind some other scrap, forgotten in a corner; I remembered it last weekend and carefully stuck it in place, after some trial and error. Old doors weren't nearly as nice, frame-wise, as new doors are; they expect a bit more precision. Anyway, all that to say that until I can get the closet door moved, there's not much point in installing drywall in the hall. Once I've moved the door over, I can install drywall on both sides of the closet door, and on the north wall (tiny as it may be) of the hallway. I plan on moving it tonight, as soon as the ceiling bit is done. I expect the top of the door frame to be just as dirty and nasty as the old master bathroom door frame: covered in dust, dirt, leaves, twigs, mud dauber nests, and possibly even other nests (birds, bugs, or rodents. Ugh.). And of course, it's all deposited on my floors. Oh, the adventure that is building!

Apart from the bathroom, that just leaves a bunch of thin bits around doorways: over the bathroom door, around both sides of the closet door, on the inside of the hallway doorway, around the closet's closet doorway, over the master bedroom/nook arch, and around the master bathroom sliding door. I'm a little worried, actually; I have some scraps, but I don't know if I have enough to cover everything. I've used my last 4x8 sheet of drywall, which only leaves 1 sheet of ceiling board (I don't really want to use that on a wall), two sheets of 4x10, and a bunch of random scraps.

The bathroom, however, has yet to be started, for several reasons. Most obvious, I have to get that sewage inspection before I can install the north wall. Also obvious (if you see it), all the bathroom walls, ceilings, and floors are stacked inside the bathroom, which make moving around in there almost impossible. Now that the closet is done, I can shove all that stuff in there to give me room to work. Less obvious is the fan; I have a really nice humidity fan in there that I need to finish installing because I can do anything with the ceiling, and I have to have that done before I can put in the walls. I suppose I could install the floors any time I want, though I'd like the ceiling in place first. Less messy. Anyway, the vent for the fan is mostly installed; last week, I climbed up to the roof to do that. I chickened out, though. Instead of climbing onto the roof and installing the vent farther back, as I had originally planned, I ended up staying on the ladder and making the hole exactly as far as I could reach. It works just fine, though I do need to go up there again when it's actually light out to make sure I patched all the leaks. I also need to grab a short, insulated, 4" duct to finish the... huh. A thought just occurred to me. My dryer only needs about 2 inches of duct, and it's 4 inches in diameter, I'm pretty sure... I bet I could cut the far-too-long dryer duct in half, and have pieces for both! I have plenty of insulation to wrap it with, too. Savings! Ahem. Sorry. Once I get the duct taped on and ready to go, I can install the ceilings, then the south, west, and east walls, leaving the north wall unfinished until after the sewage check. I just got the last piece I needed for that, too, so I should be able to rig that up and get it inspected this week.

Meanwhile, as it stands, I am missing two things: flooring, and a sliding door kit - or rather, a sliding door rail kit. Once I have those, I'll have everything I need to finish this addition... or at least, finish it enough to get the final inspection. There will be paint, trim, and a plethora of other minor details left, but once I get the final inspection, I don't have to worry about deadlines!