|If you've finished stripping the floor but aren't ready to install the new one yet, park your motorcycle inside, obviously.|
While I've been teaching and grading and keeping on top of union stuff, my husband has (mostly) been chugging along on my studio remodel. About a month ago, all the carpet had been ripped out, taking the walls with it and Sean had just pulled out the moldy insulation and ground down the glue on the cement floor. We had also removed the old frameless windows.
|Plastic sheeting windows in place while we wait for the new ones.|
A few weeks ago, he hired someone to come insulate the whole room with spray foam. Sean then put up all the drywall almost entire by himself. I had to help him get the drywall home, which was some serious work, with just 2 of us to move 5 sheets of 12 x 4 and 7 sheets of 8 x 4 drywall. At the store, an employee helped us, but at home it was just the two of us. The errand took us so long that it was nearly dinner time. We parked our large load of drywall in the parking lot at Costco while we ran in to get a chicken. From the long checkout line, we called our daughter who was at home to have her start getting the rest of dinner ready. It was pretty great to get home to warm bread, a veggie tray, a set table, drinks, and mashed potatoes (the microwave kind). She's finally at the age where she can do that kind of help.
|the foam insulation before drywall|
After dinner we had to move the drywall from the truck to the garage. I had just watched a training video for work about lifting safely, so I insisted on using a strap to lift the drywall. It was much easier than trying to pinch the drywall or bend down and lift it from the bottom. Sean seemed to think I was ridiculous for wanting to use a strap, but my training video at work had informed me that I had the right to get help at "work" to keep my body safe. I recently read that women have a significant disadvantage physically when using a pinch grip. I read this in "Invisible Women" which is a really excellent book. This section was focused on modifications that workplaces can made in pursuit of equity. Modified lifting techniques can prevent injuries for female employees while still allowing them to do the work.
Incredibly, Sean managed to do nearly all the rest of the drywall moving and lifting mostly on his own. That first night, after dinner, I carried the first large piece in with him. When I got home from school the next day, another piece was already installed above the first. Apparently, after cutting out the window hole to make the piece lighter, he had gotten help from our daughter and her friend.
|the first four sheets of drywall, installed|
On the third day, when I got home, he immediately called me into the clay studio to lift another piece of drywall and the day after that, he called me at work asking when I'd be home. Since I wasn't ready to leave yet, he stood on the sidewalk and asked for help from passersby. I think he managed to ask in a creepy way ("Hey, wanna make $5?" instead of "Excuse me, I need some help lifting a piece of drywall"), so after the first two said no, he had to wait for the neighbor to get home and help. By the end of the week, he had gotten help from three different neighbors, myself, and some children.
|all the drywall installed|
The last pieces of drywall took a lot of work, because the ceiling is not level and because he was working around a fan and some built-in cupboards. He had to sandwich in a bunch of narrow pieces and was doing some fairly precision measurements and cuts at the end. He was mostly disappointed that he'd have to patch so many seams.
|I had my daughter take this image. I love that the upward angle is so abrupt. You can see the round cut for the fan and the triangular drywall piece needed to fill in above the main drywall piece.|
He came up with a pretty neat method, I thought, for cutting out the openings for the outlets and switches. He and our daughter measured the location and height of the outlets from the floor, then marked them on the floor so that after the drywall was up, he could cut out the openings. This way if the drywall shifted to one side a bit, he wouldn't have a too-large or off-set opening for the outlets. There are 13 outlets, as well as three sets of switches and a thermostat and a fan he needed to accommodate in the walls.
|markings on the cement floor to align the outlet cuts|
Sean got all the drywall up in about a week. I thought it went surprisingly fast. But he was dreading doing the seams, so he decided to have a painful but non-life-threatening injury that kept him in bed or at the hospital for nearly 2 weeks. It seemed like an excessive approach to avoid this one task, but I guess he really didn't want to do the seams.
|one wall done, getting ready to do the cuts for the next one|
I could tell he was feeling better when I came home from work one day to find the seams started, the floor vacuumed, and some laundry folded. He had been nearly unable to move for a full week and most of two weekends. He started feeling better on Monday of last week and has been feeling much better now for a full week. He indicated it was a bit difficult to go from lying in bed all week to working for a full day. He has nearly completed the seams now. The local schools had half-days this week, so our daughter helped with the seams, too.
|drywall with holes and seams patched and part of the ceiling seam started|
The last part he hasn't quite done is the top corner where the textured ceiling meets the smooth walls. I don't really like textured walls, so I asked to keep them smooth when we paint them, but this creates a challenge of how to connect the two surfaces. He can't use the tape that goes on the seams, so he put some of the drywall "mud" into a plastic baggie and was trying to use it like a piping bag for icing to fill in the gap. It kinda worked.
|sanding the highest angular seam with a long handled sander|
It looks to me like he'll be done with the drywall seams and sanding this week and be ready to paint, but he was getting discouraged because of how dull the work is and how long it has taken. Besides the week and a half break for heath reasons, he also has been working on a project to make an electric scooter and has helped some friends out with car maintenance. I think he even made a set of soccer goals in there somewhere.
|the other side of the room, after drywall, before seams|