Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Drywall...er...dry ceiling?

Next we move on the actually hanging the drywall, or in this case, technically, it should I suppose be called 'dry ceiling' since that's where it's going.

If you've hung drywall on a ceiling, you know it is literally and figuratively a pain in the neck. The problem of course, is getting it up to the ceiling and keeping it in place until you can get a few fasteners in it - enough to take up the weight so's you don't have to hold it.

One of the tricks, aside from a wonderful assistant (who I had), is to make a "deadman." This is basically a wood "T" you make up of some 1x3s and use to wedge under the drywall sheets to act as a third or fourth pair of hands. Absolutely invaluable in this process unless you have 3 or more people to hold up the drywall.

I wish I had gotten pictures of the process, but we were more concerned with getting the sheets up and fastened than grabbing the vintage digital camera! What you see here are a couple of shots of the drywall after it was put up. I marked where the ceiling joists were with marker so I could then drive the drywall screws though the drywall and into the joists. If you don't drive the fasteners into a joist, and just into a less supportive surface, the drywall may pull away at those points.

You can drive the drywall screws in by hand I suppose, but it's a must imho to have a drywall screwdriver. Here's my trusty DeWalt drywall screwdriver in action. This one is nice because you can set the depth - there's a clutch that releases when the fastener is driven to the depth you choose. I can't imagine using anything else.

After getting it all up, we're on to the joint compound/mud. Because I am not a professional, and because I am more or less a perfectionist, I used the compound that is pink until it dries. More expensive, but just easier for me to work with. This is the most time-consuming and tedious part for me. You'll see the "pink" in one of these shots. It took me about 4 passes until I was happy with the coverage. Probably about 3 times as long as a professional. Including the drying time, I spent over 3 days on this part. Why rush it? I dread the thought of sitting there seeing ugly seams that I should have gotten right the first time, so I'd rather spend more time up front getting it right.

After the compound is set, it's sanding time. Ay yi yi. If you've done this, you know it makes a lot of sanding dust. Lots and lots. I started with a sanding pole and a hand sanding block, but wound up using my trusty Ryobi orbital sander. It was just too exhausting to do by hand. Even holding the machine sander up was tiring. All I could think about was How In The World Did Michaelangelo Paint The Sistine Chapel? Geez.

Whatcha see in this picture is the ceiling after sanding, with the new molding in place. I put up support blocks cut out of 1x3s to nail the molding to. Came out pretty well I'd say.

One of the most fun things I did after all the seemingly endless sanding was cut holes for the new light fixtures. I have 4 recessed cans to put in - with eyeball trim. There were two old fixtures with the "basement" style trim, which, like the tiles, screams "cheap basement" to me. I used a drywall circle cutter to make the holes...how cool is this? Really easy and makes a perfect circle.

I couldn't pass up a shot of my beyond-trusty, beloved (actually legendary) Saab 900 hauling yet more junk from The Home Despot (ooops I named it). This is the 'old' (now known as 'Classic' in Saabland) 900, not the newer one. Here is some primer and some 8 foot (yup) lengths of molding. The back seat isn't down in this shot, but when it is, look out. There is almost 6 feet of flat space there. They broke the mold when they designed this puppy. I need a lifetime supply of 900s, so if you have one, pass it along to me!

Probably not the best picture, but here's the ceiling after final sanding and a couple coats of Kilz primer. Smooth as all get out and looks really good. What an incredible change after those awful tiles. It's more work to put drywall up, but there's no comparison in the appearance. With molding in place, it looks like a real room instead of a half-baked addition.

The square hole in the middle is for a ceiling fan. I ran the wiring before I did the drywall (duh...how else would you do it?). I put a junction box there, screwed to a joist, to support the fan. It's a nice one too - a Minka Aire. More on that is upcoming.

 
 
 
 

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