Batting Cleanup

Late this week we tidied up the basement, cleaned almost everything out of the dining room, and burned a whole bunch of scrap. Then we pretty much cleared the upstairs of tools and parts so Bob and Suze could move up their personal effects. For the last three months, they’ve basically lived in the living room, clothes stashed in bins; now at last it’s time to move to the bedroom.

A clean dining room.

A clean dining room.

It’s a move of necessity more than desire. Bob is hosting a class from nearby Yestermorrow Design/Build School to help remodel his house. He agreed with the instructors to provide students with several projects downstairs. When the class arrives tomorrow, the first floor becomes their domain for a fortnight.

Therefore, in addition to cleanup, we made a supreme effort to clad the upstairs with as many finish surfaces as we could. I’ve said before that it’s difficult to install drywall properly in the best of conditions… and this house, with the walls all out of square and out of plumb, studs in all different planes, presents far from the best of conditions.

For each sheet, our first step was to run a straightedge along the studs in many directions and to shim out the surfaces accordingly. If my straightedge rocked back and forth across a stud, I knew that stud was proud and took a sawzall to slice it down to the same plane as the others. Conversely, if my straightedge didn’t touch a particular stud at all, I measured the gap and installed a shim to fill the space, ¼-inch or ½-inch plywood cut to the stud’s width and length.

Hans checks an exterior wall for any out-of-planeness that would interfere with drywall.

Hans checks an exterior wall for any out-of-planeness that would interfere with drywall.

I also installed a bunch of nailers around what would be the edges of the drywall. Normally it’s easier to accomplish this task early in the game; in my case the expanding foam insulation really got in the way. Unfortunately, that was never an option because the foam went in long before we’d finalized the wall locations. (Look at the east wall of the master bedroom, which will have a barnboard-clad triangle above and drywall below. We couldn’t have known that configuration two months ago.) So I took a jab saw to the foam and eviscerated just enough to squeeze in a smallish (2×2) nailer.

East wall of the master bedroom. Mark measures around this window.

East wall of the master bedroom. Mark measures around this window.

Working with Hans, Mark, and D.D. (though usually only one at a time), I drywalled the two remaining walls of the master bedroom, the second bedroom, and finally the stairwell. I was forced to pull out and reinstall several pieces when somebody with a better eye than I noticed bulging. The defect usually occurred at screws locations, and usually because I hadn’t scraped the insulation behind it fully flat. A drywall bulge is something no amount of mud can fix, so it always requires a do-over.

In honor of the start of baseball season, today’s post “Batting Cleanup” is the third in a mega-series of articles with baseball-related titles. Read the first two articles, “In the Hole” and “On Deck”. They have nothing to do with today’s post (they’re not even about Bob’s house) but you should enjoy them anyway.

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