Gonna rise up. Find my direction magnetically.

Tag: drywall

Final Day

2 week vacation

So that’s it… I’m not going to get anymore done in the basement before I got back to work tomorrow. It’s been a crazy two weeks. The picture in the upper right was taken on Jan 8th, the picture at the bottom is from today. I tried to keep a similar camera angle. The second collage is from the opposite angle.

Some stats (for those that are so inclined):

  • 8 trips to Home Depot, 1 to Lowes and 1 to Menards (although I didn’t buy anything here and it was a 10 min run in… does that still count?)
  • 11 sheets of 5/8″ drywall, 23 sheets of 1/2″
  • 18 gallons of mud
  • 4 gallons of primer
  • ~1600 drywall screws (1 1/4″, 1 5/8″ and 2″ combined)
  • 10 outlets, 6 cans, and 2 dimmers
  • 1 rental (drywall sander)
  • Number of days I worked by myself (or just with Julie and no outside help): 3
  • Number of days above 40 degrees: 8
  • Number of days above 50 degrees: 2
  • Total snowfall: ~10″ (two major storms)

I really do owe a lot to all the friends and family that helped me. Without them, I would still be hanging drywall or finishing framing. Thanks to my father and mother-in-law, my Dad, Tom, Craig T., Nadeem, and Julie. I have learned a lot from this experience and I appreciate the conversations and time spent with everyone as much as the actual construction. Julie made a lot of lunches for various sized work crews and did a great job putting up with everything.

What’s next?

The last steps will take me a few weeks to complete. I was pushing hard to get painting completed so I could get the carpet in quickly. Putting the done stamp on it would be really nice, but I think that might be rushing this last stage a little. I decided to finish all the trim work before carpet so I am planning on completing the painting this upcoming weekend (just the walls remain now) and then spend another week doing the trim. Hopefully the carpet will be good to go the second week in Feb. This means no super bowl in the basement :(, but this will coincide with another experiment Julie and I are going to try out: NO CABLE! We have discussed it and are ready to give it a go soon, but that is another post…

Here are some updated pictures I took earlier today after we finished priming all the drywall and put the final coat of paint on the ceiling. Enjoy!

The end of drywall work is in sight

Day 14

So today is officially day 14 of working on the basement. After going back to work for two days (Thurs. and Fri.), I got back to it yesterday and today. It’s all about drywall finishing now. Taping, mudding, and sanding is the meaning of life until it’s done. This is by far my least favorite part of home improvement. It’s a pain and because I am not great at it, I need to do a few more cycles of mudding/sanding than the pros.

I bought a new sander to help and since we didn’t hire out the job, I thought a $30 tool to help things go faster was justified. Turns out, it wasn’t up to the job. The sander is manual and you can use screens or regular paper. It has an attachment that allows you to hook it up to a shop vac and it sucks around the sander as you work. It works pretty well, but not for a project this size. So after trying to do an initial sanding of the walls with it yesterday, I gave in and rented a power sander from Depot. I have used these a few times before and they are great, but you need to be very careful because they can be very aggressive. In the picture below you can see the manual sander with the attached hose as well as the power sander.

The sander gets heavy after a while and my arms as well as my back are killing me after two days of using this, but it is way quicker. It attaches to a vacuum you get when you rent the sander and for $30/day, it’s a pretty good deal.

So where am I at? I have put the last coats of mud on and have finished about 95% of the sanding. Mostly just touch up work remains that I need to complete tomorrow morning before the drywall primer goes up. When I return the sander tomorrow, I will be picking up a few gallons of paint for the ceiling and walls. The main room will get painted first because the stairway and soffit are a pain. Lots of small areas that I need to baby… sanding, mudding, sanding, etc. I am betting the stairway won’t be painted until Sat. 🙁

Protip: To make sure your mudding job is done, go around the walls with a high-powered work light set an angle to the wall. This will highlight any imperfections in the mud job before you prime. Credit goes to my father-in-law for teaching me this.

My goal was to have everything except the carpet done when I go back to work Wed., but I don’t want push things at this stage. Taking your time and getting the mudding just right makes trim and paint go so much easier.

Problem area

When finishing a basement or doing any large project, you always run into a few snags or unexpected things. I’ll share two of mine… extending the air ducts to meet the new soffit and returning the soffit into the stairs.

First, the air ducts. The air duct that ran next to the i-beam had two vents into the basement. You can see them in the first picture below. Once we put up the soffit 2×2 framing, these vents needed to be extended the 2″ (1.5 for the 2×2 and .5 for the drywall… we used 5/8″ on the soffit, but the .5 made it a hair shy and is what we needed). The internet was no help so I went to Menard’s and then Depot looking for ideas. The original vents were 12 x 6 but I could only find ‘risers’ or sheet metal cut into a rectangle shape in a 12 x 4 size. I thought the smaller vent would actually look better since it would be centered on the soffit more so I bought some new vents and the riser material.

My brother helped out with this part of the project. We cut and shaped the riser material and then used foil tape and sheet metal screws to put it all together. It looks pretty good if you ask me.

I got help with soffit return from my father-in-law. I framed and drywalled the return knowing that I didn’t like it, but pushed on knowing I would have to come back to it later. Well, the time came on Friday night because I had to get it resolved before all the drywall finishing got into full gear.

My first idea was to angle the return and then use some trim on it or something. I didn’t like it, but it seemed like it would work. My father-in-laws idea was since I was already losing the 2″ on the stairs, I should just bring the soffit all the way into the stairs. As you can see, this looks better and feels ‘finished’. The carpet and molding will go right up against it. Awesome!

More pictures

I got a few comments that I didn’t post enough pictures… so here is a grouping to show the current state.

Day 12 – Drywall finishing

Ugh

Our drywall finisher came in with a quote that was nearly double what we were looking for…. so…. here is a picture of me in the middle of taping/mudding from today.

Yep, made the call last night to push ahead. Julie and I got one coat on the walls last night and then my Dad came over today to hit the walls again and get a first coat on the soffit and ceiling.

Am I glad we saved the money and went at it on our own? Sure.  Am I excited to do 2 more coats + sanding? Hell no.

The low height of the ceiling is finally paying off in some way since I can mud it while standing on the floor. We are putting up some crown, so I am not doing the joint between the walls and ceiling which saves me a LOT of work. My arms and neck are pretty sore and I can feel my body breaking down after 12 days of doing basement work, but after this  part it’s on to paint + carpet and then done! The end is in sight.

I had mentioned in an earlier post about putting up a projector. I still think we are going to move ahead with that, but the wall cabinet system will have to wait. Maybe in a few months I will have the energy to tackle that project. I am heading back to work tomorrow and Friday so I won’t have any update until Sat. Hopefully that will be the day we finish the drywall work and start priming.

The old man showed a lot of love today by coming out and learning how to mud. Thanks!

Drywall nearly complete

Quick update

We spent Saturday and Sunday doing more prepping of the ceiling (additional framing that was needed to make sure that the seams would be sufficiently supported when the drywall was hung) and hanging the ceiling. We used 5/8″ drywall to meet code, but also to help deaden the sound from upstairs even more.

With that done, we were able to get going on the walls pretty quickly today. No major issues and I had a lot of help from a friend of my father-in-law and my Dad. At the end of the day we finished it with only a few sheets remaining to go up… mostly on the main wall in the room. The first thing we will tackle tomorrow is the hardest sheet in the room… it has one outlet, the outlet box being used for the speaker cables, and the 1.5″ PVC port for the cable run.

We went to Depot tonight to check out some carpet samples and I think we are very close on a color for the walls. It occurred to me while we were hanging the ceiling this weekend that this is going to be a LOT of taping and sanding. This prompted me to ask a few folks for drywall finishing referrals which resulted in Hugo coming over today and having a look at the basement. Hopefully I can get a quote tomorrow and get a crew out here asap.

If there is one area of a project this size to hire out, it’s the drywall finishing. After you put in all the effort to get to this point, you realize that the hardest and most challenging part for the amateur DIYer still remains. A good drywall job is so hard to do and takes so long if it’s not something you do often… I’m hoping this comes through or I will start the mudding tomorrow night. YIKES!!

10 days ago

Today

 

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