Building Back the Walls!

One of my first posts after we moved to Amber Lane – appropriately named “Reno: Day 1” – featured my newly found fascination with drywall. At the time, I was enamored with the many names for this material – and equally into the idea of destroying it! … Which we did, quite extensively. It’s amazing to look back at those posts now, the demolition posts from our first few weeks here. So much has changed since those early days. It’s amazing to even have this observation – and to aptly name it “those early days.”

When I look back like this, I feel as if the tide is turning, yet again. On its first turn, it washed the shores of Amber Lane and left wreckage in its wake: demolished rooms – drywall in fractured pieces – studs in splintered disarray – fixtures disassembled and disconnected. And, now it washes again – leaving a sense of new as the water line recedes. Walls reappear… coverings assemble upon them… floors take shape… and slowly, ever so slowly, our new (or new to us!) fixtures drag their weary bodies into place. The water slips gently, the line in the sand is long. But this tide turns with promise of new the whole way out. What a wonderful feeling to be within the “building back”! The putting of drywall ON, instead of the taking of it OFF.

After the official sign off on our rough framing inspection, we were finally able to close up walls. So we made short order of the 11 sheets of drywall clogging up the Gallery floor. Each panel of 5/8″ thick drywall is 4′ x 8′ and very HEAVY. Much heavier than its flimsy 1/2″ counterpart. Every cut took careful consideration – both in how best to use the material to minimize waste and how to shape the piece with its inevitable quirks (plugs, switches, plumbing pipes, uneven walls, un-level floors, misaligned corners, ETC). Nothing escaped the iron fist of the drywall.

Step 1: Re-insulate! This is an interesting job to undertake, one that I will never miss once this project is over. Fiberglass insulation is agony to work with – both for your skin and your lungs. When you disrupt the fibers (read: as soon as you touch the insulation!), the stuff goes straight to your lungs and makes your brain crazy… And the fiber glass makes little tiny cuts on your skin. So wear long sleeves and a mask. Right? Well, yeah, but the insulation is SO… insulative! When you are working with it, you get incredibly hot – especially all suited up in your long sleeves and mask. It’s a vicious cycle. And there is little reprieve except for running out of the building and taking little breathers far away from the madness!

Step 2: Measure twice, cut once!

Step 3: Hang that drywall! It was about now that I realized just how much work we were doing to the place! Every piece of drywall we cut was met in equal measure with a sinking realization that this wall needed to then be finished. As the drywall hanging continued so did the list of outstanding finishes. We’d always known these projects were in the queue but going through them, drywall piece by drywall piece, really drove home the magnitude of what we’re doing here!

Step 4: Detail work and joint compound

Maybe not the most glamorous of activities but an integral step to putting on our finishes… which, speaking of, I’ll begin to feature in my next post. To date, we have quite a few rooms DONE! Men’s bathroom! Dish pen! 2nd floor bathroom! And (almost… ever so almost…) the kitchen! Can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve been up to! 🙂

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