Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Way Over My Head...

...and it's called the basement ceiling.

Yes, we finally made some real progress with our renovation downstairs. We have officially started drywalling. That's right - the layout is done, the electrical is in, the ceiling has been "dropped" and the drywalling has begun. We are shakin' & a bakin' people!

Our basement ceiling is rather tricky - as you can see in the picture below, we had a gas line (eekk - don't mess with that!) running down the center of the room and it was an inch or so below the joists. In order to avoid third degree burns or gas poisoning (double eek!), we decided it was best to build around this little obstacle instead of spending lots of time (and lots of money) calling a gas man to reroute our line.

Our solution was a grid. This grid was built out of 2x4s that fastened directly to the joists. The grid would be sturdy enough to support the weight of the drywall and also allow us just enough space to clear the gas pipe. The plan was to have the drywall directly below the pipe. This was a simple solution for less than $30 - half the price that it would have cost for a gas guy to just LOOK at our problem. Here you can see the beginning of the grid (when the closet was a twinkle in my eye).

Jeremy decided that it would be best to go with thinner drywall - 1/4" instead of the standard 1/2". It is still thick enough to support recessed lights but lighter overall. It was also better for our situation because it was just us two putting it up...with NO drywall lift. Talk about a workout! Next time, I am gonna have a friend or two help or just fork over the $30 for a 24 hour rental. And if you think that 1/4" is not sturdy enough - let me tell ya, it is definitely heavy duty - I was just barely strong enough to hold it in place on top of our wee step ladder. I'm sure I looked like a contortionist...I was using my head, my elbows, my arms, anything that could reach!

As you can see, Jeremy built a girl's best friend...a closet. I began the drywall in there too. And you can see, there are still a few ceiling pieces that need to be attached over near the far right. We came to a good stopping point because a few things need to be done first. The duct vent has to be installed and the boyfriend needs to still splice off the cable line so that we he can watch hgtv football in the basement. And after that we are like Taco Bell - good to go!

Here are some handydandy tips for you if you plan on drywalling stuff:

  • wear a mask and googles - even after a shower last night, I woke up several times last night with a crumb irritating my eyeball...I know better than that!
  • put your ceiling in first - this way the ceiling drywall weight can bear down a bit on the walls.
  • buy more drywall screws than you think you will need - it always takes a whole bunch!
  • buy a drywall T-square and a drywall rasp (that looks like a cheese grater for gypsum) - these make up for their cost by saving you time and effort. We actually bought ours at a yard sale for cheap cheap cheap!
  • be chill - it's ok if your drywall corners or joints aren't perfect - that is what joint compound is for! more on that later :)

Well, I am so glad that you came to experience another little stage of our basement journey with us. If you have any drywall installation tips to share - throw em in the comments! And if you missed any of the past posts about our renovation downstairs, you can check them out by clicking "Basement" on the column to the left.


mrs.leah.maria said...

Hah! I love your title, looks like you've got a good handle on it!

Mrs.FiveCamels said...

This amazes me! I think I'd be too much of a wimp to tackle basement renovation. How are you figuring all this out? You rock!

Emily said...

I am still in complete awe over the fact that you're finishing your own basement. Did you have to get permits, etc? How did you plan out the space? Planning details, please!

Of course you can feature my chair in a future post, if you think my measly chair is worthy of your blog - I would have to say you're much more of a heavy lifter than an imperfect chair :)

USANDCO said...

will you build me a house?

Katie said...

Hey girlies! Thanks so much for your support while we tackle this basement...hopefully that room will be done soon enough & you are each invited to come stay if you pass through the ATL.

Steph - the answer to your question is yes - as long as I can live there too :)

Emily & Camels - last year, we did a similar project when the kitchen and den needed renovation so we feel pretty comfortable with the whole drywall, insulation, and mudding side of things. The electrical is still a learning process. Jeremy did NOT want to attempt it at first but after a whole lotta nagging and the purchase of an everything electrical book (and the lack of funds for an electrician), he was motivated to tackle it diy style. We still have an electrician friend who helps out when we hit a stumping point. I will have to do a post about the planning of the space later cause there is just too much to please stay tuned. Oh and if you want to start a renovation project of your own, I would love to follow along or help in any way - so let me know :)

XO - Katie

Katie @ said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on drywall ceilings. I'd say you got all the construction points down that I learned, too.

You know those statues of men holding up the world or huge beams in buildings? That's how I felt the day we took on this same project last winter. Used a lift for all but one little room (didn't feel little after a while, though!).

We actually just moved to Berlin, Germany and thought, "Let's just tear down this drywall". Come check it out if you get the chance. I just started blogging about it, and German walls are SOLID drywall. No 2x4s. blah

Love the things you're doing--so glad I found you.