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"painting" Category


Here’s Mud in Yer Eye


Thursday, October 15, 2009

We have reached a major milestone. The house is sheetrocked and mudded. Dudes came in, covered the walls with sheetrock and then applied a layer of joint compound, aka mud, (white goop that dries hard) in such a way so that the walls will appear to be smooth. It took about two weeks for all that to happen and man I’m glad we didn’t do that ourselves. It would have easily taken us two months.

The crazy thing about the sheetrockers is that they specialize. There are hangers – the dudes that attach the raw drywall to the studs – and then there are the tape & texture men. I’ve heard that even the tape & texture job is broken into two specialties. The tapers use what is called a bazooka to tape the seams between the drywall boards. The bazooka is a rather elaborate and heavy device which applies tape and then covers the tape with mud and then smooths over the tape for a clean finish – all in one pass. It has a bicycle chain and it feeds like a cash register and it holds a reservoir of mud somehow. It looks like the kind of thing where if it jams, you have to take it to a bike shop and then a plumber. Anyway, it works like gangbusters. It even does the corner where the wall hits the ceiling, somehow folding the tape and smoothing both the vertical and horizontal edges.

The texturers then come along with more mud, and large trowels and smoothed out all the uneven surfaces. We had the option to texture our walls or to go for a smooth finish. Every drywall sub we talked to urged us to go for a texture that is somehow universally known as “old world.” I don’t know what organizing body decided on this term, but it’s probably the same one that decided that “Tuscan” means “orange stucco” and “contemporary” means “nickel plated and curvy.” They wanted us to go with “old world” because it makes it easier to cover up unevenness in the walls. Turns out smooth is a real pain the bazooka. At one point, just as the two days of sanding was commencing, the dudes had powerful lights pointed askance at the walls to reveal any scratches or valleys that might be revealed with our eventual interior lighting. Oh and stilts. I guess it’s too much work to keep moving a ladder around, so they use these aluminum stilts that allow them to walk around the house as 9-foot tall mud slingers. Rad. See photos.

While the interior of the house was being squared away, Reggie and I framed the front and rear decks. Framing is fun. But preparing the concrete forms for all of the support footings is not. I’m finding through this project that I’m not really mentally cut out for concrete work. It’s too seat-of-the-pants. I like things to be a little more exact. Our forms were resting 5 inches off the ground at some places and I’m thinking, man, the wet concrete is gonna gush out of those seams and look ugly. Apparently that’s okay because nobody is going to see it and the concrete will pile up pretty quickly and y’know, don’t worry about it, we can deal with anything bad when we’re pouring. Ich. That kind of stuff makes me lose sleep at night.

I’m very, very excited about getting past the sheetrock phase. Actually the interior painting phase. At that point, we move to all the detail stuff like trim and the kitchen and electrical stuff and the bathrooms. And finish means almost finished!

Speaking of finished, we also managed to paint the outside of the house. And by we, I mean Kari and Bert. They toiled for days spackling and sanding all the nail holes and gaps in the trim. Then they applied two coats of a grayish-greenish paint. Kari did the bottom half and Bert did the top half. They did a great job and they spoke near fluent English and were super cheap.