Shangri La

Shangri La

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nothing is Ever Quite Done

 Looking around this weekend I was struck again with how nothing ever seems to quite get finished.
  • The siding is done, but the eaves still need to be boxed in.
  • The plumbing is done except for the hose spigot and the bathroom vanity.
  • The landscaping is done except for the driveway surfacing.
  • The electrical is done, except for the track lighting, the ceiling fan and the exterior outlets.
  • And rewiring the porch lights.
  • And installing the bathroom light/exhaust unit.
And so it goes - a growing punch list that I’ll get to ‘next time’.

Then there is the unexpected re-work ; month I noticed that one of the porch posts - comprised of 4 glued-up pieces - had a couple of small seam splits about ½ way up one side. This last weekend there were similar splits on the center column and additional splits on the first column. What gives? Could a 6x14 porch roof really exceed the combined 7500 lbs the posts are rated for? Or is it a manufacturing defect? I’ll continue to watch them, but they’ll probably get replaced with solid 6x6 posts (with a little decorative embellishing) before the winter snows add to the load this year.

And the regular work continues. There was some additional taping and sanding in the bathroom, but most of the weekend was given to insulation and sheet rock. My father hung the first 6 sheets of wall board in the dining/kitchen space, so this was my first experience with gypsum board. Turns out its messy, fairly easy, and very gratifying. Like framing, the changes are dramatic and the clear evidence of progress kinda propels you along.

The tools are simple, too: Saw horses, tape measure, chalk line, pencil, utility knife, wall board saw and cordless drill.  Put a sheet on the saw horses, measure and mark it for pesky obstacles (like windows door), cut one direction with the saw, score the other with the utility knife, snap the sheet at the score and cut the opposite side with the knife.

Easy, right?

Until you discover that you cut everything ‘mirror image’ so the backside faces outward. Or that you measured the distance to the window from the wrong side of the sheet. Or you go to lift the sheet up without adequate support and break it. Or you don’t support a ‘snapped’ piece adequately while cutting it and rip the paper on the reverse side. Or you lay the piece up on the wall only to find that your framing apparently isn’t 2’ on center after all.  (How did that happen??)

Fortunately, my father had clued me into some of these pitfalls previously, so I only ruined one of the 8 sheets we ultimately put up. Another reminder he provided: Keep the factory edges where sheets meet - there is a ‘valley’ toward the edges that is designed to keep the seams level and invisible. If you must cut a factory edge, do it on an inside or outside corner, or against a door or window where it will be covered by trim work.

Really, though - this is up there with tiling as a job too easy to ever contract for again. Taping, maybe; putting the wall board up - no way.

On the walls, anyway. I suspect that the ceiling would be more of a trick, but we‘re using tongue-and-groove pine, so we‘ll never find out.

So now each downstairs wall is mostly done, as running out of insulation and the need for final wiring work prevented us from finishing the job. One more thing for the list of ‘next times’…

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