More plasterboard, more fibreglass… and more rooms.

So last time I wrote about the bathrooms I’d forgotten about the shelf that was meant to be in the 3/4 bath. We’d forgotten about it when putting up the cement board, and also hadn’t added in the framing for it. It’s just one piece of wood, in this case, so adding it in after the fact was pretty easy since we’d only done the bathroom side; cutting out the cement board wasn’t too painful either (although I think the roto-zip has suffered from cutting cement board – I think I should probably put in a new bit). I had to wait until we’d done the other bathroom to find out what left-over bits were left for making the sides – which, now I’ve finished the other bathroom, I got to do…

Yes… we have two completely walled bathrooms!



As has been one of the most enjoyable things throughout this process, the building has changed again. It’s fascinating the way it feels bigger or smaller, and the way the light changes… The gradual addition of plasterboard walls to our framing changes the space in a new way. It’s been a case of having to try and imagine the walls and how the light will be, and now we’re getting to see the walls and the light. It’s interesting in a way that I’d not considered; because while we’ve changed one or two rooms in a house before, we’ve never changed anything so wholesale as the entire structure.


And it’s starting to feel more like a house again, which is interesting. Adding the insulation was the last big change to the feel, with the road suddenly becoming much less audible. Adding in the new front door when we get it should really quieten things down too, because the current one fits so very badly. Unfortunately, it’s rained and rained and rained, which makes going to get a new door somewhat tricky.

Anyhow, today I set to on the next section of the plasterboarding odyssey. The pantry and the laundry. Much up-and-down with plasterboard later, and we have a completed pantry (at least the walls-of).


It is the world’s smallest pantry (about 30cm wall-to-wall), and we’ll have to either make or get someone to make a really narrow pull-out set of shelves. It may need some kind of bumper thing to prevent it from destroying the wall, because otherwise it’ll probably shred the plaster. But it is possible to get in there, which means that we should be able to tape and plaster it.

I’ve also made fairly significant progress on the laundry – with two of the walls plasterboarded. I did screw up one section up – unfortunately. I couldn’t use the roto-zip on the sockets in there because that circuit is live and has actual outlets screwed in. It also made using the magnetic blind socket finder less accurate (because the board couldn’t be positioned in it’s proper place – ending up much further from the wall than is ideal).

Unfortunately, the first board I cut for the lower section ended up disintegrating around the socket because I hadn’t quite cut the hole in the right place. It was close enough that it looked like it would fit – but as I lifted it a little to put screws in, it caught and then cracked around the socket. I whipped that one off and recut it, but ignored an earlier smaller error – the light switch has a somewhat large hole, which we’ll have to repair. I also stuffed offcuts of insulation (what I’ve been referring to as ‘scruff’) in the wall in between the laundry and the pantry. There are some slightly bigger bits which I’m hoping will be easier to use in the wall between the bathroom and the laundry – but that’s always going to be a less well insulated wall (because of the shelf – and because it’s full of plumbing). So that’s tomorrow’s tasks… and then I’ll start laying the pipe routing channels in those rooms for the heating.

I’m thinking I’ll use the left over mould-proof bits in the central-heating boiler room, since that’s also got the water supply in it too. At any rate, it’s all quite exciting.

1.5 (of 1.75) baths

So, we’ve been continuing on with our plasterboard odyssey. We have managed about half of the main attic ceiling, which we’ve had to do by cutting the drywall into handleable sections, slipping them into the attic and then manually lifting. Slow, and tiring, but effective. Thankfully, the local welders did a solid job on the broken bit of the lift (it’s now better than new), and the lift is functioning again (and not making rending metal noises when lifted, and because they straightened it out (which I asked them to do), the cable now doesn’t foul the lift mechanism) which means that we can lift the boards up to the attic rather than attempting to carry them up.

We’ve also been applying cement board to the bathroom walls.


The 3/4 bathroom walls are finished. We realised that we were intending to do a built in shelf in the 3/4 bath, so I need to throw in a shelf support, and cut out a chunk of board from that wall. Which is a little irritating, because I thought it was done, but actually I’d’ve needed to run that cement board over that area and cut it out anyway.

The main bath is 3/4 done – or there abouts.


And finally, the back of the house is – at last – completely treated with ceder.


We still have the battens to do, and to cut around the door. And the door still needs the frame sanding and the whole lot needs painting. Only it’s now not warm enough to paint….

Careful now, that looks like a room. If you squint.

Today was a bit of a tough day. I’m not sure why. I think something about the headspace I was in. Something about our car being broken (now allegedly fixed again), and the inordinate amount of time wasted on travelling up and down to Tacoma to get it fixed… I dunno.

This morning progressed okay. I put up some more furring strips (two more left on the back, five on the front, and that’ll be it), planed and put more cedar up on the back.


There’s just one more full 12′ stretch and then I’m on to the bit by the back door. Then the other side of the back door. Then the front porch (which is, to be fair, a painful one with a billion nails and a complex pain-in-the-arse L-shaped bit that has to be installed (almost certainly) as one piece. Anyhow, that took up my morning, then I broke for lunch, and then feeling somewhat chilled from the morning of mizzle, I decided to put up some bathroom concrete board.

That actually went okay, although the edge by the door is a bit rough (it doesn’t like being cut with a drywall saw).


By the time I’d finished there’s just the bottom strip around the back and right side of the room to do, and a couple of bits on the sliding door. It actually looks like a room (or perhaps, a large cupboard, or what it is: a very, very small bathroom). At any rate, when Kathryn arrived we were able to start on the laundry room ceiling. However, the minor mistakes I’d made in the morning were not quite so significant as the ones I made in the afternoon. I’ve still not quite got the hang of the roto-tool which cuts around the outlet boxes. I still don’t have any real feel for when I’m correctly following the box, or when I’ve wandered off into space.

And the first box I wandered off into space.

After a monumentally ridiculous amount of grumping on my part, we managed to continue, whereupon I promptly cut the hole for the fan in entirely the wrong place. I thought I had hit the inside edge of it, hopped a bit across and then realised I’d actually started on the outside edge, and was now cutting an enormous hole in our just put up drywall. We haven’t bought any extra of the special mould-resistant, fire resistant ceiling drywall, so Kathryn hatched a cunning plan to use some offcuts to do the job. Which we’ve done. Because frankly it’s going to get slathered in joint compound and smoothed down afterwards, and hopefully we can hide that shoddyness, and if not, it’s the fracking laundry cupboard.

At any rate, after the mistakes, that was all that we managed to get done. Well, I precut the tiny bit that goes above the pull-out-pantry. But other than that… Which didn’t feel like a lot. But given that we actually did it twice…

See, a good friend recommends that if you make two mistakes, that’s when you should stop. Which I try to stick to, or at least, switch activity. But today we didn’t…and that was an error.

But still.



is now this:


It doesn’t smell of cat urine, or of some sweet smelling stuff to cover up the scent of cat urine. It’s not rotten and the hot-water system is not about to drop through the floor. The dryer vent actually exits the building, and the plumbing does not (at least does not appear to) leak (touch wood). The electrics are all new. The windows are actually attached to the building. The drains run downhill.

Progress has been made.

A bit of this and that

Today has been a day of bits. While I’d made it down both sides and as far as I can on the front of the house with the cedar, and I’d cut and painted a few furring strips for the back of the house, I’d not made enough to actually start putting cedar strips up. So I started this morning with cutting and painting more furring strips – made more complex by the need for some extra wide ones to go either side of the back door – and those needed planing down to the right thickness.

That whole process took a while, because I had to work out how many I needed – and what the spacing is going to be on the back*. It’s tricky because I’m trying to minimise wood usage, but also trying to work it so that it looks the way we want. The balance is tough.

Anyhow. The strips given their first coat I popped into the bathroom to put up a bit of concrete board. It’s not a high priority job, but the board had got a big chip out of it while it’s been stood in the hall (also, we have had to move it a few times… so why not attach it to the wall).


(The space on the right of the wall will be a built in shelf for the shower/bath, the space on the left is an obscured glass window to let some real outside light into the bathroom).

It’s odd, and you don’t really get the impact of it from the photo, but it has a weirdly progress-feeling effect. Despite only being a bit of wall that I’ve put up purely because it’s handy to have stuff out of the way, it makes the room feel more complete – and because it obscures the view through the house a bit, it makes the whole house feel more like a house.

Anyhow, that took a little time, so then I put a second coat of paint on the furring strips. Then I started planing the strips for the back of the house… like I said, lots of bits of jobs today.

I paused to go around our trees with our arborist, who’s coming to prune them back for the winter, then ran out and grabbed lunch before heading back for the application of more cedar. It took a while, as it always does, to mark up the position of the furring strips and this was the moment when I worked out that I wasn’t fond of my proposed strip layout. Having pondered some more, I managed to come up with a plan that I think should work and so started attaching the furring strips (well, actually, I’d attached some already, so there’s a random extra strip that’ll be hidden behind the cedar).

Having cut some cedar strips I spent some time applying them. My back, knees and neck are now all killing me… hunching over to paint, plane, cut and apply them for much of the day is not…ideal


I realised that I didn’t post a picture of the ceiling from yesterday… so here it is:


And Arksen said they’d refund the cost of the lift, which is good. But bad, in that now we don’t have a functioning lift. I had a look at it to see if it is fixable, and I think if I take this bit, with the hideous failing weld, down to a local welder they could probably fix it.


It is utter shit though, I mean, it’s half-assedly welded around less than half of the off-centre tube which acts as part of the brake – and which takes all of the load from the drywall from the moment it’s lifted from its endstop. I’m inclined, also, to find some *BIG* washers, so that the load is spread onto the metal arm that supports it, and the bracket, rather than just onto that bit of tube and the weld.


So we’ll see. It’s either that or rent a better lift for the whole of the job.

* I realised later that while my plan would work, it’d end up with two joints closer than I’d like further down the wall, so ended up tweaking the positioning of the furring strips.

Scaling great heights

So, as the mizzle switched to drizzle to rain, I continued my quest to attach all the cedar to the house. I ran around and used the pinpunch to get the nails I’d not bothered to put in all the way in (some on the south side, some on the front), and I reached the very top of the two runs of 2′ either side of the door*. Now we need the bit that goes across the top of the door, which I need Kathryn present for. I can do one of them, but the rest of them require me to be properly up on the ladder. Which we’ve agreed is a two person activity (as in, we need a second person at the house).

Still, it adds some form to the building.


When Kathryn arrived we switched back to drywall. After the heady heights of yesterday’s rapid** installation, todays went somewhat slower. We didn’t get it quite as well balanced on the lift (although it looked okay at ground level, as it went up things started to go a bit skew-whiff), and getting it to align was a struggle. Also, it turned out that we had cut it very slightly too large. It was actually perfect except for one stud which was out of line enough that it jussssst fouled at the top (not ours, for once). Eventually we got it installed, but it was fiddly.

Then we had to cut the bits of wood that make up for the uneven framing of the walls… (it’s really that the two layers of the angled top-plate aren’t quite aligned where they meet the slope of the ceiling). That took a while because they each need to be made for their specific spot. Then glued and screwed to the trusses (because we want them to move with the trusses, not the wall). Then we attached the x-crack which went up okay… And then it was time to head home. Frustrating, as we’d both hoped to get that bit of drywall up.

However, during that process our drywall lift started making some…worse noises than it has made. And the winding mechanism is now, I think, at a worse angle than it was. And it looks like the bolt that holds that mechanism on may be pulling through the metalwork where it’s held on.

Did I mention it’s a piece of crap?

It’s actually “rated” for a 150lb piece of drywall, and the sheets we’re lifting are just over 100lb, so it should be fine. Buuuut… it looks like someone was learning to weld using the cheapest, thinnest metal they could find when they made it:

Scabby Drywall Lift

We’ll see what Arksen have to say – it’s warrantied for one year, so hopefully they’ll ship a replacement.

* It’s actually 1′ 11¾” because…err, because. I think because we concluded it was a better size for the green sheets (which we still haven’t quite put up). Also, it means you can definitely get 6 out of our not quite 12′ strips. Some are 12′, some are 12’¼”, some are 11′ 11¾”.

** By our standards