Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Step 23 - Drywall/Sheetrock/Wallboard

Drywall is the same as sheet rock which is no different than wallboard, just like soda is a soft drink, but also called pop.  It's all the same, but it's also regional terminology that varies from one part of the country to the next.  As some are overly insistent that a carbonated drink has one correct nickname, there are folks out there that will debate that plaster pressed between paper in 4' x 8' (or 12') sheets is called drywall or wallboard or sheet rock.  I'll just suggest, that if the people in your part of the world call it 'wallboard' then call it that and if the construction community around you say it's 'drywall' then latch on to that label.  They may even call it gyp-board, durorock, plasterboard or some other comb-derivation.  Just go with the flow and keep moving ahead. 

After insulation & before sheet rock
With that out of the way, let's talk Step 23 and understand I'm using all these tags for plasterboard interchangeably.

The day after the drywall is complete is one of my favorite days on any rehab or new construction project.  It's so great.  Everything takes shape in a matter of a few days.  What I've imagined and seen in my head is suddenly a lot closer to reality.  Sure we're not all done yet, but on these mornings, it feels like we've made a gigantic leap toward the finish line. This is such a huge payoff day for me and I meander happily for a while from room to room.  Back and forth between the kitchen, bedrooms, and baths.  Up and down steps and hallways.  I see how things look and take in how they feel with me standing inside them.   All my projects have been very different, but this satisfaction after the drywall is the exception since it's always the same.  I love it.  Those who've been in this position know what I mean and if you're heading this way get ready to enjoy this moment when the wallboard has been hung.   

The same window on the left.
The sheet rock phase goes through a couple stages of it's own before Step 25 - Flooring.  The drywall gets hung.  Then the tradespeople tape, bed, and skim the joints.  After that they come in to sand before any touching up is done.  It's not uncommon for these three different parts to be knocked out by three completely separate crews of workers.  My sheet rock contractor is awesome, they run a well-oiled operation, and I've gotten really comfortable with the way they do things.  (Perhaps they've spoiled me.)  However, I've had to work through some not-so-great drywall teams that made Step 23 more difficult than trying to build a house without a tape measurer.  So, let me encourage you to be grateful when you get hooked up with a good contractor and, as I've said before, don't keep that appreciation to yourself. 

Painting can inadvertently accentuate dings, dents, and wallboard imperfection.  Our drywall contractor always gives us a 30 day window to trim/out and paint before calling them back for touch-ups.  I should also say that every job is different and this touch-up arrangement can get navigated/negotiated slightly depending on the project.  However, even though it's never been a major issue on my houses, I know sometimes this can be a contentious area between general contractor (homeowner) and drywall sub so be ready to do what's needed to work your way through this touching-up issue to get the finished home you want.

Finally, while the drywall team does their mud work and sanding, have the attic blown with insulation - Step 24 (if you didn't insulate the ceilings with Batt in Step 22) and start gearing up for the flooring that has to be done before the cabinets and counters get installed in Step 26.

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