Wed. May 29th, 2024

This wall has made me both hope for a beautiful future together and wish harm upon it. These days, it’s the latter. Actually, if the stupid thing wasn’t holding up our house, I’d go beat the crap out of it until it was a pile of wood rubble. Dramatic? Perhaps. But this wall has hurt me – both physically and emotionally.

Let’s remember just how terrible it was when we started:

And let’s recap some of my hopes and dreams for what this wall could be:

The bookshelf couldn’t work because we couldn’t touch any of the studs and we had a duct in the middle of it. And the woodslats could have worked, but would have required millwork skills beyond our ability. Plus, it likely would have looked dated quite quickly.

We looked for more inspiration and finally landed on the idea to fully drywall the wall. This option was within our physical capabilities and wouldn’t delay our work (or so we thought). By covering the wall, we could hang photos on it and install pot lights to light up the hallway. Who needs natural light anyways? It’s dark most of the year.

Not bad, right?

Drywalling

I’ve drywalled before. It’s fine. I don’t mind the drywalling bit.

Once we positioned the first piece (and Alex patiently waited for me to take a photo), we screwed it in place. Unfortunately we didn’t notice that we had left a wee gap at the top. Whatever. That’s what compound is for.

I like sitting.

Once the large pieces were on, we cut smaller pieces for the ends and bottom and installed metal corner beads.

That’s one good lookin’ wall!

Then the mudding started…

Mudding and Taping

I thought that mudding and sanding were two separate steps. First you mud, then you sand. Done. Apparently not. And with me, I needed to do several rounds of both.

I filled in the big-ish gaps at the ceiling by using a thicker compound and let it dry overnight. Then I used a lighter compound to finish the joints with drywall tape.

The metal corners are nicely tapered, so you just have to hold your knife against the wall and the corner, and the mud spreads easily on the wall.

As I scraped off the excess mud, I noticed that the corners were exposed; I could see a bit of the metal coming through. When I went to the internet to figure out if this was ok, everything I saw showed a completely covered bead.

I spent an entire day trying to re-mud the corners so that my beads were covered. We were now a day behind schedule and I was pissed. Also, I managed to pinch a nerve in my back on Friday night so I did all of this in a considerable amount of pain.

Here’s where things go from bad to worse…

While dropping off my dad’s car at the end of the weekend, I mentioned to him how annoying and difficult metal beads were to cover. He then pointed out that they don’t have to be completely covered because the paint will cover them up. At this point I lost the will to live. I had literally wasted an entire day for nothing. And, not only did I mud for nothing, my wall was now incredibly wonky from all the excess mud I had to use to try to cover the bead. Not only did I waste an entire day, but I wasted 3 evenings undoing my work.

I didn’t cry. I could have, but I didn’t.

If only I had watched this video. The nice drywall man is quite clear that the exposed metal is perfectly normal. Damn it.

When I got home and started sanding (for the thousandth time) I reached a moment of peace. I was no longer going to look back on my hours of wasted mudding efforts but only look forward. The good news was that all I had to do now was sand. And sand I did.

Pot Lights

Meanwhile, Alex worked on wall project spin-off (aka scope creep): installing pot lights. We decided to install 3 at the wall and another 3 at the front door. This would produced much-needed light in our hallway.

Installing the lights at the wall was easy. We knew where all the joists were above and we could easily measure where to install each pot light. The entrance was a different story. We marked the location of the lights and hoped for the best. It’s not easy. We wanted 3 evenly space lights that sat in the middle of the wall. And we wanted to do this without having x-ray vision. Basically an impossible task.

The first hole hit the side of the joist. No big deal. We moved the hole over slightly and remeasured holes 2 and 3 so that the spacing was consistent with the lights at the wall.

The second hole hit the dead centre of the joist. Son of a %!t¢h… We decided on its new location and remeasured for the final hole.

We held our breath and drilled. NO JOIST!

Finally we knew the location of the outer joists so we could figure out the centre andt we knew where the joists were in the middle from our previous attempt.

At the end of our hole-drilling, we had 5 holes, plus an extra to help us turn the cables in the ceiling. This was not good news for the grief-stricken mudder (aka me).

When the sanding was done and the pot lights were installed, it all seemed worth it.

Things are really coming together! Next step: Painting!

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