Thursday, May 11, 2006

Candy the Drywaller


This is what it looked like, before. But today I finished hanging and skim coating the drywall in our master bath. Since the bathroom was the last room I had to drywall, this means that’s it, I’m finished, the final wall has been closed up and is ready to paint. Hence my decision to write about it.

When I first entered the world of drywall, it was a scary thing. But since I couldn’t find anyone to hire, I decided to tackle it myself. I got a DVD entitled HOW TO INSTALL DRYWALL or some such thing (yes, they really do have DVDs on installing drywall), watched it twice, and went to work.

Cutting and hanging the Sheetrock was fairly easy, comparatively; all it takes is muscle. It was the skimming and finishing part that terrified me. I started on the entry closet, a suitably dark and hidden place in case the results were not good. The results were not good. Actually, I thought I’d done okay—until I painted it, at which point all my sins of omission and commission leapt out at me. Someday, I may go back and redo the closet. But I want to get back into my house, so I moved on to the kitchen, breakfast room and laundry. Pretty public spots, you might think, although since most of my work would be covered by wainscoting, I probably should have waited until the plumbing was finished and started there instead.

As hard as it is to skim coat new drywall, smoothing a new sheet of drywall into an existing, textured, painted sheet four feet up is sheer hell. But I improved. By the time I tackled the living and dining rooms, I was in my groove. Next came the entry and stairs, and then, penultimately, the powder room. It’s a small room, and since I figured it would be subjected to close scrutiny I left it until last. My office was, thank God, paneled, so I moved upstairs.

I managed to hire a black guy from Atlanta to come in and do the upstairs ceilings. He was so tall he could stand in the middle of the floor, reach up, and comfortably put his hands on the ceiling. I was in awe. But I wasn't satisfied with his finishing job. After he left, I redid it. My husband said, “You’re turning into a drywall snob.”

The complicated plumbing in our bathroom meant its walls were left open until just last week (we, ahem, decided to change a few things while the place was torn apart). My daughter dropped by for a visit as I was smoothing out the second-to-the-last skim coat. She looked around and said, “You know, you’ve really gotten good at this.”

It’s a skill I hope never to use again, and yet I’m glad I mastered it. Conquering scary things is always good.

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Deb said...

Thank you for providing a glimpse into life in New Orleans today. I cannot imagine what you and the other residents have endured and are still enduring. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. And a pat on the back for your drywall prowess!

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