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August 2008
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Drywall Screwblocks

The hardest part of drywall finishing is getting smooth butt joints. The hardest butt joints are those on your ceilings.

Drywall screwblocks can save you a lot of time and sanding.
You have to make these yourself as nobody sells them, and it is a good use for scrap wood.

Here is the typical procedure.
Hang the drywall.

Apply the tape coat and spot the nails.

Apply the second coat to fill the seams, spot the nails and apply a wide coat over the butt joints. The butt coats have to be wider to hide the fact that they are not recessed. They are also more time consuming and tiring, especially upside down.

Apply a wider coat on the butt joints, blending it into the seams, and spot the nails.

Sand the mud being careful not to expose the tape on the butt joints.

Prime the drywall and spot any defects you may have missed or appear when you paint.

Paint the primer and call it a day hopefully.

The ceiling is not strictly flat, but if you do the preceding well, you will not notice.

Now using screwblocks we will eliminate most of the taping of butt joints. We cut our sheets of drywall to meet between the ceiling joists rather than on top of them.

Here is how they work. Cut your sheet to the middle of a space between two joists. Nail or screw off the rest of the sheet. Install the screwblock above the drywall with the tar paper facing down. Attach it to the sheet with 2 drywall screws, being careful not to screw into the tarpaper. Cut and butt your next sheet, nailing or screwing it off. Screw the other end of the screwblock with 2 screws. The tarpaper acts as a shim so the drywall will bend up creating a recess that requires a lot less work to tape and get smooth.

Here is a ceiling joint with the screwblocks in place.


Drywall Fun – Coffered Ceilings

Ceilings are one of the most overlooked elements in your houses. Flat, boring and in a lot of cases in newer houses, a gigantic space to toss your money away. In reality anything over 7' is heating and cooling space you will never use, unless you have a trampoline or a really really high and bouncy bed.

One way to add a bit of drama and keep your energy bills reasonable to build a coffered ceiling.
Here is a coffered ceiling I built in my old house. This has four levels. The ceiling where the lights are is 8' off the floor. The lowest level is 7' off the floor. This is constructed entirely out of steel studs and drywall.
The steps are 12'' wide and 4'' tall.

This can be added to an existing ceiling by constructing the steps in series. It is a lot of work, but the results justify the time. If you can hang and tape drywall, you can do this.

This is a view of the ceiling partially framed in. This ceiling looks a little unusual as I built it inside a vaulted ceilinged room. But you get the idea. I suggest steel studs as they are lightweight, straight and easy to work with. You can also get them in lengths up to 20'.

Having constructed your coffers or steps you want to tape the inside corners before install ing the corner bead. Which you will need a lot of.

After your inside corners, are taped and your corner bead is installed, tape one side of the outside corners at a time. This will give you the space and time to sand your work straight and smooth.

 A lot of work, but the results are worth it.

Artroom Expansion 8

The electric rough-in is done. The plumbing is done and the insulation is up. This is one of the two windows we recycled from the old wall. It has been blue taped as we will be wrapping it with drywall and using 'L' bead on the window side, and cornerbead on the wall side. Before we start hanging we will plastic over it. Digging taping mud out of sliding window channels is one of those experiences you can go your whole life without missing.


On the east wall is the commercial exhaust fan which will have a thermostat mounted below it to keep this room semi-cool. There will be two electric kilns in here running 15 hours at a time. This is the other window we recycled.  

The south wall has a small slider that will act as the intake vent for the fan.
Tomorrow my son and I will hang the sheet rock while the rest of you kick back for Labor Day.