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October 27, 2009
Gail goes up against the wall

Gail has posted a list of milestones we must complete to get our occupancy permit

Even though we have now passed the major milestone of rough electrical inspection, there is still a ton of work to do in our mountain home construction. We are one step closer to getting our occupancy permit, which now requires the following checklist items:

Gail must feel like she’s on a roll (or she really, really likes her new Dremel Multi-Max tool), but the day after we drove back down from the mountain after a weekend of work, Gail turned around and drove back up again. This time she went up by herself, arriving after lunch on Monday, October 19.

This was only Gail’s second time spending multiple days up on the mountain by herself. She was much more comfortable this time around, perhaps because we now have electric shutters installed all around (including over the front door). She had nice working weather, using the three portable heaters to keep the house warm.

Gail had been frustrated over the previous weekend by not having enough time to do all of the drywalling she wanted. This time, she set herself a goal of spending three days doing nothing but installing drywall on the downstairs exterior walls.

Three stages of finishing a wall: insulation, vapor barrier and drywall

The back door wall, before and after drywalling

Gail’s tasks consisted of fixing the insulation where necessary (the addition of electrical wires meant that much of the previous hard insulation no longer fit), attaching a vapor barrier, then cutting and fitting the actual pieces of drywall. Gail figured out an ingenious way of lifting 7-foot by 3-foot pieces of half-inch drywall above the picture windows all by herself.

Gail lifted large pieces of drywall overhead by using two ladders and a “ledge” made of scrap wood (visible at the upper-left edge of the window)

Gail's biggest challenge was drywalling the corners. Due to Topsider's non-uniform manufacture, wall sections did not match up uniformly and were not plumb.
(Left) When Gail used two pieces of drywall for a corner, they did not align with each other.
(Right) Gail's solution was to take a single piece of drywall and straddle the two sides of each corner.

A finished corner. Note that Gail used a single strip of drywall on either side of the window to straddle the corners (red circle). On either side above the window, there are still two pieces marking the corners (yellow circle). Gail will smooth these out during the taping and mudding process later.

By necessity, Gail also spent a considerable amount of time rearranging everything that we’ve been storing downstairs. This was partly to make room for working on the walls, and partly because she wants the downstairs to start looking like a living room. She also cleaned up her working area every few hours, to prevent herself from choking on all of the drywall dust.

Gail’s arms finally gave out midday on Wednesday. She cleaned the area once more and packed up. Although she did not completely finish drywalling the entire downstairs (as she had originally hoped), the progress she made is visually stunning.

The results of three days’ work. The downstairs sure cleans up nicely!

We seem to be on a productivity roll, and we can hardly wait for our next opportunity to make more progress!

Another sign of the changing season: the leaves are beginning to turn color!


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