Monday, March 28, 2011

Mud and Rock

Mud and sheet rock that is. We got the ceiling put up in the back room this weekend! It was a fairly long process, but it looks so great now, it was totally worth it (says the wife that mostly just watched as her husband and father-in-law did most of the work). If you've never put up sheet rock before, I'm not sure I would suggest starting with a ceiling, it is one of the most challenging sheet rock projects since you have to hold it up while trying to get it secured to the ceiling. To demonstrate what I mean, why don't we look at some pictures?
The above picture was taken after some of the grunt work had already happened; it wasn't the easiest to get the sheet rock off the ground and up to the ceiling, then you have to make sure it's butted up against the wall and previous piece of sheet rock so that everything goes up nice and straight and you don't have to do a ton of mud work later on down the road. We used ten foot wide sheet rock so that we would have fewer seams since our room is only about nine and a half feet wide and we cut the sheet rock to fit. After the sheet rock is in place you screw it to the rafters with sheet rock screws, starting around the edges and then working inward. To ensure that you are putting the screws into rafters you have to use a straight edge and draw lines on the sheet rock for a guide of where to put the screws.
You also need to measure out exactly where the lights are, because you will cover them up with sheet rock and then cut holes in it for them to shine through.
Another thing you need to be careful of when putting up sheet rock is how deep you set the screws. If they go too far in they won't hold, you want to have them as flush with the sheet rock as possible. The screw on the right is too deep and would probably not hold very well, so we had to put in another screw to the left of it to be sure it would hold. The one on the left is pretty much what you want your screws to look like.

You can put the screws up with just a simple drill (cordless would definitely be the preferred type), or if you're like my father-in-law and have friends with fancy tools, you might be able to borrow a cool dry wall specific tool that helps you put the screws in quickly and efficiently. You can kind of see what it looked like in this picture.
By mid afternoon the sheet rock was all up and the room was looking good, but we still had all the mudding and taping to do.

To mud and tape you first put a nice layer of mud (mud that you buy at the hardware store that is, don't just go make some mud with dirt out of your back yard) down the seam where the two pieces of sheet rock meet.
Then immediately afterward you apply the tape (also from the hardware store and specifically for dry walling) down the seam.

You then go down the seam with your mudding knife to get the tape good and tight and to remove any excess mud, then you follow that up with another layer of mud, and then go down with the mudding knife removing any excess again. It's all a very monotonous job, but it's what makes your ceiling look smooth and seamless in the end.
You also need to mud over the screws, but that is a much easier project, you just need a small, smooth layer of mud over each of them. At the end of the day, your sheet rock should look something like this.
You still have to mud two more times to get a nice, even coat, but you have to wait a day or so between muddings. You also sand any rough parts down at the very end of the process. We had a nice sander with an extension to do the job. As you can see the ceiling is looking nice and smooth here.
 Later this week we'll show how to texture the ceiling too, but for now we're enjoying our newly sheet rocked back room. Oh, and having a white ceiling up makes the room seem so much brighter! Things are really starting to move along.

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