Monday, August 26, 2013

Why was that so hard?

This room of my Baltimore house has had it's drop ceiling torn out, wood panelling torn down, lath and plaster removed, carpet torn up, radiator pulled and drained, ceiling joists cut out, front wall reframed, new wiring and lights put in, and foam insulation sprayed in the front wall and under the roof.

The current plans for the ceiling involved raising it up to the underside of the roof. The problem with that plan is that the roof joists1 are lower in the middle of the room than they are in the middle. I don't mean they're sagging or bent. The way they were cut is uneven. The worst of the beams is 5 inches thicker at the middle of the beam than at the ends. If they were concave I wouldn't mind so much. There's great fun to be had with a concave ceiling. But a convex ceiling is another matter. It's just going to make you feel like things are closing in on you. I'd want to paint it like a giant eyeball. Maybe change my alarm clock to say "Prisoner Zero has escaped!"

So I started thinking about how to level out the beams.
I could cut away the beams until they were even, but that gives me the willies.
I could add spacers and build them down until they're even. Either fill in the whole way or just have a few blocks spaced apart. Then just make sure that when putting in dry wall that the screws were long enough to reach the roof joists. Or I could take this board that runs the whole length of the room, put it up against the roof joist, trace the line of the joist on to the beam, use a saw to cut away the excess, put the remainder of the board up to the joist and attach it. That's gonna take days to do all four joists, though.
Neither of these seems idea. So I call Yummy to act as a sound board. She's not there. Call my brother, Wattson, to use him as a sound board. After two hours of tossing ideas back and forth I realized something. We were making this WAY too complicated.
Why take that board back down after attaching it to the joist for tracing? Why not attach it to the side of the joist for good? OK, there's too much curve to the roof joists. How about we get some strong metal brackets to hang the board from the joists as closely as possible?  Why are we even discussing cutting the board up?

So that's what I did Saturday. I'd found a $350 drywall panel lifter on Craigslist for $45 the week before. I used it to lift the board into place, leveled them, and then attached them to brackets. It's a pretty good looking job.

Next weekend I should be able to get the drywall up

1 Joists are the horizontal boards that make the structure of a platform. Floor joists run under the floor. Ceiling joists run over the ceiling. Roof joists are what the roof sits on.

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