To drywall a room, you start with the ceilings and floors before the walls. I wanted to do the ceiling before the floor. Practically, I was worried that if we did the floor first, we might damage it while working on the ceiling. Emotionally, I like to get the hardest part of any project over with first.
And our ceiling was going to be hard. It's vaulted. There's a skylight and an unusual type of chandelier mount. And like everything else in our century-plus-old house, all the angles and joints are slightly and oddly off-kilter.
We tackled this project over Memorial Day weekend. And let me just tell you now, we really needed that extra day.
To even get started, we had to get the moisture-resistant (read: extra heavy) drywall from our carport all the way up to the second floor. And have I mentioned that the carport is up a hill from the house? And that we have 18 sheets of drywall?
I helped Brett get one sheet all the way upstairs, then promptly collapsed and had to take a nap. Miraculously, we were rescued by a friend with significantly more impressive muscle tone. (THANK YOU, MICHAEL! I owe you cookies, or whatever people without my flabby arms like to eat.)
Yet somehow, I assumed I'd be perfectly capable of holding these same pieces of drywall over my head, on an angle, for extended periods of time, with one hand, while screwing them into place. I've decided to chalk this up to my charming optimism rather than to total idiocy.
After measuring and cutting the first piece of drywall, it became clear very quickly that this was not going to work. We couldn't find anyone to help out on short notice. So we went to bed on Saturday behind on our work and feeling pretty crabby.
First thing Sunday morning, we called up Home Depot and rented a drywall lift.
I'd never seen a drywall lift before, but Brett has used them. It's a winch on wheels that lifts the drywall up, and then just holds it in place while you work. The one we rented was lightweight enough (about 100 lbs, and disassembled into 5 pieces) for us to get it upstairs easily, and it took less than five minutes to put it all together. So simple, but an absolute game-changer.
I won't say the rest of the project was completely without incident - we did still have to do a lot of recalculating as we found crooked areas or had to work around an obstacle, and in one particularly dramatic moment a piece of drywall fell on my head - but it went from impossible to about normal for us.
One particularly interesting part was how we worked around the skylight. I assumed we'd cut small pieces and frame around it. But instead, we put a solid sheet over that whole area of the ceiling and covered the skylight entirely. Then Brett went back in with a rotozip and cut out the opening. No seams. Slick!
Now, let the flooring begin...