Patrick's Barn: Time for Drywall - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


Patrick's Barn: Time for Drywall

comments (2) January 29th, 2013 in Blogs
patrick_mccombe Patrick McCombe, Associate editor

The boom truck has to be one of our civilizations greatest accomplishments. Once the truck was in position, the driver and his helper had the building stocked in about 20 minutes. When I offered to help, they politely declined. I guess I look a little too much like the pencil-necked editor that I am. The fee for the boom service was $75. The bill for the delivery, 70 sheets of drywall, and the finishing supplies came to $1500.
This is my new Harbor Freight drywall lift. I had never been in a HF store. I was really surprised at how many different products they had there. Some of the stuff looked pretty mediocre, but much of it looked okay. The lift was $200. I think it was a pretty good buy when you consider that renting one from the home center costs $35 per day or $140 per week.
This is one of the lifts more-annoying features. The safety is meant to prevent the lift from crashing down on your head--which is good, right? Unfortunately, it takes three hands to lower the lift: one to work the brake, one to hold the safety, and another to turn the lift wheel. Working alone, I used my knee to work the brake. I tolerated this annoyance for two panels before I disconnected the springs that engage the safety. Now it works great.
I finished the rough wiring shortly before the holidays. All of the upstairs wiring is tucked behind the walls. Some downstairs wiring will be run in conduit on the outside of the drywall for greater flexibility as the space evolves and changes. I really like neat wiring, despite my generally impatient nature.
This is the barns 100-amp subpanel. You may remember when I dug the trench for the electric. The blue wire is Cat 6 cable for our home network. Its run in a separate conduit. One of the complications of pole-barn construction is the lack of stud cavities for wire and mechanicals, which is why some wiring will be installed later in EMT.
The boom truck has to be one of our civilizations greatest accomplishments. Once the truck was in position, the driver and his helper had the building stocked in about 20 minutes. When I offered to help, they politely declined. I guess I look a little too much like the pencil-necked editor that I am. The fee for the boom service was $75. The bill for the delivery, 70 sheets of drywall, and the finishing supplies came to $1500.Click To Enlarge

The boom truck has to be one of our civilization's greatest accomplishments. Once the truck was in position, the driver and his helper had the building stocked in about 20 minutes. When I offered to help, they politely declined. I guess I look a little too much like the pencil-necked editor that I am. The fee for the boom service was $75. The bill for the delivery, 70 sheets of drywall, and the finishing supplies came to $1500.


About this time three weeks ago, I was joyously circling the Fine Homebuilding offices describing my imminent drywall delivery. One of my exasperated coworkers finally said to me, "I've never met anybody who gets so excited about drywall."

The truth is, I really do get excited about drywall, especially since this signals a whole new phase of construction for our workshop/studio barn. It's been a long journey, and although there's still plenty to do, I can see the faintest light at the end of the tunnel.

The other exciting aspect of drywall is the opportunity to buy a new tool--a really big one, in fact. After researching what it would cost to rent a drywall lift, I decided to buy one for this project. I figured I could sell it when I was done. (I have a poor track record when it comes to selling tools, however, which is part of the reason I now need a barn-sized workshop.)

The drywall lift is a Chinese knockoff of the ones used by pro drywallers for decades. The pro-quality rigs cost more than $600, so I pulled the trigger on this model from Harbor Freight, which I found on sale for $200. The rig comes in three pieces for transport and goes together without tools. The fit and finish is surprisingly good, but it does have a couple of quirks that better versions don't have. The first is the annoying safety brake that has to be held out of the way the whole time you're lowering the hoist.

The wheel is also a little tougher to turn than the wheel on the pro-grade lifts I've used. But so far, the tool has worked exactly as advertised. I just finished hanging the sheets in the barn's smallest room, where the woodstove will ultimately go. My hope is to get that space taped and finished so that I can hook up the stove. It will be great to use up some of the cordwood and scraps I've been accumulating since we started our project more than two years ago.

You can read more about my barn here.



posted in: Blogs, patrick's barn

Comments (2)

patrick_mccombe patrick_mccombe writes: Thanks for the comment, Renosteinke. Yes you're right, my barn will never be a place for livestock-I hope. The plan is to make it real living space as money and time permit. Our house is tiny (800 sf), so the barn is meant to be place for projects and making a mess. Maybe someday the upstairs will be a guest suite.
Posted: 10:08 am on February 8th

renosteinke renosteinke writes: Glad to hear you've reached this milestone!

First, I'd question the use of drywall in any barn - though, I suspect this 'barn' will never see any animal besides the family cat :)

This is a good opportunity to mention other alternatives folks might consider:
-The first would be 'abuse resistant' drywall. Much tougher to punch holes in;
-Then there are the various tile-underlay products, that are both harder than drywall and more water resistant; finally,
-There's the idea of covering the drywall with FRP. Those are the pebble-textures "plastic" panels often found in restaurants and commercial bathrooms.

I will, in a few years, be ready to rock my house. I look forward to a detailed review of the HF lift. I'll be hanging solo, so a lift is essential.
Posted: 11:25 am on January 31st

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