The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Jim successfully rented the Drywall Panel Lift. This meant that I arrived home after work on Tuesday around 3:45ish and by 4:00, we were working on the drywall. Jim bought 10’ by 4’ pieces of drywall. We hoped the larger size would help minimize the amount of spaces between drywall panels. (One needs to spackle the spaces and sand them down to make it look like one seamless panel, which can be challenging at times) The larger pieces meant the panels were heavy and bulky when trying to lift them – both for the two of us and when they were on the panel lift. We started the drywall in one corner of the room where we did not tear down the existing drywall on the wall (sort of confusing, I don’t know how else to explain it). Due to that, we needed to try to get the drywall panel to rest on top of the panel already in place. The space available to squeeze the new drywall between the existing drywall and the beams in the ceiling was about the same width as the panel itself – this was not going to be easy.
Before we could attempt to squeeze the panel into place, we needed to measure out all the holes to be cut on the panel. Remember those wonderful light fixtures Jim and my dad added to the kitchen? Those seven recess lights and three hanging lights? Well all of those need to come through the drywall, so that meant holes in the drywall. Measuring and cutting out the holes took a lot of time. We had to be precise and there were a lot of them. Although the recess lights came with a circle shape to draw on the drywall to ensure a perfect circle, Jim forgot this existed until we had only two more recess light holes to cut. Therefore Jim became an expert hole drawer and cutter. Thank goodness I married an engineer.
With the first panel’s holes cut and ready to go, we lifted it and placed it on the lift. After a lot of struggling to get the panel squeezed into the small space between the drywall and beam, we realized this was not going to happen. We lowered the panel, took it off the lift and cut off just enough so it would line up perfectly with the existing drywall. Spackle would have to cover up anything that didn’t look seamless. Once we had it back in place – we finagled the light fixtures into the right holes and Jim screwed in the panel. 2 ½ hours later, our first panel was in. Yeah…that’s right, it took that long.
We worked until 10pm that night with a 20 minute break to eat pizza and watch a DVR’ed Jeopardy. We did well with all of the measuring for holes and only once were significantly (about ½ inch) off. We accomplished A LOT the first night. The only parts left were small enough that Jim and I could hold the pieces ourselves without the panel lift. After the first day, this is what we completed:
Jim returned the drywall panel lift the next day and once I returned home from work, we got back to drywall work. After the marathon day before, we decided to tackle only half of what was left. This involved 1 1/2 more recess light holes to cut out and two larger pieces. This is our work after the second day:
We finished the ceiling the following weekend right before we started drywalling the walls. Our biggest obstacle for the remaining section was that there was no beam to screw the panel into on both sides. The section that was left was about a foot wide and ran across almost the entire ceiling. After some attempts to make it work, Jim decided we needed to have 2’ by 4’s nailed in horizontally so we would have something to screw our panel into. This worked out well. Before we knew it, the ceiling was complete! Well – except for the whole spackle thing. In order to ensure the ceiling truly looks like one seamless panel, we plan to hire a contractor to do the spackling. Not so DIYer, but practical none-the-less.