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Construction Week 2, Day 8

Today, I spent part of the day with more of the same – framing the outside walls. I didn’t work on the basement on Thursday because of the BYU football game, and yesterday I just took a break from doing anything. As today is Saturday, my wife teaches in the morning at UVSC so I didn’t end up starting until after 2:00 p.m. I was able to finish framing the outside walls for the office. The next room that I need to frame up is the storage area – I have to do those walls before I can start on the rest of the inside walls.

As you may remember, the first day, I had moved all our stuff into the storage area to protect it from concrete dust. This means that in order to put up the framing, I had to move everything out again. It took me a while but I finally got things moved. I then had to figure out exactly where to put the walls. There are pipes and ductwork that stick down from the ceiling in this area so I needed be careful where I put the walls. After figuring all that out and getting the area prepared, I only had time to install two wall sections: one across the back and a 12-foot section along the side. I won’t even take time to show a picture of them – I hope to have the rest of this area finished on Monday (it will be Labor Day so I can work on this all day). I’ll show a picture of the finished product at that time.

Day 9

I spent the morning and afternoon framing the rest of the storage area. I am definitely getting faster at this framing stuff – just in time to be finishing up. Like the old saying "knowledge is something you don’t get until after you need it." There were a few tricky things that I had to consider in this storage area.

The main complication is because the joists run perpendicular to this long, narrow area. This forces entities like water/drainage lines and ductwork to hang underneath the joists. Obviously those could not be run through the joists without compromising stability. However, it presents a challenge because I must frame around them. Not only do I have to carefully measure these special areas but it takes much longer to frame them.

Here’s are pictures of the framing around the ductwork, one from each end.

Another obstacle was the drainage pipe that comes from the washing machine and powder room up on the main level. This is a rather large pipe and it comes down into the middle of the storage area before going back, closer to the exterior wall. I decided to just frame around this bend. When I go to put the drywall up, I’ll just let this small section of pipe protrude below the ceiling (heck, it’s just a storage area). I’ll already lose enough ceiling due to the ductwork and I don’t want to lose more. This picture shows how the drainage pipe drops below, then snakes behind my newly built wall.

Because this drainage pipe runs perpendicular to (and underneath) the joists, I had to pull the wall away from the exterior concrete wall – otherwise I would not be able to anchor this wall section to the joists. I didn’t want to build the whole interior wall that far away from the exterior concrete wall. Perhaps this was a mistake, but this area is already narrow and a few inches does make a difference. So I just offset this wall section from the adjacent wall sections. These pictures show how this wall section is offset from the other sections.

As the old saying goes, "when it rains, it pours". This wall section in front of the drainage pipe ended up being the most troublesome of all the sections I’ve done so far. After I had built this wall section and put it up in front of the drainage pipe, I found one more problem. One of the studs ran right in front of the drainage pipe at the location where it turned down into the basement floor. Of course, this pipe has a "cleanout" that must not be blocked. Therefore, I had to cut the stud and then fasten the two pieces together using another scrap piece (I have plenty of scrap! I’ve been through 136 studs but most scrap pieces are 4 inches long or less). Fortunately, I had bought a "King Saw", which is extremely flexible but strong. I had that section removed in a matter of seconds.

I have now finished framing the storage area of the basement. I’ll probably have to put stuff back in here so that I can continue working on other parts of it. Let me tell you how fun it is to keep moving my storage around the basement! To make things complete, here are pictures of the finished storage area, at least as far as framing is concerned.

Day 10

I didn’t work on the basement yesterday and today is also not really a construction day. I left work a little late and I had to pick up a load of wood because I only had three studs left. Here’s a picture of what our van looks like when all the seats are out and it’s all loaded up.

I was a little annoyed by something at Home Depot – probably mostly because I was tired. So I wrote them a letter. The rest of this shows the letter I wrote (I took the dollar amounts out of this posted copy).

The Home Depot Store 4407
Attention: Str. Mgr. John Davison
535 S. Lindon Park Dr.
Lindon, UT 84042


To Mr. John Davison: I am what I would call a relatively high spending Home Depot customer. In the past 1.5 years since I purchased my first home, I have taken on a variety of projects, spending a lot of money at your store in Lindon, UT. Soon after my home purchase, I bought blinds, curtains, and utility shelving from Home Depot, costing around $XX. I have put in my own sprinkler system, for which I spent close to $XX on parts. I spent over $XX on materials to build a swingset for my children.

My current project is to finish my basement. I have already spent over $XX at Home Depot for materials to do this, including tonight's purchase of just over $XX. This brings me to the purpose of this letter. Tonight, I was extra tired and requested from the cashier that somebody help me load my materials into my van. The cashier responded politely and then seemed to talk with somebody. I was told to pull up outside the store and somebody would be with me shortly.

After waiting outside for a few minutes with nobody showing up, I decided to start loading the materials myself. I didn't want to return into the store, leaving my purchase out in the parking lot. I pulled up my van and started loading it. After about 15 minutes, I finally finished loading. It took me a long time because, as I already stated, I was very tired tonight and I had a lot to load (which is why I requested the assistance).

Now, you may be asking yourself why I am telling you this. Or you may already have guessed that I was somewhat perturbed with the lack of consideration; for to me as a customer, it seemed like I had been ignored as soon as I left the store. This is not what I would expect from a location that tries to pride itself on customer satisfaction and market itself to the home owner.

If I add the above numbers correctly, I have spent over $XX in the past year and a half. I don't think that there are many home owners who have spent this much money on home improvement projects in this time frame. I still need to purchase quite a few items before everything on my basement will be finished.

I figure I will still spend at least $XX more on materials for my basement. After that, I have other projects that will require the purchase of many materials. I plan to build a shed and a deck in my backyard, just to name two projects. However, I may just take my business elsewhere. After all, Lowe's is closer to my house than Home Depot and their prices are sure to be very comparable to yours.

Enclosed you will find a copy of my receipt from tonight so that you can see the veracity of my story. I have written this letter so that you could be aware of my experience this evening. Perhaps steps can be taken at the store to avoid this type of incident in the future. I do not wish to get anyone fired or anything but perhaps some discussion with employees would be warranted. You never know what may happen if too many customers get turned off, as I have been, by such experiences. I hope that this letter will improve the quality of the shopping experience for other Home Depot Customers. Best of luck in the future.

CC: The Home Depot, Attention: Consumer Affairs, 2455 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339

Well, that’s it. I don’t wish to make enemies but I will not hesitate to express my opinion in the form of a letter. I hope to get back to the actual basement work soon. 🙂

Day 11

Tonight, I got a late start, but I wanted to finish the exterior wall framing. I know I won’t be able to do anything tomorrow night because BYU has a football game.

This shows the last section that I framed. Now I can start framing the interior walls, which means I get to start roughing in doors. The doors have all been ordered but won’t be here for a couple of weeks because one was not in stock, and of course they want to deliver them all together. The bathtub/shower unit will also be delivered with the doors. This picture shows the final wall sections that I did tonight.

When framing a wall, one of the most important things is to get the entire length in line so that you don’t have bumps in the finished wall. Here’s a picture that shows the edge view of the long wall in what will be the TV room. Notice that there are no visible discontinuities along the entire length. This is how you want it to be done.

Day 12

Saturday again. Usually a day with lots of time to work. However, today is a little different. I have a lot going on from my wife’s teaching in the morning to a church meeting at night. However, I did have some time to do a couple of things. I framed the doorway leading from the hallway into the storage area. I won’t really go into details on framing a doorway – perhaps I’ll do that some other time. But this doorway had a couple of complications due to things sticking down from the joists. First, I had to notch one end because of some ductwork that was there. Second, I had to make a notch in the middle due to the water & gas lines that run under the joists (more on these later).

Here are two pictures of the doorway, one showing the entire wall section and the other showing the notch around the water/gas lines.

Now, back to the discussion on the water & gas lines. Together, these lines run almost the entire length of the house underneath the joists, from the office through the end of the storage area (the gas line stops one joist from the end of the storage area). I will need to drop the ceiling around these lines. I don’t want to drop the entire ceiling for two reasons. First, I want the ceiling as high as possible in as much of the basement as possible. Second, it will be easier for me to remember exactly where these lines are because the drop in the ceiling ends 2-3 inches from the end of the drop. This knowledge might be needed in the future – you never know.

In order to drop the ceiling, I am running two 2x2s parallel with these lines, one on either side of them. They are only 16 inches apart so they should hold the drywall sufficiently well. Here are a couple of pictures of these so that you can see how this works.

Day 13

I am running out of things to do before I get my delivery. The only walls that I have left are for the utility room, bathroom, and the one between the office and hallway. I also need the closet in the office. I need to do the office wall before I can do the closet, but I need the bathroom walls before I do the office wall. Of course, I don’t want to do the bathroom walls until the tub is here (which is being delivered). I may just have to take a break for a week or so until everything gets here (or I just might be able to start on the wiring in the TV room).

I did have something to do today. It took me quite some time, most of it measuring, thinking and measuring again. I put up one section of the framing around the main ductwork. This was a much larger "notch" in the ceiling and required

precise planning. The wall needed to fit between the existing wall studs and the existing joists. Some people don’t worry about framing this type of area (they just screw the drywall right into the ductwork). However, I want to have insulation between the ceiling and ductwork to cut out as much noise as possible so I need to frame it.

The framed wall section will hang from cross braces between the joists and rest on other cross braces between the wall studs of the main bearing wall. The following images show these cross braces in place.

Once the cross braces were hung, I built the main frame section on the floor and then lifted it into place. This is where very careful measurements were required because the studs in this frame could not hit either a joist or a bearing wall stud. After it was all put together, I had my wife help me lift it into place and…it fit perfectly. How nice.

Here are a couple of pictures of the finished section. The first is somewhat washed out because of the lightbulb. For the second picture, I turned off the light (unscrewed the bulb).

Well, there are a few more things that I can do before I get my doors and bathtub. However, don’t be surprised if I run out of things to do before too long. This will give me time to get a bid or two on the plumbing (I still haven’t decided whether or not I’ll tackle that myself). Maybe I’ll be able to update the log for day 3 finally.

Day 14

Clayton asked for more videos. I thought about what might be interesting to show. I decided to make a video showing how the stud driver works to drive nails into the concrete. Here is a picture of the Remington .22 calibur primers (called "power loads") and the nails that are used with the stud driver. Click on the image to show the video.

The builder framed two doorways into the main bearing wall, but I only need one of these. I didn’t want to just put drywall over the opening because there wouldn’t be anything to anchor the drywall. Therefore, I closed off the opening using a miniature wall. Here’s a picture showing both openings as framed by the builder.

I made a wall about four inches short of the header on the original door frame. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t this wall to hold any load. Second, in case a future owner decides to tear into this wall, it will be more clear that this is in fact just a false wall inside a framed doorway and can be removed without any problems. Here’s a picture of the finished framing inside the doorway.

Something else I needed to do was to add a block under the top plate of some of my walls so that the drywall will be able to attach to it. This is required where the top plate is even with the joists, such as when the wall is parallel with a joist or where I had to drop the ceiling around the water/gas lines (see the page the other day). The following pictures show before and after at one of these locations.

These small blocks do not really have to hold any weight – the majority of the drywall weight will be held by the vertical studs. These blocks just keep the drywall from moving horizontally into the open space if someone presses against the finished wall.

Continue to Week 3 – Adding a Bathroom in the Basement



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