I know you’ve all been patiently awaiting another Millie’s Remodel update and today I have just that for you! Come see the drywall installation (one of my favorite phases in construction) and find out how I’m dealing with critters in the attic.

Millie's Remodel: Drywall Update and Critters

Millie’s Remodel: Drywall & Critters

I’m excited to share the next Millie’s Remodel update. If you can’t wait to see inside, scroll to the bottom of this article and take the video tour. In the last update, I shared progress in the framing, plumbing, and electrical department. Luckily, the inspection passed after one minor change. I got very lucky on this project and had one multi-trade inspector who was willing to let me send him a picture of the one item he asked for once it was complete. Because we were able to do that, he passed us that same day.

Like most permitted home construction projects, it’s important to pass inspections for your rough-ins (plumbing, electrical, and HVAC) while the walls are open. You also need to have insulation installed as long as it allows the inspector to be able to see the plumbing and electrical.

angled view of new electrical sub panel and view down hallway

My electrician ran into a snag requiring a little more demolition. But it was no big deal. I grabbed my favorite demo tool, a flat shovel, and removed the section of the wall he needed to get into. Of all the tools I’ve tried, I love how the flat shovel slides into the side of the drywall and can press on the opposite wall for leverage without worrying about ripping a hole in the other wall. Once the wall was opened, my electrician was able to remove the old wiring and add a new box for the switches.

Pocket Door Installation:

While my electrician worked on wiring the switches, I installed the pocket door hardware in the laundry room/powder room. The instructions for this thing are horrible, so it took me a little longer than expected. Maybe I should offer to re-write the instructions for them, what do you think?

Pretty Handy Girl installing pocket door kit

Before the drywall stage, I take pictures and/or videos to refer back to when I’m trying to find the studs. In the kitchen, I made the smart decision to write measurements from the wall on the studs and blocking. Then I could refer back to these notes in the video when it comes time to hang the open shelving.

Once the drywall installers arrived, the house started to feel a bit crowded, so I headed up into the attic to take care of the critter problem we had.

During the inspection, we found a lot of animal feces in the attic. I’m not talking about little mouse droppings (although I’m sure there were plenty of those in the insulation), I’m talking large animal feces like a raccoon or possum would leave behind. I found many holes in the attic and in the crawlspace. I think the interior wall between the bathroom and the kitchen was a rodent highway. The chimney also didn’t have a cap on it, so I added one in case the animals were getting inside there.

The last spot where animals could get into the attic was along the gable ends through the attic louvered vents. To keep birds and bats from flying into the attic, I installed hard cloth mesh inside the vents.

Here are some spots to look for critter entrances:

  • Rotted siding or trim boards
  • Gaps around plumbing pipes
  • No cap on your chimney
  • Louver vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Attic vents without hard cloth mesh
  • Gaps in the crawlspace or attic framing

Purple Drywall:

In the bathroom and kitchens, I had my drywall contractor install Purple drywall to avoid mold issues in the future if there ever is a water leak. Click here to learn more about how purple drywall works to prevent mold.

Speaking of preventing mold and water intrusion, the area around the tub will receive Kerdi waterproof boards in the future. I can’t wait to show you how this product works. I love working with it.

Closet to Pantry conversion:

In the narrow hallway across from the kitchen was a coat closet, but I felt it would work better as a pantry. You can watch in the video to see how I added melamine shelving in the closet to make it function as a pantry.

Goodbye Popcorn Ceilings:

I knew I wanted to get rid of the popcorn texture on the ceilings, so I tested it for asbestos. The popcorn came back negative, but the joint compound did have a small percentage of asbestos. Rather than risk disturbing the joint compound, we decided to cover it with a layer of drywall. This was such a quick and easy solution I will definitely do this again to cover popcorn. Once the drywall was up and primed, it was remarkable how much brighter the rooms were. Did you know popcorn ceilings make rooms a little darker because the light can’t reflect as easily off a textured ceiling? The new drywall and priming all the walls took care of most of the funky odors in the house.

Improved Floorplan:

The biggest change in the look of the house is the open concept kitchen. During demolition, I removed the corner walls in the kitchen to open the floor plan. With the drywall installed, I can really get a feel for how the kitchen and living spaces will function.

millies-remodel-floor-plan-before

Speaking about function, the new laundry/powder room will be a much more functional room. You may remember the house only had one bathroom, and the laundry room was only accessible from outside the house. The exterior door was removed and a transom window installed to allow some light into the room. I installed the pocket door to maintain enough space for a toilet and a sink creating a much needed second bathroom. Unfortunately, neither bathroom is useable right now. Instead, I have a port-a-potty in front of the house that is used by my subcontractors and several passersby (including the mailman who uses it everyday.) I will be so happy to get rid of it and have a toilet inside the house to use!

Exterior Updates:

Outside the house has changed considerably now that my siding contractor has removed the vinyl siding to reveal the original wood siding. I have plans to paint the entire house, but for now, let’s keep going.

removed-old-siding to reveal wood siding white and brick front house

In the backyard, I have plans to try to move the ugly shed to the back of the lot, but honestly, I’m not sure it will survive the move. It’s really not built well.

Ready to take the video tour?

That’s it for the update. I’ll be back soon with another progress update. Have a great week!

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Saving Etta Update Drywall Soundproofing

Saving Etta: Drywall Update + Reducing Sound in the Master Bedroom

One of the biggest progress milestones (besides the framing stage) in building a house happens at the drywall installation. This is the point where the structure starts to really feel like a house. This is also the point where the flow in the house becomes apparent. It also sucks not being able to walk through walls anymore. (Ghosts have it made, I tell ya!)

But seeing the drywall go up felt like a monumental step. I’m excited to show you this progress update and explain all the different types of drywall we installed. You may remember that Ask For Purple (a National Gypsum line of products) is a Saving Etta sponsor. And you might remember learning How Drywall is Made and What is Purple Drywall. Now I get to share with you the perfect spots for all those different types of drywall.

Purple XP® – We installed Purple XP® in the kitchen, all three bathrooms, and the laundry room. Any room that had water pipes were going to get this mold and mildew resistant drywall. I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to get rid of regular drywall in rooms that have a lot of moisture and/or water.

purple drywall in master shower
Master Bathroom

 

purple drywall in the shared bathroomShared Downstairs Bathroom

 

purple drywall in bathroomUpstairs Bathroom

 

laundry roomLaundry Room

kitchen purple drywallKitchen

(After this picture was taken, I asked my drywall contractors to tear out the two lower sections of regular drywall and use Purple XP drywall on the entire lower portion of the kitchen. After I explained to them why, they were happy to make the swap.)

 

Hi-Abuse XP® – This drywall was installed in the mudroom and the stairways because it is more resistant to scuffs and scratches. We all know entryways and stairways get the most abuse in a home. Hopefully the new homeowners will appreciate a stronger drywall in these areas.

hi-abuse drywall in mudroomMudroom

hi-abuse purple drywall

hi-Abuse drywall on stairwayStairway

Hi-Impact® XP® – The stairway is one spot I wish I had installed this strong impact resistant drywall. Little did I know that one of my carpenters was going to lose his grip on a big sheet of masonite as he carried it up the stairs. Unfortunately it left a big gash in the stairway wall. Oh well, we’ll patch it before painting. Normally the Hi-Impact wall board is made for garages, locker rooms, rec rooms, or anywhere holes are more likely to happen. For my next build, I’ll consider installing Hi-Impact in the stairways and behind doors (where door knobs frequently puncture the wall.)

SoundBreak® XP® – This is the innovative drywall product I’m most excited to share with you. SoundBreak is designed to absorb and dissipate sound between rooms and spaces. During construction, you can take measures to reduce sound transmission between rooms.

Below you can see the two layers in the SoundBreak XP sheets. They are separated by a polymer material specifically designed to absorb and reduce sound.

soundbreak purple drywall

I knew this would be an important product to use between the living room (with its tall ceilings) and the master bedroom. Anyone who has a house with tall ceilings knows that sound can bounce and magnify in these type of rooms. I wanted to make sure the new owners could rest easy when one person stayed up late watching Netflix and the other wanted to go to bed. Maybe SoundBreak needs to be marketed as a marriage saving product. LOL!

How to Install Purple XP SoundBreak for Maximum Sound Reduction:

Before installing the SoundBreak drywall, the wall has to be prepped for maximum noise reduction. To start, install insulation in the wall separating these two spaces. Don’t forget to add insulation up against the header joists and any spots that are open to the adjacent room. (You might want to leave a little note for your drywall installers to make sure they install the SoundBreak drywall on the correct walls.)

soundbreak sticky note

Now it’s time to add acoustic putty pads (affiliate link) to all the light switch and outlet boxes on this shared wall. I created a video to show you how to install the putty pads and finish prepping the walls before hanging the SoundBreak XP drywall.

Following these tips will help control the sound transference between two adjoining rooms. Hopefully the homeowners will appreciate the extra measures I’ve taken to give them a better night’s sleep.

three guys installing purple drywallInstalling the SoundBreak XP Sheets

SoundBreak drywall on master bedroom wall

Master Bedroom

I can’t wait to install the doors to hear how much of a difference the SoundBreak makes in this bedroom!

SoundBreak XP Retrofit® – For anyone who is upset that their home builder didn’t use SoundBreak XP, I have good news for you! There is a solution to your woes. You can add SoundBreak XP Retrofit to your existing walls and reduce the sound transference.

Gold Bond® Gypsum Board – I’m not going to lie, there is an added cost to using the specialty purple drywall. Therefore, non-water, non-traffic heavy, and non-noise sensitive rooms received Gold Bond Gypsum drywall to be easier on my budget.

drywall installed in living roomLiving Room as seen from the Kitchen

drywall installed in hallwayFront Foyer

drywall installed in the bedroomNorth Bedroom

I hope you enjoyed this Saving Etta update. Things are really moving along at the house. I’ll try to get you another update soon, but honestly we’re in major crunch time right now. I’m going to attempt to list the house before Thanksgiving. If you live in the local area (or don’t mind making the trip) I’m planning an open house style home tour that will be open to the public on Saturday, November 17th. I’ll be sure to share more details as soon as I have them.

In the meantime, have some patience with me until I can post the remaining updates for the Saving Etta project.

Drywall Update + Reducing Sound in the Master Bedroom

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for National Gypsum and Ask for Purple. I was provided with some complimentary products to use in the Saving Etta house. I was not told what to say, all opinions are my own. As always I only work with brands that I would use myself.

how-to-finish-drywall_seams

Finishing drywall seams has been compared to frosting a cake. But, as anyone knows, the first time you frost a cake, it doesn’t usually come out Cake Boss worthy. I figured it would be helpful if I gave you a few tips and tricks to get you on the fast track to learning how to finish a sheetrock joint like a pro.

As you might remember, we had to tear down our kitchen walls after we found termite damage inside. In all honesty, although it was a set back, I am really glad that we discovered it before we finished the kitchen.

I’m also thankful that Waste Management offered to set me up with one of those low profile Bagster® Bags. It was spacious enough to hold ALL of our construction debris.

full_bagster

 

I seriously think a little boy lives inside me because I could watch this all day.

bagster_pick_up_photos

(You can watch a video of a Bagster® Bag being hoisted in the air here.)

 

 

Now that the debris is gone, it’s time to focus on the task of finishing those drywall seams.

drywall_seams_around_window

Materials:

materials_for_drywall_finishing

  • Joint Compound
  • Mud Pan (at least 12″)
  • 4″, 6″ and 12″ taping knives – (You might need a 3 or 4 inch one if you have to dig compound out of the bucket.)
  • Drywall joint tape
  • Scissors
  • Sanding sponge
  • Damp rag

Instructions:

First fill all the screw impressions. Read more about installing drywall and the perfect screw depth here.

spackle_screw_heads

Use a small taping knife and spread just enough joint compound to fill in the hole impression. Scrape off any excess.

Handsome_guy_spackling
To show you the proper technique for finishing those seams, I made a short video (if you can’t view the video below, click here.)


I hope that helped you learn how to finish drywall seams like a pro! Just remember, it might take a little practice, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. 😉

Have a great weekend!

PHGFancySign

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Waste Management partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge.  As part of this program, I received compensation to cover the cost of the Bagster bag and pick-up as well as my time.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. Waste Management believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Waste Management’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. A winner will be chosen by random and voucher fulfillment will be handled by a third party.

Photo courtesy of Grotuk via Creative Commons

Today’s regularly scheduled post has been interrupted by a leak in our laundry room.

I hope my misfortune is your gain. These are the things I’ve learned about burst pipes, polybutylene pipes and mold. If you are a homeowner, soon-to-be a homeowner or even if you rent, this post is for you! Read more

How often have you removed a screw, accidentally dented your drywall, or had a hole that couldn’t hold a screw anymore? And, how long has that hole stared glaringly at you? Let’s talk about repairing holes.

Today, I will empower you to fix that hole! Or give you the tips and tutorial to handle that future hole.

A month ago, you probably saw this post on turning a closet into a reading nook. I removed the closet doors and needed to patch the screw holes left behind.

Repairing Holes

Patching small holes in wood (or drywall):

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

1. Use your putty knife or utility knife to scrape off or cut away any edges of the hole that are not flush with the wall or trim.

2. Put a small amount of putty (or spackle) on your putty knife.

3. Push the putty (or spackle) firmly into the hole as you slide the knife over the hole.

4. Scrape the excess off the surface.

5. Use the damp rag to wipe excess putty (or spackle) off.

6. Wait for putty (or spackle) to dry, and sand smooth.

On the same project, my three year old had nearly pulled the tie backs out of the door casing, leaving two stripped holes. I wanted to hang the tie back up in the same location, so I had to repair the holes and leave it strong enough to hold up to a 3 yr. old!

How to fix a stripped hole in wood:

Materials:
Toothpicks
Wood glue
Damp rag
Hand saw
Sandpaper

1. Dry fit toothpicks so they are snug in the hole.

2. Remove toothpicks in one bunch and add glue to the tips of the toothpicks and more glue in the hole.

3. Push the toothpicks firmly into the hole.

4. Wipe any excess glue up immediately.

5. When the wood glue dries, saw off the toothpicks as close to the hole as possible (without damaging your trim.)

6. Use the sandpaper to smooth the toothpicks flush with the wood.

7. Follow up with putty if necessary for cosmetic appearance. (You can use the above directions for patching a small hole.)

Yesterday I showed you the transformation of a curbside chair named Daisy. She had a few holes that needed filling where I had removed the spindles.

How to fill a hole in wood (non-structural):

Materials:
Wood Putty
Putty Knife
Damp rag
Sandpaper

1. Clean out hole of any dirt or debris.

2. Roll wood putty in hand to fit in hole.

3. Insert putty in hole and then push it in using a pencil or similar blunt object.

4. Continue filling the hole until you are almost flush with the top.

5. Use your putty knive to apply final topping of putty.

6. Wipe excess off with damp rag and create a flush top with the surrounding wood.

7. Putty will shrink slightly when dry, so you may need to add another top layer of putty.

8. Once putty is thoroughly dry, sand it smooth.

Also in the transformation of a curbside chair named Daisy, I had to add new finials to the top.

 

How to fix a slightly larger hole in wood (that needs to be structurally sound):

Materials:
Wooden peg (to size of hole)
Gorilla glue
Wet rag
Hand saw

Sandpaper

1. Dry fit wooden peg so that it fits snug in the hole.

2. Remove peg and dampen inside of the hole.

3. Squeeze in a small amount of Gorilla glue (this glue will expand as it cures.) And insert peg back into hole.

4. Wipe any excess glue up immediately.

5. Clamp peg in place until Gorilla glue is dry.

6. After the glue dries, saw off the top of the peg as close to the hole as possible.

7. Use the sandpaper to smooth the peg flush with the wood.

Screwing into repaired hole:

1. Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw you are using.

2. Predrill your hole.

3. Screw in your screw (or in my case, the finial).

Also, during the making of the closet turned into a reading nook. I accidentally knocked a hole in the drywall. The hole was too big for just spackle.

Repairing larger drywall holes (up to 3 inches):

Materials:
Joint compound
6″ taping knife
Utility knife
Webbed tape (or webbed patch kit)
Sandpaper

1. Use your putty knife or utility knife to scrape off or cut away any edges of the hole that are not flush with the wall or trim.

2. Adhere webbing over the hole.

3. Put a small amount of joint compound on your taping knife and push the compound gently into the hole as you slide the knife over the webbing.

4. Extend the compound beyond the taping.

5. Scrape the excess off the surface.

6. Wait for compound to dry and add another layer. Your goal is to have a smooth layer on top that hides the webbing and bumps out ever so slightly above your wall surface.

7. Use damp rag to wipe excess compound off and to smooth any visible edges.

8. Again, wait for compound to dry, and sand smooth so the patch is flush with the wall.

9. The best way to paint over a larger patch job is to use a paint roller and paint at least 2 thin layers of matching wall paint over the repair area.

Repairing holes is easier than it sounds. If you have larger holes or need more information on patching drywall holes, check out this video tutorial.