Friday November 13, Thursday November 19, Friday December 11, Wednesday December 16
Give us a break
Most of the lining (both wall and ceiling) in 60k House is 9mm plywood. Ply was selected because it is durable, beautiful and I mistakenly believed it would be comparable in cost to finished plasterboard. As it turns out it has taken longer than anticipated to install the ply lining. I paid $45.10 per sheet of structural pine grade CD 2700x1200x9 plywood; 2400x1200x10 plasterboard was $16.90 per sheet, but then you have to finish it – tape, plaster, plaster again, sand and paint.
I wanted to break up the ply lining throughout with a break in material and decided to use plasterboard on the ‘rake’ (the angle part) of the ceiling. The decision to introduce some plasterboard for some of the lining was primarily an acoustic consideration – I don’t want inside the house to sound ‘tinny’ or ‘ringy’ from all of the hard surfaces (think trying to have a conversation in a trendy café). I have a decent stereo and want to be able to use it!
I intend to paint the plaster ceiling white and whitewash all of the ply lining – ceiling and walls – so the space is light and bright while still being able to see the timber grain and recognise the material.
As is the case with every change in material in 60k House we have incorporated a ‘release detail’ or shadow line between the different types of material. This shadow line in the ceiling is slightly exaggerated and will hopefully absorb some of the sound echoing around the space. There is no cornice at the wall and ceiling junction – just the shadow line.
We packed out the underside of the trusses to get the right depth, before fixing metal furring channel to support the plasterboard. After the furring channel was on we installed the ceiling insulation, applied some adhesive and screwed the sheets of plasterboard up. Once all of the plasterboard was on the ceiling the joints were taped and then plastered over – twice. The holes from the screws were also plastered twice. The remaining steps will be to apply an edge strip at the junction between the plaster ceiling and the ply wall, sand the plaster and then paint it.
I will attach some caneite around part of the walls – to act as a pinboard for sketches, notes and photos, while also providing some sound absorption. Depending how the space sounds once it is finished and furnished (furniture makes a big difference in a room) I might bring in a floor rug and am prepared to hang soft things from the ceiling to – but I’m hoping that shag-pile carpet on the walls and ceiling is a thing of the past and has been left in the 1970’s.
We got some measurements and Greg took the sheets back to his workshop to cut on the table saw; others were measured onsite and cut with a handsaw. Greg arised (tapered) the edges by hand with a hand plane (the old-school type – not an electric planer) in order to take the sharp edge off the sheet joint to allow some tolerance – if the sheets were left square and only slightly out of alignment then it would be obvious; by arising the edges it is less obvious if they are not perfect.
Keep me warm
In basic terms, insulation is a material to reduce transmission of heat or sounds, by lowering the conductivity. Insulation in buildings is to prevent or slow the transfer of heat – to stop hot air coming inside from the roof when it’s hot or to keep warm air inside and prevent it from escaping when it’s cold. The effectiveness of insulation is rated by its ‘R’ value – how much resistance it has. Batts are the most common form of bulk insulation and come in a range of thicknesses – the thicker the batt, the higher the R value and more effective it is in preventing heat transfer. In the ceiling we installed R 4.1 batts; in the walls R 2.5 batts.
Heed the warnings
I would describe installing batts as a ‘shit job’ – I have tended to do most of these kind of tasks in the building of 60k House. The batts used are recycled glass fibres – good in slowing the transfer of heat but not good to breathe down your throat and into your lungs. The manufacturers recommend using protective clothing – gloves to prevent tiny glass splinters and a dust mask to prevent inhaling them. I completely endorse the recommendation of safety equipment, and can testify you will have a sore throat and itchy skin if you don’t (I didn’t the first time and was coughing for a week after).
The ply ceiling went up relatively quickly – all it needs now is maybe a light sand and then a coat or two of white wash and that’s it – finished. The plasterboard still needs sanding and painting, but overall the ceiling is nearly done.
Costs: plywood – $586; plasterboard – $118; plaster & tape – $22; framing timber – $104; insulation – $396
Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.