Screwing up

We have taken a big step in one of our long-term projects to make the basement nicer and more finished. We’re not aiming at having a proper “finished basement” that we could use as living space, but we want to turn it into something cleaner and nicer for storage and a cool place we can retreat to in the hottest days of summer. We have now accomplished one of the most challenging parts of the whole plan: putting up a ceiling.  The old ceiling was just joists with exposed insulation and wiring and pipes. We decided to cover it with light plywood. Last month we rented a van and loaded up with wood at one of the big home improvement stores.

I claimed this project for myself. I had the feeling that if we tried to work together on this we would just get in each other’s way and on each other’s nerves (like trying to hang wallpaper together, for those who know that story). I used some wood scraps from previous projects to make a frame for holding a piece of plywood up near the ceiling while I worked on it, which freed up my hands and made it a job that could be done solo.

My handy-dandy frame. You can see the ugly old ceiling in the background with all the exposed pink insulation.

Even so, it wasn’t easy. Putting up a plywood ceiling meant a lot of screwing up, in both senses of the word. I haven’t done anything like this before, so there was a lot f trial and error involved in figuring out how to make everything fit in a way that gave us a nice clean ceiling while still making room for all the pipes and wires and light fixtures and so on. Often the most annoying part of the work was how the screws kept falling from my grip as I tried to screw straight up through the plywood into the joists.

Me, working on putting up a plywood panel. We found 4’x4′ panels which were much easier to handle solo than the usual 4’x8′ variety.

It took four solid days of work to finish and there is still little patching up to do, but the results are very satisfying.

The new ceiling. You can see that there are places that still need work, but it is a great improvement.


2 Responses to “Screwing up”

  1. KHJ Says:

    Your panel-support frame reminds me of a similar rig or jig that Dad built when he was working on the front hall at the old house. Do you remember that?

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