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Interior non-load bearing wall construction over Delta barrier

If you hate long posts, this is one to stay away from, but if not… I just started this project, and will be posting progress pictures as I go along. We're basically converting an old garage area (our house has a garage that was built onto the front of the original garage by the previous owners to make a game room)into two rooms for two of our kids, one room to use as a pantry (child #4 is on the way) because, though our refrigerator is really good, two of the kids are teens, and I hear the theme from 'Jaws' any time they walk into the kitchen. There's no room in the kitchen, and we really can't afford to build on, since we're also putting on a roof (or having it put on - I have helped with and/or done five roofs, and decided that there's a reason that professionals exist in that industry - they are not as apt to falling off as I am).

At any rate, the first step I did was that I took out the carpet and the padding. They had just put the foam padding directly onto the concrete, then the carpet down on it, and given the evidence that I saw (or didn't see, depending) it's a safe assumption that the concrete does not have any substantial water or other problems. Regardless, I felt it was a good idea to pretend that there was a slight problem, just in case, and I looked at a couple of different products, one in prefprmed squares of chipboard with the plastic elevation/barrier system on them, and the other the dimpled material in rolls to lay underneath the substrate.

I found an odd thing when I was removing the trim to prepare for getting the carpet up. The trim was actually the foam trim that I've seen around. I'm a wood guy, so I'd never tried anything with it, but I can say it looked okay. I don't think it's something that you want to use with kids around, though, because it's also extremely brittle (probably from the aging process - I think it's supposed to be supple when it first goes on). It was a surprise to me when I hit it with the screwdriver the first time, becuse instead of that familiar, begrudging give you feel when you start to peel off wood, the trim just shattered. It was then that I found the first mystery, because the trim was nailed every three inches, all along the 23' x 19' walls! I have no idea why you'd need to nail trim, especially foam trim, that much, but I can say that the time I saved by having it be foam instead of wood was definitely lost during the nail pulling process.

Step #2 was the tedious process of measuring and marking out the room. I gave the best efforts I could to using my Christmas present - a laser measuring tape - but I kept getting a reading of 34 feet for a dimension that was clearly only about 10'. More on that in step 3, but I finally wound up having to use ye olde tape measure #4 of a total of 4 that I've purchased. As a side note for anyone who doesn't have kids, THIS is the reason that family handypersons have to buy multiples of so many of your tools - when you have kids, your first couple of tape measures, your jeweler's screwdrivers, ESPECIALLY your chalk line... all these things disappear. If you ever read the Family Circus comic, 'Nobody' is a very real person. As a side benefit, the chalk line does make really cool looking wall art... as long as you're 8 and hoping cuteness gets you off the hook!

Step 3 was putting up the headers. This is where the oddly expanding room measurement gets cleared up. When I went to snap the lines for the headers earlier, and there were some places in the ceiling that were so wavy that the line didn't even get chalk on them! Apparently, this waviness was fooling my high-tech measuring tool, and though I have no idea why someone would put up a ceiling that messed up (I'm not talking the slight imperfections that come from taping off and sanding - I'm talking almost an inch and-a-quater in some places), I do know the fix - a new ceiling. Maybe when the kids move out...

I had taken my oldest daughter with me to the store to get the 2x4s, and had shown her how to eyeball the boards to get them as straight as possible, and so I know that all the boards are as straight as pine 2x4s get, yet putting them up to the ceiling, there were some gaps that just weren't able to be covered. The headers hung securely, so it looks like the trim at the top will be important for the rooms now.

Step 4 is where I currently am, and I can best describe it as being the griller’s dilemma. If you’ve ever grilled out, you’ve been struck by the phenomenon of the hot dog count versus the bun count. Who knew that when you were learning how to find the least common multiple in middle school math class that you’d be using it to find out how many packages of hot dogs versus how many packages of buns (each has a different count) to get so that you’ll not have any of either left over? The same goes for rolled barrier versus sub-flooring. The rolls are 3’6” wide, while the sub-floor is 4’x 8’. Since I’m in a hurry to get the kids’ rooms done (did I mention #4 is due in October), I decided that I’d get those two rooms nailed down so that I can do the baby’s room next, then come back to finish the pantry and flop room in time for the football season (I have a 14 year-old son who plays noseguard and almost outweighs me – I’m still taller, though not by much – so you can imagine the copious amounts of food that are needed, and it only gets worse with every growth spurt).

I’m putting the kids’ rooms at 10’ x 10’, so you can see that the complexity has grown. I’m just putting down one floor, instead of anchoring so many different walls to the concrete and flooring in-between. A couple of the reasons are that I don’t want to risk having a gap in the barrier in case there is a water issue sometime in the future, it’s faster for both the installation and eventual teardown (I have dibs for my workshop deluxe when the kids move out), and I’m not crazy about putting holes into the solid, uncracked concrete floor that’s there. Knowing how my things normally go I’d start a chain reaction by driving anything into it. All that said, I had to lay down four lines of the barrier to be able to put down three pieces of sub-floor. As an important lesson here, let me just say that when trying to persuade the tongue and groove together (with glue in the groove, of course) make sure your aim is dead on. I had to patch a couple of places where my enthusiasm outpaced my aim, and that’s frustrating.

I did put down one section of footer, just so that my family could get a mental picture of where we are on this thing. I think I’ll post the pix tomorrow, assuming that tonight doesn’t go badly.

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