Nothing but drywall 02/13/2023

I'm getting really tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Feels like the drywall will never end. But yes, it will end. Just have to keep going. I'm getting really close, right as it is getting really annoying.

We had the inspector out about 6 weeks ago (here), thinking that I had done everything he required to get the power approved for hook up. He DID say to wire all the outlets, ground the disconnect box, and then he would approve the connection to the utilities. But when we came out in late December, suddenly, he didn't like the exposed wiring in between the logs. And he didn't think we were "30 days from moving in". While he was right about the second one, he never mentioned the first one before that day. So, what gives? I asked him.

The big problem, according to him, is that there's a risk that if he lets us have power now, we'll never call him for the final inspection.



Yes really. That's what he said. I was like, "um. You've been watching me build this thing for 6 years. Do you really think I'm some kind of a "flight risk"? I've poured literally blood into this project, and you think I'm just going to walk away 10 feet from the finish line? Seriously?" He claimed it's happened before. I was like, "why would anyone do that? They can't get an occupancy permit without a final inspection, but they have power - what are they doing - living there in secret?" He said they aren't living in those houses, they just walk away from them. And the city is left holding the bag. Bag of what, I don't know. How does it hurt the city more than the homeowner if they don't finish? Homeowner is the one paying the loan, right? Hundreds of thousands of $. City is only going to miss out of a couple hundred bucks of taxes every year - boo hoo! It doesn't make a lick of sense to me that this would happen enough that they have to make a rule for it. Nope.

But oh yes. So he wanted me to get within 30 days of finishing. To which I kindly explained "no can do." The manufacturer for the floors says the warranty is only valid if the flooring is installed in "conditioned space." And even then, you're supposed to let the floors "acclimatize" to the conditioned space for 2 weeks before you install it. So I'm supposed to get everything ready, turn on the power, wait 2 weeks for the floors to adjust, then I get 2 weeks to install 1600 sq ft of hardwood flooring, along with the tile that runs next to it, and then move in right after that?

Nope. So, we reached a compromise: I'll get the wiring hidden (by chinking in most places), get the bathrooms tiled, wired, and plumbing fixtures in place, along with the kitchen counters (which I still need to make), and all the drywall installed. Basically, I'll get it as done as I can without the power, then he'll let me have power and "bend the rules" on the 30 day limit for power, and let me take my time to finish the floors before the final inspection. I had one board upstairs that ran parallel to a log and it took me 3 days to get it to fit how I wanted. Some folks want to cover up mistakes with trim, but we want real quality, and that takes time, no matter who you hire. We have a lot of places where the hardwood flooring will run up parallel to a log, and we want it to really pop, and that will just have to go slow.

So, for now, I'm going to finish the drywall, completely. Inside and outside of all closets, spaces, hallways, bedrooms - the whole thing. Then move onto the HVAC system, which I can't seem to find ANY plenum here in Alabama for sale. The wholesalers won't sell it to me because I don't have a license. And I've been looking in the online classifieds for months for some used stuff - nobody in Alabama sells it. Must be a law against it or something. It's in every state around me - but I have to drive 2-3-10 hours to go get it. Met a few people at the hardware store that have licenses and will sell it to me, but I'm not ready to buy just yet.

And I need to finish the railing. But it's still too cold to paint the upright rebar pieces. And I don't feel like it's warm enough to chink just yet - still getting temps in the 20's, even though inside the cabin, it's never below 40. Sucks mixing that stuff up outside in the cold, so I'm going to wait a bit for some warmer weather.

Oh, the top photo - I came up with a plan for the drywall in between the ceiling joists:

  • two 4x8 drywall pieces installed on top of each other gets me within 3" of the joist (joists are 8'3" from the floor)
  • then a thin strip of 3" drywall with little tongues sticking up to meet the joist.
  • The space in between the bottom of the joist and the top of the large drywall pieces is a 2x4 that I need some space on for attaching the panels that go between the joists.

My part (installing the drywall) is the easy part. Wife's part is filling in the gaps and covering the joints. It is not fun at all, but she's doing an impressive job:

She fills the gaps between the drywall and the log with the hard powder mud that you mix yourself - can't even really sand it once it's in there, so she just uses it mostly as a base. Then comes back with the pre-mix stuff over the top, then spends hours sanding it and making it perfect as you can see here. Then she's going to paint it with a primer and then 2 coats of the finished color - filling in these meet-points with a small paint brush. Painter's tape won't work because the logs are just too bumpy (we already tried).

She's turning these free logs into a million dollar home, if you ask me. It's just outstanding what she's doing.