Walls Around My Heart: Plywood and Sheetrock

For a long while now we have been walking through a house of framed 2×4 and 2×6 walls. All of a sudden it seems, there are true walls and the rooms begin to take shape. The change is dramatic. While there is still a day or so of drywall hanging work to do, most of the house’s walls have been placed.

When we ordered the kit from Timberline Geodesics, we opted to get the pre-cut interior plywood panels for the inside of the dome surface. We figured that most drywall contractors would run the other way when faced with the prospect of cutting sheetrock to fit all those triangles. We weren’t sure how exactly they would look when the panels were installed, and were nervous there would be larger gaps. Gaps that we would have to cover with trim.

Thankfully, the plywood installation went very smoothly. There are only about three gaps bigger than 1/4 inch and most are 1/8 inch or flush. This means we’ll be able to address the seams with caulk and just paint over with no need for trim except in the places where the riser wall meets the dome and where the extensions meet the dome. These two areas are where the drywall will meet plywood not at 90 degrees.

The one thing I would say is that the size of our dome (45′ diameter) makes the plywood panels in four pieces per triangle. I assume that for smaller diameter domes they would have been able to cut the plywood out of sheets so that only two pieces would be needed per triangle. If we had planned on keeping the wood look it would have definitely been a cleaner, more polished look with fewer pieces per triangle. We planned on painting it from the beginning, so it isn’t an issue for us.

All of the vertical wall surfaces are being covered with drywall. The speed with which the hanging crew has gotten it done is just astounding. We are planning on finishing the basement after we move in, and I am sure we will be several times slower when we are hanging it up! The railing on the second floor balcony also had to be removed and reinstalled with 2×6’s and bolted through the floor to the joists below. These changes were because the railing is quite long and it needed a lot of reinforcement. It is supremely sturdy now.

The next step in finishing the walls will be taping and mudding the drywall, which will begin in the next few days after the hangers finish the rest of their work.

The other check box that got ticked recently is that the outside brick finally got finished. There were a couple of adaptations that were needed where the bricklayers had to cut some bricks to fit under the sills in the extensions and some backs of bricks to cover where the riser wall stuck out slightly under the dining room window. Overall they did a fabulous, fabulous job and we are very happy with how the brick turned out.

They haven’t acid washed the brick to remove excess mortar from the faces, because we still have to decide if we are going to do a German smear on the face or not. If we are, acid washing is unnecessary, and if we decide against it, we can always clean up the brick later.

Site clean up is next on our list, a weekend of rain and snow delaying it a little bit. Hopefully we will have the rest of the site work starting soon, the septic field and getting the water line from the well to the house.


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