Drywall Taping and Finishing

Redo Your Walls To Add R-value, Comfort, (And Style!)

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In the summer of 2004, I decided to redo my boys bedroom because of the obvious mold smell, cracking of the walls near the windows, and lack of heat retention in the cold months. In short, the room was a mess and a potential health hazard.  So I did the following:

  • Tore off all drywall and nails from the exterior walls. Only 2 of the walls were exterior - I did nothing with the interior walls.
  • Removed all existing insulation.  This was about a 35-40 year old home with what I believe is called "rock wool" insulation.  This insulation was a fiber product incased in tar-paper battes.  It was compressed and had little R-value.  Furthermore, it was the "condenser" for all the moisture going into the walls.
  • Cleaned wall cavities with bleach solution to kill any mold.
  • Fastened 2 inch thick ripped down studs to convert my 3 1/2 inch thick exterior walls into 5 1/2 inch thick walls (this is the thickness of a 2" by 6").  I used 30d nails along with some deck screws.
  • Adjusted window openings for new energy efficient windows.
  • Installed windows and sealed around with expanding foam.  Make sure to get the type especially designed for windows - some expanding foams can expand too much and cause problems.
  • Insulated with 6 inch battes of insulation.
  • Placed a moisture barrier over the walls. Make sure all cracks, holes, & gaps in the plastic are taped so no moisture can make its way from your home into your walls.  Spend a few dollars more and use a specially designed tape for this purpose.
  • Applied drywall and/or other wall covering.  In addition to drywall, I used a "car siding" that cost about $140 for one wall. This provided a nice "rustic effect".
  • Finished everything up.  I redid the woodwork as well so this took me a while. For trim, I used inexpensive generic 1x4 pine with quarter round and cove pieces at the floor level.  Also, I built my own window trim and sills out of pine lumber in order to get the rustic "knotty" look.  The whole project, 2 new windows included ran about $800, but now our boys room is the nicest looking and most comfortable room in the house.

UPDATE:  I tackled the other two bedrooms the following summer and have a detailed step-by-step article posted at NaturalHandyman.com

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