Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Man a plan a wall a wan al-panama

It all started with a relatively simple goal… get networking to what would be my new office.  Additionally cable and phone would be required.

Progress was slow but eventually got to the last few feet of the project; The wall.. all of the cables were within ~8-10 feet (all vertical) of their destination.. all that was left was a quick drop down an interior wall; what could be easier?  To be even easier, I decided to just drop it down next to the power that was already there, a so no new holes in the headers.

Then the first trouble…. there’s apparently a fire break in the wall? (keep note of this.. its important, we’ll come back to it later.)  Evaluate the firebreak, punch yet another hole in the wall (at this point I am up to about a dozen total.. there are 4 in the ceiling (one 2 in the closet for getting cables from the front of the building, 2 in the main room: one for getting cables from the closet across the hall, one directly over where I intend to drop them down; one in the closet across the hall).  One as the bottom of the wall where I intend to put the wall jack, and now one at the location of the ‘fire break’).  As I went up from that fire-break I hit another fire break (?!?!) The hole count is quickly growing, and the old plaster wall integrity is rapidly degrading, as well as the effort required to effectively patch this growing swiss-cheesed wall.

So now I make the decision, just take it down, do it right.  Sadly I didn’t think to take a before picture, but here I am a couple of hours into it.



Now pay attention to that..see where those wires come down?  That and ~4 feet down are the only places in the wall that have the ‘firebreak’.  Going even one bay to the left (or 2 to the right) I would have been golden… but of course impossible to know that.

Too late to turn back now I continue with the demolition.


Now unfortunately you cannot really see it form that picture, but in both locations where there is a break in the studs there is another one ~3 feet up.


Completely demoed I now begin the reconstruction phase.  The studs are rough cut, and not entirely true (though much better than I expected); additionally I need to make up about 1″ of total width to line up with the existing door frame and molding (old lathe + scratch-coat+ browncoat + plaster = 1″ +/- )  solution to both of these issues is 1×3 furring strips and 1/2 drywall.


Here we have the furring strips going up, shimmed in a few locations to make up for different depths of the studs (but really, not too bad overall).



Furring strips completely up, I now need to start hanging the drywall.  The first piece is probably one of the most important and difficult in this case; you can see on the right there where there is a notch that needs to be taken out (that part of the wall was already drywall, and under the crown molding, so I decided to leave it in).  What you don’t see in this pic is that the left hand side also has a notch in it from the top of the door.




Here is a closeup of the notch on the right



And another for the notch on the left.  I left that relatively small area of plaster above the door, as it was going to be a pain to deal with all of the molding.  In the ceiling you can see one of the holes, and if you look carefully you can see the bundle of Cat5e.



Those cuts came out fantastically well; I had very little to work with as I couldn’t assume the wall was true, and those were cuts as is, first try, no touch-ups.

The overzealous grid was because the studs are not quite equal, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t screw onto a stud (because that’s where the furring strips were already screwed into).. and this made a very nice *fzzp* *fzzp* *fzzzp* for attaching the drywall

The second panel was the easiest.  It was the only one that didn’t require *any* cuttine at all.  Hang and go.



Next up was the bottom panel of the wall.  This was an 8 foot cut of varying height (about 1 foot) and a wall box cutout.


The next panel, the upper right, would require 2 cuts.. The top mated up against the existing drywall (mostly true), and on the right a very untrue wall.  This one was cut so closely that I had to go back over the product markeing tape and trip off any stragglers, since it was within the thickness of a piece of paper.  For the bottom two I gave myself a bit more room.


And finally the taping begins!



And where we are now… taped, mudded, to be sanded… and then primed!