Name: Dan Bailey
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: East Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Type of building: 2nd Floor Condo in a Greek-Revival Row House
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I returned home from Arizona late one night earlier this week. Exhausted after a long flight, I stumbled into the kitchen, flipped on the light, and was confronted with a space that had been completely transformed since I last saw it. In my absence, Gregg, my contractor, had finished hanging the drywall. The exposed wiring, the raw wood framing, the remaining dusty lath – all of it was now hidden behind actual walls. Granted, the walls were unfinished, but they were walls nonetheless. And while unfinished drywall may sound trivial, it feels like a huge milestone marking the beginning of the end of the renovation.
But before I get too far ahead of myself, there’s still the small matter of taping and plastering over the drywall seams and corners with joint compound. Gregg began this surprisingly time-consuming process this week. He taped the seams with fiberglass mesh and used folded paper tape for the corners. Each corner and seam then received a rough coat of joint compound, feathered at the edges to blend in with the rest of the wall. The exposed screw heads were also concealed with a smear of joint compound, leaving the walls with a speckled complexion.
The joint compound seems to be drying more slowly than expected, which may have something to do with the fact that I keep the condo at near-arctic temperatures most of the time to save on heating costs. But once the first coat of joint compound in the kitchen and pantry closet has dried, we’ll need to sand and apply a thin finish coat of joint compound to ensure that the taped seams blend in smoothly with the rest of the wall. Fortunately, most of the walls in the kitchen will be hidden behind cabinets. And even in the closet, the walls will be obscured by shelving, so we won’t need to be overly diligent in sanding and finishing the seams in these areas.
Next week, Gregg will cut out a section of drywall along the backsplash area and replace it with cement board. Cement board will provide a better substrate for the tile backsplash. And unlike drywall, which can quickly become warped and moldy after exposure to water, cement board is resistant to water damage. For this reason, we’re planning to place a cement board panel behind the sink cabinet as well, since this seems to be the one area in the kitchen most prone to water damage. Once the walls are done we can turn our attention to more exciting work, like installing cabinets and trim.
Estimated time for project: 24+ weeks
Time remaining: 3+ weeks