Dan's Kitchen: Ducts and Drywall

Renovation Diary

Some of the sixteen sheets of drywall, awaiting installation.
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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

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

I had always assumed that drywall is heavy. But I never fully appreciated just how heavy it is until I helped carry sixteen sheets of it up a curved flight of stairs this week. Over the weekend my contractor and I bought a truckload of drywall and then spent the better part of an afternoon hauling it upstairs to the kitchen. When all was said and done, I was left with really sore shoulders and a better understanding of why most sane people hire a crew of professionals to hang drywall.

The pantry – now with drywall!
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Before my contractor could get started hanging the drywall, he needed to install the ductwork for the range hood. Even before the renovation began, I knew I wanted a range hood that vented to the outdoors. The old kitchen was a perfect example of everything that can go wrong in a kitchen without proper ventilation. The unfinished plywood cabinets had absorbed several decades-worth of aerosolized cooking grease, and like a box of baking soda that’s been at the back of a fridge for years, they’d also absorbed a kaleidoscope of old food smells. Good ventilation will not only prolong the life of the new kitchen, but will also make for a more enjoyable cooking experience — removing heat and cooking odors becomes really important in a small condo.

The new ceiling.
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So a good range hood was high on my list of priorities. There was just one problem — there wasn’t an exterior vent in the kitchen, and the walls of my building are composed of three courses of brick. Fortunately, I had a masonry crew over to repair an exterior brick wall, so I asked them to drill a hole for the vent while they were at it. Unfortunately, my contractor and I discovered too late that the hole they drilled was too small. So my contractor spent an extra day this week enlarging the hole to fit the five-inch duct required for the range hood.

The duct connection for the range hood.
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Since the range hood will be located at the opposite end of the kitchen from the exterior vent, my contractor ran ductwork in the ceiling from one end of the kitchen to the other. This nearly 12-foot length of duct will decrease the efficiency of the range hood. Range hoods are rated by the number of cubic feet of air they can move per minute, or cfm. Given the size of my stove and kitchen, the range hood should ideally be able to handle at least 300 cfm. The length of the ductwork will reduce the efficiency of the hood by about 100 cfm. Luckily, the range hood I bought is rated to handle 600 cfm, so even if its efficiency is reduced to 500 cfm, it should be more than adequate.

More new drywall.
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With the ductwork in place, my contractor began hanging the drywall. He was working on his own this week, but somehow managed to install one wall and the entire kitchen ceiling. He also completely drywalled the pantry. As the drywall goes up, the kitchen is starting to look less like a construction site and more like a room.

Estimated time for project: 24 weeks
Time remaining: 5 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #23 of Dan's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Dan Bailey)

(Image credits: Dan Bailey; number)

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