Friday, March 9, 2012

Man Cave Phase II - Framing and Drywall

Wikipedia defines a Man Cave as a space "where guys can do as they please without fear of upsetting any female sensibility about house decor or design." While I'm not so sure this entirely applies in my case (as I'm quite fond of my wife's tastes), I've slowly come to realize that my wife and family spend much more time at home, and thus most of the habitable space belongs--in spirit--to them.

However, when we purchased our home, the plan was that I would convert the third garage parking space into my own private space, and--like most Man Caves--a place to store stuff that for various reasons would best be exiled from the rest of the living quarters. Still, unlike most similar retreats, my hypothetical cave would not take the typical form as a shrine to drinking, eating, burping, and sitting on the couch (ok, maybe some eating). Instead, it would be Maker Man Cave, a place that would serve as my office, shop, and place to play with pointy, pokey, smokey, smelly, shocky things.

The first step, which I described briefly in the first post, involved framing the walls and a partial dropped ceiling with 2x4 lumber. This took a few days of work spread out over a few weekends, but was complicated by doing the work in a space that I'd already populated with crap. Building a room that's essentially already in use is kind of like building a covered wagon after you've already started heading out West. So far, I haven't run into any big snowstorms, so maybe I'll be lucky enough to reach my end point without metaphorically having to eat my own Donner Pass-style "hungry man" dinners.

Most of the framing has been straightforward, with the possible exception of a 10-foot 4x6 beam to support the ceiling and wall that surrounds the garage door (when open). On the existing side wall, I had to cut, remove and replace a strip of drywall so I could embed king and cripple studs inside to properly support the beam.

For power, the existing 20 amp garage outlet was tapped to supply a number of new utility outlets...

and new light fixtures to be suspended from the dropped ceiling.

Putting up and taping the drywall took a few days but went fairly smoothly. Next time, I'll take more time to thin and mechanically mix the joint compound with a drill mixer before applying it. Instead, I probably wasted a lot of time redoing joints because of lumps in the compound. When I purchased a second bucket of compound that was smoother and slightly more soupy, the joints were astonishingly easier to mud.

To finish the walls, I chose to take my lead from most home builders these days. Even though I didn't need the walls and joints to look absolutely perfect, a texture can hide a lot of imperfections and save hours of patching and sanding that otherwise would need to be done. Since easy is the path I often like to take, this was the choice for me.

Fortunately, Harbor Freight sells a texture gun for $25 that I've seen on sale for as low at $17. I already purchased one for a previous job so simply had to mix and spray the texture. Unfortunately, mixing and spraying the texture was almost as messy as the plot of Spiderman 3, but all I had to do afterward was give it a light sanding to knock down the high spots.

Finally, it's looking like a real room. The next steps will be to prime and paint the walls and ceilings, hang the doors, and install the fixtures, which I hope to get to soon.