Installing a brand new wall on the old sleeping porch “wall”

Way back when we had our first workday with friends back in November of last year, we started demolishing what was left of the closet on the south end of the upstairs sleeping porch. (Those storage cabinets on the right came out with the windows when they were replaced and the back of the porch rebuilt before we moved in.)

Here’s how it looked when we bought the house:

Pre-closing: sleeping porch

During the process of tearing the closet and wall away, we discovered (much like the rest of the back of the porch) that all the “wall” consisted of behind the 1/2″ plywood sheathing was the old porch wainscoting and beadboard. When we tore that away, my neighbor came over to see what all the racket was. Then we realized that the insulation and studs we were seeing belonged to our neighbors wall. All we had was the beadboard and then plywood serving as our wall.

The final tip was seeing the back of a box for an electric socket mounted in the wall. That would be a socket on the wall in their house. You can see the flash of silver near the bottom in the middle of the wall in this photo from after the windows were installed.

2nd floor sleeping porch south

Fixing this exposed wall has been on my list since we moved, but ater my neighbor showed me the place in his porch recently where he could actually see into our porch against the brick wall, I had been formulating my plan for buttoning this up and putting in something proper.

I decided to install a layer of soundboard (homasote) directly onto the exposed studs for a layer of sound insulation, and then build a new 2×4 stud wall with fiberglass insulation inside to add another layer of insulation before drywalling the new wall. (That wall with windows was drywalled before we moved in by the guys who did the windows and back of house framing.)

So over the last few days — I took Thursday and Friday off and worked 4 days straight on house stuff — I managed to get this project almost done. Thursday and Friday were spent renting a truck and making at least 2 trips to Home Depot for insulation, drywall, lumber and some other stuff, 4 trips to the Ft. Totten Transfer Center (the dump) and doing some other projects (coming in a post soon!) But I did get the soundboard in on Friday afternoon before closing it down for the day.

Installing the soundboard is about like drywall, except for not requiring any tape or mud to seal it up. Screw in along the studs every 12 or 16 inches or so and you’re done. Boom.

After watching Arsenal lose at home Saturday morning (bwa ha ha!), I started framing and finished the walls and the new insulation and everything in time to go to some friends’ wedding/block party Saturday late afternoon. Yesterday I put in the drywall after church and lunch with friends.

All that’s left to do to finish the wall is the mud. And the sanding. Oh god…the sanding. The mess….the dust…

Long limbs and a sturdy railFresh out of the salt mines

But the porch is now one step closer to complete. I’ll have to do something similar on the other end, though the biggest to-do is finishing the ceiling with new insulation and drywall so this room isn’t such a heatbox. I need an electrician to run some new fixtures and wiring in the ceiling before I can do that, but once these two things are done, the porch will be done.

For now, anyway.

We still need to pull up the entire floor at some point and shim it out and put a new subfloor down — the joists settled or the floor cracked or something and it’s woefully out of level — but I probably won’t do that until we get closer to our long-term dream of putting in a master bathroom on the end where I just built this wall. That would be adjacent to the existing bathroom on the other side of the brick, making it easier to run the pipes for a new bathroom.

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Until then, this room is going to be a closet and sunroom and sewing room and general utility room, so the uneven floor isn’t the end of the world.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s go mud some drywall and put in a ceiling. I just need two more days off again this week.

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