Marc Alan Goodman’s Building Strange Weather Blog: Sheetrock, Soffits and a Race to the Finish
September 5, 2012 by Marc Alan Goodman
Latest in the “Building Strange Weather Blog” series by producer/engineer and studio owner Marc Alan Goodman. Click to start at Step 1: Finding A New Home; #2: Design; #3: Waiting For Permits (Part 1) and #4: (Part 2); and #5: Stops & Starts, #6: Demolition, #7: The Structural Work, #8 The Joys of Home Ownership, #9 Rain, Rain, Rain, #10 A Control Room Is Born, #11 Plumbing Inspections aka More Delays, #12 The Timing Game and #13 Framing & Wiring.
This blog has somehow become a chronicle of hold-ups, but the end is finally in sight.
We’ve had about a month since Thom Canova was in town putting the bulk of the technical wiring in place. During that time we needed to pull down the improperly hung HVAC ducts in the control room, finish the electrical, put sheetrock on all the walls and rehang/finish installing the previously mentioned ductwork.
Things started out well, our electrician flew through getting the boxes in place. There were a number of spots where it wasn’t quite clear how to hang them. Since we’re using Kinetics Isoclips on a number of the walls, isolating the sheetrock from the framing, the finished wall is pretty thick.
The clips with metal channel in them are about 1 1/8”, plus each wall has either two or three layers of 5/8” sheetrock, and a number of them are going to have 2” Owens Corning 705 rigid fiberglass panels for acoustical absorption. That means that the distance from the wood beam to where the switch has to eventually sit is as far as 4 3/8”.
Depending on what wall it is, some of the boxes needed to be mounted inside the sheetrock, some to the joists, and some of them I hung off of the joists using small pieces of scrap metal as extenders. Then the boxes themselves needed some mass. As far as sound is concerned electrical outlets are just spots where the wall is made of 1/8” thick sheet metal.
Wes [Lachot] had initially suggested Hilti or 3M putty packs for this, but they turned out to be expensive and I found that you can order the bulk putty from a company called Ideal. Daniel and I spent a day wrapping all of the boxes in what is essentially elementary school art class clay. The material is fireproof and doesn’t harden, so installation wasn’t too bad, aside from the obvious globs stuck under our fingernails.
Next we had to pull down the giant HVAC structure that had been prematurely hung in the control room. Neither myself nor the crew had realized while we were putting it up that sheetrock needed to go behind it. However, as has seemed to happen a few times on this project, our HVAC crew was nowhere to be found.
After waiting a couple weeks Nick (the general contractor) and his guys just pulled the thing down and sat it on the floor, but it was a big job, and they had no way to hang it back up afterwards. Then sheet-rocking commenced.
I found it a little difficult to explain to the contractors that the room really needed to be air-tight. Each layer needed to be mudded and taped before the next one went up and the edges couldn’t line up on any two layers, otherwise it would cause an acoustical weak spot. After a week or so of my pointing out small mistakes and making them go back they caught the idea. The problem was that the whole fiasco with the ductwork had put us behind schedule, and Tony and his crew were due to come back up from North Carolina to frame the soffits.
Then, as is wont to happen, the other shoe fell. Nick left on vacation for what I had thought was a few days (Thursday to Tuesday). In reality it was from Thursday until two Tuesdays from then. We didn’t really need him to manage getting the sheetrock up, and he made himself available by email, but when it came time for the HVAC crew to come back in and hang their work, nobody showed. Every day we expected them, and every day nobody showed up.
Finally, two days before Tony got to town, Nick got an email from the HVAC guy telling us there had been a family emergency in the Caribbean and they had to leave town. I felt terrible for them, but letting us know instead of just not showing up for a week and half would have been a nice consideration.
The HVAC guys finally showed up half a day after Tony and his crew were already working. This led to an interesting and stressful week.
The HVAC crew were rushing to get the ducts up, the general contractors were following them around building sheetrock boxes to isolate all the ducts, and Tony and his crew were following them framing the soffits. There were tense moments, but somehow everything got wrapped up in time for the guys from North Carolina to get home on schedule, and then off to their next job.
Just before they left I sat down with Tony to make a list of everything we need to accomplish before he comes back to install the acoustical finish work. Some things were obvious, like painting, putting down the floors, and installing the doors and windows, but some would certainly have snuck by me if Tony wasn’t around to point them out.
The radiant flooring plywood panels we used have troughs cut in them. Pex tubing – a kind of strong, flexible hose – gets run through those troughs and filled with hot water to heat the room. However the troughs themselves run all over the place. They’re like little tunnels underneath the walls stretching from room to room. Tony realized we’re going to need to cram them full of acoustical caulk.
The door seals, made by a company in the Bronx called Zero International, need to be custom ordered, and the doors themselves need to be hung at a very specific height to function properly. Right now I’m looking forward to a month of frantically trying to accomplish everything on the list.
Click to see more photos of the process over on our photoblog!
- Marc Alan Goodman
strangeweathersound [at] gmail dot com
Marc Alan Goodman is a producer/engineer who’s worked with artists such as Jolie Holland, Marc Ribot, Shudder to Think, Dub Trio, Normal Love, Alfonso Velez, Angel Deradoorian and Pink Skull.