mercredi 12 mai 2010

The noisiness of light construction


It was on Twitter, which posted it to Facebook, "Haven't told my husband (yet) that we are probably going to double up the sheetrock. Oh yeah."

"If we were married, I would understand something like that," came the reply. It was another architect.

The cardinal rule I ignored: Architects should always marry other architects, or people with teeny tiny egos, or who have no need to prove anything around the house.

That one did. So did the architect-friend with whom I discussed the noisiness of light construction. Architects understand how important this is, and they can both do double layers of sheetrock whenever they feel like it. Without a challenge. Without an unpleasant comment. Without quailing.

I am so jealous.

We had just screwed the first panel I had measured and cut into place and I just had to -- tap on it. My tap reverberated in the empty space between the back of the only 13mm (1/2") sheetrock that is pretty standard around here. Just so you know, when we intend to use only one layer, it's 3/4" sheetrock. I knocked, and the reverberations increased, and I heard a definite squeaking noise, the sound of the bizarre fittings that hold the vertical metal (can I really call them?) studs onto the horizontal elements that are anchored into the walls.

Squeak, squeak.

It sounded like Barbie and Ken's little bed.

"J'aime pas ça," I said to my husband, whose mouth was filled with sheetrock screws. He removed one and glanced down at me, where I was still tapping the wall. He removed the others, so as to be able to speak.

"Personne -- à part toi -- ne va jamais tapper contre le mur." He sounded pretty sure of himself, returned the screws to his front jeans pocket, and started to position one. He hadn't grasped the issue; I didn't care if anyone else would, ever. I would. Frequently.

I watched him position the drill and screw it in.

"Je vais le faire." He looked back down at me. "Je vais peut-être essayer de mettre de l'insulation là derrière."

"Ca ne servira à rien." He was saying that stuffing fiberglass insulation behind the sheetrock we had just installed would be useless.

"Ca donnera un son plus," I thought a bit, "solide. Comme si le mur l'était vraiment." I cannot stand anything that doesn't sound solid, especially in an old house. I have to tear it apart and start again.

"C'est comme tu veux."

It was only after we had struggled like pack mules to hold the sheet under the carriage of the stair into place that I realized I had missed my opportunity. It was closed. For another 71 years, although he was so disappointed with a gap between the sheetrock panels that I suggested we take it down and do it again.

I had also realized that it would have been better to butt that one into the back of the vertical panels rather than slide it past them, as we had done, but that was a lot easier. Doubling the sheetrock would solve that, too, because we could do that on the second go around, but I still haven't found the courage to bring it up.

"Use a technical word," suggested my second architect friend. "That always works for me. Stops the argument dead."

"You clearly don't know my husband well enough yet," I sighed. "If anyone else uses a technical term, they are an 'expert'. If I do, it's irrelevant, and then I have to have a fit. Can you call him?"

That was wishful thinking. They don't speak the same language.

Neither do we, come to think of it.

Maybe we'll look at flowers in the sun I haven't seen in days tomorrow.

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