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Replacing the Decks

  Sheetrockers  
 
 

A year or so after we purchased the house, I hired some drywallers to replace some water-damaged panels. I think I found the guys on Craigslist, and the price was right, but I learned that I might have to step-up a bit, when it came time to remodel the house.

A few years have passed, and upstairs has been gutted and rearranged, and it's time to commit to a drywaller. I had three businesses come to quote:

Ed Breslin, from BAC Drywall ( PO Box 5121, Novato, 415.209.3767). I'm not sure how I learned about BAC Drywall. Ed visited, and made a good impression. He advised me to consider a nice finish, "at least a level 4," for upstairs. He said that all the light from the many windows warranted this splurge. He added that the downstairs living room need only me a level 3, to match the quality of the drywall finish in the other downstairs' rooms. He suggested that I go with 5/8", versus 1/2" - I don't remember why, and he suggested that I keep an eye out for bows and other imperfections in the framing, and address them before the drywall-phase.

As he walked upstairs, he pointed out a low spot outside the laundry room, and flagged some ceiling corners that needed wood - to support the sheetrock.

Alan Taylor, my rough plumber, suggested that I call Roger, the owner of R &L Drywall (1616 Sunny View Way, Santa Rosa 707.575.4850). Roger came by, and walked the upstairs, telling me what his crew would need done so that the drywall job would look its best:

  • Add wood blocking in certain edges of the ceiling for attaching the drywall
  • Fur-out portions of the skylights so that they are plumb, vertically
  • Glue some plywood to a concrete wall in the walk-through closet that wasn't as far out as the framing above it.
  • Do the opposite in the bedroom - bring the framing above the wall out a bit, so that both surfaces were alligned.
  • Fur the window frames, so that each side was equidistant from the glass. (Wow... this is a chunk of work!)

I needed at least one more bid. In order to limit myself to a higher-level drywaller, I decided to use the Diamond-Certified booklet for Marin County. I understand that businesses pay to appear in this publication, and if your check is good, you can probably get in, but what the heck - since businesses pay thousands of bucks to be "considered," I'm guessing that their reputations are good enough to withstand Diamond-Certified's reference-checking. Thus my next bidder: Michael Maylock Drywall (443 The Alameda, San Anselmo, 415.456.9306). Pat, the company's estimator, came by, and examined the space. He pointed out some ceiling corners that would need blocking, and he pointed out some old framing that was not flush with the adjacent framing. He didn't flag some of the "need-to's" that Roger had pointed out.

The bids came in, all for 5/8", square corners, and per my request, all for a level 5 finish:

BAC Drywall: $11,000

R & L Drywall: $9,600

Maylock Drywall: $10,940

Note that bids are rarely for the identical work, so a simple dollar comparison can be a mistake. For example, Maylock was including Denshield board in the shower area, but requiring me to provide a jobsite dumpster for drywall debris. That said, I was impressed by the "to-do's" that Roger had flagged, and pleased that his bid was the lowest. The job I went with R&L Drywall.

LESSON LEARNED: YOU WILL NEVER BE READY FOR YOUR DRYWALLER. Wow - All caps. The only place on the site. But it's true. I got the prep work done that I wanted done only by building a bit of fat into the schedule, and having an assistant here most days, and working til midnight one evening, and 2am the night before the hangers came. And tweaking things even as they were hanging drywall around me.

 
     
   
A few years back I had a "discount" drywall service fix some water damage. For this, the big remodel, I would have to pay for quality...
 
R & L Drywall.
 
Upstairs was hung (hanged?) in a single day. The taping and mudding would take much longer.
 
Roger, the owner of R & L, inspecting the taping.
 
The mudding took another week.
 
Other contractors have commented favorably on the job R & L did.
 
 
 
 
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Last Updated Feb 2014.