Chapter 90: Building the Right Kind of Walls

June 23, 2017 • Written by Christina Berry

Okay, so I’ve been talking about a whole lot of what other people have been working on with regard to the new building, but that leaves out a pretty important piece of the second building puzzle — Errek!

Errek’s contribution to the development of this building cannot be over stated. While the process was very easy for me to watch from the climate-controlled comfort of the main house, Errek busted his ass on this thing. He usually worked from 6AM until 8PM or sundown six or seven days a week, to not only manage the crews sub-contracting for us, but also to build a lot of stuff himself. Total badassery, y’all. So this chapter is all about him.

Errek’s story of woe and whoa started as most of our house stories start, with a lot of waiting. Mostly, he waited for the structural steel to go up, so he could start framing in the walls.

And as per usual, he wasn’t just going to frame in the walls with wood. Oh no, we were going full metal jacket on this beast.

Once the posts and beams and joists were completed on the first floor, it was on like Donkey Kong. And one early morning, I woke to find Errek waited at the end of the driveway watching with glee as a shit-ton (actual unit of measure, I promise) of metal studs and fiberglass wall board were delivered.

Metal studs, incoming.

In order to weld the studs together and to the structural steel, Errek bought a welder online. The welder itself was pretty mediocre and would often trip the breaker because it was just too small for the job. But the structural steel guys were cool enough to let him use one of their welders, so that was nice.

The welder he bought came with a helmet though…a really patriotic helmet.

Yeah, he’s totally got a bald eagle on his helmet. It’s adorable and I make fun of its Lee Greenwood qualities a lot, but it saves his eyesight and keeps him from getting burned, so that’s cool.

By the way, those diagonal beams are there to make sure the building doesn’t ever twist or lean.

The diagnals are important, but a pain to build around. The walls without the cross beams were easier to build; just straight lines every sixteen inches.

Bam! That is a sexy metal wall right there! \m/

Now it’s time to attach it all together using fire. Also, he screwed them together too, because when you’re building an impenetrable fortress, it’s best (and not at all insane) to fasten it all together in as many ways as possible.

After the welding was done, he had to spray all the welds with Rust-Oleum paint so they won’t…well, rust, hence the name “Rust-Oleum.”

In addition to the bottom floor walls, there was a little box he had to build that will be part of a really neat balcony design feature of the second floor.

Once the joists were up and welded and screwed to the top and bottom plates, it was time to put on the fiberglass wall board.

The bottom two rows were relatively easy, just put them up in a straight, level line. Done!

The top row, though, was a massive pain in the ass, because of course it was! First, Errek had to add insulation to the I-beams up top because otherwise the heat or cold will transfer through the metal into the interior room, which is not cool…or too cool depending on the season. Ahahaha! See what I did there? Okay. Moving on.

Additionally, he added a piece of wood so he’d be able to nail the wall board and any other trim to it. Lastly, Andrew added the gray metal protrusions which will be the attachments for the deck railings.

Hi, Andrew!

There was also a lot of stuff to cut the wall board around.



Screwing over his head was also a thing that happened. That stuff rains fiberglass, by the way. Just looking at this photo makes me itchy.

Don’t mind him, he’s only fitting an upside-down Oklahoma piece around the big shop door and the supports for the barn door and the upstairs balcony box…all while balancing on a crooked ladder.

Dude! The man is amazeballs!

Once all of the wallboard was up, he sealed the seams and nail holes.

Once the sealant was dry, he painted on this goopy stuff that acts as a windbreaker and water proofer.

And get this, he learned about this goopy stuff when we were driving down 7th street and he saw it being used on some condo being built over by the Flyrite. So he parked, wandered onto the construction site and started asking around until he found out more about the product and where to buy it. Hehe! My guy is resourceful and really curious about how stuff works.

So, with that sealer on, the bottom floor was pretty much done for the time being.

We ordered the brick that will go on the first floor walls, it’s called Old Bayou to match our NOLA-inspired design, but apparently all of the Old Bayou brick is up in Arkansas and Acme doesn’t have a truck coming from Arkansas to Austin anytime soon. So, you guessed it, more waiting…

While he waited, Errek strung up some temp lights in his future shop, because with the walls up, it was super dark in there.

And now with the first floor pretty much done, it was time to move upstairs to put those walls up next.

The first step to walls was a big one, though. Errek had to climb up onto the roof, lean over the edge and weld the top plate to the bottom of the roof. Good times! Say hello to weird random chest bruises, too.

With the top plates in, he screwed bottom plates to the concrete, then started building the walls. First, the big wall of french doors that will open into the courtyard.

For all of the windows and doors, you trim them out with wood so that they are easier to shim and screw to when you insert the actual window or door. Screwing that wood to the metal studs, though, took a lot of shoulder power.

The other wall of windows faces west toward downtown.

And in the bathroom, a couple of little windows for natural light.

There’s another door opening onto the east deck too, but I’m tired of showing photos of wood. This is all about \m/ metal. Metal and fire!

One really cool thing about the space upstairs is that, while downstairs the beams and posts are within the walls, upstairs they are exposed so I plan to paint them all purple. Woot!

With my x-ray vision, I can see through walls.

Pretty sunset over the violet crown.

Here’s Errek, finding new and interesting places to sit and read the news on his phone.

So this brings us up to date. Well, almost. The brick finally arrived. Here’s a little tease of what’s to come next. Ain’t it beautiful?

Stay tuned, because coming soon we’ll have a whole lot of pretty brick to show you, and more walls, and a roof to finally close it all up. Woot!

But for now, I bid you adieu. Besides, Errek needs a nap.