Working two days a week, it took from January 15th until April 10th to complete the base coat of earthen plaster on the interior of the house. It was a long and, for the most part, enjoyable process. Not all of our work days were actually spent plastering, as some were devoted to preparing the walls. Preparation involved covering gringo blocks and the wood bond beam with either burlap or roofing paper/metal lathe, packing mud over the electrical wire channels, and doing some final shimming and insulating around doors and windows, as necessary. Days spent plastering were more fun than the days spent preparing the walls, and they certainly felt more productive. It was always nice at the end of a day to step back and look at the plastered wall. The wall would be transformed and newly homogenous in appearance.
I wish I would have taken more photographs during this process, but it was usually hard to take a photo that could capture a room in its entirety. The hallway did allow for some nice photos:
After finishing the base coat of plaster, we started hanging drywall on the few frame walls inside the house. Aside from three closets and a partition wall between the bathroom and office, all the other interior walls are adobe. Up until this point, the frame walls were just wood studs.
Having never hung or mudded drywall before, I was a bit nervous about my ability to make these walls look good. All the steps of drywalling are fairly straight-forward, but some of the skills involved in taping and mudding the joints between panels of drywall seem to take a certain amount of experience to master. I have found that by doing the taping and mudding slowly and carefully I’ve been able to do a decent job.
Did I mention how fun it is to cut out the openings for outlets, light switches, lights, and pipes? Fun is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly was satisfying to put a panel up and have all of our openings in the right places! I know there are quicker methods, but prior to putting a panel up we’d measure all the dimensions of the boxes and pipes as well as their distance from the edges of the panel. I’d then mark out the openings on the panel and cut them out with a jab saw. We’d usually have to make a few adjustments to get the panel to fit just right when we hung it on the wall, but we were always pretty close.
Although I prefer an adobe wall to a drywall/wood frame wall any day, it was a quicker process to put up these frame walls. For closets and plumbing walls, wood frame construction makes a lot of sense and adds a nice contrast of materials to an otherwise earthen home.
Finally, the rooms of the house are starting to take their final size and shape with the hanging of the drywall. Pretty soon we’ll begin the second coat of plaster on the adobe walls. I also still have quite a bit more taping and mudding to do before the drywall is finished.