Talked Down from the Ledge
I mentioned in my earlier update that I had installed outlet boxes in the walls and was vacillating on whether or not that was a good idea. Well, when
voiced his concerns, my doubt kicked into high gear and I was just seconds from going back in the room and ripping them all out! My wife talked me down from ledge, though. In the end, I'm going to keep them where they are and use them as my entry points for the outlets for the rest of the room, rather than run the outlet cables through the soffits/columns. I'll still have the speaker wire and lighting cable run through there, but not the outlet cable.
I wrote up an entry on how I applied the putty pads to the boxes in the Soundproofing Master thread: Applying Putty Pads
One thing I didn't show in that bit was how I set the depth of those adjustable boxes. Those who have followed this build thread know that I try to avoid actually measuring things whenever possible and this wasn't an exception. It just so happens that I had some thin pieces of the actual 5/8" drywall that will soon be installed, so I just stacked up two of them and extended the box to be flush with them:
After the outlets were all prepared, I could start on the insulation. Well... technically I did all of the insulation except for the outlet bays, but conceptually the putty pads did need to happen before insulation. I had three left-over batts from a previous insulation task and so those went up first:
Those are paper faced, which isn't at all needed in AZ. In fact, you really shouldn't have a vapor barrier at all in block homes in AZ, so I was considering removing the paper again. The remainder of the insulation was some new batts I bought at the same time as the lumber and drywall. The supplier only had insulation intended for steel stud walls in stock. It is fiberglass, but it's a full 24" wide rather than the nominal 23" found in batts intended for wood framed walls, and was the full 8' high, rather than the 7-9" found in typical batts. It also looked quite a bit different:
It installed similarly to normal batts, but that extra inch did cause it to bunch up a bit more on the edges. I was tempted to shave an inch off of each one... but honestly, it wasn't too bad, so I just left it.
Sharp eyes may notice a hole and what looks like water on the paper faced insulation in the background of the photo of the package of new insulation. Yep, that is water. It turns out that some water had gotten under the paper and had pooled there. When I installed it upright, quite a bit of it poured out of that hole. That convinced me that yes, I did need to remove the paper from the batts, if for no other reason than to dry them. Better believe that those dry in a hurry in 115 degree rooms.
I carved out the space for the outlet boxes, after the putty pad was installed. The putty was still sticky, so it actually stuck to the insulation a bit. You can see how much the extra-wide batts bunched up in some cases, in this picture:
Notably, working around the cable in the walls was a lot easier than expected. Since I put the cable so far back in the wall, I found that I didn't need to really split the batts like I typically did. There was enough slack in the cables to essentially be pushed back by the batt, too. All in all, it worked very well.
It took me a couple of days, since I had to break for installing the putty pads, but in the end, all of my walls were insulated!
If I had to take away some lessons from this bit of the construction, they would be:
- Run cable as far back and as low in the wall as you can
- Use insulation batts designed for wood framed walls, if possible
I used the steel frame batts because I got a good deal on them and they could deliver it along with the rest of my load. Otherwise, though, it was notable to me how much easier it was to install batts made for wood frame walls. That extra width and height weren't terminal, but they did make it harder. Also, the steel frame stuff was substantially itchier than the white stuff.
The next logical step is drywall! Man, so much of me wants to just do that, since it's such a big milestone. However, my practical side has won out in this case. Why? Well, there's still a decent amount of stuff that will need to be done in the attic after the drywall is up and, frankly speaking, my formal attic access hatches are pretty terrible. I've really been loving the extremely easy access I've had to the attic from having no ceiling. I decided that I'm going to make a decent attic hatch in the bathroom that adjoins the theater, which will allow me to haul stuff up there after the fact. And since it'll be a lot easier building the hatch from the attic, it makes the most sense to do that while I still have easy access.
So next week will be all about preparing the attic for the time when my open ceiling is gone. THEN it'll be time for drywall. Sooooo close!