Simple wall construction turns into odyssey of blood, sweat and tears

Our story so far: As we progressed through the mechanicals phase of our church conversion project, we learned it was tricky to build walls between 126-year-old floors and ceilings that may or may not be level.

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The day began with a family crisis and progressed to a business crisis, but eventually we put out the fires and made our way to the church. Our goal was to construct the walls for the powder room, the water closet in the master bath and the wall behind the vanity in the master bath, all in the overflow area behind the kitchen so the plumber could begin roughing in plumbing.

Unlike the walls for the master bedroom closet which were supporting walls built to the ceiling, the walls on the day’s to-do list would have a false ceiling to accommodate the HVAC ducting and the plumbing from the second-floor bathroom. If your eyes are glazing over with the details, let me emphasize this important point: All the walls we were building were to be as tall as the false ceiling.

We began by haggling about room sizes and laying down two-by-fours on the floor to outline the walls. Just as Tyler was about to measure the studs and build vertically, he decided he needed a new tool: A laser level.

We couldn’t just measure down from the actual ceiling or up from the floor because each was crooked or uneven in their own unique ways. If we wanted a level false ceiling, we needed this crucial tool Tyler didn’t already possess.

OK, it was lunch time. Let’s go get lunch and drop by Home Depot. And spend more money. On another tool.

This was a battle I wasn’t going to win.

So we dined at a Chicago hot dog joint and dropped another couple hundred at Home Depot. Driving back to the church in the pickup truck, Tyler asked me to open the laser level box (with the Fort Knox unbreakable plastic clamshell, a feat in it itself) and read the instructions.

This was not poetry or a steamy novel. This was the instructions on how to set up and use a laser level.

All I remember is this one thing: “Looking into the laser light will cause blindness.”

Before returning to the work site, Tyler dropped me off at the rental house to check on the dog, throw the washed sheets in the dryer and run some quick paperwork. He returned to the church to set up the laser level.

When I arrived at the church twenty minutes later, the laser level was screwed to the wall, red laser lines marking the bottom of our false ceiling.

laser level
Looking into the laser light will cause blindness.

We got back to work exchanging nouns for tools and constructing studded walls.

Not infrequently that afternoon, my sweaty Romeo (thank you, Erin Napier for this “Home Town” description) would bend over to nail a stud into the bottom plate and sprinkle a few drops of perspiration on the floor.

That was the sweat in this story.

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 Tomorrow: Part II of building walls: Blood. Read about it here.

5 thoughts on “Simple wall construction turns into odyssey of blood, sweat and tears

    • Oh, welcome! And thank you for reading. The treasures we found at your store are coming up in a chapter about some of the bits and pieces we’ve found. So keep reading!


  1. This was one of my favorite Church Sweet Home posts. And this is one of my all-time favorite lines: All I remember is this one thing: “Looking into the laser light will cause blindness.”


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