Tag Archives: house

Habitat Build 2008 Third Day – Roofing and Siding

Saturday, May 31 was the third day of the Presbyterian Coalition, Cobb Habitat for Humanity build in 2008.  This is the seventh  article in this series, the first covering the Traditional Dinner on the Slab which includes a slide show of 25 pictures and introduces the future homeowner, Nicole Combs and her son Elijah.   The second article is the beginning of a tutorial “ Habitat Tutorial, Preparation for Build“ which covers some of the intense preparation that goes on behind the scenes before the volunteers show up.   The third article covers the actual first day of build: Habitat Build 2008 First Day – Walls Go Up .  The fourth article is the second part of the tutorial, Habitat Tutorial – Part 2 .  Look to the right hand column of this page and find Oldtimer’s recent posts for the rest of them or to put them in order for reading.

For those of you looking for the homeless veterans or homeless youth, this is also it. Click on one the links above the banner or on either of the two links in this paragraph, or maybe check out the right sidebar.

This article covers the installation of the roof shingles, Hardi Plank siding, and various other 3d day activities.   From any slide show you can access various sizes of the prints for free download (instructions further down – “Getting Copies”).

Link to slide show – 170 pictures Click on picture or here

Link to a collection of all Habitat pictures (2007 and 2008) organized one set per day!

Getting Copies

The pictures shown here and in the slide show do not have the resolution you can get if you download them from the Flickr site.   If you are viewing a slide show containing the picture you want, click on the link at the top left of the slide show to get to the full set at high resolution, or click on any picture in the slide show and then click on “View Main Page”.    If you are looking at the mosaic of of a set for a particular day, you can click on the picture you want.    Once there, you can click on the button above the picture “All Sizes”.   It will open in the large size, but you can download any picture in any size free, or can order prints through the site that will be delivered in about an hour to your nearest Target store.  It’s not obvious how to get to the Target option. First put a print in your shopping cart.  When ready for checkout, you can send your prints to Target for printing for about 15 cents per copy or have them mailed to your home. 

In addition, you can go to “Zassle” and have T-shirts, coffee mugs etc. made with your favorite print.  Enjoy.  Below are selected prints but only a small sample of what is available for free download.

The Third Day

It’s amazing what has been accomplished in the first two days!   Not only are the walls up, but the walls are all up, the roof is decked and dried in, the exterior walls are covered with OSB, the windows are in all in and all but one door has been installed.   Today the plan is to put the shingles on and get a good start on the siding.  

The day, as always, starts with an orientation for new volunteers, a pep talk, then a safety talk and an introduction of the homeowner by our SPM (Site Project Manager), Jeff Vanderlip.   If you peek through the tent above the person in the white tee-shirt, that is Jeff in the orange tee-shirt and floppy hat facing us.  You can see that a couple of workers are already on the roof even before the rest of us get started.  They are laying “starter” courses for us to work from.   More about starter courses later.

Nicole Combs is the future homeowner and also in the picture.   To the left of the tent is a man with a purple cap.  Nicole is on the far side of the picture just to the right of him.  She is also in the top picture right in front of the wheelbarrow (yellow shirt).  

And this is Elijah.  He is the son of of our future homeowner.  He has a keen interest in what is going on as he will be living here, but he is too young to work on the site.  When around, he is confined to the food tent or visiting inside after the work is done and helping clean up the property or just playing nearby.  A great kid.

Shingles!

This is essentually the way we found the roof this morning.  The starter edge courses are alrady in place and the bundles of shingles are on the peak of the roof.   The shingles you see along the edges were put there by the Gray Ghosts that I’ve mentioned a number of times in my earlier posts.    

The two people on the roof are putting on starter courses that run up the centerline of the roof in such a way that volunteers can work off each side of the centerline toward each edge of the house.  That way at least four crews of workers can work at any one time.  They’ve also started the porch roof and valley so that the valley shingles can be put in as a “weave” for good looks on the front.

To see the rest of this article and some great pictures, click here: Continue reading

Habitat Build July 15 – Dedication Day!

Cover of dedication folderToday was Dedication Day for Joi’s new home.   Dedication day is when we dedicate the house to the Lord and turn over the keys to the homeowner.  She gets a hammer, some gifts, and a Bible as well.  Plus lots of good will.   Every body loves her.

The house is ready, and there are no known issues.  She is not quite able to move in yet, as the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from the city has not been issued yet – but it is coming.  

As a matter of fact, it is beautiful.  One of the prettiest and blemish-free houses I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on – a reflection of the beauty of Joi’s smile.  

Partly also because of the eagle eyes of Jeff Vanderlip and Jim Miller any and all potential problems were caught early and immediately corrected.  Jeff is our official Site Project Manager (SPM) and Jim is our honorary SPM.   Together they have probably built as many Habitat houses as anyone else in the world. 

The picture above is the front cover of the program used for the dedication.  The inside and back are in the slide show.  The slide show has 44 pictures, including the complete dedication cerimony and pictures of all the guests and the President of Cobb Habitat for Humanity John Kerwood.   

You simply have to go to one of these dedication events to hear the wonderful “Amens”, “Praise the Lord”, and experience for yourself the Holy Spirit at work.  Pictures do not do the wonder of this experience justice!

Enjoy.  Simply click on any picture to see the slide show.  If you are interested in downloading or obtaining a copy of any photo, click on the link above the slide show and you will get a montage of all the pictures.  Click on any one of these and you will get a larger one.  Or click on “details” to see larger ones of all of them and you can also comment.  To get a full size photo (highest resolution), you need to click again until only one photo is shown, and then look above the photo for “All Sizes” (find it above the photo).    Downloads are free and you can print them at home. 

Copy Service 

Flickr has a copy service that allows one hour pickup at a nearby Target store at very reasonable prices if you need a print from a retail store, or you can have it mailed to you.

You can click on “Order Prints” which is located to the right of the “All Sizes” link.   There will be a number of choices and options where you can add prints to a “shopping cart”.   Eventually you will get to a page where you can select Target pickup or have them mailed to you. Or you can cancel, so if you want to know the costs, just pick one and take it to checkout, then cancel at anytime – empty your cart if you think it is unreasonable.   Habitat, the Presbyterian Coalition, and I get nothing but the pleasure  of presenting these for your photo album.

View all Habitat for Humanity Posts

There are 15 posts describing the construction of Joi’s house.  To see all the Habitat posts and all the slide shows, click here or on the link on the right, labeled “All Habitat For Humanity Articles.” and this site will pull them all together for you.  No need to skip around.

Viewing all Habitat Photos for 2007 

There are 10 sets of photos for Joi’s homebuilding (day by day) gathered into a collection.  To see a collection of all the Habitat photos for the 2007 build of Joi’s house on one page where you can select, view, download, copy or view a slide show of each day, click here – Collection of Habitat Photos .

Selected Photos

Finished house

Finished house, soon to be Joi’s home. 

Logo of the Presybterian Coalition 

This house was sponsored and built by the Presbyterain Coalition of Cobb County (GA) with the help of numerous church and other volunteers and the constantly smiling Joi.

Handing over the hammer

Jeff Vanderlip, Presenting the hammer to Joi

Joi receiving the keys

Mark Rittenhour presenting the key ring

Smallerst Guest

Smallest Guest – Isn’t she a beauty!  Wonderful.

Joi and guests

Joi (left ) and Guests

More Guests

More Guests,  Joi’s ministers, friends and family

Sample plaque.

Sample of the plaque given to all the churches by Cobb Habitat for Humanity.This one happens to be my church.  Nice touch.  We have a bunch of them hanging on our walls.

To see the slide show and more pictures, click here or on any of the pictures above.   The ones below don’t link.

Selection of Photos from earlier slideshows 

Landscaping day

Landscaping Challange “Grass, you’re going Down!”

Joi's Smile

Joi – try to smile once in a while!  Isn’t that a pretty smile?

Ladders

Siding going up

End of First Day 

First Day – Show of Progress!  That’s Joi in the pink, working.

First Wall

First Wall – Photo Opportunity everyone!

Enjoy,

Oldtimer

To see all the Habitat posts and all the slide shows, click on the link on the right, labeled “All Habitat For Humanity Articles” (or here).    To see a collection of all the Habitat photos (in sets by day) for the 2007 build of Joi’s house on one page where you can select, view, download, copy or view a slide show of each, click here – Collection of Habitat Photos .  There are 408 photos.  You gotta be in there somewhere!  (Well, I did miss three photo days that I know of:  Layout day, roofing day, and cleanup day.  Sorry about that.)

Here is another important linkThe Presbyterian Cobb Habitat for Humanity official web site where you will find more pictures and information, and other links.

To see all Homeless Veterans Articles

To see all Homeless Youth Articles

Enjoy!

Donations for Robbed Habitat Homeowner Roll In

Our logoA few weeks ago I reported here that our local Habitat For Humanity Homeowner, Joi had her storage bin broken into and all her household belongings cleaned out – stolen.  Hers was one of 18 units broken into over that weekend.   She had worked on her home with us not knowing that her belongings were already stolen.

Now there is some good news.  The following is an email I received from Pat  Shankle, owner of Georgia Home Staging this morning.  A link to Pat’s web site is in the blogroll to the right.

Good morning everyone.
I’m so excited!  A member of our church has donated ALL BRAND NEW furniture for Joi’s house.  We have a brand new complete living room set, dining room set, Master Bedroom, Guest Bedroom and home office set up. Other donated items we have rec’d are:  dishes, flatware, knives, washer, dryer, misc accessory items.

Mostly what we need now is money so that I can purchase towels, sheets and other misc staple items.    

In addition to that, I know that there have been some monetary donations totaling enough to finish out the home.   

A very dark hour has been turned into a bright new day, a blessing, a dream come true.   Thanks be to God.  Pat had volunteered to “stage” the house even before the robbery, then she took up the flag and began a march to find replacement furniture – not just any old thing someone wanted to get rid of.  Pat wanted to look at it and make sure it would fit in with the other donated things and would be enjoyed by Joi and her family.   Thank you Pat.   And thanks to all of our Macland Presbyterian Church members that have worked so hard to help Pat and Joi out.  And thank you, whoever in our church that donated the furniture.  What a blessing you have bestowed.   My “helping others” admonition in a recent post is hereby retrieved.  We do help others in this neck of the woods!

The house has been completely roofed and dried in last time I was there.   This Saturday is the beginning of “blitz week” for our builders, all volunteers from the 10 churches that make up our Presbyterian Coalition.   We have had a week of rest while contractors come in to do those things that either require licensing, (such as plumbing, electrical, heating and air) or specialized gifts such as installing drywall and kitchen and bath cabinets and flooring.   

Habitat is blessed with sponsors that will give up much or all of their profit to help in this great mission.  For example, Whirlpool gives the stove, dishwasher and refrigerator free for every Habitat house built in the country.   A wonderful gift that they have been doing for as many years as I can remember. 

We are blessed with a drywall supplier that installs the drywall at no cost other than the discounted cost of the drywall itself.    The architectural drawings and landscaping plans are often donated and a landscaper shows up at no charge to help with the planting.

 This coming Saturday, June 9th we will be doing siding installation (hardi-plank), interior door installation and painting, interior and exterior.  As soon as a wall is finished with siding, the joints are caulked and the paint starts going on.  Everything, inside and out gets two coats. 

Then we go all week, June 11 through June 16, every day until the house is finished.   It is more of the same – siding, interior doors – painting and trim work.  The last day, June 16 is reserved for landscaping.  Planting shrubs, trees, flowers and putting down sod.  Typically the sod is bermuda grass in big rolls, sometimes pads.   When all this is done, it will be a real house.  When the dedication is done, and Joi moves in, it becomes a home.

If you are in this neck of the woods, come on out!   Directions are on the Presbyterian Coalition Habitat link in the blogroll.

“Houseless and Homeless Not Same Thing”

Houseless and Homeless Same?  Not exactly. 

Many think so, but they are different and overlap.   Many think that if you have a roof over your head – housed that is (shelter, rooming house, somebody’s couch) then you are not homeless.   They think you are homeless only if you live outside, on the streets.  They are wrong. 

If you don’t get the difference, think about it until you do.  Read the words of the homeless veteran below and see if anything clicks.   The old saying, “home  is where the heart is” is quite valid and true.  Just because a homeless person is in shelter or sleeping on a friend’s couch, or living in a cheap motel, doesn’t mean he or she is not still homeless. 

They may be housed and homeless at the same time.  This is a big issue and a terribly sore spot with the homeless.  To them there is a world of difference; almost fighting words!   There are homeless veterans and houseless veterans, two different levels of homeless, but don’t say that someone housed cannot be homeless.  The houseless veteran is one that sleeps in a doorway or back alley or along some creek bank somewhere.   The homeless veteran covers that and also the housed that cannot make a home out of their accomidations.

Definition

From Wikipedia:  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines the term “homeless” or “homeless individual or homeless person” as — (1) an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and (2) an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is: A) supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodations for human beings.

Definition 1) covers the unhoused homeless and 2) covers the housed homeless.  There are others, including those living in cars, campers, paid motel rooms/flop houses, rooming houses, bus terminals, transit cars, and couch surfing that kind of blur whether they are covered at all or included in C). 

Most homeless census counts do not count the homeless that are able to score time in a motel or hotel as homeless, although usually they get that brief stay for only a few days or a week.  Most homeless census counts also do not count homeless in transit (those at bus or train stations or actually in transit), even though some live in the metro transit systems for years.   The result is an undercount. 

 Comment from a Homeless Vet in Ohio on homeless and houseless:

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: homeless
One entry found for homeless.
Function: adjective
: having no home or permanent place of residence
– home·less·ness noun

 “Today, my mother and I had the “homeless” conversation for the first time ever. It was terribly brief. I had mentioned having spent the last year as a homeless veteran. She said that I have never been homeless — I was staying with [my last host] until I moved into her house.  I told her that being homeless and being houseless are not the same thing.  She said she didn’t have time to discuss it and walked away.

“Yes, there was a roof over my head and there is still a roof over my head at her house; however, it was crystal clear from the moment I was told that I could move in — both places — that I was allowed to stay for a while, transient, short term, not permanent or anything close to it. I was permitted a temporary stay in someone else’s home, permitted to “make myself at home”, but never permitted to make the home my home.

“It was clear from day one — this is temporary, it had better not last very long, or a day will arrive when my belongings are moved out for me.  My last host placed them safely covered and well hidden (from the road) on his front porch. “

(Oldtimer’s note, he was recently moved out – van loaded up and transported elsewhere by his parents – wore out his welcome – their home was not his home and he was homeless even there – housed homeless in his parent’s home.)

Maybe some people really do have to be homeless for a while to understand that houseless and homeless are not the same thing. “Houseless” and “homeless” frequently overlap, but they are not interchangeable synonyms, not at all.  No, my mother really has zero clue what spending a year without a place where I was welcome to stay permanently has done to my psyche.  “Coming back” from this might be a little easier if my family had the slightest clue where I “went”.  Yeah, I think it is going to take me a while.”

Elsewhere in his blog he says this: “Housed-homeless”, it seems like such a strange concept, but there’s probably more of us “couch surfing” veterans than anyone is counting as “officially” homeless .

He has an interesting blog.  Go visit.

Click here for All Homeless Veteran Articles

OUCH! Our Habitat Homeowner Robbed of Belongings

Homeowner, Joi.  What a nice Smile.I found out today that Joi (photo), our future homeowner of the Habitat for Humanity house we are building for her in Mableton, Georgia, had her furniture and other belongings stored in a storage locker while waiting for her new home to be built.  

 She worked on the house with us Saturday, only to find out later that her storage locker, along with 17 others, was broken into over the weekend.   She is devastated at this bad news.   What should have been a happy occasion is now ripped to shreds by scum-of-the-earth thieves.

There is some help coming in the form of Pat of our church that owns a home staging company.  She had already planned to rally our church members and her business associates to  donate furniture to Joi and to stage her new home.   Now it looks like we need to  come up with even more.   Stay tuned.  If you would like to help with monetary donations, contact the PCCH site (also there is a link on the side bar) or Pat at pshankle@georgiahomestaging.com . 

We don’t have a procedure yet, but the PCCH is a 501 corporation through the church and it should be counted as a donation there.   Checks to them need to be made to “First Presbyterian Church, Marietta” and marked “Habitat donation for Joi” mail to: First Presbyterian Church, 189 Church Street, Marietta, GA  30060-1629, attention “Habitat Mission, Bob White”.    

Anything that comes through me or Pat would need to be made out to “Macland Presbyterian Church”, and marked “Habitat donation for Joi”, mail to: Macland Presbyterian Church, 3615 Macland Road • Powder Springs, Ga • 30127-1336 , attention: “Habitat Missions Team”,   If you live in the area and want to make furniture or other physical donations, contact Pat or the PCCH, or let me know through a comment and I’ll contact you by email.

Such thieves are trully miseable excuses for human beings.   

Click For all Habitat Articles  and more pictures of Joi and the progress being made.  

Habitat Build 2007 Slide Show and Pictures

May 6th, 2007 · No Comments

PCCH Habitat LogoPresbyterian Coalition Habitat for Humanity Slide Show of all the pictures made by Oldtimer at the Dinner on the Slab, May 4, 2007.

Slideshow:  Dinner on the Slab

Presbyterian Coalition Habitat for Humanity Slide Show of all the pictures made by Oldtimer on the First Day of Build, May 5, 2007

Slideshow: First Day of Build 

Slideshow: Second Day of Build   May 12, 2007

PCCH Website

The morning started out just like last week.  It had rained hard overnight, but the site was not particularly muddy and very little water remained on the concrete slab.   As usual we had our pep talk, our safety talk and our introductions to the crew leaders.   These little talks are needed each time because there are always new people showing up that could not get there on previous build days.

The goal for the day was to safely put up the roof trusses, deck  and tarpaper the roof, wrap the house and install all the windows and doors.    Short summary:  Mission almost accomplished.  The deck didn’t get finished and it is not tarpapered.

First Truss installedFirst truss Someone had come in during the previous week and put up safety poles at one end of the house.  Probably Jeff, the Site Project Manager (SPM) and the “Gray Ghosts”.   That allows the first roof trust to have something to rest against and to tie to because it is the key to having all the trusses line up properly as they go up.  All the other trusses are tied back to the first one.  Thus the safety poles serve to stabilize the trusses all the way across and assure none of them fall over and start a deadly domino reaction.    The Gray Ghosts, by the way are an organized group, usually retired builders and handymen, that come in mid week and repair anything that is put up wrong and/or was not finished.  They are volunteers that work one or two days a week to make cetain that builds proceed smoothly.   Since they are usually unseen by the volunteers, they are in effect ghosts.   They usually come at the invitation of the SPM. 

The trusses were shipped stacked and nailed together.   I had the job of separating them and marking the trusses for alignment purposes.  That consists of making a mark on one end of each truss at the 14 inch mark for the purpose of setting the overhang.   Each truss also had a mark at 47 inches from each outside edge of the slope for the purpose of setting the first 4×8 row of decking boards.

“Wyze Guys” The first truss was lifted by a crew of 6 or 7 people and one end slid up onto the front wall using the forked “Ys”  poles shown next to the window.   Jeff likes to call the pole holders “Wise/Wyze Guys”.   Often the Wise Guys were women.  The truss is shoved forward and the poles moved back as the truss went over the wall.   Some Wise Guys went inside and helped lift the truss over obstacles such as interior walls until the truss spanned the entire house.   One person at the other end was positioned to align the 14 inch mark with the wall.   Men on the inside lifted the truss into position on the wall and against the safety pole and then shifted as necessary to get the proper alignment.  The truss rests outside of the blocking put in the previous week and firmly against the poles.

nailing the first truss to the safety poleFinally it was nailed securely into place.   Each of the remaining trusses were hefted up in a similar fashion.  One “safety man” had the job of making sure that no one working on the top side was caught between an incoming truss and walls or trusses already in place.  Thankfully no one got hurt.    Special jigs hold the tops of the trusses exactly two feet apart and keep them from falling over.   Usually long 1×4 boards are nailed truss to truss across the top edge to ensure they do not separate or fall over.   These are removed as the decking 4×8 sheets of OSB go up.  This year we also had metal truss spacers that remain permanently.

truss spacers in placeThe picture at the left shows the spacer jigs on the first two trusses and the smaller metal truss spacers on the rest.   1×4 boards were added later as the number of trusses began to worry us about safety.   If one of these trusses fall over they might all fall over and someone would definitely get badly hurt.   We don’t take chances on Habitat builds.

The last trussThe last truss. The last truss was lifted entirely from the outside of the building.  I think this is the most dangerous point of any build.   The last truss is heavier than all the others due to the added OSB on the end, and it has to be raised straight up into position.  The technique is to get it positioned below the wall and then lift it to the top of waiting stepladders.   Wise Guys steady the truss against the wall and the ladder men climb the ladders to get a higher grip.  Finally the whole thing is lifted into position.  It could easily slip off the 1.5 inch ledge it sits on and it could also easily tip too far toward the other trusses and leverage itself off the ledge or with real tragic results tip backward and fall on the whole crew.   Thankfully it went smoothly. 

The truss is firmly nailed along the blocking on that end of the house and the tops joined with spacer jigs and then 1×4 boards tieing them firmly together.

Marking StudsOther things going on.  Even before the first truss went up, there was a crew set up to wrap the house in a waterproof wrap.  In this case Tyvek.  It seems as if it is a rule that this stuff always goes on upside down.   It actually depends on which direction you choose to wrap the house.   Right to left, right side up.  Left to right, upside down.  Guess which way everyone goes.    Once the wrap is started, another crew begins marking the studs on the edge of the slab and marking vertical lines on the wrap.  These are so the siding nailers can Window being installedfind the studs easily.    Also once the wrap is started, the window installers go to work.  Each window is set into place and nailed in.  Then someone comes behind them and puts on vertical and horizontal strips of tape to seal the window edges from any chance of  leaking.  There is a strict procedure on the order of installing the strips.

Decking  A deck crew is started on each end of the house.  It starts with two people working within the trusses reach down to pull up 4×8 sheets of decking.   The placement of the first sheet is critical.  It determines the angle at which the entire roof runs from one side to the other.  Get it a 1/8 of an inch too high on one end and by the time you put 8 sheets down, the roof is a full roof deckinginch out of alignment on the other end.   Several attempts to use the 47 inch marks (gives 1 inch overhang) gave bad alignment due to the rafters being shifted ever so slightly from one to the next.  Finally a string was snapped from one end to the other and the first sheet was properly aligned on that.   The decking proceeds from one end of the house to the other, then by rows above that.  Soon there are 4 to 6 people on the roof working above the first row.

close up of the actionThe porch and storage/laundry roofs use small trusses that span their length.  Once the trusses get to the edge of the main roof, the remainder of these smaller roofs are “stick built”, meaning they are constructed using hammer and nail.   Once a deck is completed a crew begins covering it with tarpaper.   We didn’t get that far today.

The porch beam got another “do-over” because one was cut a little too short and the other was cut a little too long.    A little work with a saw-all by Jim Miller fixed it all up.

picture from PCCHThis Oldtimer cut out about here (picture above), with the roof less than half decked.  The previous week I was so pooped I could hardly keep my eyes open going home.  Sorry guys I left a little early.  Boss’s orders.  You don’t keep a bride 48 years without knowing when to say OK!

There are 35 photos from build day 2 in the slide show at the link at the beginning of this piece.   Take a look. The two earlier slide shows are also linked in case you missed them.  The last (end of day) picture came from the PCCH website blog.

Our next build on May 19th, 2007.  If you are in the Cobb County, Georgia area, come on by.  We can shore put you to work.   We will teach you how to roof and side a house.  Shingles and Hardi Plank lessons here!  Go to the PCCH website for directions and map.

Click to see all Habitat Articles by Oldtimer

Slide Shows: Habitat Pictures

PCCH Habitat LogoPresbyterian Coalition Habitat for Humanity Slide Show of all the pictures made by Oldtimer at the Dinner on the Slab, May 4, 2007.

Slideshow:  Dinner on the Slab

Presbyterian Coalition Habitat for Humanity Slide Show of all the pictures made by Oldtimer on the First Day of Build, May 5, 2007

Slideshow: First Day of Build 

Enjoy.

Good Start – Pictures

Our Habitat LogoHere are a few of Saturday’s Pictures from the first day’s build.   These are 8 from a total of 52 taken that day.   The date is May 5th, 2007.  The location, Mableton, Cobb County, Georgia.   The sponsors and builders are Presbyterian Coalition Cobb Habitat for Humanity, a group of 10 Presbyterian Churches.   Our 21st house in Cobb. 

To get a full screen view or to download any of the pictures that follow, go to the post above, “Slide Show – Pictures” and click on the picture and then select the “all sizes” icon (magnifying glass – any size you want up to full page. 

 A Good Start

Good Start!  I’d call this a Good Start.  This first picture was taken at 8:30 AM.   There are two plates still tacked together, and work in progress on a number of others.  Look around and you will see other Habitat houses in various stages of construction.   Cobb Habitat bought the land for a subdivision of 50 homes here in Cobb County GA.    Look carefully and you may see some of the markings on the floor and on the plates.  Volunteers split the plates apart and start nailing in studs, windows, doors and T’s where marked.   Everybody has fun.

 First Wall UP

 First Wall UP!  The lady in pink is our very excited homeowner – Joi.  The first wall up is a celebration and a great photo opportunity for everyone with a camera.   The time was 9:30AM

Moving On! 

Moving ON!   The walls have been built.  The interior walls are in the foregroud and the exterior ones either up or behind the slab.   The time is 10:05 AM

 Joi  My Walls!

 MY Walls!   Joi, our happy and always smiling homeowner.

 Start OSB

First Sheet of OSB after walls are squared.   Notice all the ladies admiring the work.  They put a lot of them up after being shown how.   Time is 1:06PM just after lunch.

Ladders UP!

Ladders UP!   Joi  (pink shirt) is right up there with them, putting on blocking. Portions have been capped.  The beam pocket (front right corner) has been carved out but not re-framed.

 Jeff and Pretty Boy

 Jeff and Pretty Boy.  “Pretty Boy” Miller AKA “Nine Fingers” (in the suspenders)  talking to Jeff, our SPM.  Bob is coming up with a ball of string to help straighten a wall.   Behind them is the food tent, and a tool storage locker, behind Bob.  Further back another group is finishing up shingles on a roof. 

 Finishing UP 

 Finishing Up.  The last piece of OSB is being prepared for over the front door.  That and cleanup will finish the first day of work.  Good Job!  Good Job Everyone!   This pictures was taken at 4:33 PM.

A Very Good Start

Our Habitat LogoToday was a great day to build a house.   Our Presbyterian Coalition Habitat for Humanity build got off to a very good start – walls up, squared and covered.   The weather was just perfect.  Cool, overcast and not as humid as it should have been considering it rained during the night.   We had perhaps 35 to 40 people show up – smaller than normal, but considering the rain during the night drove a few away, it was more than enough to get the day’s job done.   We build rain or shine and many dedicated volunteers will slug through downpours and deep mud all day for the joy of helping.  Others will look out the window, see the ground wet and say “They’ve got to be kidding.”  

The day always starts with a little talk by the site project manager  (SPM).  The talk has a little of everything – a little orientation for first-timers, a little pep talk to wake us up, a good safety presentation for everyone, and a brief introduction of the various crew chiefs and an outline of what he expected to be accomplished.   A coalition member provides a prayer and then we start work.    Everyone on site today was a volunteer.  Everyone.

First order of business is to build the walls.   The wall plates have already been put together the previous weekend.   At that time, the slab was laid out with colored marking for where the walls go.   The technique is for the SPM and a few volunteers to use the house plans to mark all the walls on the floor, then cut 2×4 boards to match the plan and lay them out on the floor.    Matching top plates are placed on top and the top and bottom plates are then tacked together with nails.   Then the location of all the studs, doors and windows are marked on the bottom plates (pressure treated wood) and also on the top plates (white wood).  The plates and the floor are numbered so volunteers that come for build-day can simply begin pounding nails into studs placed on the marks.   That pounding part we did today.

The previous weekend the SPM and the volunteers also had a little extra help and time on their hands so they had also built all the door and window headers and attached the side studs.   Often that is done by the volunteers on the first build day.  Since we had fewer than normal due to the overnight sprinkle, having the window and door frames ready was a very big help.  

First Wall Photo OP.  So the walls were built on the floor, then carried off the slab and piled up haphazardly into two stacks,  exterior and interior.   Once all the exterior walls were finished, the first wall section was carried back in and the “first-wall-up celebration and photo opportunity” was announced.   The homeowner (in this case Joi) is always allowed to put in the first nail in the first wall and as many as have cameras get a good shot.   I have pictures and will share them in the next post.  Walls on a slab such as this one have a foam-like material attached to the bottom plate (pressure treated wood).  Then they are nailed down with wedge-shaped nails (called cut-nails) designed to lock into concrete.

At some point the exterior walls are nearly complete and the remaining interior walls are carried onto the slab so they don’t get fenced outside.   Today we brought too many inside and ending up carrying three or four back out and around the building because they belonged in the store room and/or the laundry room which are in a wing already outside the walls that were already up.   Volunteers are never happy unless they are either toting something or pounding nails, so this is a not a problem.

Devotional and Lunch   As noon approached, the cry was – “No food until all the walls are up!”   However it worked out that we were standing around for the devotional at 12 noon and the walls were all up.  The church that provided food today was First Presbyterian.  They usually provide the first build-day lunch because they are the biggest of our churches and the build day usually has the most people show up.   There is always a short devotional talk followed by a prayer asking blessing of the food.   Some of the more experienced volunteers bring soft fold-up chairs.  Everyone else finds a lumber pile, window sill or a cool place to sit.    Eat, chat, rest, then back to work.

Squaring the Corners.  When all the walls were up, the SPM and a few experienced volunteers squared the corners with levels and cross braces to get the corners exactly vertical in all directions.  Part of the process of squaring the corners involves putting OSB (4×8 sheets of sheathing) in the corners to keep them straight.    Then crews are sent around the entire house to finish covering the outside walls.   Two volunteers were assigned to reopen the doors and windows with a saws-all.  Essentially they go inside and cut the sheathing out of the windows and doors after others cover them up.   

Small Work Crew Activity.   Also there were a number of small crews doing specialized work – such as putting blocking on the side walls for nailing the bottoms of the roof trusses and for providing a nailing shelf for sheet rock on the ceiling around the perimeter.   There was also a crew putting on Z flashing around the bottom of the walls to set the sheathing in.   Each bottom of each piece of sheathing is set into a channel of metal that has a bed of silicone caulk to seal it from any weather leaks.  Another crew or two is moving around the house on ladders putting on a cap plate on all the walls to tie them together and to provide a strong resting place for the roof trusses to come later.  Others were simply picking things up or sweeping out anything accumulating on the floor or running the “chop saw”.  

Saw Man.  The chop saw work is always a dedicated “saw man”, in this case, “Pretty Boy” Miller, AKA “Nine Fingers” our most beloved SPM from previous builds who is helping us today by special request.  The official SPM for this site is “Be Safe – Have Fun” Jeff Vanderlip who brought along his wife and son.

Straighten the Walls  Two small crews were detailed to “straighten the walls”.   That involves placing blocks on each outside top corner of the house, tying string from block to block, then using a  ladder and a block of wood to gauge the wall spacing to the string at various points and then adjusting them with braces to get them absolutely straight.

Porch Beam Pockets.   Someone forgot to provide porch beam pockets during layout so those had to be cut out with a saws-all and re-framed.   Just a few minutes extra work.   The pockets are rectangular openings that allow the front porch beams to extend well into the frame of the house so that they are well anchored and will never be able to pull away.  The porch beams for the two sides were slid in, leveled and braced.  

End of Day  The day ended about 5 PM with all the walls up and covered and all tools put away and the site cleaned of any left over debris.  Next week will be rafter day – actually these are prebuilt engineered trusses that are made off-site and trucked in.   One of the things we did today was to install a temporary cross walk across the main family room to help the truss walkers to get back and forth somewhat safely  “up there”.   Next weekend we will put them in place, install cross bracing, deck the roof and dry it in, ready for shingles.   Maybe even shingle it. 

Always Something New.   Every build has a new feature or new challenge to overcome.  This time we were pleasantly surprised at the retainer wall.   It is beautiful –  attractive engineered blocks of stone to create a retainer wall for the house next door which sits above “ours”.   Out of the 20 homes we have built previously, we have always contended with graded slopes between houses or between yards.  The retaining wall is a nice feature.   I understand we will have some changes in the way we do the trusses (engineered steel spacers) and a different design for the trusses.   New features added in previous years include tapered round columns instead of rectangular posts for porches, Hardi-plank siding instead of vinyl, bigger floor plans, engineered trusses, engineered floor joists, Z flashing, and a number of neat improvements in design and detail to make the homes more distinct and attractive.

Stay Tuned.   Selected pictures for the first day to follow in the next post!  I have 92, but they take up more than 250MB and so you will need to be satisfied with a few reduced format samples.