Presbyterian 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
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 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.
Finally 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.
The 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 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.
Other 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 find 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 inch 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.
The 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.
This 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.
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