Recently Completed Projects

Stringer-ing You Along!

Oh Hi! The Patriece’s Home team has been busy lately making progress on their two-story home! 

Back in August, representatives from Huber Engineered Woods visited the team at Patriece’s Home site to speak about the donated ZIP System and AdvanTech products! (Thanks again to our friends at Huber!) ZIP Systems are “a revolutionary structural roof and wall system that streamlines weatherization with an integrated air and water-resistive barrier.” The Huber team conducted an in-person tutorial where the team applied ZIP and stretch tape then rolled it with the experts to ensure it adhered to the ZIP System sheets. 

The team was then equipped to fly up the wall. As the team sheathed, they applied the tape upwards and placed battens to walk up the roof slope as they worked. They shifted around scaffolding, donned harnesses, and passed around ZIP sheets until the entire exterior of the house was sheathed and the weather barrier was secured.

With the exterior covered and the cold fall wind beginning to blow, the team was excited to walk inside the house (woah) and start building out the interior walls. They started on the first-floor walls, and the bedrooms and bathrooms started to be formed. 

The team then used Huber’s Advantech product underneath their stair tread subfloor to ensure it stays in place and doesn’t squeak when it is walked over.

Along with the ZIP System and AdvanTech products, we received another gift: we’ve been counting down the days since early Summer for the home’s window delivery! Thank you to Pella for the wonderful donation of all the home’s windows. The team was so eager to bring light into the home, they started to cut the ZIP away from the window apertures the same morning as the delivery. It took them two days to install most of the home’s windows. 

All the natural light from these lovely windows brought life into the interior and character to Patriece’s home’s exterior, brightening our workspace and providing a glimpse into the home’s final facade.

The next blog post from the Patriece’s Home will show even more details and progress on the site, so check in again soon! 

Fall Means Walls

One month since we last posted, and our site is practically unrecognizable! It’s been a productive few weeks out in Uniontown, so let’s catch up.

sheathed units

South Street’s newest slab was just itching for some walls, so we started by installing pressure-treated sill plates. Using a powder actuated nail gun, we shot nails through the lumber and concrete, giving our walls a solid connection to the slab. 

sill plate installation

We then framed up all of the exterior walls, attaching them to the sill plates and bracing them back against the ground to keep everything plumb and level. 

After bracing the exterior, we turned our attention to the porch and ramp where there was yet more concrete to be poured. We built formwork for the column base, porch caps, and ramp edge. Over the next couple of days, we hand mixed and filled the formwork. Mixing the concrete ourselves allowed us to work at a slower, more careful pace and finish the pours to our satisfaction.

ramp edge without formwork

Then we were seeing green – green ZIPS panels that is. Thanks to the fine folks at Huber Engineered Woods, we started sheathing our walls to make them more rigid before raising the trusses.

ladder framed by window

And now we’re ready to raise the roof for real! Our trusses are on site and ready to be raised within the next few days. Until then, Auburn’s basketball team won’t be the only ones practicing their crane skills.

trusses being delivered
crane kick meme

All in Good Form

As Summer winds down, the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team is heading into Fall with a shiny new slab, but how’d we get here?

finished slab pour

Picking up from our last post, we trenched for plumbing and put a pipe puzzle together, making sure that all of our pieces were properly placed before pouring concrete. A big thank you to this week’s guest stars on site, our friends Elisia and Caitlyn.

In the past couple of weeks, twenty new faces arrived in Newbern signaling the start of a brand new academic year. With the new year comes “Neckdowns,” and our team was lucky enough to have a whole crew of helpers throughout the week. Continuing with our prep for “The Big Pour,” our new 3rd and 5th-year friends showed up to place rebar and grout our CMU cells to further strengthen the foundation.

After the pipes were buried, we brought in gravel as the next ingredient in our slab sandwich.

Vapor barrier and mesh then followed, as well as formwork for the showers. Because the shower needs to slope to drain water, we built formwork that will allow us to do the showers as their own pour. The maintenance closet also gets its own pour, so we prepped for that too.

Once we got everything placed, plumbed, and tied, we were ready for the main event: “The Big Pour.” Once again, thanks to the crew from Crosby Carmichael for the concrete. With the help of our concrete finishers, we got the whole pour done in a morning, and we were able to use the extra concrete to set anchor bolts for the porch.

Who knows what these next few weeks hold? We do, actually.

Our trusses are ready for delivery, and by the time this is posted, our lumber package will be on site. We’re also taking some time in studio to explore new details for the windows and the porch, so we’ve got plenty to nail down before our next post, literally and metaphorically. 

girls in matching coveralls
In honor of New York Fashion Week, the ladies wore their matching coveralls, an homage to the SS20 boiler suit trend.

Truss Us, Things are Stair-ting to Frame Up

Welcome back! Patriece’s Home is finally starting to look like a house! With the foundation work complete, the “leftovers” team started to move on up.

Before framing, the students installed the termite flashing, anchor bolts for their front porch column, and sill gaskets to reduce air infiltration between the slab and the pressure treated base plates. 

Then the walls flew up! The team, along with Steve Long (5th-year studio faculty), finished framing the exterior walls and interior bearing walls in two hot Summer days. All of the walls were secured and braced, then the students began making headers for the porch walls and interior closet wall. Looks like this team has liked “stick”ing around Hale County!

And what’s THAT?!? BOOZERBEAM™ out of Anniston, AL, donated a 3.5” x 9.25” x 10’ glulam (glued laminated wood) beam for the team to use as the header in their kitchen! Two students drove to Anniston to pick it up and it works perfectly. A HUGE thank you to the fine folks at BOOZERBEAM™!

As the students were nailing in the top plates that attach all the walls together, the truck arrived with their roof trusses! The team then wrapped their framing in their bottom layer of ZIP sheathing.

The next day the team waved goodbye to Patriece’s children on their first day of school and had a successful morning putting up the trusses! After six hours working on scaffolding, and thanks to the help of Shane Jackson and his crane, the students got to climb down and surprise! It’s a house! The home now stands tall and dignified. Patriece’s kids had a great surprise when they came back at the end of the day. 

Since that glorious day the team has been putting blocking in the six foot gap in the trusses and within the exterior walls to so they can begin sheathing the building. The Patriece’s Home team is drying the home in as they get reinvigorated with a new fall semester and new class of Rural Studio students! 

My Month of Work and Anticipation

This Summer has flown by for the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team. Good news! We’re officially up and out of the ground! A few rainy weeks put block laying on the back burner, but thanks to local mason James Harris, we’ve raised the slab (and the roof will soon follow)!

While block laying was in progress, we continued working on the third volume. The main house units are built on an elevated slab foundation, but the third volume is designed to be on a slab-on-grade foundation, so no need for any concrete blocks. With the help of a few of our fellow “leftover” students, we knocked out the small slab pour in under an hour and got it finished up and ready to frame.

Building the small walls of the third volume was a great way to knock the dust off of our framing skills before we tackle the main units. With the help of professor Steve Long, and a much appreciated guest appearance from our colleague Caitlyn, the walls were up and braced in a morning. Framing the third volume first was also a great way to test our strategy for connecting the porch header to the wall. It looks like the “notch” in the framing was successful! Soon, we’ll assemble the third volume’s column and header to test the entire detail assembly, almost like a second mockup!

steve and ac frame a wall

Now that the CMU walls are up, we also backfilled the footprint of the units with dirt. Next up is setting up plumbing, adding a layer of gravel, building some formwork, and then we’re off to the races for our final concrete pour!

Until next time, we’ll be keeping our hopes high and our trenches dry.