rs5thyears

Gimme Shelter

Myers’ Home team is flying high as they install the roof on this generational home. Goodbye errant raindrops, so long harsh sunbeams. Say hello to a cool and shady workspace!

After nailing the sheathing and taping the seams, the team can’t get straight into roof metal installation. The edges of the corrugated metal sheets must be finessed. This is all accomplished with honed and tight flashing details. Way back when this team reviewed such details with Jake Labarre and Dan Wheeler. They tested them in a mockup and it’s finally time for the real deal.

Sneak peek of that roof on a shady morn!

Done in a flash

The flashing is ordered custom and is produced from sheet metal with folds and smash joints as specified. It provides a clean edge for roofing and siding panels to run into and weatherproofs by serving as a drip edge from openings. Later down the line door and window flashing will also be applied before siding to protect the home’s openings.

The team also installed what’s called a “vapor diffusion port.” This consists of a strip of Tyvek paper taped across the gap in the peak of the sheathed roof. Once open-cell spray-in insulation is installed it will serve to diffuse moisture from the home through the attic space.

Up and at ’em

With flashing up, it’s about time to start slinging metal up of Myers’ Home’s 10/12 pitch roof. The team went with a larger corrugation width, 1-1/4″, than that of the siding, 3/4″. This creates distinct planes with similar textures.

Thanks to extra hands Andrew, Steve, and Chelsea, the process was about as smooth as can be. The roofing began with Andrew at the peak and Judith on the roofing ladder at the eave manned with drivers and screws, Madeline and Steve manning the scaffold positions, and Riley and Chelsea pre-drilling and hoisting sheets up.

The front slope of the roof, shortened because of the heeled truss, was completed with just one row of 12′ panels. The back of the house however has a slope length of nearly 20ft. To roof this with a single run of panels is slightly more unwieldy to install with the small crew on this project. The team split the back into two portions; an upper 8′ run and a lower 11′ 6″ segment.

In the home stretch!

The final upper portion proved trickier to maneuver with a lower row already installed. The previously designed rope system continued to prove its worth in this area. Down on the scaffold, a string is pulled across the bottom edge to mark where the roof overhang ends. The scaffold hands push the panel into place and align corrugation to the sheet adjacent before those further up secure the metal.

These folks completed the whole job in two mornings of sunrise starts. All that remains is installing the ridge cap once the team gets their hands on the elusive closure strips. These corrugated foam strips seal large gaps in between the roof and ridge cap across the house’s peak. A complete roof is well in sight!

The Great Indoors

With the roof and sheathing complete, Myers’ Home team finally has that shaded interior workspace. They’re jumping into the first steps of interior wall framing, which will be the core unit of the bathroom, laundry, and staircase. The team has also hit the shop with the first pre-fabricated cypress window unit well underway.

Soon to be released, the woodshop tell-all and the beginnings of plumbing and electrical!

It’s ZIP To Be Square

The summer sun has inspired the Myers’ Home team to get that roof on quickly! They’ll be rising with the sun and reporting to Newbern at 6 o’clock sharp to beat the heat until that roof is high and dry.

Before corrugated metal can wrap this house, it has to be layered with sheathing, waterproofing, and a vapor barrier. Myers’ Home Team is using ZIP System structural sheathing for this endeavor, which combines OSB exterior sheathing and weather protection into one tidily engineered sheet.

On the Up and Up

The team is squaring and stabilizing the framing as they install sheathing. It acts as shear bracing for the trusses and keeps the house in line. At 4′ x 8′ feet, the ZIP System sheets are near identical dimensions as typical OSB sheathing. And they’re applied just the same too!

The install process goes as follows; Madeline holds the sheet from the top, Riley ensures it’s flush to its neighboring sheet, and Judith checks that it’s level. Riley tacks the board at the bottom and Madeline moves outside so it can be secured on all edges.

Next, the crew installs the sheets over window and door openings and cuts out openings with a reciprocating saw. Quite of few of the scraps from this process can be used on the second row of wall sheathing, as well as angled gable ends. These guys also site measure to check that they are aligning with studs and have adequate support.

This keeps on going all the way up to the beginning of the roof pitch. Let the scaffolding saga begin!

Theories of Roof

Hey, remember back when Myers’ team was discussing that attic and those trusses? They picked a 10/12 roof pitch. This incline certainly makes for a trickier time getting those big ZIP sheets up and secured. In addition, due to high prices of lumber right now, purlins proved to be budget-prohibitive and didn’t play well with the existing roof flashing detail. All things considered, these folks had to make a special plan for the ascent.

How’d they do it???

What do all the members of this group have in common? Rock climbing–and they’ve got the gear to prove it. They’ve all gone through safety training and designed a system of secure anchors at the roof peak. It sure doesn’t hurt having a retired rock climbing wall manager hanging around either, top-notch rigging Riley! This rope setup allows for relatively quick and easy movement up, around, across, and down that big, wide roof. Want to see it in action?

Stick Around, Why Don’t You?

After the sheathing is installed, the seams between panels must be sealed to complete the weatherproofing. The team uses ZIP System tape and special rollers to apply this across the whole field of sheets.

The previously introduced “shell method” for Myers’ Home relies on this sealed up ZIP System box that provides a dry and durable layer for the house.

Concept still holds water…or sheds it

Riley, Mad, and Jude are dodging pesky summer showers to square away this task. Next up? Look out for roof metal, quite a few cross-state order pickups, and soon-to-be-introduced pre-fab window units! Until next time…

They’ve Been Framed!

They’re out of the mud and into the air! Since graduation Myers’ Home team has made quite the stride in construction. With diplomas in hand Saturday and a zip back to Hale County Sunday, the three students prepped for framing Monday!

Put that on your plate!

Riley, Madeline, and Judith installed sill plates as one of their last moves before Pig Roast. This involves placing a bead of silicone caulk around the perimeter of the slab. They lay thin strip of foam the width of the wall framing, a sill gasket, atop the caulk before it cures to create a seal. This makes an air barrier between framing and slab on the finished stud wall.

Don’t forget the earmuffs!

Then, the team places 2″ x 6″ boards on the foam with seams staggered from those on the stud wall above. Myers’ Home will have a double bottom plate. This means two 2″ x 6″ pieces will be sandwiched between the sill plate and the one making up the bottom of the full stud wall. When installing on a slab, one must attach the sill plate directly to the concrete. There are several options for this connection–anchor bolts, TapCon screws, or a powder-actuated nail gun.

Riley finishing up the TapCon side of the sill plates

Myers’ Home team opted for the nail gun for efficiency. After speaking with their favorite engineer, Joe Farruggia, they determined a nail size and pattern for the home’s lateral load capacity. Shooting all (roughly) 150 nails into place and sprinkling in a few TapCons after a nail malfunction, this team was ready to get framing!

Walls up, dude

A quick note — Madeline has been keeping up documentation of the project on 35mm film! The majority of the photos of those couple days framing are her wonderful doing. Kudos and love!

Andrew Freear and Steve Long joined these folks on site as extra and enthusiastic hands with plenty of tips and tricks! Without delay the gang got to it, and moved fast! Riley cut studs and the rest laid walls in place based on framing elevation drawings.

Nail guns at the ready, they had the front (west) wall of the house and half the southern wall up within the first afternoon.

Starting the first half of the southern wall

Jumping to it again the following morning, the shape of the interior, windows, and doors began to appear. The team braced new walls to the ground and each other throughout the process. A smaller crew has an easier time raising a 40′ when built in segments. In this case, the front and rear home walls were in three pieces each.

The team leveled and plumbed, then attached walls as they went up. Complete stud walls stay in this measured position with aformentioned bracing until sheathing is installed and the walls are rigid.

By lunchtime, all walls were up and braced awaiting the second top plate. The whole perimeter is stitched by this 2″ x 6″ piece before trusses are hoisted atop. In (record? who’s to say…) 10 hours the five had finished exterior framing and dodged a few showers in between!

Truss them when they say they can’t wait for what’s next!

The whole framing gang, through rain or shine!

Attic ho, matey!

They arrived, those revolutionary attic trusses that have been in progress since the holiday season! A small hitch in production meant the top six inches of the trusses were delivered separately. But Judith and Madeline attached these to industry standard with a simple toenail.

After moving them from the delivery zone in the driveway to a crane optimized position, these folks were ready to hoist.

Trusses make their way across site with the BobCrane

Sure it took a couple tries and mud sliding, but on a heck of a Friday Myers’ Home finally took shape as the trusses made their way through the air! Thanks to Shane Jackson and his wonderful crane, Judith, Riley, Madeline, Andrew, and extra help, Addie, from Rev. Walker’s Home, began a truss-raising that went off nearly without a hitch.

In preparation, Judith and Madeline had marked each truss location on the top plates. The team also raised scaffolding inside the walls for easy access to placed trusses.

Picture this: the cable descends, Andrew secures a single attic truss to the crane hook. Shane moves the truss into place across the stud walls. Judith and Madeline man the nail guns and ensure the truss is lined up and flush to the walls before tacking them in securely. Addie cuts the blocking to site-measured size between the two foot truss space. Riley scampers to the attic area braces the truss near to plumb. They do it 21 more times.

Party room, bowling alley, it could be anything! Except a pool.

They wrapped it up just in time for a lunch on site and took a first look at what that big ol’ attic is going to really be! 40′ long and 12’6 wide, who’s to say what it could hold?

Nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night

With the shape of Myers’ Home finally visible on site, trusses plumbed and strapped down, the team looked to the next step in building to make this house a full volume.

Nailing on hurricane straps to secure the trusses in extreme wind loads

Temperatures rising here in Hale, so these folks are in a race against the heat of the day to get their roof on and a shaded interior to work. Check back to see where they’re headed, to sheathing, roofing, taping, and flashing!

Judith, Madeline, and Riley after a truss-hustlin’ day

A Test and a Toast

With a slab all squared away and the school year wrapped up, it’s about time for Myers’ Home team to start realizing some of the above-ground details. At the Studio, this means constructing a 1:1 mock-up of the corner with the most complicated detailing.

Rain Day? It’s OK!

What to do on a rainy day? Mock-ups are just the thing! If the site is too mucky, head to the Fabrication Pavilion. Toting their tools from the trailer on site they set up for a few days of dry, covered work. On the business side of things, the team is waiting on an order of dimensionally stable cypress. They will be constructing a separate mock-up of the shop-built window units for the home. Keep those ears open for news of these hooligans hitting the woodshop for a pre-fab frenzy!

First step, framing the faux corner. They build the base of the mock-up using the same methods as a full-sized stud wall. Madeline and Judith assembled some very small headers and Riley cut piece after piece for the scaled-down trusses. Full-sized trusses will be 24 feet wide and roughly 13 feet tall, with Myers’ Home clocking in at just over 23 feet total. What can they say, it’s a two-story!

Zipped and Flashed

They then fasten on the ZIP sheathing system and tape all the seams up. The Studio has moved away from OSB sheathing and home wrap in recent years and adopted ZIP sheathing in turn. The panels themselves are weatherproofed and thick tape that is rolled tight seals the edges. The system covers both walls and roof and is is one of the clearest ways this team has been able to maintain the protected “shell” of Myers’ Home.

Riley and Judith took a jaunt up to Sloan Metal in Warrior, AL, with a pit stop in Tuscaloosa to grab their flashing order at Metro Metals. Trailer in tow, the mock-up roof metal and a few test sheets for siding were clinched and toted back to Hale. The flashing details have been designed in support of the tight shell, unbroken by rafters and durable over time. The low-eave detail has a 2-inch overhang and J-bead corners keep the edges clean.

Pick a Color, Any Color!

Actually, pick one of two colors. The team has narrowed down to Ash Grey and Burnished Slate, two neutrals that both have a lovely degree of reflection. As it goes, and not to brag, but the site is just beautiful. Wide fields to the east and west, high trees surrounding that cast dappled light. It really doesn’t need much more added to its palette. The team began looking at neutrals and complimentary colors and settled on the these two grey tones to test.

Riley going at it

Cutting the corrugated panels to size, they decide to forego fastening the siding so that panels could be changed and tested. With Pig Roast imminent, the mockup was moved out to the site to be able to test both options throughout the day.

Changing the siding to stopwatch and audience eyes at Pig Roast!

Most surprising has been watching them throughout the day, the colors both seem to shift through morning and afternoon between warm, cool, and highly reflective of grass and sky.

Still Reading? Let’s Have a Party!

Pig Roast dawned, a beautiful Tuesday in Hale County. An in-house event, but livelier than ever, the small band made their way from project to project with some delicious pit-stops around town. Congratulations to Horseshoe Courtyard, a fantastic kick off the day’s festivities and a bubbly surprise! With the jessamine blossoming the crew toasted the year, the work, and the people and enjoyed a sweet morning snack from the new local bakeshop, Abadir’s Pastry

Then the gang caravanned to Newbern for the ribbon cutting of third-year project, Ophelia’s Home. Can’t forget a stop at Sweetbriar Tea & Coffee, parked across from Spencer House for the morning! How exciting to see two years of work at its end. What a joy for the teams who’ve had their hands on this project, those who have followed its progress, and of course, Ms. Ophelia!

Four semesters of students have worked on Ophelia’s Home, congrats on completing!

Back to Morrisette House for a barbecue lunch and a trip across the yard to the Thermal Mass & Buoyancy Ventilation team’s site. After a rousing discussion of scientific breakthrough and imminent pods all gathered at the Fabrication Pavilion to marvel at their complete mock-up! A job well done, Myers’ team can’t wait to see more of Morrisette Campus’ newest—and tallest—addition.

Fun for all ages!

With short run up Hwy-61 the group stopped at Rev. Walker’s Home to hear about their progress as of late. These pole barn pals have their slab in-ground and working hard at getting their roof up next! Looking forward to the coming weeks where the big barn will take shape.

Sweet and Sweaty

The final stop of the day was good ol’ Myers’ Home site. All braved the sweltering mid-afternoon rays to offer their feedback and encouragement as the three team members move into framing the home! The team offered a presentation of the “shell” method and a NASCAR-worthy switch of metal siding panels on the mock-up.

With all projects squared away back to the Great Hall it was for a dinner of fried catfish, hushpuppies, and slaw from neighboring Newbern Mercantile! The evening was capped with a few words and annual traditions from fearless leader, Andrew Freear, a lecture from Jackson, MS-based architect, Roy Decker, of Duvall Decker, and a big, big bonfire complete with s’mores!

While certainly not a normal year, the folks on this team are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend the year in Hale and work every day with their minds on the run and boots in the mud. Many, many thanks to the Rural Studio family—faculty, staff, friends, parents, and neighbors—for the love and support. After their graduation celebration back in Auburn, these three are running full steam ahead to a summer in sun swinging hammers!

Myers’ Home team, graduates back in action and cruising for a roof!

Square Up for Concrete

After weeks of weather-watching, schedule-shifting, and dirt-digging, the day arrived. Slab day! Let’s cut to the chase, she’s a beaut. Would you just look at that big hunk o’ concrete!

Myers’ Home Team after a long pour day

But how’d Myers’ Home team get here? That clean, final slab contains quite a few parts. The layers within the slab are gravel, a vapor barrier, rebar, and wire mesh. These all had to be installed along with plumbing and electrical chases before calling in the concrete order. Not to mention the formwork that holds the whole thing together while it cures!

Peak Form

The batter boards that went up all those weeks ago set the lines for formwork. The form boards are tacked with metal stakes every two feet, leveled, plumbed, and secured with kickers and wooden stakes every four feet. This solid edge allows the team to dig their 8″ wide turndowns with crisp and clear dimensions. The turndown is a small ditch that strengthens the edges of the slab which are taking the brunt of the gravity load of the home.

Riley loading up the wheelbarrow for another round of gravel

The site was a touch too muddy to bring in the big guns (the Bobcat) for gravel moving. So gravel moving was done the good old-fashioned way with wheelbarrows and shovels. Cheers to the Studio’s new Operations Manager, John Allen, for joining the student team on quite the pre-summer scorcher! The old gang and their welcome extra hands then spread the gravel with shovels and rakes, tamped flat and firm, and checked for level with the site level.

A site-sized sheet of thick plastic, the vapor barrier, covers the gravel and sprayed for termite protection. With all this tamped down and taped up it’s time to get into the metal game!

Rebar is skewered throughout the turndown and run lengthwise around the edges. Metal mesh is then carefully moved, it tends to be wiggly, and cut to size to set on chairs across the slab area. These elements reinforce the slab for tensile strength after the pour.

Water Under the Drive

Meanwhile, the team was also trenching for water lines for, long-term, the home’s water supply and, more short term, a spigot to water their new concrete. The Ditch Witch, a walk-behind trencher, is a gem of a machine. Once you get her started, she can dig a line like no other! After completing most of the trench and chiseling through a few unexpected brick foundations by hand, the team finished a long Slab Pour Eve with a complete and working hose.

The Promised Pour

But at last the morn arrived! The first concrete truck pulled up right on time (wow!). With expertise of local concrete masters Clyde and Jimmy, the team had their slab placed in a jiff. The team was able to help float edges and directing the placement of the small excess load. As Clyde continued to finish and polish the surface, the team prepared to pop their markers for control joints. These prevent large-scale cracking in the slab over time.

Clyde returned the following morning to cut control joints with the demolition saw. The team took turns to water the slab morning, noon, and night in the days following.

This means these three students are just about ready to start framing! Stick around to see the mockup they’ve got in the works for all those durable details and some sweet and sweaty Pig Roast moments!