Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The House: Hard work=great rewards

I am proud of myself. It takes some major courage to build a house, you know!

Yesterday (September 13, 2011) we got more amazing work on our house done. We have walls! And I, Lisa, cut out our front door. How many people can say that? I also nailed in most of the sheathing myself. That means using the heavy nail gun--one of the things I was most afraid of at first. But I conquered it yesterday. Go me! My arm is sore this morning though. :)

And since I'm chronicling every step of this journey, here's some information about building exterior walls:

The most important tools for building exterior walls are a measuring tape and a pencil, followed by a hammer and a square. Oh, and of course a pair of gloves and water bottle... First, we measure where the wall goes and use the floor plan to carefully lay out the walls. We have to have some decent math skills to know just where to put the doors and windows. Around windows, we have a trimmer and an extra stud on each side. Doors have to have an extra two inches added to the width of the door for the door jams and shims, then have their own trimmer and extra stud as well. Both windows and doors also have headers built out of 2x10 boards. After doors and windows are determined, then we also place studs every 16". Once the wall is in place, we'll put up more studs in the little wave pattern I explained a while back. It gets kind of complicated, and this is a job that I haven't quite mastered yet, but I try to watch what is going on and learn it.

(And incidentally, on the top of this picture you see the wood house across the street? That's "House 3")

Once all the studs are all nailed together, we measure the board to ensure it is square. Then we place big 4'x8' pieces of sheathing on, carefully lining them up. We like to use a chalk line to mark where the studs are so that we nail the sheathing on right. (The nailing was my job.)
We use a heavy-duty construction router to cut out the windows and doors. Then, at last, it is time for my all-time favorite moment of the build: lifting the walls into place. (I wanted to take an epic movie of this, but the camera tipped back. And I couldn't come turn it off because I was still holding the wall in place. But you can at least see part of it).

After the walls are lifted, we level them, toenail them into place with nails, and then brace them up with long 2x4's.

This last picture was taken at sunset, about 7:45 pm. We stay and work until 9:30, so we were able to get the last two front walls lifted before we left. I couldn't take a picture because it was too dark. When we left, all the front-facing walls were up, and the side walls were beginning to take shape. The back wall is also up, of course.

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