Over the past two weeks, metal siding has gone up, drywall has been hung, and stairs have been added to the porches.  

We decided to run the corrugated metal horizontally in order to create more texture on the facade through shadow.  The challenge of this was fitting each long piece between window and corner flashing.  This typically is not an issue because vertical pieces only have to fit in one j-channel at the top, while sitting on top of a drip edge at the bottom.  Wide j-channels on windows and corners allowed us to slide and push each piece into place.

Shane Price has been installing drywall the past few weeks.  We are excited to see how each space we have created actually feels.  We will soon be able to put our focus on interior finishes.

We now have stairs on both porches, which makes moving around the porches much easier.  We are now in the process of designing the handrails and installing porch finishes.

Using just 1/2” B-C sanded plywood and a few coats of white paint, we have added a soffit to the overhangs.  The white soffit and high set windows allow daylight to be reflected inside to brighten the interior spaces.  Because the eaves have not been left open, like in past 20K houses, a small gap in the flashing around the eave keeps air flowing through the roof and out the ridge vent, helping to keep the house cool.

With the help of Mackenzie, Cameron, and Steve, we have also begun preparing the interior for drywall with electrical and plumbing.

This week Shane Price, our drywall guy, came out and was able to put up the first round of drywall.  We are happy with the amount of light that comes into the space and how each of the rooms feel.  While Shane was working on the interior, we were working on the exterior putting up our white corrugated metal siding.  

This is the first time that any of the 20K houses have used horizontal metal in some time and we were curious the differences between vertical and horizontal metal. The main differences are that horizontal metal requires battens to screw into (for drainage) and that you have to be conscious how you overlap the metal on the top and the sides (vertical you just have to overlap the sides). All in all, we are very happy with our choice to use horizontal metal and how corresponds to our big ideas. 

A big thanks to Johnny Parker who helped us dig a trench for our plumbing, and setting up our electrical box!

Rural Studio’s very first hip roof is finished! We first sheathed the roof in OSB to help with the large cantilevers. The fascia board was covered with a special drip edge and soffit vent made by Metro Metals. With the help of Andrew and Steve we got the metal on the roof in one short day. The temporary walls came down shortly after and the cantilevers look great!

Round two of building the roof began by putting up the front porch beam. We used scaffolding to support it temporarily so that we could make minor adjustments and level it more easily. Once we were satisfied with the beam’s placement, we secured it with some additional temporary supports and ran three strings from the ridge to batter boards on the ground to get the slope right. After all the strings checked out alright, we nailed the precut porch rafters to the front knee wall and fixed them to the beam with hurricane ties. 

Next we installed the columns. With scaffolding still in place, we built the 4-ply, 2-by columns around the beam and, using off-the-shelf L-brackets, marked on the slab where to hammer drill holes to connect the brackets to the concrete. We drilled the holes, filled them with epoxy, and mucked in threaded rod. Once the epoxy set, we securely tied the columns, metal footings, and slab together with washers and nuts. We also installed the horizontal supports for the benches in the outer bays. We similarly installed the back beam, column, and rafters after the front porch was done. Once all the roof rafters were up, we sheathed the roof in OSB and tar paper. 

The next step was to fully prepare for drywall. We built the “mini stud wall” for the kitchen island to allow for the installation of plumbing and electrical. Mackenzie Stagg, Cameron Acheson, and Steve Long dealt with the plumbing and electrical while we figured out the dryer vent, bathroom vent, and insulation. We used R-19 insulation in the walls and floor and R-30 in the ceiling. While the house is being dry walled we will work on the exterior wall metal. 

We also added a new opening in our wall for an air conditioning unit. Bobby owns a large unit that will be able to cool the entire living area. We talked to him and instead of using a window, we have created an opening along the back façade that will be framed out like other openings.  We believe this is a good option because it will still allow for light and cross ventilation.

Around mid-June, after all walls were up and in place, we were almost ready top off Idella’s House with our long debated and much awaited transitional pitch roof. But before we got started on that, we had a few tasks to complete. First on the list was installing the beam over the vestibule and laundry room, followed by sistering and nailing in place ceiling joists over the living room. We also took time to begin tar papering over the OSB sheathing to help protect it in the meantime. 

Once we had ceiling joists to walk on, we built the knee walls at the front porch and under the roof transition. These were followed by securing the ridge beam into place. After that, we simply lifted and nailed our precut rafters to the ridge beam and the ledger boards at the knee walls. The back rafters went up shortly after. They were nailed above the rear knee wall, resting on and extending past the bedroom wall to create our southern eave.

We were very lucky to have Jeff’s dad, Mark Bak, come down to Hale County for a week and help us out. We were able to sheath the soffit, put up battons, and stain and attach wood on the front porch. We chose a honey gold color for the stain to protect the wood and give it a brighter color. 

With the help of Andrew Freaar and Mackenzie Stagg we were able to put up our charcoal gray roof metal from Metro Metals in Tuscaloosa. Once the roof metal was up, we installed our doors (Half Lite from Masonite) and windows (Pella Windows). Next, we attached all of our flashing around the perimeter of the house and around the windows. This was a very exciting step for us because we felt that it really started to feel like a house.

With the tornado shelter complete and the exterior walls in place, it was time to sheath the house. But before could do that, we had to make sure that all exterior walls were completely level and square. We moved around the perimeter of the house and adjusted each wall segment individually, bracing them back to the ground as we went. Once we were confident that the house was plumbed and squared, we began putting up the OSB.

After the bottom row of sheathing was nailed in place, helping to hold the exterior walls rigid to one another, Tanner began building and installing the interior walls that define the bedrooms at the back of the house. As each of those walls went up, they were fixed to the slab with a powder-actuated nail gun, or Ramset gun. At the same time, Whitney and Samuel continued to wrap the house with OSB while Caleb and his brother, Luke, Sawzall’d out the windows and doors. 

The effect of the sheathed walls made for a pretty dramatic transformation over the course of the day. When we started that morning, we were looking at a skeleton of a house—only slab, shelter, and stud walls—but by evening, it was a solid looking quasi-cube with doors, windows, and the impression of rooms.