Rehabbing Houses with Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity
Our 2 weeks at Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity was spent rehabbing existing Habitat houses in order to prepare them for re-sale to new partner families. Though Tom had been here twice in the past 6 years I’d never built with this affilate nor worked on anything but new construction. Because we weren’t doing demolition the work wasn’t actually all that dissimilar from things I’ve done elsewhere, but there were decided differences such as having to lay flooring around existing kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities.
Tom and I in fact spent all our time flooring, either laying laminate faux wood or tile. Other jobs going on around the site included installing, painting, and caulking trim, replacing porch roofs, and painting ceilings. We began our first week finishing out the laminate on a house working out how to wrangle and tape the huge 20 foot wide sheets of VisQueen (a polyethylene water barrier we taped to the slab), fit the laminate together without gaping, and layout rooms so that there would be 4 offset strips without ending up with tiny pieces at the opposite wall. Nothing difficult and only requiring some patience. The second house we did I laid out from scratch starting from a point in the middle of the hallway where we wanted a certain fit around the utility closet door we had just installed. Once we established the pattern and ran it down the hallway in both directions we were joined by Denny, Ken, and Carola who continued flooring into the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living room. Meanwhile, Dan and Chris were cutting and installing trim in the house we had just finished.
Once we had completed the flooring Tom and I moved back to the first house to lay out the kitchen, dining room, and laundry room for tile; after being certain we would have large enough pieces at the sides we began our brick pattern in which every other row was offset by half the width of the tile. In my mind I was a little skeptical of combining the pattern with the large 16” tiles but once we got going I think it looked pretty nice. Tiling is my favorite, and I was in my glory. After completing the second house we moved back to the other house. Thankfully this house didn’t have kitchen cabinets so we were able to zip through the tiling as the trim teams moved in behind us.
On days we didn’t build we tried to take in a few of the local sights and experiences but the Martin Luther King holiday caused some things to be closed. No matter, we still got to the only brewery in 50 square miles. Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux offered us some very comfortable indoor seating in front of the fireplace to sip with our pints. They let Abby join us too which obviously boosted my opinion of them. I enjoyed their Marzen Amber Lager and Tom their Blonde. I also got some extra time to bake and went on somewhat of an experimental cookie bonanza.
There are of course also dogwalk photos. The flat bayou country is admittedly way too wet and humid for my personal liking, but I can’t deny that that they have some pretty wonderful sunrises and sunsets with colors ablaze in the sky and the dark silhouettes of cypress trees and Spanish moss in the foreground. We also stayed right on a lake that provided some lovely opportunities to see the clouds of evening colors reflected in its surface.