Returning to Build with Kootenai Valley Partners Habitat for Humanity

After our days camped on the Paunsaugunt it was time to head to Libby, Montana for our build with Kootenai Valley Partners Habitat. We built with this all-volunteer affiliate 2 summers ago and fell in love with the people, the community, and the hospitality. Plus, Northwest Montana isn’t a bad place to hang out either if you like mountains and trees.

As I mentioned in an earlier post we agreed to arrive a week earlier since they were getting a late start and were short of volunteers; as such we headed there almost directly from southern Utah with only a short stop in Draper to visit Tom’s niece. Libby is a small town of about 3,000 people and they’re dependent on RV Care-a-vanners to help them build a new house every other year; in alternating summers they will work on a home repair and build the subfloor for next year’s new construction with the help of locals and board members. This summer however they were trying to finish a rehab – a Habitat house built 8 years ago that had been bought back – as well as build a new 2 bedroom.

Our first day on site Tom and I began by nailing off the unfinished subfloor while Steve and Jan started running layout on the external wall plates and other volunteers started cutting compnents for wall headers; by day two we were building, sheathing, and raising walls. Due to the shortage of volunteers and delayed delivery of some material construction went slower than usual for the first week but we had the interior walls up and top plated by the end of the 5 days. Dustin and Ayla, the future homeowners, dropped in to build when they could andprogress was made.

The second week unfortunately brought us a few days of thunderstorms and rain – not to mention a delay in our truss delivery – and most of us moved over to work on the rehab installing flooring and then moving onto trim moulding and caulking the following weeks when weather prevented us from working on Dustin and Ayla’s house. But as the skies cleared we got trusses up and then Tom and I went up and started framing out the roof in preparation for sheathing.

The elevation design on this floorplan made for an interesting set of roof circumstances, most notably the cantilevered trusses that extended 11 feet out over the front porch. Because the trusses were engineered to bear on the walls and not the porch posts the latter weren’t even in place when we began framing and decking the roof; this meant we were standing on trusses that were floating while we put up subfascia and began the sheathing with OSB. Even after the subfascia was nailed on, tying together all the truss tails, the whole thing wiggled just a little bit too much for my liking when we were beginning the decking but luckily Steve is pretty good with a forklift and was able to deliver us sheets of OSB without us having to overreach much or stand at the very end.

In addition to arriving a week early we stayed a week later than anticipated in order to help get the house dried in for subcontractors. Our last week we finished sheathing and papering the roof and gable ends while crews below worked on wrapping the house, installing windows and exterior doors, and trimming out windows and corners with Hardie board in preparation for siding. We unfortauntely didn’t get to shingling in the 4 weeks we were there but we were hopeful that the last group of care-a-vanners coming in a few weeks could finish at least that and the siding, allowing for interior work to be continued once the seasons changed.

Steve running layout on the external plates

Jan nailing off sheathing on an external wall

External walls going up

Steve and I laying out internal wall plates

Bill and Homeowner Ayla building internal walls

Homeowner Dustin and Care-a-vanners Jerry and Bill putting up interior walls

Forklifts make rolling trusses way better

Tom and I putting in outlookers together

Tom stringing for the gable end ledger

Steve and I putting up subfascia

Deck building going on below while Tom and I frame out the porch roof

Steve boosting up sheets for Tom and Jerry and deck the roof

Local volunteer and I decking the roof

Jan and Kathy installing windows

Me putting up subfascia with Tom and local volunteers

My man striking a pose while putting up subfascia 🙂

Papering the roof

Clint and homeowner Dustin decking the porch roof

Tom and homeowner Dustin wrapping the gable end

Jan nailing off drip edge

Ayla caulking the window trimming