What's Happening at Habitat for Humanity

Ed Howard

February 2013 


In February our Habitat Team continued work at 261 Loring Street on Buffalo's east side. This month we installed ceiling joists to make the second story ceiling a uniform 8 feet high. The process works by using a laser level which is set up in the middle of the room and shines a light in all directions at a height of 8 feet off the floor.
The light shines on all the studs and marks are made on them to indicate 8 feet high. We build a header that goes around the perimeter of the room at the marks, ensuring the ceiling is level and uniform all across the room. Then joists that span the width of the room are nailed into place. Next, drywall will be fastened to the joists and that will complete the ceiling.
All went well until we came to one point where someone (before we got there) made the mark about 1 inch below where it should have been! As a result, the header around the room was not level at that spot, which, in turn, caused some delay while we figured out what the problem was. Fortunately, we figured it out quickly and finished our work at approximately 3:30 p.m. Some days we finish at 2:30 and other days we stay a little late if it means we can completely finish a particular task. The photo shows what the finished job looks like.

January 2013

Our monthly Habitat crew has moved indoors to work on our house at 261 Loring Street in Buffalo. This month we built a load-bearing wall and patched holes in the floor to provide a smooth surface for future carpeting and vinyl flooring.

Often when a Habitat house is "rehabbed" it is necessary to build new walls to rearrange the floor space to suit the family that will be living there. Once in a while we move a wall that is critical to holding up the second story and that was the case this month. Making the job more interesting was that the house had sagged a little, so we jacked up the second floor slightly and then built the new wall to take out the sag. When we are rehabbing we sometimes remove ventilation ducts, walls, and other things that leave holes in the floor. With the walls in new places, sometimes those holes end up in places that have to be patched so the finished floor is smooth, solid and safe.

In the photos Alan Spring is working on our wall, Dave Reichard and Bob Whitney are trimming pieces to fit openings in the floor, and Dave is installing a patch. Our Habitat group works the third Saturday of every month. It is great opportunity to do good work and learn something you can apply in your own home. (Okay, so maybe you aren't going to be tearing out walls in your house . . . you can still learn a lot!) You don't need any experience or special tools . . . everything is provided including help and advice. If you would like to come try Habitat for a day, please contact Ed Howard.



Summer 2012 Update

This summer WUMC's Habitat for Humanity team continues to work at 261 Loring Street, near Sister's Hospital. On our first Saturday we tore out plaster, lathe and insulation . . . a very hot and strenuous task! The next month we were in the basement reinforcing floor joists and strengthening a corner where the frame of the house rests on the foundation - wood in the frame was rotted and needed to be rebuilt with pressure treated lumber.

Now, in our most recent month, we built new window frames. This house is different in that the aluminum siding is in pretty good condition; so the trick was to build a solid window frame in such a way that the siding was not disturbed and a new window could be slid into position, and fit with the siding trim looking right!

While we started with an idea of what we wanted the end result to be, no one was quite sure how to do it. After a morning of tearing out old framing and a lot of discussion we created a frame made out of 2x6's that we tied into the rest of the house structure. It was much stronger than the window supports we removed and will be solid to hold the new windows. You can see what it looks like in the attached photo. The second photo shows Ron Galloway and Jim Jones who did the work.

We'll be working at 261 Loring for several months. The end of the summer and fall weather will be just right for continuing work on this house. This would be a good time to join us if you are interested in supporting Habitat, or would like to learn skills you could use at your own home.

May 2012

The WUMC Habitat team started work on a new house in May, which is located at 261 Loring near Sister's Hospital. Some Habitat workdays are more challenging than others and I must say that this month was one of the most challenging ever! We are at the very beginning of work on this house and the first task is "demolition," which means tear out everything back to the frame of the building.
This is an old house so the walls and ceiling are plaster and lathe, and at some point a homeowner had blown in cellulose insulation. Removing all this creates the messiest mess you can imagine. There is dust in the air, plaster and wood strips everywhere – the air was so thick with dust it was impossible to take a picture inside the house. Take one look at Bob Whitney's photo and you can see what a mess the house is.

Most people went through two or three facemasks because they kept clogging up after a couple hours. By the end of the day we filled an entire dumpster with debris.
Now you may think, "Gee, this doesn't sound like much of an advertisement for Habitat," but it was the kind of day where you worked hard and felt like you accomplished something (filling an entire dumpster will do that).

April 2012

Our Habitat for Humanity team continues to work at 46 East Oakwood and is nearing completion of the house. This month one of the tasks was to install underlayment. In these photos you see Bob Whitney and Dave Reichard tacking down luann underlayment. Later crews will install vinyl flooring on this base.

In the kitchen the underlayment was already installed when we arrived, so our job was to measure and cut the vinyl floor and then apply the adhesive. Alan Spring is troweling adhesive onto the floor. The adhesive is very thick, and if you did this every day you would develop very strong forearms pretty quickly.

Once the vinyl was on the kitchen floor, Bob and Alan installed the cabinets along with Bob and Marge Waddell, who are from Central Park UMC. We find ourselves working with Bob and Marge quite often.

One of the great things about Habitat is you do something different every time you go and it is an opportunity to learn how to do things around your own home. There is always someone there to answer questions if you aren't sure what to do. So, you don't need any special skills or experience to come and help. Our crew meets at WUMC at 8:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of every month. Please join us if you can. If you want to know more, contact Ed Howard.