Building projects

North Topsail, NC

A friend of mine, Bob, purchased a house in North Topsail Beach, NC. It was organically built and owned by his parents.  Between the time Bob purchased it and his parents owned it, it was owned by a guy who was just interested in the rental income. He did little to upgrade it or maintain it properly.

It was in sad shape when Bob  bought it.  We were having dinner with him and other friends when he said he was going down to work on it .  I asked if he needed any help.  He said he would pay for my trip, housing and food if I went with him to help him.

Sounded like a free trip to the beach to me, So, I offered to go and help.

Prior to our arrival, Bob had contracted a house mover to have the house raised up 4 feet to meet the latest flood height codes.  After the house was raised, another contractor replace all 49 pillars.

We arrived March 2, and found the house  now stood over 11 feet  off the ground, just one foot above flood level.  The increase of the flood plain by four feet is the  impact of beach erosion and  global warming house-raised







This photo below shows the I-beams lowered after the house was sat back down on the new pillars.beams-under-house

roof-viewOne of the first tasks was to fix holes in the roof. We climbed out the window and I will admit, putting aside my fear of heights, the view of the ocean was wonderful.

window-injuryIn the process of climbing in and out the window, we found out that the window springs failed when one came crashing down on my arm like a guillotine. The good news that it was my arm it that was in the window, not my head.  This was the first of my body damages.


roof-hole1To fix holes in the roof, we first had to remove the shingles where we would find rotten sheathing which we removed.




We even found rotten rafters, which we had to repair.


nail-injuryIt was removing the rotten sheathing when I got my second injury.  My hand was poked  by a nail when I was throwing a piece of rotten sheathing away.

From then on, I wore gloves.



After cutting out all the rotten parts, we would patch in new sheathing.


roof-repair1Then we would put on new tar paper. I would often let Bob tack in the nails near the edge for  when I dangled my feet over the edge, I got a instant case of vertigo.on-edge








roof-repair-2We then would put on new shingles and seal places with the ugliest, stickiest, hard-to-clean, black tar calk Bob could fine.  No matter how careful we were, we would always put on hands down  in a fresh blob of it.

Other than fixing holes in the roof, we found damages showers from the house raising and tubs that we had to remove. To get them out of the bathrooms, we had to take down walls.  To get the one piece shower/tub out of the house, we had to  cut it in half.

shower-damage shower-out


tub-out tub-out2


The floors also had issues. We took up the floor2 vinyl flooring to find press board used as sub flooring. When press board gets wet, it either  swells or decays, leaving spongy spots in the sub floor.

We removed these and replaced it with 3/4″ plywood.


It was with great pleasure to heave a old broken refrigerator, a honker, heavy tube TV, broken interior doors and the rest of the derbies in a dumpster.

dumpster1. We gave the vinyl flooring, washer, dryer and stove to Habitat for Humanity.

We worked  two weeks straight. but  there were times we took breaks to see the sunset or the beach.










We ate (and drank) well. I had seafood ten days straight, but saladbeing in the south, it was often deep fried. To balance this with more healthy food, I had a salads like the one pictured. The mudslide was giving into my  weakness for chocolate, ice cream and vodka. mudslide









There were times I got to visit the beach. There were four times that I walked on the beach and each time I saw no people.  My only company was my shadow.beach1








On the last day, the ocean mist was so strong, it looked like fog. beach2



We left for home on March 15, 2016.  I had hopped to loose weight during this work trip.  When I got home, I found I had actually gained 6 pounds!  So much for southern fried seafood.