The Scrap House

Thursday the 30th, Loftey.

April 30, 2009

Yesterday we got the fourth wall up without breaking it. And that was a really weak pun, sorry. Anyway… we have our three windows and the front door framed in, and the bathroom walls are up. Today we ran a 2×6 across the middle of the house, and a 2×4 across the back. Then we ran 2×4 joists using the lumber from the fences that are pictured in the truck in my last post. Then the plywood went down. Feels really sturdy. I like the spacial definition having the wall and loft off-set provides. It’ll be a lot easier to do the roof now that we have a platform to stand on. The loft is only offset 6 inches from the top of the wall, not the foot I had hoped for. But I think there will still be plenty of height.



Who’s side are you on?

Blogs have to have punny titles, right? We’re trying to decide on what to use for siding. We’re thinking of just using pallets. They’re oak, so they’re strong, and they’re incredibly plentiful. There are 7 or 8 4 foot 1×4’s on each, and given that the house is 12 feet long, each pallet could do 2 and a third rows. It would take a lot, but I think it would make for some decent looking clap-board. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Looking back.

April 30, 2009

I’ll make my first post one of back-peddling. We’ve been building the house for about two weeks, and collecting materials for about a month. What one finds in a dumpster is an amazing thing. So far we’ve ammased windows, doors, a toilet, a stove, sinks, switches, outlets, and lots of lumber. We’re not trying to make a policitcal, social, environmental, ecological, mystical, indivisible, or inedible statement with this project. We simply wanted to see if a fully functioning house, while albeit small, could be built for nothing. Even the nails mostly have come out of the lumber we got from the dump, and then reused. Because we’re hardcore like that.

All right. From the beginning. The floorplan.



Pretty basic. The one nuance is the bathroom door. It serves two purposes. The door can of course close and lock where indicated on the plans. However, there will be a second striker plate ninety degrees from that, on the entrance to the kitchen. This way, if someone is in the kitchen, you can still close and lock the bathroom door. But if you need a place to get dressed or use the sink, you can close the door in the kitchen opening so you then have the entire back of the house for privacy.

One Source

Shelves Loaded

Shelves Loaded

Fences using stud length 2×4’s? Great!
One Source
Fences using stud length 2x4's? Great!

Where do we get lumber? Wherever we can! Old shelves, the dump, and jobsites. I love jobsites. Aim for the expensive ones. When you’re building a two million dollar house, you don’t car about a little scrap, do yah? We found 26 8-foot 2×6’s in one dumpster once!

The Build:

Day one. Squaring up a foundation. More work than it appears.


Progress, got the shower in.


As it stands now:


I’d also really like to thank Kent Griswold at for the publicity. It’s a great site he runs. I’ll post daily updates on progress. Let me know what y’all think. -Ted

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About author

This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.