Golden Home Builders has a new home going up and I took some pictures of the framing to date. I thought I would share some internal components of homes that never really gets discussed. (I tried to keep it short, but there is a lot to this and I love this stage in construction. Can’t you smell the fresh-cut wood?)
Sticks & Bricks:
That is a general term for what a house is, the framing and foundation. On the photo to the right, you are looking at 4-Level Split Home. Built with 2×6 “stick framing” with OSB sheathing and roof decking. The house wrap is just starting to go on. There is an entire post I could write for each of those items, but I am just going to a general overview here.
Stick Framing has a “base plate” and a “top plate” with studs in between. This allows for the floor joists to rest on top of the first floor top plate transferring the load to the foundation. (see diagram) courtesy of twostorybuilding.com
Balloon Framing a wall like this, the studs would run the entire height of the house and the floor joists would be supported by nails into the stud walls. (see diagram) courtesy of Elliot Home Inspection
Sometimes a combination of “balloon framing” and “stick framing” are used – in this house we have an example of a balloon framed wall. The load from the roof is resting on the framing and transferred down the studs to the base base plate that is on top of the floor trusses, which are attached to the foundation wall below.
The materials you see are 2×4’s and 2×6’s. The stud (load bearing) walls are usually douglas fir for it’s strength. White Pine, which is Minnesota’s State tree, is often used for the 1x bracing and some interior stud walls.
The older homes are built with 2×4 walls, home builders had to switch to 2×6 walls in order to accommodate the additional insulation required to meet energy standards. It is a mis-conception that 2×6 walls are stronger – they are only used to allow for more insulation. (a 2×6 is stronger horizontally than a 2×4, but they are about the same vertically).
Sheathing & Decking
OSB, or Orienated Strand Board has replaced plywood (which replaced solid plank boards). OSB comes in sheets, most commonly 4×8 sheets, like plywood. There are different thicknesses for different application: 15/32″ is the thickness of the roof decking and exterior wall sheathing while the sub-floor is a 3/4″
OSB is an engineered product of wood chips glued and compressed together giving it strength. This product has been in place many years and has performed well.
Engineered Floor Trusses are more expensive but they give you longer spans for a more open floorplan in the lower level. They also allow the utilities to be routed through them so you don’t have to box around the duct work when finishing the basement.
2×12 and TJI floor joists are also commonly used. All these products are good products and have been used for many years. There are pros and cons with each one and each depends on it’s application.
The engineered rafters are designed to carry the snow load and transfer the weight to the 2 outside walls, while hand framed rafters required a load bearing walls to help support the load. (before removing internal walls, you need to check with the blueprint to verify you are not removing a load bearing wall – some trusses in certain situations require additional load bearing walls.)
Follow the load
If you stood on top of the roof: your weight would be distributed through the Engineered Roof Trusses across to the 2 exterior walls.
The 2 exterior walls then transfers the load to the floor joists.
The floor joists are sitting on the 1st floor wall that transfers the load to the foundation wall.
The foundation wall takes all that weight and transfers it all to the Footing.
Tip: don’t cut corners on your footings to save enough to get that shiny sink faucet!
You could look at framing as a series of small enclosed bridges.
The next stage of this home is the roofer starts to put the roofing on and the Heating ducts are run before the plumbing and electrical… ..another post.
- Foundations in Minnesota Homes (craigkamman.com)
- Custom Builder Advanced Framing Presentation (twostorybuilding.com)
- Balloon Framing Not Mortgages (elliot home inspection)
- Building Home a Guide (homebuildingsmart.com)
- Truss Connectors (goulddesigninc.wordpress.com)