Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

48: Exterior Walls Complete

Like I said in the previous post, lots of work has gotten done, but not blogged about. Yes, the exterior walls are complete. Since the garage walls are 9’ 5” tall, I built the exterior walls the same height so the roof lines would match up.

Pic 1 is the north and east walls. Pic 2 is the front porch/entryway area. There is no header above the left window because that isn’t a load bearing wall. Pic 3 is my view out the back door. That log floating in the lake is secured down to the lake bottom and functions as the “turtle hotel”. We’ve had as many as 15 turtles stacked up on that log during the heat of the day. They’re a lot of fun to watch.

The walls are 2x6 on 24” centers. Studs were located to the maximum extent possible so they would sit directly on top of floor joists. Likewise roof trusses will sit directly on top of wall studs. This is called stack framing and is a building code approved method of construction.

Walls this tall and built out of 2x6’s get heavy real fast. So, the walls had to be built and lifted in 10’ long sections. I had one spot where I had to use a 12’ long section. I got it lifted but that’s the longest wall one person can reasonably handle unless you’re REALLY strong.

Once they were stood up it was a real trick to get the walls braced so they wouldn’t fall back down. I did this by attaching a 2x4 brace to the floor before making the lift. Then when the wall was lifted I would hold it steady with one hand, pick up the other end of the brace, slide it up into position and then attach a big C-clamp. With the C-clamp installed both hands were free to hammer in a nail between brace and wall before removing the C-clamp. Building and raising walls by yourself can be done easily enough. You just have to think your way through every step of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it ahead of time so you won’t be caught trying to hold a wall upright and have no brace within arm’s reach. Out of roughly 15 sections of wall that I had to raise, I had to lay two of them back down because I forgot to have a clamp immediately available or hadn’t nailed the 2x4 brace down to the floor yet.


At 10:02 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I've always seen the header put immediately above the window opening and cripple studs up to the upper sill plate. By putting the header right underneath the sill plate means you can eliminate the cripple studs I guess. Certainly saves in wood and make insulating easier.

One of these days when I build my house, I hope to utilize some of these advanced framing ideas myself, including lining up joints, studs and rafters for transferring loads.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Tony said...

Most headers are dramatically oversized; the result of not actually calculating the load they must bear and the result of builders simply repeating unquestioningly what they learned as apprentices. The downside to oversized headers is no insulation in those solid wood headers, so you have a thermal bridge over every window, heat leaks out in the winter and then leaks in during the summer.


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