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.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Talking Column

Finally, a little good weather has allowed me to get some stuff done; namely the columns in the basement. Actually, the girders are already built too, but I’ll save that for next post.

I had a 4x6 wood beam (12’ long) that was in the workshop when I bought it. For three years it sat over in the corner, out of the way, minding it’s own business, just waiting for me to find a use for it. As beams go, it was a good one, nice and straight, about the right size; even nicer, it was free. It sat in that workshop for I estimate 28 years, maybe longer. So, when it came time to build the two columns in the basement room, it said “hey, how about me”. Surprised a little that a wood beam could talk, I replied “hey, why not”. So, now the beam is outside, catching rays on sunny days and feeling good in it’s new role as a column and making a contribution to the greater good.

I used a 5/8” Parasleeve (expanding) bolt to anchor a 4x6 Simpson metal column base to the concrete floor (pics 5 & 6). This bolt is rated for like 7,000 pounds of tensile load, so I was pretty much satisfied it would do the job. If a storm wants to try to carry my house away; I’d just as soon it have to carry the basement slab with it. And since the basement slab is strongly connected to all the concrete footers; of course, they will have to be carried away too. Long story short, that storm is going to have to really “want” my house.

Okay, back to the column(s). On top of the column I have two 2x6’s which form a cradle to hold the girders (pic 4). I’ll lag bolt them well, so that connection stays together.

The other column (pic 1) that sits at the back of the basement room is just your plain-jane, concrete block, non-talking kind of column (at least it won’t talk to me). I had originally poured a footer underneath the basement slab and planned to use another wood column there too. But, I realized if I moved the column back one foot it would be off the slab completely (freeing up floorspace, but still sitting on the concrete footer). So, I drilled and placed my second 5/8” Parasleeve bolt (they come two to a pack). I pondered over what kind of bracket I could attach to the Parasleeve so the concrete grout inside the column would have something to grab too. I have lots of rebar scraps leftover from the slab work, so I took one, chucked it up in the vise and bent an eye around the end of it; something the bolt would fit through. It worked out well. Best of all, the rebar extends about 18” up into the column so there is plenty of length for the concrete to grab (pic 2 & 3).

In the top of the concrete block column I embedded four Simpson LSTA 18 straps. Each strap isn’t quite 1/16” thick, so I doubled them up. There are plenty of holes in the straps, so I stuck three 16 penny galvanized nails through each, something for the concrete to grab. Seems, like I’ve heard each 16 penny nail is good for a little over 100 pounds of shear, so we’ll see how it turns out.
If you have questions about all this, maybe my next post (girders) will help clear them up.