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The Do's & Don't if Building Your Dream Home

Third in a series: Bricks and Mortar, Hammers and Nails, Getting Your House Built and on Track

(If You Missed Part One Please Follow This Link)
(If You Missed Part Two Please Follow This Link)

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The next task at hand is the spill plate, joisting and floor decking. If you have chosen a crawl space or basement design the then piers or columns would have also been put into place to support the floor joists. If you are building on a slab, this is not necessary. One of the most important aspects of this next step is making certain that the framing crew, who has been the next team to arrive, use pressure treated lumber for the spill plate and any other wood that comes into contact with the concrete. (If you are using steel in any of your support structure, and wood touches it, it is still best to use pressure treated lumber for that task.)This will insure against rot and encourage longer life. Remember, this is the base for all else to be built. You do not want to have to be worrying about rot five years into the future. The entire house rests on these relatively few pieces of wood. There is nothing attaching it to the foundation and the sheer weight of the house will do this.

The joists will then be attached to the spill late. Joists are usually constructed from 2 x 10 timbers and either blocking or steel brackets are used to reinforce the joints. There will be boxes-frames constructed from this stock and the main joists will be connected by the shorter ones, within the box-frame. The layout is such that 4 x 8 sheets of decking will rest upon the joists, with the seams running down the center of each joist for support. Decking can be cut from either ½ or 5/8 inch plywood or OSB (oriented strand board). Once again, the choice of product will have a lasting effect on the life and livability of your home. Each step and every piece is a part of the whole. If any one aspect is cheapened, or installed carelessly, the entire house will suffer for it one day.

Most crews will have either electric or air powered nail and tacking equipment. If the joists are laid out properly, and the decking is secured to them with a good number of nails or staples, the floor will have a tremendous amount of strength. This same technique applies to the frame and studding, drywall and paneling, the outside sheathing and the roof. Most fasteners are relatively cheap, especially staples for air guns, be sure to use enough of them.

Well, you've dug the biggest whole of your life, but you've also laid the foundation and built a support structure, not only for your house, but for your investment and your family's security and comfort as well. You have also acquired a bit of respect for the process. Now it's time to schedule a bank inspection, so that you can have the funding dispersed from your construction account, to pay the contractor and suppliers. Then you will be ready to continue with the next phase of your project.

Be Aware: Never pay 100% for anything up front and inspect all work as it progresses, not after. Once a few yards of concrete are in place, or a stack of timber has been cut too short, it is not an easy task to back track and correct a problem. Time is lost and money is wasted.

If your contractor is asking you for cash disbursements in advance, for material or labor, you probably did not thoroughly do your homework in that department and you are now about to pay dearly for it. Good contractors will have foreseen all but the most uncommon of mishaps, planned on avoiding them in the first place, and have nothing to worry about.

Well, it's time for a much needed break, you earned it. Send one of the apprentices out for donuts and coffee, that's another thing the boss gets to do. And, tell him to ask the labor what they want. A cup of coffee will go along way to insuring your work crew is happy and performing well.

When we get back to work we'll layout the petitions, frame-up the walls, and truss and sheath the roof.

Next in the series: It Is Starting to Look Like a House

 
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