Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Habitat for Learning

We recently had the chance to spend a day on a Habitat for Humanity build site volunteering our time in exchange for seeing some framing up close and personal. We were hoping to get some light framing experience in. Unfortunately the framing was already done. Fortunately the insulation and sheetrock had not been installed so we could get a good look at stuff. In a former life, the foreman had built LEED homes in Wyoming. He incorporated some of that mentality into these homes and the result is an easy build with great results.

We hope that right away you will notice the two-stud corner. Great for eliminating cold pockets. Also shown is a raised-heel truss which allows full insulation to the edge of the roof. Hopefully full blocking will be added before the ceiling is covered.

This project looks it will employ an airtight drywall approach. The interior walls have been set 1" away from the exterior walls so that drywall may pass behind and be continuous. No air leaks here or extra backing required.

Finally, an oddball built-up header. While we laud the use of standard 2x6 lumber and OSB scraps to make a substantial header, this will make for a thermal bridge. If all 3 pieces of 2x6 are needed, we would recommend 2x6,2x6,1" foam,2x6. This would allow for bearing, insulation, and a sturdy surface from whence to hang curtain rods from.

There are several more Habitat projects in our area and we hope to get in on some framing action in the next month or two. In the meantime we will continue to expand our portfolio of small homes. Visit istockhouseplans and see our latest plans, or add this blog into your RSS feed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shrimp, stroke, iron, roof

What do these things have in common? They all have a butterfly variety. However, which one can cause extensive damage to your home? Please assume your current neighbor does not play Ina-Gadda-da-Vida at '11' all day long.

The butterfly roof is a nightmare waiting to happen. For those of you not in the know (and we take a chance by giving you the wrong type of armament) butterfly roofs take the idea of a roof and turn it upside down. That is, the peak is really a valley in the middle of your house, and the edges are on the high side. This has the general idea of draining all the water into the center of your house. Oh sure, there are roof membranes and back-up plans and a plan C in case all else fails. But I would like to put forth to you this: Would you try to race your car at 150mph on the freeway at 3am because you have high-speed impact bumpers, a five point harness, airbags all 'round, and a million dollar insurance policy? Why invite disaster?

Now there are some of the neo-modern movement who would argue aesthetics with me. "Mies van der Rohe would love it!" Well good for Rohe. If Rohe jumped off a bridge, would you? Okay, sorry about the motherly retort.

Now, if you live in an area of no rainfall, such as Los Angeles then please, by all means, knock yourself out. But if you have transplanted yourself to the rainy northern parts of the country such as Canada, please consider for a moment your rain and snow situation.

Flat roofs? Same deal. If your drain backs up against your parapet and your scuppers are misinstalled, grab a towel and take a dip. ("What'd he say?")

In the interest of durability and creating a home that will last for you, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, Istockhouseplans has taken great pains to ensure that even Laurel and Hardy could build you the best house possible.