Building a Home – Framing

The first of many walls being erected.

After finishing the foundation on Friday, our general contractor Daron said that a crew would be at the home site the next week to start framing. By the time I got there early Monday morning, the framers had put down chalk lines to outline walls and one wall had already gone up. Threaded rods had been set in the perimeter of the foundation when they poured concrete the previous week. The bottom 2x4s (or plates) of the framed walls were predrilled and placed over these rods to secure the house frame to the foundation. Holes were also drilled to allow water supplies, electrical conduit and waste water pipes to pass through the plates. It didn’t take the crew of six very long to get nearly all the walls up. Video of wall going up

Later that same day….

Later that week, a supply company came by and dropped off the custom roof trusses. Trusses are designed to support the roof by spreading the weight load on the walls. Our trusses had additional complexity in that we had tray ceilings in the living room and master bedroom. Instead of being completely level across the bottom, several trusses had rises to accommodate this architectural feature.

The larger trusses spanned over 40 feet, meaning they were not only awkward to handle but weighed a lot. To get them up on top of the walls and set, the framers brought in a crane. One person would hook the crane to a truss, the crane operator would lift it onto the frame and four framers would work to secure it. It took the crew approximately two hours to secure the forty trusses that had been delivered. Video of truss being lifted into place

Roof truss being lifted into position. The irregular line at the bottom of the truss is for the tray ceilings.

Over the next several days, the crew worked to get OSB (oriented strand board) on the outside walls of the house and on the roof for the “deck”. The process of getting the outside of the house weather proof is called “drying-in” the house. Once the house is dryed-in, the work crews have additional flexibility to work inside the home when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Tyvek wrap is used on the outside walls to waterproof them. On the roof, tar paper is generally put down to waterproof the deck. However, the crew used a synthetic underlayment, Titanium UDL-30,  which seals when nailed through. Even if all the shingles blew off our roof in a storm it should still be water tight. Video of roof being wrapped

Shiny new radiant barrier OSB on the west facing roof.

A last point on the roof: the roof deck is a material called radiant barrier OSB, or strand board with a thin layer of aluminum foil glued on the attic-facing side. It’s designed to reflect radiant heat absorbed by the roof and directed towards the living space. The contractors mistakenly did half the roof without it. To correct the mistake without tearing down perfectly good decking, Daron is going to put up radiant barrier foil. The foil serves the same purpose of reflecting the radiated heat away from the living space.