Framing Details

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Framing details are necessary with almost any building structural system in use today. Straw bale buildings must have structural support members for load-bearing walls and roof assemblies, rammed earth buildings need structural framing for door and window openings, and of course, wood-framed homes need lots of details for structure and weatherproofing assemblies.

Design details provide templates for structural stability to keep the roof on the building (very important!), especially during high- risk events like snow storms or tornados. Wall assemblies also keep air infiltration manageable, help keep rain-driven water out of the wall assembly and allow moisture and water vapor that does get inside the wall to dry out. These details will vary depending on the climate location that the home is built in.

Your home plans should include framing details for every build- ing section, as well as detailed assembly specifications for walls, foundation, roof members and water flashing details for roofs, walls, windows and doors. The basic principles related to the building envelope are more influenced by design than the materials themselves, so they are best addressed here. By providing framing details in the drawings, framing contractors onsite are less likely to over-build assemblies, thinking that it is better to err on the side of adding more lumber than is necessary for structural integrity than not enough. Do not assume that the education level of a framing crew provides expertise in structural engineering or waterproofing. Instead, have your structural engineer or architect provide the framing and waterproofing details for wall, roof and  floor assemblies (if you are not using engineered trusses or panelized assemblies). This will save you money because every material you purchase will be used as it was intended, instead of being mis- used, requiring you to purchase more materials either during construction or to repair poor workmanship later. O en construction drawings give the crew no clue as to how to waterproof and  ash the critical openings and junctions in the house where most leaks will occur. A recent article in Builder Magazine8 found that about one-third of US homebuilders still don’t properly  ash windows to prevent direct intrusion by rain. It stated that water leaks, especially around windows due to improper  flashing, “routinely tops the list of builder callbacks.” It is imperative to the durability of your home that the  flashing materials and their installation be detailed on the drawings.

Good building science is the perfect partner to green materials and design. Using the right materials to create the right building system for your climate will maximize the durability, healthfulness, comfort and efficiency of your new home. Make certain that your architect or engineer is on-board with your desire to maximize structural integrity while reducing waste and achieving a water- tight, durable and healthy structure.

If you have hired a custom builder for your project and are not working with the architect directly, you should make certain that the home plans that the builder is offering you have been designed according to the strategies outlined in this chapter to ensure that construction will be resource efficient. You should also ask the builder for written specifications for the basic building materials that are included in his quote for the home. Better to  find out up- front if there are any surprises coming down that will throw you o  budget.

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