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The walls on the second floor went up very quickly.  Two notable things.

One, the windows of the second floor and first floor will have continuous casing wrapping around the outside of their frames as seen from the outside of the house.  This essentially means that the rough openings (the openings in the framing that will receive the windows) need to be perfectly aligned vertically so that the casing can be installed perfectly straight.  With the naked eye, it looks pretty good, but we won’t really know until the windows get installed.  Hopefully I can get the window manufacturer to come check them out this week to verify that they are precise enough.

Another interesting point, there is no “attic” in this house.  There is an attic, but it doesn’t have the qualities of a traditional attic.  Anyways, the roof form is visible and exposed on the inside of the house.  This is typically called a vaulted or cathedralized condition.  Aesthetically this opens up the space, but structurally it introduced a few issues.  The ceiling framing of the second floor would typically help brace the exterior walls, but in my case, the ceiling is not present.  Therefore, the exterior wall studs need to extend continuously all the way up to the roof rafters to avoid buckling under horizontal loads (i.e. wind pressure).  This means each stud along the east and west faces of the house need to be cut to different lengths.  At the second floor this is reasonable enough, but at the living room this means some of the studs need to be very long.  As previously mentioned, the corner of the living room that is double height needs to be made with 2×12’s (as opposed to 2×6 studs at all other exterior wall locations).  The 2×12 walls, I hope, will offer an opportunity in the living room to have recesses in the wall for book storage, speakers, and other objects.  The 2×12 studs within the gable end (street side) will be added last after the roof framing is in place so they can be cut precisely to the length required.  The maximum 2×12 length is 24′.  Unfortunately, when designing, I thought it was 26′.  This means we may have to splice two pieces of wood together to achieve the height required.  We’ll have to see what the engineer says about this!?

The detail image in this slide show is a view of the “bottom plate” of the 2×12 walls.  This should give you a sense of how thick that wall will be.

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