Monday, June 11, 2012

Floor Framing and the First Walls Going Up

Monday Morning - the foundation is finally ready to go.
We finished up all the site and foundation work last week - and that means we were finally able to get to the fun part of framing the house! This is always the most dramatic part of building a house, and by thursday we had some walls standing and you could start to see the house taking shape. 

But first we had to get the floor and basement walls all framed up (as well as take some time and finish the garage roof). 

Below you can see the main carrying beams and basement walls going in. The basement is only 6' deep because the water table is so high this close to the lake - so its more of a crawl-space than a real basement, but it'll still work for storage space. The wood framing you can see in the center is the main mechanical space - this is the only part of the basement that will be conditioned and part of the house's insulation envelope - the concrete slab in this part is isolated from the rest and has thick foam insulation around and under it. 

Basement concrete walls and wood interior walls. The big beams will support the main floor joists.

Jason cutting LVL's for the floor beams
One element of this home which makes it very unique is the insulation and air-sealing detailing we are executing.  Part of this strategy includes continuously insulating all the Wall sill (bottom) and head (top)  connections. So where the main floor, wall and foundation all come together was a place we worked hard at to make as insulated as possible. The strategy we decided on was that by thickening the foundation walls, we are able to land the floor joists on the interior edge, and then sit our wall on the outside of the concrete wall. We can then add insulation all the way around the Rim joist very easily and eliminate all thermal bridging of the floor framing (thermal bridging is when heat is transfered along the framing member and lost to the outdoors)

The extra thick foundation walls - the floor sits on one edge and the exterior wall extended past it to add insulation - the concrete block here will be the finished exterior and sits on a shelf cast into the foundation walls. 

A Typical Sill detail - the exterior wall of the double stud framing overlaps the floor deck - totally insulating the Rim Joist - the steel angle is actually just concrete in the final build
While this detail ads a tiny bit of cost (the extra concrete) and complexity, we actually found it very simple to build and didn't have any difficulties with it. There is a bit more layout and attention that needs to be paid to things like stud length, but the comprehensive digital framing model we built worked great to allow us to pull those kind of dimensions right out of the digital model. We modified the detail a bit on site by eliminating the steel angle and adding a shelf directly to the concrete foundation wall - this simplified things even further. This shelf supports two rows of concrete block which will be a nicer looking finish than the raw concrete. 

By thursday morning we were ready to stand some walls up! One of the extra nice things about our double-stud wall is that it is made of two 2x4 walls set apart. This means we can build out of nice light, inexpensive 2x4s and the wall framing went real quick.

Jason, Carrie and John framing up the first walls!

By noon we had walls standing up. The main floor wall height is 10' - with a lower area under the loft. These big walls have square 5'x5' windows punched through them which are huge! The view looks great and will be very dramatic. Below you can see the southeast corner looking towards the lake. 

I've been back east in Massachusetts since thursday afternoon - but I'm heading back to the site now and I'm excited to see how the gang did over the weekend. This week will be lots more wall framing and maybe even getting into the roof if things go real well. 

One of the big 5'x5' windows in the first wall.

Oh - and also, I started a new Instagram account  - so if you like, please follow me and I'll be posting lots of pics there as well as we keep building. just search for ed_p_may