Tag Archives: building framing

Wasteful Stud Walls

For years I have preached about the efficiencies of post frame (pole building) construction, as compared to stick frame construction.

I appreciate the beauty of a well-designed pole building – every piece has a structural function, there are not the redundant materials found in typical buildings with stud walls. The idea of efficient structural design is to have every piece of material loaded as close to 100% as possible, under maximum design loads. This is best use of materials.

The photo in this article is of a stick framed wall. These stud walls are in a building being constructed by one of America’s biggest builders.

Stud WallIn case it isn’t overly obvious, the framing contractor used far too many studs. At the rough opening, there are two king studs, two trimmer studs supporting the header, and two jack studs supporting the sill plate. Additionally, there are two extra common studs on either side of the window, creating small cavities which are difficult to insulate. The only reason for the studs so close to the window is this is where the 16-inch on center layout fell. If the window were slid to the left or right about 4 inches, one of these extraneous studs could have been eliminated.

Keep in mind, today’s average contractor in the field who is swinging a hammer is not paid to think, they are paid to do. Giving thought to the economies of efficient material use, is not a priority for them. If it is there, they use it, until they run out – then they have the general contractor or building owner buy them more!

More framing could be eliminated from this small section of wall.  Because this is not a bearing wall, the header is not needed (floor joists above run parallel). Also, the two trimmer studs supporting the header could have been eliminated from this rough opening.

Almost half of the studs at this window are wasting money, time, and energy.

Extra framing costs money and takes up space which insulation could occupy; not only does this cost extra money up front, but with a climate controlled building it costs the building owner every single month!

Smarter building strategies, including using efficient pole building design, can save $1,000 or more in lumber on a 2,400-square-foot building and add 10% to the amount of wall that can be insulated. “Nail pounders” should like it because fewer pieces to handle and install makes the job go faster.  Don’t get caught in the wastefulness of overkill stud walls.

Setting posts: Postsetaphobia

Setting Pole Barn Posts

Setting Pole Barn Posts

I recently spoke with a prospective client in California. This particular gentleman is an electrical contractor, and fancies himself as being fairly handy. He is considering doing the construction of his new pole building kit himself, however was terrified by the prospect of having to set the building columns.

Being honest, we all have our fears and phobias. One of the most interesting ones I encounter frequently with clients (such as our friend above) is “postsetaphobia”, or fear of setting posts. This particular phobia is defined as, “the fear of being able to properly set posts for a pole building”.

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

99% of all fear is not justified and is not “real” unless one focuses on it and attracts it.

Examining the realities of the situation….most pole building foundation systems are based upon rectangular or square sawn pressure treated timbers, embedded into holes augered into the ground. Sounds scary when defined like this, isn’t it?

Setting posts is really very easy!

These augered holes are going to range from an 18 inch diameter on a very small building, to 24, 30 or even 36 inch diameters on a large structure. Assuming a very small building, the columns will probably be 4×6. Now a 4×6 actually measures 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” (topic for a future blog posting), or 6-1/2 inches across the diagonal. Even with the least hole diameter of 18 inches, this leaves almost a foot of “slop” to play with!

So, what is the worst thing which can happen so far? A hole is drilled a few inches off center and the very small “peg” gets shifted in a very large round hole. By moving the posts back and forth at the top of the hole, the columns can be shifted as needed to end up in a straight line.

How hard is it to obtain “plumb” when setting posts?

But, “what if I cannot get them plumb” (straight up and down)? By adjusting the braces, which temporarily support the columns prior to concrete being poured, the tops of the poles can be moved to being fairly plumb quite easily. While the ideal scenario is to have the tops of the columns leaning slightly outward, pole buildings are amazingly forgiving and the tops of the poles can be adjusted laterally by even several inches later in the construction process.

Over the course of 30 years most of the pole buildings I’ve sold have been constructed by homeowners with no building experience whatsoever.  I have yet to have someone who has voiced this setting posts concern to call me later and say “It was a nightmare”.  Instead, I’ve had countless folks tell me, “Wow, it really wasn’t so bad after all”.  Like many fears, this is one in which the anticipation of the event, is far worse than the real thing.