Archive for November, 2011

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

November 23rd, 2011

The day before Thanksgiving had me involved with some travel and finalization of a bunch of paperwork. On a previous post I had discussed the merits of the Zip System by Huber. Yes I actually sell some products as a result of the interest generated by a few of my posts. I was at a piling house ideal for the use of open web floor trusses and snapped some photos of the Zip Wall and Zip Roof systems in use. JT Holden of Holden Beach, NC, is a progressive builder who is open for trying new products. He is in an area where water infiltration is of primary concern. Although the Zip System does not require housewrap or felt paper for that matter, Johnny assures a quality product by applying housewrap over the 7/16″ Zip Walls and a protective barrier of Ice and Water Shield on top of the 5/8″ Zip Roof sheathing. He is delivering a house that exceeds specifications of being moisture resistant. There is quite a few of the ocean from the upper deck of the structure. Open web floor truss are primarily use for piling / girder type floor systems because of their ability to clear span and pick up interior bearings thus limiting the number of girders (either LVL rows or 2×12′s) required. Floor girders work great in areas where “break away” pilings are required, and the open web configuration gives adequate room for plumbing, wiring and HVAC ducts, where furring down below is difficult. There is an update on the popular post ICF Stands Tall as the wood phase of construction continues. Eric Dunn has completed fireplace mantle made of steel with a built in heat shield. It has a ceramic insulative base to prevent the TV or whatever is to be located above it on the shelving from overheating. He was transporting it to be painted before presenting it to the customer in Lumberton NC, who he has done a number of projects for. Returning customers are signs of success. So after gorging yourself with turkey on this special holiday, take a few moments to exercise the ole digits by roaming around the latest posts of Timberology. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

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Fully Loaded

November 19th, 2011















For those of you who have been following ICF Stands Tall post, it has been updated and the first floor walls have been poured beginning the interior wood construction phase of the project. Like Rich of the Loris Truss Plant shown here, they are fully loaded so please read on about the many new developments taking place.

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Live Oak Prevails

November 17th, 2011

From my vantage point across Hwy 17 N at the North Carolina / South Carolina state border, I stopped to admire one of our commercial projects being hoisted via crane into position. An addition to a medical center using steel studs two stories in the air mounting the 60′-0″ roof trusses to the structure was quite a spectacle. But it paled in comparison to nature’s creation of the live oaks which quietly sheltered the parking lot adjacent to the construction site. I was drawn to cross the street, amply titled “Live Oak Lane”, moving closer to observe these particularily stupendous trees. They had snared my attention much like the spanish moss dangling gracefully to their branches. Quercus Virginiana thrive in the sandy soils of the coastal region. The majestical branches reach towards the heavens dwarfing anything surrounding it. Even as winter approaches, the leaves remain green and in place only to yield to spring’s fresh replenishment. These beautifully expressive trees stand as testament of the South’s pride and strength. To me they represent a reminder that man made structures, in all their architectural prowess, could ever remotely rival what nature produces effortlessly.

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Phenomenal Floor Trusses

November 16th, 2011

There are many reasons I think floor trusses are the best product on the market for use in residential, multi-family, and commercial structures. Far and away, the most overiding factor is that they are designed and are sealed for specific uses and situations. Unlike conventional floor joist (2×10′s or 2×12′s) floor trusses can be designed for greater deflection criteria to compensate for loading conditions which are increasingly more evident in modern designs. Kitchens having slate countertops and heavy islands, floor coverings such as tile, hardwood floor, and lightweight concrete; all these conditions and more can be empirically verified for load and duration factors. The lumber used can be modified from #2 to #1, dense select structural to machine stress rated. The depth can be altered from 12″ deep incrementally through 28″ deep in the 4 x 2 orientation (providing for a nominal 3 1/2″ nailing surface). Unlike I joist, they have an open web configuration in which wires, plumbing pipes, HVAC duct chase (both rigid and flex), can pass through without having to furr down ceilings. The end conditions do not require rim boards like I joist because they are solidly blocked. Floor trusses can be build in long spans and pick up interior bearings without special blocking and bracing in the field. This makes them very economical in regards to labor installation. Nail up one long span and move on. There are a variety of interlocking bearing conditons, such as mid depth blocking, top chord bearing and keyed bearings which keep the plywood breaks at the required locations saving floor sheathing labor and materials. In commercial loading (125 plf for example) chords can be doubled, 4×4 webbing can be used, connector plates can reach large sizes, all in the interest maintaining the desired uniformed and concentrated loads. Floor trusses can be cantilevered up to approximately 4′-0″ and designed with a double ribbon block to tie the ends together. Look that condition up in your I joist guide and see how they stack up against floor trusses in that department. Floor trusses are phenomenal through design, encompassing both the structural and architectural details required of modern construction.

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There’s No Business Like Truss Business

November 15th, 2011

….like no business I know…ok well I admit I needed to bolster my key word a tad with this title. It is truly a unique career field though. My philosophy is if you know what is expected of you then you will never be offended when you are asked to do it. I have always maintained I am not in sales. Anyone who has approached me, for the most part, knows what they are looking for. I don’t have to do much cold calling or stronghold wrestling moves to make a sale. My job is to assume liability and to be a creative problem solver when things don’t quite work out as planned. That’s it, simply stated. I do alot of prompting to methods of framing and suggest particular details dictated by situations presented by plans. Outside of that, I assume liability for the uncomfortable position my clients find themselves in regards to ordering a technically involved product to fit a specific need. As a sales manager once told me many moons ago “you can’t order a Whopper at McDonald’s” (mostly because special orders DO upset them). This was emphasized most emphatically today as I received a call from two counties away on a $700 total sales that went something like this “you got your truss jacked up into my window and I need you out here to get this straightened out.” First knee jerk reaction? I only gave you exactly what the plans called for (that’s not my job or concern, man!). Wait though. I assumed liability of interpreting those plans. It does matter that the walls were not constructed when I took the order, or that there was not anyway to physically confirm them at the placement of the order. I assumed the liability that they would work in relations to the plans which had a window close enough to question if it would impact the trusses I was providing. Moving on to my secondary responsibility, I needed to arrive at a mutually satisfing solution to the general contractor and myself. The custom built trusses were onsite, one up against the side of the building infringing on the existing window frame, the rest on the ground awaiting my judgement. I didn’t want to rebuild them because of the pitch shown on the plans drawn by a “plan interpreter” (not to be confused with an architect). The solution was to provide a sealed repair drawing in which the center of the truss could be relocated creating a “dual” pitch to avoid the window on the affected side. The opposite side would be concealed by a valley set from an intersecting roof (fortunately) thus unobservable. A mutually acceptable compromise less the $50.00 repair seal for me and the plywood, rafters and labor for the GC. Yes, there is no business like truss business, it’s like no business I know. Oh and the gratuitious truss plugs from the pictures in the truss yard as I passed through.

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Starting Steps

November 12th, 2011

We all start somewhere in life. Taking small steps towards understanding through gaining experience to reach our goals. It was my pleasure to visit South Columbus High School this week with the purpose of providing roof trusses for their vocational construction classes. Ronald Cartrette who is a licenced general contractor is the instructor. He has his hands full of eager learning participants, 22 in the class who were working when I arrived. The class produces a 24′-0″ x 58′-0″ structure from floor joists through roof trusses, completing everything outside of plumbing and electrical trades. The house is then auctioned off to the highest bidder which will generate funding for the school’s needs. I can see this as being a rewarding endevour for the students who will own their homes one day and draw on these lessons for home repair. Who knows, it is a possibility this spark will ignite a student or two towards a career in construction. Much like the oak starter steps we produced in our shop shown here, they are the beginning of aspiring heights. Flared on both sides, the 5 rise set is 8′-0″ on the bottom tapering to 4′-0″ on the top. The vertical 2×4′s are for the construction of the handrails which will follow the contour of the stairs.

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Progressively Forward

November 7th, 2011

Ah yes, moving forward on the reporting of the “twofers” of Lakes 49 and Smithfield 10 and ICF Stands Tall with updates and insights. From the importance of maintaining a schedule to the responsibility of environmental spontaneous correct actions, the saga’s continue…

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Georgetown County Monster Beams

November 2nd, 2011

Don’t know what they got in the water down there in northern Georgetown County, South Carolina, but they growin’ some stout LVL’s beams. On a beautiful oceanfront home located in the Prince George Tract, I “happen upon” two steel guys, a lumber salesman, a framing contractor and some crew member, staring at these two monsterous beams like a huge snake just crawled out of the woods. They were putting together (2) 3 ply 24″ LVL’s that had to be over 30′-0″ long. Sandwiched between the plies was a 3/8″ thick steel beam. A structural engineer had commented the LVL’s didn’t need the steel flitch beam (terminology describing how the plies would house the steel) for weight bearing capacity, merely to address deflection issues. These two massive beams will flank each side of the 2nd floor fireplace at equal distance. They carry some floor weight as well as rafter load from kneewall supports from the “stick” framed roof above. Holes had been drilled through the steel 5/8″ in diameter to bolt the three LVL and steel together. I was kept busy trying to ascertain the connection for the finished beams almost 6″wide (1 3/4″ for each LVL ply x 3 = 5 1/4″ + 3/8″ for the steel). Our connector book certainly did not have a stock hanger for this oddly sized combination, not to mention the beam reactions were not supplied (did I mention a structural engineer earlier? thought so). Looks like a call is in order to figure this little mystery out. While walking below the 2nd floor level I noticed a product I had not encountered before. It was a Georgia Pacific product called Dryply. It was slick to the foot as I realized it was a coated with a moister barrier. Being the inquisitive fellow I am, I asked the framing contractor why he chose this particular product. He informed me it was an ideal underlayment for hardwood floors and said it consisted of a 5 layer panel, tongue and grooved edges, 3/4″ thick. Georgia Pacific uses wood veneers and adhesives in combination to create a “squeek proof” floor system covered with the water repelent coating to get by the construction phase of exposure to the elements. This comes from their “Plytanium” series which I thought sounded like a combination of the space age elements plutonium and Titanium but what do I know about naming floor sheathing. It was funny what the folks at the Urban Dictionary came up with. Probably not what GP had in mind when they launched their new super product in 2003. All and all a pretty interesting day which left me with a tons of investigative footwork to do by tomorrow morning. Interesting footnote / milestone. After starting my eighth month this is my 50th post. Timberology delivers content folks, wouldn’t you agree? Thanks for reading what you have.

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Double Your Pleasure

November 1st, 2011

….Double your fun (?) Working on multiples here at Timberology. I have begun a new page for condo units and townhouses which will showcase Energy Star requirements, all the new and innovative building designs and concepts moving towards “green” building. I am also continuing the progress of the ICF article, an ongoing introduction to the inner works of ICF construction. The picture of the slab (Lakes 49) is reminisent of the adage “if a cluttered desk is indicitive of a cluttered mind, then a clear desk is indicitive of an empty mind.” What then can be said of a clear slab? Answer: it won’t be that way for long. Come back often for updates on both. And bring your Doublemint gum with you, hear?

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