Archive for the ‘structural’ Category

Why “Built like a tank” Makes an Easy Remodel

Friday, October 19th, 2007

I was doing research on the American Foursquare style today and came across this quote in Residential Architect from the Nov-Dec, 2004 issue in an article by Meghan Drueding:

And because it [the American Foursquare] was typically constructed around the turn of the century, when skilled labor was cheap and materials such as plaster walls and wood windows were standard, the foursquare has held up beautifully. “The more solidly a house is built, the easier it is to remodel,” says Minneapolis architect Robert Gerloff, AIA. “It stays truer and is easier to rework.”

The Scourge of Under-sized Joists

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Joist – the large beams that give the strength to your floor system.

Scourge – A source of widespread dreadful affliction and devastation such as that caused by pestilence or war.

Okay, okay, that's probably an overstatement, but it makes the point:

Never, never skimp on joist sizes to try to save money. In fact, I strongly urge you to go up to the next larger size from what is recommended.

My story for today is really heartbreaking.


Steel Beams in Remodeling

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

If you've ever used a steel beam in a remodeling project, then you may consider yourself an advanced practitioner of the trade.

Probably most homeowners aren't aware that steel can be the best choice for a support beam in a remodel project, especially in this age of impressive LVL joists.

But steel beams can make things possible which otherwise could not have been. This is because the density of steel is somewhere around 20x that of wood, and its strength per weight greatly exceeds wood.

Probably the most common situation where steel is used would be when a load-bearing wall must be removed, yet the support must be provided by a member that is very shallow. This is a very typical situation with old houses whose joists may be a true 2×6 or even 3×6, so we only have 6 inches of height to provide support to the ends of many joists. In this case, only steel provides a solution which satisfies the structural and aesthetic requirements.

Here's the view with the studs and joists exposed from the lower floor:

old-wall.JPG (more…)

Roof Problems Usually Start in the Attic

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

This past week, I had the privilege of consulting on a large, historic house built in the 1930's. The house is built around the shell of on old trapper's cabin which was a meeting place for Confederate recruits early in the Civil War.

Below is a picture of the cabin's rooofline, now entirely within the attic of the newer structure.

Old Cabin Roofline