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One of the most exciting and dynamic times in the construction of a new home or building addition is the structural framing stage. It is the time when two-dimensional plans take on three-dimensional shape. As floors, walls, and a roof rise from the ground, you can envision your remodeled and improved home and walk through its spaces.
As a architects and builders, we are constantly looking for superior ways to build. The framing stage affords several opportunities to build faster and more efficiently within the budget without sacrificing quality. In fact, the new techniques for framing actually improve a home’s structural integrity, performance, and durability. Here are just a few of the methods and materials we consider for this stage of construction:
Advanced framing. In essence, advanced framing techniques allow us to remove excess and unnecessary structural components, such as extra wall studs and blocking. Elements which add nothing to the stability or ultimate performance of the remodeled section of the house are the byproducts of outdated framing methods that linger in our industry, costing money without additional value. By reducing the amount of lumber we use in a room addition’s structural frame, we lower both costs and waste. Because each length of lumber is a preplanned piece of a larger puzzle, there’s less chance that we’ll make unnecessary cuts and create unusable scrap. Because it supports increased quality and reduced waste, advanced framing is a tenet of green remodeling practices.
Engineered lumber. Like advanced framing, engineered lumber uses less wood to build a better structure. Engineered lumber is made from strands or chips of wood which are reassembled with glue, heat and pressure into large beams and I-shaped sections. Tough and stable, engineered lumber framing components allow us to span the longer distances common in popular open floor plans and high ceilings. Because of their strength, we can use fewer lengths of engineered lumber. Thus, the quality of the house is increased simultaneously with a reduction in labor costs. Because these products are frequently made from smaller and sustainably grown timber resources, instead of old-growth trees, they are more environmentally attractive, as well.
Panels and trusses. For decades, quality remodeling contractors have used roof trusses (premade sections of the roof’s frame) for extensive room additions, such as a new second floor. The same technology is now increasingly applied to floors and walls, with similar benefits. A room or house framed with panels and trusses is a truly amazing sight, seeming to spring into existence overnight. Finally, even more than advanced framing and engineered lumber, these components reduce our waste stream significantly and leave a clean job site during what can be a very messy stage of construction.
Metal Clips and Straps. Building near the coast today requires our architects to design for hurricane force winds. In South Jersey these are estimated to be up to 117 MPH. Today houses are not only built to “Stand Up” but are also designed to withstand being “Blown Over” and even “Blown Off” of the foundation (aka the Wizzard of Oz) by these gale force winds. In order to counter-act these dynamic forces we utilize a wide variety of pre-engineered metal clips, straps and structural panels to connect every part of the house from the roof down to the foundation. Typically at a minimum you will find, hurricane clips connecting each roof rafter to the top of the wall. Plywood panels are lapped over the floor lines and receive special nailing to keep one floor or portion of the house from pulling away from the next. Anchor bolts and foundation straps complete the connection of the structure to the foundation. Because of our proximity to the ocean these clips and straps are made from either stainless steel or special zinc coated galvanized metal to resist rusting and corrosion.
Despite appearances, wood framed buildings today are constructed quite differently than they were even a decade ago. Nowhere is that more evident than in the various advanced, engineered, and factory-built framing components and techniques now at our command. These systems allow us to build more efficiently and to a higher level of quality than traditional “stick” framing, delivering room additions and remodeled homes that perform as promised to meet the needs and expectations of our owners.
Todd Allen Miller, AIA
QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406
NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300
(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax
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