20x34 2-story universal in upstate NY

Started by NathanS, May 13, 2016, 11:04:09 AM

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That is a nice carrier, I like that idea Redover. Don't like sitting tools on the ground or against the tree, easy to lose stuff that way.

The windows are all in. Still have to zip tape most of them, but this week will be finishing up the sheathing, blocking and taping seams. Next Monday the doors are being delivered. I want to have metal - likely copper - sill pans w/ back and side dams formed and in place by the time they get there, so hopefully the doors can be put in quickly.

Finished the shed roof too. Tried to keep that tape up pretty high because the siding will sit up a few inches leaving that metal flashing exposed. Hard to get pics of the little corner that wraps the house because of the angle of the sun. Was very careful to make all metal cuts shingle style when at all possible.

Almost forgot, this is how I flashed the rough window openings.

A piece of beveled siding nailed to the rough sill to create a positive slope to the exterior. The stretch tape is really nice because you don't need to make any cuts in the corner - which is where the water damage will happen first. Also, you can stretch/press the tape into the corner. Also taped the rough jamb as an extra precaution. I added an extra .5" to my vertical RO - that was actually probably a little more than I needed for the 2x4 windows as the piece of siding is not nearly that wide where it rests. I used composite horseshoe shims for the window to rest on, had to double them up for the nailing flange to find purchase on the window head.

Larry Haun made my life easy, all the window RO were so close to level we didn't really need to do any shimming or adjustments.

Also I went with stainless steel screws. We are planning to order some eastern red cedar from Maine.. delivered for around .73 cents a foot which isn't that much more than pine, and about half the price of western red cedar. Anyway, cedar reacts poorly with galvanized.


Was able to get a whole lot done before and as the weather has been turning. We got over a foot of snow last weekend.. the afternoon before it all started it was 70 degrees. We were able to get everything taped up, but had to wait for doors to be delivered.

For doors, we went with the 'in stock' big box store doors because they are so much cheaper than custom doors. We only paid 1600-1700$ for 3 french doors and the mudroom door. A single custom french door, we were quoted something like $1200-1300. Although I think that may have included storm doors.

To make 2x4 doors fit in 2x6 walls properly we removed the brick mold. Next spring I will just extend the jams and head to meet with the trim. The interior will also require a bit of customization because the inside edge of jamb is flush with the rough framing. So I will I will have to hold the drywall back a little and box that out with trim. The plus side to doing it this way is that the door threshold is probably about 5.75", and that means that it covers they entire rough sill. A perfect fit in that regard. I don't mind the extra trim work, but I can see how just purchasing custom 2x6 doors would be cheaper or roughly the same price if the labor is not your own.

The snow is great. Complete dead silence and solitude up on the mountain. Doors will be painted to match the windows, hopefully later this week we are supposed to have a few nights above freezing.

I rented a metal brake from HD tool rental to make sill pans for all the door rough openings. In addition to the metal pan flashing, the entire rough opening was taped. If these doors leak I've done everything I could do to prevent them from rotting the framing.

The inset balcony required special attention, the door sits above the floor and I also framed it on a slope. The zip sheathing should be a very durable waterproof surface.

Also, to get the french doors up stairs we had to winch it up the stairwell opening. That was interesting.



Looking wonderful :)
Would love to be at that point in the journey .....  :-[


Quote from: NathanS on November 27, 2016, 02:05:44 PM


Between the eave flashing and the balcony sill you've become quite the artist.  Maybe your street handle should be Flashmaster N!

I think the first photo in this post says it all.  Still some work to do but look how far you guys have come.  Well done!
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


 :) Thanks. Yeah, I have gotten comfortable working with metal. Honestly it is probably less fussy than wood because everything is actually straight. We have been getting little snow showers all the time, and it quickly becomes evident why you should install those metal sill pans - snow will sit on the door threshold then melt that same day. I will eventually tape every nail on that balcony too, but will wait until I'm about to install the finish flooring, which I think will be tile... considering actually running tile out onto the cantilever too.

We had a sunny cold day yesterday - and the balcony worked just as I hoped. I got that radiant thermometer at a farm show for a few dollars - it is really entertaining and sometimes useful.

I could comfortably sit on out there in a T- shirt.

I also have had a few small fires in the woodstove. The draft works just as it should, even with the house being more or less the same temperature as outside when starting the fire, there is no smoking in the house. Only problem is I don't have much firewood processed, and what I did process has gotten rained/snowed on. In the next few weeks I'm going to cut down a standing Ash as those can be burned green. I'll lean a sheet of durock behind the stove before doing any big burns.



Thanks Starvin... seems to be a really well made stove.

In other exciting news, we passed our rough in electrical inspection yesterday, so hopefully the power company can hook us up before Christmas.

In our area, we have one inspector for everything except electrical and septic. All the people we have dealt with have been totally reasonable.. which is invaluable. With a lot of this stuff I think the inspection only goes as well as the inspector wants it to go. The electrical code in particular is pretty ridiculous.

For final framing inspection I think all I have left is collar ties in attic, hurricane straps on rafters.. also going to strap the outriggers, the last big bit of rough framing is the stair case. I am going to see if the inspector minds if I start insulation now, though.

I am really tempted to put the hurricane straps on the inside of the house. Sick of being on a ladder in this weather. My only concern is it will make it difficult to seal the drywall to the double top plate for our air barrier.


I've run them either way but technically they are supposed to be out on the sheathed plane. Check with the inspector before putting them inside, some do fail for that.
I usually do the stairs when I'm alone on a rainy day, then I wonder why I waited so long.


Good info, thanks Don. I was going with figure 3.2k in WFCM. That does however shows the truss to the top plate then the top plate to stud.

I talked to my code guy today about insulating before final framing and he said go for it. I went for all rock wool including attic. It cost about twice as much as fiberglass but I think there are a lot of benefits to this material. Fireproof, mold and water repelling. Maybe biggest is that it should be possible to install to the spec of r23 in the walls. Ceiling is getting two courses of r30 for a total of r60. Exterior of walls getting r13 in the spring.

edit1 Starting to read a little more on the hurricane ties. Timberlok 6" screws can apparently replace them. Still need to a do a little more homework on this, but certainly would be nice.

edit2 http://www.fastenmaster.com/resources.html Going to the "Timberlok Rafter to top plate" pdf, one of those screws gives 620lbs of uplift resistance. My roof is 16" SYP rafters, 20 foot span - could bump it to 24 to include the overhangs even at 130mph winds my uplift is only at 386 or 442. Seems like this could be a nice, lazy, warm, non-slippery, way of staying inside and also getting around my worry of messing up my air seal.


Do you guys have luck with the pre-manufactured rafter vents (any icicles on eaves)? buildingscience.com says you should really have a 2" air channel. That would pretty much mean ripping 2" insulation spacers, then ripping 1" insulation to 14.5". When blocking the rafters I left a 2" space.. even ripped it at the 7-12 angle.

I should probably just build the vents. We are below recommended temp for most adhesives at this point though.

Finding some spec sheets that look like the pre-manufactured have a 1.4" gap - that's a little better than the 1" gap I thought they had.


I've never had a problem with the manufactured rafter chutes.

Adam Roby

I saw one place where the home owner installed them using staples that were about 1/2" too long and the tips were all showing out the top of the roof through the shingles.  He eventually had to bite the bullet and replace all the shingles...  just a heads up to consider, sounds obvious but it only takes a momentary lapse of judgement and you only realize when you are already done.


Yeah, I was overthinking it. I took a look at the foam ones today and will look at the plastic ones tomorrow.

Adam that is something that had crossed my mind already. Sick to my stomach would be an understatement if I shot staples through the standing seam roof. Queezy just thinking about it.

Roxul is installing well. It is easy to cut it around obstacles and create cuts to wrap around the wires. It is slightly wider than the stud/joist bays so everything is held in very securely by friction.

It is really irritating my skin though. Any part of skin not covered itches and almost feels sunburnt until the following morning. Getting too itchy is what makes me call it a day.


Happy New Year. Hope everyone is enjoying winter and doing well.

We're still finishing up insulation, but making steady progress. We were gone for a few weeks over the holidays, and I am finally mostly recovered from my annual dose of daycare superbug.

Winter has certainly arrived, although today we got up to the upper 40s, and it looks like we might get a streak of 40s next week too.

Downstairs insulation. You can also see my makeshift heatshield for the wood cookstove. I use a radiant gun thermometer to keep an eye on everything, and have never seen any dangerous temps anywhere.

The attic is R-60. Criss-crossing the insulation. I am being extremely meticulous, especially at the eaves where i am making 7-12 cuts and installing the insulation on the top plate in a slim strip to guarantee I don't have any gaps or accidental compression. The east side of the attic is mostly done, and the sound deadening effect when the rain hits the steel roof is pretty impressive.

I thought I'd snap a few pics of the woodstove too, the firebox is massive. Cookstoves are EPA exempt, so there is no air tube at the top of the stove for secondary combustion. The stove is extremely air tight, though. I have been getting some really good burns with just junk Aspen/poplar that is a little too wet around 18-20% moisture content. Once the attic is sealed off and the house is more heatable, I can't wait to see how it performs. Also my 10 yards of concrete slab is fighting against me right now, rather than acting as sort of a thermal mass flywheel.

The oven is porcelain, and the bottom part slides out so you can put it in the sink to clean it.

Once the insulation is finished, I still need to install the stairs, and then do the rough in plumbing. Both should be straightforward. I have spent a lot of time preparing for drywalling. I am planning to use drywall clips at most corners/ceiling area that don't have adequate support - creating floating corners to help eliminate cracks. My lumber supplier does carry 54" drywall, so I will be able to use that to have only one horizontal seam on my walls. Also have been researching how to float butted seams with a 'buttboard'. Not sure I will be able to find the real product around here, but fine homebuilding has a DIY picture on how some guys do it. I also found on a drywall message board a professional said that he will use a table saw to rip OSB boards at a ~5% angle to create the slight drywall depression at the butt joint.

Best resource by far is Myron Ferguson. His old 90s video is better than the new one. His newest book has plethora of information. I have yet to read a bad Taunton Press book. They are the best. If anyone has drywalling tips or suggestions feel free to say.

I almost forgot, we also have power now. I installed one GFI plug and picked up one of those construction light stands. It's awesome to have light now. And with heat, I am not limited to daytime hours anymore.


They have came a long way designing wood Cookstoves over the years.  I can't believe the size of that firebox.  The 1926 model I have is only 8WX10HX16L.  The load door itself is considerably less than that.  I don't know how they cooked with them but they did and did so well.  I would imagine that they spent more time just adding wood than they did cooking. 

If I could get this snail motivated internet to improve I would post a picture.

Finally.  If you look at the upper left door that is the firebox load door.


The only thing I've done so far is heat up coffee.

I have read that the cookstoves are more forgiving of temperature variation when baking. We won't find out until early spring or until next fall though. Using one of those woodstove temperature gauges near where the flu exit is, when I am running at around 500F, the oven usually hovers around 325F when shut off.

Your cookstove is a beauty. I love those old ones. With that size of a firebox they really are just for cooking. Are you planning to hook it up to that flu? It actually looks like the cooking oven on yours may be a little bigger than mine.

I have found with this stove,  if I load the fire box right - open the built in damper and light her up, the stove can climb to 500F in 20-30 minutes. Once the chimney is up to temperature, close the damper. Once the wood is burning good, I have a top and bottom vent on the firebox door I can start to shut down. It is surprisingly forgiving. I figured out the other day if I really want to go nuts I can open the ash tray door and firebox goes absolutely crazy - almost frightening. The stove used to come with another air control underneath the grate because the stove is designed to be able to burn coal. The body is all 1/4 inch steel.

I have already learned a lot about it, but I think I still have more to figure out.


I haven't actually baked anything but have used the cooktop several times.  The warming ovens are really nice to keep things warm.  Never had an occasion but once to use the water jacket.  It definitely will be a learning curve trying to prepare a complete meal and maintain the constant temperature to bake goods.  My grandmother did it everyday of adult life and never complained.


I had one similar to John's, it got in the way in the kitchen so it went down to the shop before it got in the way there. I did bake biscuits in it and cooked on the top a few times. They are a pain to keep in wood, glad it was part of my Dad's chores and not mine!

Be careful with that roaring, ash door open burn... It doesn't take as much as I thought to really warp steel  d*. I was working on an antebellum log house years ago. Folks stopped by and some had stories. One lady came by and introduced herself. Her family had lived there. One morning her father had lit the cookstove and didn't realize the water jacket had frozen overnight. With the outlets plugged and a fire, it made steam and killed him. The heat exchanger was already burned out in mine, if you go to use one make sure to flow check it. I like the idea but potential steam scares me.


Finally just about done with the insulation. Been crawling around in the attic running my vent lines for the past few days.. not fun. The rest I'll at least be standing upright.

I should be able to install the stairs next week. I do have a question about U-stairs. I want the landing to be flat and rectangular - I don't want the upper set of stringers to land on the landing.

I think I have two options here, but don't know how the pros normally do this -

1) cut the bottom of the stringers flat, and use joist hangers to to the hold the bottom of the stringer. I think I would then need to double the rim board of the landing so that I can use 16d nails to hold the stringers in.

2) Build the landing as an L shape - so that the upper stringer bears down directly on the landing, but the finished area is still rectangular. This would be more work to frame, but not much. Also I still have a little PTSD from driving all those hangers into the LVLs.  :D

Otherwise, the plan is three #1 SYP 2x12 stringers for each section. Stringer length should be less than 7 ft.

Thanks for any input.

Here's a picture of the area I'm talking about.


Will be curious to see which you go with. I'm trying to figure how to fit a u stair into my 1 1/2 story build so I can access the basement as well.


Yeah, working out the details now. i might actually have to put a stair step on the landing. my walls are 8' 5 1/8" instead of the standard 8 ... add on a 2x12 floor, 3/4 inch subfloor and 3/4 hardwood floor upstairs (slab as finished floor downstairs) and i have too much total rise for 13 stair treads.

The other thing that i need to be careful on is that code wants 36" net tread width, the rail is sorta excluded but i think i need to measure from the inside edge of the balusters.

No regrets on taller ceilings, but there always unintended consequences to every little thing you do.


I'm still in the planning and I'm already doing a lot of head scratching!    ???


Most of my hair's gone at this point.  ;D


Stairs will do that  :)
Where you have the red circle above, I've drawn a level line the width of 2x4 or 6 and cut the bottom of the stringe level then build a wall that height under the stringers outside of the platform framing. I line up the studs with the platform framing and cleat pieces of ply across them to knit it together.

I start all figuring from top of finishes and then work mt way down through the material thicknesses to arrive at the stringer layout. Remember the flooring on the floors and landing is usually 3/4 while the treads are usually 1-1/16 thick... but check all the materials before working.

Yes the walking surface and walls need to be 36 or wider, the rails can encroach into that space.


Thanks Don.. the wall under the stringer is simpler than extending the landing under that portion.

We do need that extra stair, it actually looks like we can extend the lower half of the U flight one extra stair - the bottom stair will protrude around 2.5" in front of the hemlock post. It might actually tie together pretty nicely that way. Also raising the landing another ~7.5" does not get to close to the lowered stairwell window. I think we will go with that instead of a step on the landing.