12 x 16 House

Started by Beavers, June 27, 2009, 09:15:45 PM

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I started construction this spring on a 16 x 28 house.  Progress has been real slow and I don't see anyway of having it dried in by winter.  So, my wife and I decided to put the larger house on hold for now, and build a small house to live in while we build the larger one.

We really want to get moved out of the house that we are renting, and live in something of our own.  We realize it's going to be very small, and that it will be a challenge to live in such a small space.  We view it as kind of an experiment though... How much space do you really need to live?  We spend 90% of our time in our current house in an area as small as the 12x16.  The rest of the square footage is mainly devoted to things.  If we eliminate the need for all our things, I think 200sf is more than enough living space.

To quote my favorite author Thoreau,

"Simplify, simplify.  Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one, instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion.

This is the plan for the house.  Going to go with 10' sidewalls and a loft for the bedroom. It will also have an eight foot deep porch on the front with a shed roof.

The plan is to build as quickly and cheaply as possible, and be moved in this fall.

Drilled the holes for the piers last weekend, and started setting the posts last week.
I did 12" diameter holes 4' deep, and then poured a concrete footing in each hole.

I set 8' posts and then cut them down.  The laser level came in handy again.  ;D

Got the rest of the posts set today, and all cut to height.

Set the first beam, should get the other one set tomorrow.  Then spend the rest of the week working on the pier and beam bracing.

Hope to be dancing on the subfloor by the 4th of July!  [cool]


Got almost a full day of work in today.  Both beams are set and braced.  Also got started on cutting the 4x6 braces for the piers.  

I didn't want to use Simpson brackets for the pier to beam connection.  I decided to sandwich the beam with a 1x6 on the outside and a 2x6 on the inside... seems beefy enough to me.

I dug the hole the other day for the water and septic lines.  Figured it would be a lot easier to build the enclosure for them before the floor is on.  What size pipe do I need to put in for the septic?



Another lefty  [cool]
Chapter 30 has the words to the "I hate plumbing" song. It depends on fixture units but a 3" ought to get it.
I'd say your tie is better than a simpson.

One other way to brace this would be a treated 2x between posts horizontally and treated ply wrapping the skirt area. It would take cripple studs from the beam to the 2x to keep the ply from buckling under lateral load but this would be a superior form of bracing, basically shear walls wrapping the posts. If the ply breaks halfway up on the beam it would allow the wall sheathing to tie down onto the beam as well.

This is stand alone? I don't see the other piers.

I type slow, I see Scott answered.


Scotts the plumber but I like to use a 4" for the main and any 1st floor toilets.  Loft or Second floor Toilets I switch to 3".  I guess it may just be a matter of preference or cost.  Maybe it just takes longer to create a clog in 4"  [toilet]


For less than 3 toilets 3" is all that's needed. Some areas require 4" where it leaves the foundation though. I used 3" on my cabin.


Thanks for the plumbing help guys!


I forgot that the IRC had a chapter on plumbing, I'll check it out.
The shear wall idea sounds like a great way to combine the bracing and skirting.  I all ready bought and started chopping up the 4x6's for the bracing so I'm committed to that route now.

Yes the 12x16 is separate from the 16x28.  I'm trying to build this thing cheap and fast, not really the kind of quality I want attached to the main house.  After we move into the larger house the 12x16 will become a shop/hobby building.


Looking good.  You are much faster than I.

How are you hanging the joists?  I don't see a sill plate or hangers.  I am told on the forum that nails alone in shear is not a good thing.


Quote from: poppy on June 29, 2009, 07:37:07 PM
Looking good.  You are much faster than I.

How are you hanging the joists?  I don't see a sill plate or hangers.  I am told on the forum that nails alone in shear is not a good thing.

Thanks!  ;D

The joists are going to sit on top of the beam, with hurricane clips to hold them down.  The 2x12's that I have in now are just to brace the beam, and give me some place to attach the 4x6 braces for the piers.   From the pics I have now, I know it looks like they are the floor joists.  ::)


You can use joist hangers and attach the joists to the beam if you want. Might not work with your required flood elevation though.


good luck..I hope it's a speedy build... hahaa   d*


Quote from: speedfunk on June 30, 2009, 12:02:08 PM
good luck..I hope it's a speedy build... hahaa   d*


Got the floor joists done today.
After doing nothing but concrete work on the other house I'm thrilled to be working with wood now.  Framing is actually fun!  ;D

I'm using 2x12's at 24" OC.

I left one joist out to give me room to work on the plumbing enclosure.  I had to get creative a couple of time trying to hold things in place since I was working by myself.

Here is the lower part of the plumbing enclosure.  Going to drop it into the hole tomorrow and get the plumbing stubbed out until I rent a trencher later to run the rest of the lines.

Also got the rest of the 4x6 pier braces cut, going to get them installed tomorrow along with the subfloor.

Thinking ahead to the wall framing I've got a couple of questions.   ???

Is balloon framing of the rake walls the way to go?

I'm using 10' 2x4's for the walls.  If I let in a 1x6 for a ledger for loft joists I'll be notching less than 25% of the stud thickness.  But then I'd only have 3/4" of bearing for the joists.  Can I add another thickness of 1x6 between the studs to get the 1 1/2" of bearing I need?  Or do I just need to use jack studs under the loft joists?

Thanks for any help!


You might take a look at this thread. http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=1418.0

I belive the 1x6 ledger plus nails to the side of the stud is all you need for the loft floor joists.


Hey Beavers ( and anyone else thinking living can't be done in a 12x16 )

This will make you feel better. People actually live in this 62 sq ft apt!

I stayed in my 12x16 house all winter while building my 30x40. Btw, if you want some inspiration pics for your 12x16, check out my thread. I found a really cool 12x16 selling on ebay that I swiped the pictures from.



Scott got it in the ledger,
The 1x4 ribbon is the exception to the rule, read R502.6, look at the right side of figure R 602.3(1). Do not forget that fireblocking is required at that point and all around the framing at a maximum of 10' intervals, R 602.8. If you rip and install that blocking flush to the top of the ribbon and nail it through the ribbon and through the sheathing it'll give you excellent bearing as well as providing the required blocking between floors.

Balloon framing on the gable is the correct way to do it. One way is to run them long with a board tacked across the outside for alignment .Then slide a rafter pair up against them, scribe the top of the rafters on the long studs and then drop down for the lookouts and plates to cut the rake stud length. Read table R602.3.1 for stud sizes by wall height... notice it applies to the let in loft support walls as well and read the footnotes on that table.

Measure all sides and make sure they are equal and crosscut the deck for square. Pop inside edge lines for the bottom plates that are correct. Take time to square, plumb and brace as you go, errors magnify to the roof. Align wall studs above floor joists and rafters above studs. This is the fun part, I spent the last couple of days doing a roof with an owner builder.



I've checked out your 12x16 thread quite a few times!  [cool]   I'm pretty sure I'll be able to steal a few great ideas form your project.  ;D

Thanks for the link to the ledger info Scott.  I skimmed that thread before, but forgot all the details there.


I actually read AND highlighted R502.6, somehow I just picked up on the first part that calls for 1 1/2" bearing.  I completely missed the exception for the 1x4 ribbon!  d*
As far as R 602.3....
The 10' 2x4 walls are ok, but having 16' tall gable walls I need to use 2x6's?
Am I reading that right?  :-\


If you're framing the 10' loft support walls on 16's then 2x4's work, if on 24" centers then 2x6's. The tall gable walls are 2x6's just supporting a roof. And that has arguable points but the intent is to have a wall stiff enough to not buckle in the wind. My 13' gable 2x6 walls were pumping a bit when hurricane Hugo visited. At 12' across a horizontal beam plate to plate would be another way to reinforce the tall wall. Notice the chart is only good to 25 psf snow load so be careful pushing the envelope. The heavier the axial load, the weight pushing down the length of the studs, the easier it is for a side wind load to buckle them. The analogy I use is to put a thin stick between thumb and forefinger. Don't squeeze, push in on its middle with the forefinger of your other hand. Now squeeze down on it and push on its side again, much easier to buckle it. At the extreme squeeze it, pure axial load, and it buckles with no side load, too tall and slender for the load. There's the short course on column design  :)


Thanks for all the help Don!

What you posted on column design makes sense.  I can't picture in my head the horizontal beam you mention though.  ???  I could see how a let in 1x4 or blocking would keep the studs from bending in the middle, but how do you incorporate a beam?

Thanks again for taking the time to spell things out for a rookie builder!  ;D


Laid the subfloor the other day.  I went with the cheap OSB and painted it.  Just hope I don't have too much trouble with it de-laminating.

I finished up almost all the pier bracing today.  All the north-south bracing is in, just have to add three more east-west braces.

A close up of the bracing.

Here is the lower part of the plumbing enclosure.  I'm going to make the top half easy to remove incase I need to work on it down the road.


Interesting bracing.  What are the fasteners on the corner bracing?  They look like wood pegs.  And how are you attaching the diagonal bracing?

Just curious, because I haven't designed my bracing system yet.


Quote from: poppy on July 03, 2009, 07:43:16 PM
Interesting bracing.  What are the fasteners on the corner bracing?  They look like wood pegs.  And how are you attaching the diagonal bracing?

Just curious, because I haven't designed my bracing system yet.

All the bracing is PT 2x6's.  I attached it with 3/8's lag screws... still have to add the plywood gusset's on the back side.  I countersunk the ones on the end braces and glued in a piece of 1" dowel.  I thought the timber frame look, was better than a bunch of lag srew heads sticking out everywhere.  The angle bracing thats heads back up under the house is sanwiched between two 2x12's that also brace the beam...I'll see if I can get a better pic of it.


Thanx for showing such detailed pics of the bracing Beavers,  I had an idea of how to do it but yours looks so nice, I like the timber frame look with the wood pegs, very crafty [cool].

Is there any reason why you brought the beams out the whole 12' as opposed to say 10' with a overhang like a lot of people here do?  Just curious, because I kinda want to do like you, but most people here do it the other way...     Thanx Helen
"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford       Just call me grasshopper Master Po.


Thanks for the compliment Helen.  ;D

I've read on this website a few times that it is better to have your walls sitting directly over the piers.
I'm in tornado country too, and I want to be able to tie everything together good, to get as much uplift resistance as I can.  When I sheet the walls I'm going to run the sheeting all the down to the tops of the posts.

I'm not sure how much strength this actually adds compared to having a 10' width with a overhang.
Maybe one of the more experienced guys could spell out the pros and cons of each design for you.

John Raabe

Great project Beavers!

Here is what I think will work for a detail of a 2x4 balloon framed wall for a 12' and 14' wide Little House cabin. Any additional suggestions?

None of us are as smart as all of us.


Thanks for answering my questions.  I too like the timber frame look since I am actually building a timber frame  ;D, but I am not above using false pegs where I really need bolts or lag screws.