Author Topic: A higher 1/2 storey  (Read 5284 times)

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Offline littledog

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A higher 1/2 storey
« on: May 03, 2007, 07:18:39 AM »
Basically my question is whether or not it is possible to increase the wall height in the loft on the 20x30 1 1/2 storey plan or to lower the wall height on the 20x34 2 storey plan?  Why not just build the two storeys and get the extra room?  I am planning to build the house into a hill on the site.  I want to have a walk-out basement with some stone retaining walls.  Also I am planning to face the concrete walls with brick on the outside.  That said, if I were to build a full 2 storey house it would appear to be 3 storeys tall (the basement and the 2 storeys).  So what I would like to do is have the second floor have 3'-4' kneewalls and have a couple of dormers to bring in more light.  That would soften the height of the overall structure.  So back to my original question, which plan would help me get that?  I am also planning to put a bathroom on the second floor, also with a dormer.  I like the 20X34 size.  Can anyone help me?  Many thanks, Littledog a.k.a.  Aaron Foster.

Offline John Raabe

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Re: A higher 1/2 story
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2007, 07:59:39 AM »
One option would be to have the roof all done with trusses. The truss company does the engineering and the outward forces are resolved in the truss so you can platform frame the 2nd floor and have the wall height whatever you want.

I would use the 2 story Universal plan for this rather than the 1.5 story. It will be closer to the details you want as it has platform framed floors at both levels and a full "U" shaped stair that will work great for your three levels. Just drop the 2nd floor wall height and truss the roof that looks best on these lower walls.

You will obviously do some re-planning of the 2nd floor layout.
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Offline John_M

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2007, 08:02:34 AM »
I built an 18 x 32 and used 12' 2x6's for the walls (balloon framing).  I have about an 11:12 pitch roof, so this offers lots of room on the second floor.  The knee wall is about 3 1/2 feet.  The ceiling is about 9 feet high on the first floor.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 08:08:30 AM by John_M »
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Offline littledog

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2007, 08:32:19 AM »
Thank you for your input.  I was also wondering, is it possible to change the configuration of the stairs in that plan (the 2 storey)?  What I like are stairs that make a longer u along the back wall.  So you would have 2-3 stairs up and then a small platform, then the majority of the stairs against the wall then they would sort of spiral the last few steps to the next floor.  This way the stairs don't come out as far.  This is all based on a plan I say in the "Compact house book" circa 1983.  There is a plan in that book that I am trying to meld with one of the plans here.  Again Thank you for your input.  Aaron.

Offline John Raabe

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2007, 08:32:26 AM »
John mentions a simple modification that several other folks have used. (One I should have thought of. ::):-[)

The 1.5 story plans show 10' 2x6 studs on the balloon framed walls. Substitute 12' studs and you get two more feet of sidewall to allocate to the main or loft floors. (You can set the ledger where you want.) The only consideration is that you probably want to do the loft floor all the way through the house and not use full height 12' walls that are unsupported with the floor system. Many jurisdictions (at least in earthquake country) limit unsupported walls. (Our inspector has allowed 12' high unsupported walls if the opening length is 12' or less).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 08:38:16 AM by jraabe »
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Offline littledog

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2007, 08:40:26 AM »
John and John, thanks.  I had thought about just adjusting the length of the wall studs and set the 2nd floor height a couple of feet higher.  I also intend to have a full upper floor, rather that leaving any of it open as in a cathedral ceiling.  Another question comes up.  If I raise the height of the 2nd floor walls, and frame in the entire 2nd floor do the floor joists need to be supported midway or can they bear on the outer walls?  I should mention I am intending to have the floor joists and beams exposed to the first floor.  I would like the wood to show.  Would that necessitate a middle beam and support posts?  Aaron.

Offline John Raabe

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2007, 08:45:05 AM »
Arron:

See this thread for stair winder information: http://www.countryplans.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1168456265/14

The ledger system allows for full span floor joists. You can use the exposed beam and decking option in the loft framing plan on sheet 5.
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Offline littledog

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2007, 08:58:43 AM »
John, thanks for the link.  It is very helpful.  That basically represents what I have in mind.  I don't mean to be a pain, but I have another question regarding the full span floor.  I am planning to take out the bedroom and possibly the bathroom in the first floor in favor of a really open first floor.  Does that change the way the floor joist bear on the outer walls?  I just don't want to run into sizing problems with the exposed joists.  I have no problem increasing the sizes.  A local builder told me that in order to span 20' I would need to use douglas fir of a certain dimension 4"x8" I believe.  I am located in Massachusetts.  I am not opposed to using a center beam but would rather avoid it if I can.  Aaron.

Offline John_M

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2007, 09:10:22 AM »
Everything depends on the type of lumber you use.  

I have spanned my 18 foot cabin with true 4x12 hemlock beams.   I have spaced them 4 feet on center.  On top of that I have placed 2x8 T & G flooring.  This will be exposed.  I have no need for a center beam.

I have a few pictures of things if you hunt around on my blog:

www.ourlittlecabin.blogspot.com

Good luck with your project!!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 09:13:19 AM by John_M »
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Offline peteh2833

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2007, 11:26:28 AM »
John, If you increase the walls to 2x6x12's on the 1.5 story, is it ok to make the upstairs one big loft instead of it being a half loft? Thanks, Pete
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Offline John_M

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2007, 11:37:47 AM »
I am 100% sure that you meant the "real" John (the smart one who runs this site), however, I might add that I think you would want to do that because as someone may have mentioned earlier, you would want to (have to) tie the walls in together if it was not a full loft (a cathedral ceiling)!!

John may be able to add more to this!
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: A higher 1/2 story
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2007, 11:56:49 AM »
Pete:

Yes, it would be best to make the loft the full length of the building. The loft plan has the sizes for built up beams or you could use DF or SP timbers of good quality (#1).

BTW, John_M is just as real as John_R and has valuable experience and insights which he often shares on this site.  :D
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline peteh2833

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2007, 05:05:54 PM »
Thanks, I have the 1.5 story plans. I'll take a look at them. Maybe you could answer a couple ?'s for me. If using the post and pier foundation, is there a center beam/girder? If so does it sit on 2 piers? Does the rim joist sit on top of the wood piers and then the floor joists attatch to it and then to the center beam/girder? Thanks Pete
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2007, 04:52:45 AM »
Pete: Sorry I didn't get to your question earlier.

The floor joists of the 20' wide can span the full width with the I-joists. No center beam needed.

The beams sit on top of the piers and the joists sit on top of the beams. This makes it much easier to do plumbing and such. At the two piers in the center of the gable walls, they extend up higher and support the outside joists. I'm on the road so don't have the plans here, but check the floor framing plan. I think the outside joist is doubled.
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Offline peteh2833

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Re: A higher 1/2 storey
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2007, 07:13:27 AM »
Thanks, That would be great. I think I'm just confusing my self. I have helped friends build before but that was either a slab or block foundation. Never post and pier. Just want to get it right. Pete
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