20'x30' cottage framing questions

Started by VaCottage(Guest), February 27, 2006, 06:03:02 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


We are building the 20'x30' cottage with a loft.  We have the rafters up and have added a shed dormer on each side of the loft for more headroom and a half bath.   I have a few questions, which I suppose John will need to address:
1.  Instead of double 2x12 joists sitting on a ledger (like the loft) in the cathedral area and nailed to studs 3, 6, 9, and 12 shown on Sheet 3, I would like to nail these joists/collar ties one on each side of the roof rafters above the referenced studs.  This would leave 1½" between the joists/collar ties for wiring, etc.  These could then be trimmed to look like timber framing.  I'm sure that I saw this detail somewhere, but I could not find it.
First, is it okay to attach them to the rafters instead of the studs?
Second, should I add these double collar ties before sheathing the roof?  I think the answer is yes to keep the walls from blowing out.  
Third, may I move the collar ties up the rafters, say a couple of feet above the top of the outside wall, or should I rest them on the top of the 10' outside wall and nail them to the rafters there?  I would like to move them up the rafters as far above the floor as I can to increase the spaciousness of the living area.
Fourth, I'm using 2x8 rafters and intend to use 2x8 collar ties too.  Would 2x6 ties be okay?
Fifth, I'm a little concerned that having these visible collar ties every four feet may be somewhat "busy".  I guess there is no way to reduce the number of these doubled up ties, is there?

2.  It is not clear to me from sheets 2 or 3 how the stairs land on the loft.  The Cross Section on sheet 2 seems to indicate the loft extends out over the hall/kitchen as far as the stair is wide and over to the top of the stairs.  However, I do not see any support for such an extension.  The Floor Plan on sheet 2 and the Loft Framing on sheet 3 do not show (not to me, anyway) such an extension nor how the top of the stair "connects" to the loft floor.  Is there some way the stair "turns left" onto the loft, or something?

We are planning to start the roof sheathing either this weekend or next weekend weather permitting, so I would appreciate your feedback.

Larry Weaver



1. You saw the detail you are describing in the booklet that came with your plans. It is the optional timber framing details for the open beam ceiling titled "Cathedral Ceiling details". If you plan to use it you may wish to copy that sheet into the paste up page (sheet 12) of your plans. Yes, tie the rafters together before sheathing the roof - you can do just one of rafter ties if you want (that is all that is needed structurally). Yes, you can raise this collar tie up to 1/3 of the way up the rafter. They don't have to sit on the wall.

2x6 ties will be fine. They are working in tension and don't need a lot of beef. Yes, leave them at 4' - in my opinion, they will not look "busy" - just traditional.  (Alternatively, you can use steel cables and make them "disappear"  ::))

2. Stairs. Look at sheet 3. It has both the loft framing and the loft floorplan. The cottage stair comes up through the opening between the two built-up beams. That area is labeled "open below" in the loft plan. The start of the stair (from the loft going down) is determined by where you put the Dbl 2x12 Hdr between the beams. There are two locations called out on the framing plan depending on whether or not you have a riser at the landing. The cross section drawing (sht. 2) slices through this upper run of the stair to show handrails, etc. The steps coming down from the landing to the main floor are actually behind the cut of the cross section - ignore them for now.

You landing location is determined and built first. Then the stair horses come up to get nailed off at the Dbl 2x12 Hdr and then down from the landing to the main floor. See the picture of this stair from Micky's house. Note that he used 4x12 for the header. A better idea for the open beam ceiling option.

Here is a link to his project.

If you are not an experienced carpenter, you might want to get some help with the stairs from a quality framer. Stair framing is a bit trickier than wall framing. You can get a good overview of the process from Wagner p. 165.

There are also optional stairway patterns in the booklet if another will work better for your layout.

(Interesting, is it possible there are two people named Larry each building the 20w 1-1/2 story plan?)  

• Larry #1 link.


Thanks for the info on my subject question 1.  My confusion on the stair landing is because we have the loft ONLY over the bedroom/bathroom end of the house.  I hope this doesn't effect the answers to subject question 1.  [I have attached a photo showing the completed loft flor framing.]  Perhaps this will help clarify my confusion.  I see how it would work out if the "loft" covered the entire first floor (or at least extended past the stair opening as shown in the photo).  I thought you had a way to run the stair up the "bathroom" wall in the "great room" and land it on the loft which only covers the bedroom/bathroom.  I would appreciate any ideas on how to "land" the stair with just this much loft.  

I may simply use a spiral staircase.  We have a basement and we could access the basement too since they make a "stackable" spiral stair.

By the way, this Larry is building his 20x30 in the mountains of Va.  I hope the "other" Larry is progressing more quickly than we are.

Thanks again.


I see your issue. The "floating landing" could be a problem  ;). A spiral stair might be one way to do it since they normally can have the landing land flat against the loft floor. (Often setting where it lands will dictate where the stair starts below so this may not be without its own complications.)

I think there are two basic ways to support the landing extension needed for the cottage stair:
• Carry a final beam as Micky has done, over to the wall and support the landing on that. That would extend the loft one more bay.
• Place a post under the bolted connection to the header in Micky's photo and carry it through the floor to a footing.