Author Topic: What are some things you REGRET doing and would do differently on your builds?  (Read 8491 times)

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Offline jesse977

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  Im just curious what are some mistakes you guys made while building your cabins? What things would you differently if Doc Brown from Back to the Future would give you a ride to the past? Even though my build is about 1 (maybe 2) years away I want to start getting ready. Im planning on a common 20x30 1 1/2 story build. Thanks

Offline Mike 870

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I sized my floor joists with a 40 psf live load, and its too squishy for my liking.

Offline Don_P

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I sized my floor joists with a 40 psf live load, and its too squishy for my liking.

When the floor is a system of girders and joists the combined deflection, or vibration, of the 2 beams comes into play. In that case you need to design both the joists and the girders, a soft floor can be due to the joists, or the girders, or some combination of the two. I've been told to keep girder deflections under L/600 and the typical "improved" joist deflection is L/480. Code minimums, the tables, for both of those use L/360, a good bit squishier than an improved performance floor.

Offline bayview

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Building to small . . .    We built 16X20.   16X24 wouldn't have cost much more.   The extra 4 feet would have made a big difference.

./
    . . . said the focus was safety, not filling town coffers with permit money . . .

Offline phalynx

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I would have added 2' to the length of my building and I wouldn't have put the stairs in the middle of the house.  Putting them at the end would have been a more efficient use of space. I would have also lowered my building about 2'.

Offline dablack

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WOW phalynx!  You are a blast from the past. 

Do you think lowering your house would have helped with the posts leaning over?  You haven't updated your house thread in SOME TIME!

Offline OlJarhead

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Would have done 16x24 instead of 14x24 for the extra space.

If I had the time and knowledge I would have done a SBC foundation.

Offline phalynx

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WOW phalynx!  You are a blast from the past. 

Do you think lowering your house would have helped with the posts leaning over?  You haven't updated your house thread in SOME TIME!

I still love watching all the builds here.  The post leaning over was nothing more than it warping.  It hasn't moved in about 6.5 years....  It has been rock solid.   I just think the house would look better closer to the ground.  Probably would help a little bit with cold winters.

Offline flyingvan

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A house closer to the ground will handle better in the turns at high speed  ::)

http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=11843.msg152146#msg152146   Lots of folks chimed in with this thread--maybe there's a pearl or two that'll help at this stage.   

This isn't a regret, but by far the most helpful single thing was scheduling a ride-along with a county building inspector.  Here in the People's Republik of San Diego I had to deal with Wildland Urban Interface rules, earthquake codes, 'green' building requirements, snow loads wind load, scenic highway restrictions, etc...all on a sloping lot originally deemed too small to build on.  By getting to know the building inspectors they became a resource, not a roadblock.  I understood better where they were coming from better
Find what you love and let it kill you.

Offline rick91351

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I would like to add a couple things from people that are no longer here.  People that failed and failed miserably yet I hope others learn from their mistakes. 

One if you are going to be commuting during your build be realistic.  Figure that time and expense in to your build.  One couple and a couple kids were commuting like six hours one way.  Big city Chicago to some place south.   I tossed out there that our hour and half to two and a half depending if the road was open from Boise was a real factor in time and money and affordability.  Lots of people encouraged them in their build but the gas was draining out of the tank.  They like us were leaving their property to go home at sunset.  We were always unhooking our trailer and get stuff unloaded in the dark an hour and a half later.  In my mind I was saying prayers of 'Lord be with them' halfway across the country.  After about a year or so of this they put their property up for sale....  Felt they were complete failures.

Two have a very good idea of building and sound building practices and promised labor is never really there.  This comes from a cabin in Kansas I think or the midwest anyway - This was right after I started lurking here.   Husband and wife building a cabin they had no concept of building.  They laid out the post and piers and ran their beams and never attached them to each other.  Don_P or someone pointed this out.  They felt the weight of the cabin was sufficient.  But it was still in the building the deck stage.  Then the poor wife in the middle of this.  She figures out all the help like friends and brother in laws labor after the first weekend is non existent.  Further she was actually the job boss and is now expected to learn building 101 AND KEEP UP THE KIDS AND THE HOUSE.  The husband discovers this is a lot more work than he had planned and not near as fun as the pictures and the mind made it.  Their build dropped off the radar.           

 
Proverbs 24:3-5 Through wisdom is an house builded; an by understanding it is established.  4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.  5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

Offline JavaMan

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I have to agree with rick on both points.  My build is about 6 hours away.  If I had to start over again, I would shagnhai - er, ask for volunteers and actually ACCEPT help from some of my friends - even if we all crowded into my truck for the journey.  Then again, I really hadn't planned on nearly $4.00/gallon gasoline, either.  This fall has been wonderful with the dropping fuel prices - at least for getting out to the place.

Having help - even if it's simply someone to hand stuff to you or even just make the meals is almost priceless. It means that you don't have to stop until things are ready to eat and can get back to work right away.

Other than that, I would say adding a couple feet to both dimensions of my build would have been good - even better would have been to make it as large as possible without needing to permit it.  But, then again, without help, I think the size I did was probably as big as I could build it.  And I'd have roofing help lined up ahead of time.

Of course, since this 12X12 is simply the "toe-hold" for the property, there is another build coming in the future.  Exactly when, I'm not certain.  However, I will have help on this one (as you can read in my thread, I have a few people from my church that are crazy enough to help me out), and it will certainly be bigger.  Of course, I am debating already, what to use.  I'd like to build with logs (milled or otherwise), but then, I'd also like to do a dry stack with CMU's.  I think both lend themselves to DIY and are a bit less, shall we say, interesting... than standard stick.

The foundation, though is another thing.  I'd love to do a basement, but I fear there's too much rock on my property - aside from that, either a complete footer around the circumference or, posts using tube forms. I did that with the deck build at home, and it wasn't bad, but I'd need to be a bit more precise with a cabin.

I figure that had I had the help I have now, early on, I would have been finished about 3 years ago, or more, and probably have completed the bigger build by now - at least have had it dried in.

Offline GSPDOG

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A number of great points made here as always, so there is a great deal to be learned by what is posted here.

So it is important to be realistic about the project, if you are like me and 2 hours one way your going to want to stay locally rather than driving back and forth. I bought a very inexpensive 1970's model camper and used it to work out of while I worked on the cabin.  If I had to do it over again I would have planned into my budget a nicer camper and just used it afterwards for my adventures in dog competitions.  While it worked out, I actually sold it once the cabin was livable for what I paid for it.  A more updated camper would have been easier on my old bones. ;)

The only other thing I will do different from a building perspective and will do differently on my barn.  I am using engineered trusses rather than building them on site.  While the trusses we put in are very functional and very cool from a design perspective they really added a lot of time to the project.  Building solo can be a real challenge, rewarding but some things just require more than one person.
Thanks for Reading
Jim Brown

Offline UK4X4

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Doing your area-land ....homework.........I did'nt

we were drawn to our plot by the ski resort next door, we should'nt have acted so fast, done our homework and spoken to the county surveyor.

If we had to do it again we'd have a place down the valley where the land is stable and has more sun, whilst being just a 10 min drive away.

My foundation gobbled up 1/2 my budget. ( mind you I'm three winters in with no movement or damage)

Costs- being that our commute has been larger than most, we had to realise early on that we were simply not going to be able to build it ourselves as I'd dreamt about.

This then basicly doubled our expected costs, if its 100usd for the piece of timber, expect the bill to be another 100usd to fit it.

My budget and time plan were blown in the first year..........but we have enjoyed mutiple trips to the property even in the depths of winter staying in the camper.

The camper was a brillant idea from the wife, even buying new and selling it this spring after 3 years of use, it would have cost us more to have stayed in the local motel 6 on a per night basis.

being in a comfy 44 ft trailer rather than a 10ft sq box and being on the property was also worth more than the loss of value.

Cost- building anything in colorado costs more than than just about the whole of the states ! everything costs me more than than prices I've seen others pay for on this site.




Countryplans design forum has been extremely helpfull and gets a daily visit from me !

Offline Don_P

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I'll echo studying the local geology prior to purchase. From the back deck I can see 600 million years difference in the geology. I'm on the older, more acid, granite based blue ridge. I can see the more fertile, limestone based valley and ridge. From a farming/gardening perspectiveif I were to do it over I'd probably look on the other side of that mountain. Our water is worlds better than theirs, so always more than one way to look at things. I would have used a structural ridgebeam. Ours actually is one, it simply wasn't designed that way and is undersized, so things have moved. Despite what we fancy, the building always finds the true load path. For site development, if the property is steep try to develop it along contour lines. Our house is at the top, garden and barn are 400' and ~100' below, sawmill and shop are an equal distance below that. What would be an easy fast walk along a level line generally becomes, hop in the truck and drive up or down the hill.

Offline Mike 870

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As a mostly solo builder I am going to probably spring for plywood over osb on this next build.  Lighter and easier to wrangle into place.  I am also going to buy pre framed window and doors.  Big time saver and possibly a money saver too if you factor the cost of tools and wood to build and case a door or window.

All the stuff above is spot on regarding land and site selection.  I wanted a site well off the road and private, but I paid for it by having to shell out some cash to improve my road.  I'd do it again, but something to be aware of.

Offline Danfish

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Take detailed photos of structure after rough plumbing and electrical, before insulation and drywall.  Would save time later when trying to pinpoint nailing surfaces for trim and hanging all that stuff that comes later!  Also might help avoid driving nails and screws into things you don't want damaged.

Offline dablack

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Lets see. 

#1  Fire insurance.  We would have been living in our house a year ago if not for the fire.

#2  No 12/12 pitch if you are doing the roofing yourself.  Also, my 12/12 pitch had roofers telling me to get out my check book for them to do it.  I'm doing 8/12 this time.  We will see how it goes.

#3  Foundation and roof is the most expensive part.  So build a two story. 

#4  Working on a ladder, on scaffolding, on a man lift is scary, expensive, and dangerous.  So build a one story. 

HA!

Austin

Offline Adam Roby

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... so build the roof on the ground, then jack it up and build the top floor, then jack all that up and build the lower floor, then jack all that up and build the foundation.  At the very least you start off dried in...   :)

Offline MushCreek

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I've actually seen a barn roof built on the ground and then jacked up the poles.

Probably the only thing a I regret is not hiring a YOUNG helper to speed up the more physical work. I could have sheathed the entire roof in a day if someone else had humped the sheets up the ladder and fed them to me. By myself, it took 5 days. I've heard that two people are 3 times faster than one person working alone.
Jay

I'm not poor- I'm financially underpowered.

Offline Adam Roby

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I often see them building the roof framing on the ground then using a crane to put it onto the structure.  I guess there is some convenience factor to that, seemed a little strange the first time I saw it being done in our old development.

Offline nailit69

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Probably the only thing a I regret is not hiring a YOUNG helper to speed up the more physical work. I could have sheathed the entire roof in a day if someone else had humped the sheets up the ladder and fed them to me. By myself, it took 5 days. I've heard that two people are 3 times faster than one person working alone.

Absolutely 100% TRUE!  As a fulltime journeyman carpenter I can verify that... i'd rather lose $2-300 profit by paying a helper than spend my extra time ($5-600 or more) in repeated unproductive moves.  Young or old, doesn't matter... get someone to help. Someone to hand you a board or tool when you're on a wall or a ladder is probably the most valuable resource you can have out there.

Offline GSPDOG

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Absolutely 100% TRUE!  As a fulltime journeyman carpenter I can verify that... i'd rather lose $2-300 profit by paying a helper than spend my extra time ($5-600 or more) in repeated unproductive moves.  Young or old, doesn't matter... get someone to help. Someone to hand you a board or tool when you're on a wall or a ladder is probably the most valuable resource you can have out there.

I agree with this as well, someone to help can be an unbelievable time save and move the job along so much quicker.
Thanks for Reading
Jim Brown

Offline Onkeludo2

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Just got done doing 240 sq ft of tile at a buddy's house while his family (and dog) were not in the way.  I had forgotten how much of a pain it was to have to run out and cut a tile in the garage, install 4 more tiles, mark another for cutting, etc, etc.  An 8 hour job (including tile board, but not grout) took about 12 hours of work.  I guess in a nice rectangle with no obstacles I can do things solo pretty quick...kitchen and dining room with appliance alcoves and partial walls...what a pain.  Might have been better to uninstall the cabinets and counters...

I just plain can't do the grouting of that big a room solo.

Pulling cable is the other time I REALLY need a second set of hands.  With EMT in the house, adding a circuit is a breeze but it is a pain to pull 4', run back and untangle or pull back, pull 4', rinse, repeat.
Making order from chaos is my passion.

 

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