How to build a deck.
A deck may be one of the best single investments you can make in your house. It gives you added space, opens the house up to the yard, and ties indoor activities with outdoor activities. You can entertain on it, eat on it cook on it or just lounge around on it. Start planning your deck today. Its a great do-it-yourself project.
Modular Log Home
Pictures of a Blue Ridge Modular log home being install by a large crane. This modular log home sets on a full basement and was install in a day
Installing low voltage lighting.
Here is a way to provide pleasant illumination to outdoor areas for a small amount of money. You can purchase most of the components in a kit. Some kits come with a timer or a photovoltaic sensor to turn lights on at night and off during the day. Installing low voltage lighting is a good do-it-yourself project.
How to frame an exterior wall
Once you begin framing a wall you will begin to feel as though you are making real progress on
your project. It is probably the most gratifying and enjoyable part of building a house or addition
because you see the building and individual rooms begin to take shape. Wall framing is relatively
easy to do with simple, straightforward carpentry tasks. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in
mind when erecting walls is that errors left uncorrected at this stage of building will turn into hard to
fix problems later on. If a wall is not plumb or if the room you frame is not square, for example, not
only do the building’s load paths change slightly but the dimensions change, too. Sheet goods that you
apply to the wall inside or outside, drywall or sheathing may need time consuming trimming and may
have unsightly, hard to hide joints and corners.
Framing walls with 2+4s VS. 2+6s
Most load bearing interior and exterior walls framing with 2+4s or 2+6s, depending on structural
and insulation demands. Because 2+6s are larger than 2+4s, they are stronger, so a 2+6 wall is
structurally stronger than a 2+4 wall. These days, builders are increasingly using 2+6s, which may be
framed 24 inches on center, as opposed to 2+4s, which must be framed 16 inches on center. Besides
the structural advantages 2+6 framed walls offer, the wider studs provide more space for insulation.
An insulated 2+4 wall can have an insulating value of R-13 or R-15. An insulated 2+6 wall can have
an insulating valve of R-19 or R-21.
How to frame a wall.
Before you can lay out a wall for framing, you must know how walls are constructed. All walls have a
bottom, or sole, plate, a top plate (doubled in bearing walls), and vertical members called studs.
There are three kinds of studs, king studs, trimmer studs and cripple studs. Trimmer and cripple
studs are sometimes called jack studs. King studs run from the bottom plate all the way to the top
plate. Trimmer studs run from the bottom plate to the underside of a header. Cripple studs run from
the bottom plate to the underside of a rough opening’s sill or from the top of a header to the top
plate, filling in between the top and bottom of any rough frame.
Exterior wall framing.
1. You’ll lay out and assemble the first stud wall on the floor, and then raise it into position. Start by
choosing two lengths of two-by lumber to form the top and bottom plates. Lay the plates next to each
other on the sub floor. Begin the layout process by marking an X at the ends of the plates for the first
2. You must position exterior wall studs so that the edge of the 4+8 foot sheathing material falls on a
stud’s centerline. To accomplish this, place the second wall stud 15 ¼-inches from the end of the
plate For 16 inches on center framing or 23 ¼-inches from the end of the plate for 24 inch on center
framing. This is the stud from which you’ll make your 16 or 24 inch on center marks for the rest of
the wall. You set the stud at 15-1/4 (or23-¼) inches because the sheathing sits flush with the outside
of the first stud, not with its center. For the rest of the studs to fall with their centers at 16 or 24
inches relative to the sheathing panels, you must subtract one-half the width of a stud, or ¾-inch,
from this first layout dimension. Sometimes this stud spacing works out for sheet goods (drywall,
paneling) applied to the inside of the framed wall, more often you’ll have to trim the edge of your
first piece so that it breaks across the center of the stud. Bury the trimmed edge in the corner, and
put the factory edge on the outside stud.
3. Laying out the remaining studs. Make a small vertical mark, with an X to the right of it, along the
remaining lengths of both plates where king studs will occur, every 16 or 24 inches on center from
the second stud marked in Step 2. Mark a C where cripple studs will occur. Set cripple studs to
maintain the 16 or 24 inch on center spacing where king studs are missing. Mark an H on the top
plate where you’ll put the headers. After you’ve marked all the stud positions, go back and square up
your tick marks using a combination square, and then draw a full line across the width of the plates.
1. Cut and attach the main wall studs. With the top and bottom plates marked for all the wall studs
and rough openings, it’s time to cut the studs. A power miter box makes this job go quickly. King
studs will be full length 91 ½ inches plus an inch or so for 8 feet ceilings. Trimmer studs will be king
stud length minus the combined height of the header and cripples above. You can cut the cripples
and sills to length after you put the trimmers and headers in place. Separate the plates, and insert the
king studs at the ends of the plates and along the wall as marked. Nail through the top plate with two
16d nails. You’ll square the walls after you’ve nailed all the wall members in place.
2. Installing the headers. For each header, Cut two 2+12s or whatever two by material you’re using
to fill in the space above the window or door. Use this two by material as a guide to mark a piece of
½-inch plywood to size. Cut the plywood, sandwich it between the two pieces of two by material (for
a 2+4 wall) and nail the assembly with six to 12 12d nails spaced 12 to 16 inches apart. For a 2+6
wall, assemble the header with 2 ½-inch blocking to be the same width as the wall.
3. Complete the rough opening. For each door or window rough opening, insert the header in them
on the floor. Drive 16d nails through the trimmers into the sills and through the sills into the cripples,
then insert the completed assembly into the rough opening. Attach the bottom plate to the cripples
and trimmers with 16d nails, and then nail the trimmers to the king studs with 8d nails.
More DIY remodeling home projects you can do yourself