Wood Frame Houses
Information on the types of wood frame houses and homes, and their construction.
¶ Wood. - Owing to the great abundance of wood and its consequent cheapness throughout America, it will be employed for generations to come for the frame as well as the finish of moderately expensive houses. The consideration of its importance as the basis of a system of building, so extensively practiced as to embrace three-fourths of all the houses in the great West, (and if we leave out the cities and towns, nine-tenths,) becomes a point of vital interest to the Western builder.
¶ Building of wood becomes a matter of necessity from the absence of other available material, and being so, it is the business of the builder to cast about for the best method of treatment. The practice of many carpenters, who proceed rapidly at the expense of sound building, cannot be too severely reprobated. We will notice a few points in which this is done.
¶ We have seen joists, for instance, laid on the foundation-wall totally disconnected with the sill, as at A, picture 4, instead of being framed in, as at B. A moment's thought will show any one the error of the method at A. The slightest settlement of the sill-and it is much more liable to settlement than the floor, from the greater weight upon it deranges the relationship between the floor and plastering, much to the injury of the latter. It is evident that the danger of this is obviated by the method shown at B, all being firmly tenoned into the sill, and about one-third of the number pinned at each end; by the insertion of a board under the ends of the joists, the bearing of the wooden superstructure is equalized on the wall, and whatever settlement takes place is gradually communicated to the whole without the derangement of parts.
¶ Another point of faulty construction is seen in the neglect to insert a suitable ridge-beam in the construction of half-stories; the consequence of which is the sides of the building are distended by the thrust of the rafters, the greatest deviation from a straight line being in the middle of the length, or at the greatest distance from any transverse tie. Collar beams will not prevent this, unless placed below the middle of the rafter, and the nearer they are placed to the foot of the rafter, the greater their efficiency. But the simplest remedy is to support the ridge of the roof with a longitudinal bearer, commonly termed a ridge-plate, say three by ten or fourteen inches in a span of from fourteen to twenty-four feet; in a greater span than this, the bearer should be trussed and bolted. This method of roof-construction is applicable to all half stories, whether the walls be stone, brick, or wood.
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