Are they framing my addition with the right wood?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ October 24, 2012 ~ No Comments

I am just checking up on my contractor. Does it matter what kind of wood is used on my room addition. I am speaking of the wood that they use to build the walls. I also see some light through some of the seams. Is this okay?

Tera - Norfolk, VA

Jeffrey Anderson

Tera, actually it can make a big difference if your contractor is not using the proper type of wood while framing your room addition. I assume that you have had an architect or a draftsperson draw up the plans for your project. They should have specified in their drawings the thickness of the exterior walls, window and door header material, floor joist sizes, and the material to be used for the roof framing.

There are also some framing considerations that are considered to be basic knowledge of the trade that all experienced contractors should know. Double top plating weight bearing partitions and using treated lumber anywhere the framing comes into contact with concrete fall into this category. While these details may not be shown on the drawings, not doing them can cause a building official to fail your framing inspection.

As far as the various details shown on the drawings, they are reviewed by the building department when the plans are submitted for a permit. During the process, the department should verify that the architect or draftsperson made correct calculations when figuring the sizing of the various structural components. If your contractor uses different lumber than that specified -- such as using 2 x 6 material for a window header rather than 2 x 1 -- that can also cause you to fail an inspection.

Even if the incorrect use of lumber somehow makes it past the inspector, it could cause you problems down the road. All new homes and additions settle slightly over time and if structural members aren't sized properly, the movement could be more than just a little. That's why I would highly recommend holding your contractor's feet to the fire when it comes to using the material specified on the drawing.

On the other hand, I have also seen instances where architects have oversized headers, floor joists, and other structural members. An experienced contractor may see this and suggest a change to save their customer a little money. However, the change should always be approved by the architect and the local building official prior to being done.

It is perfectly normal to see a little daylight between the boards when the framing is complete. This should disappear once the addition has been air-sealed and insulation has been installed. If you still see it then, ask the insulation contractor to do a little more work before the exterior siding and the interior sheetrock are put in place.

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