This weekend saw quite a bit of progress. The rainy weather stopped very early Saturday morning and I was able to get rolling first thing.
The first order of business was squaring up the walls that I built on Thursday. I loosened all the J-Bolts and hit the bottoms of each wall until the edges lined up perfectly. Either by a stroke of luck or due to my extreme building skills the bottoms of the walls were within 1/16 inch of being square. I quickly tightened down all the J-Bolts (turned around three times and spat with my arms crossed) with an impact driver and rechecked the measurement as things can shift when you tighten up the J-Bolts.
The next step was to make the walls perfectly vertical (plumb). One at a time I removes the temporary screws holding the corners together and adjusted each corner to be plumb. When complete, I checked the squareness at the top of each wall and found it to be within 1/8 inch which I think is fine. I then used the nail gun to connect the corners together permanently.
Next step was to install the loft floor which is nothing more than some 2×8’s layed across the house. On top of the joists I attached some 3/4 inch OSB made by Advantech. This stuff says its good for 50 years. It comes in tongue and groove and seems pretty sturdy. I found the T&G hard to snap together. I suspect it was because I nailed the end down. I suggest that you tack it down first and get everything lined up before nailing the entire floor.
With a fill loft floor in place the next step was to build the gable end. Frankly this was a pain in the ass working up in the loft which was too small. We ended up getting it done after dark and it was a real bitch to get installed even with three people.
We had a large bow in the middle of the wall that we could not move by hand. The solution was to use 8 timberlok fasteners, some scrap studs, and the impact driver. I drove the fasteners into the lower (non-bowed) wall section then into the upper (bowed) section. As I tightened the screws the two plates matched up and we could nail them together. I used a liberal amount of Gorilla glue, four 1/2 inch galvanized bolts, and framing nails to hold the two walls together….its not coming apart except with a sawsall.
The crowning achievement of the weekend was the installation of my nearly 4 inch thick by 18 inch tall by 18 foot long ridge beam. The lumber store asked me if I wanted it in two sections or one. Fortunately, I told them two or it would have taken 2-4 more people to lift into place. This thing is so heavy that the two of us struggled to get it into position.
Now that its installed it is clear to me that it’s really oversized for this application. I picked it based on the manufacturers data. This size beam can be used on a 24 foot wide building with a 18 foot span. My building is only 14 feet so it’s probably 30% oversized. I would suggest if you take this approach to hire an engineer and certify a smaller beam. You will likely end up with something a few inches shorter. In any case I’m not worried about the roof bowing….ever!
I made a small change to the way I am installing the rafters. Originally I was going to attach them to the sides of the ridge beam with hangars as you would with a ridge board. I was concerned about making the ridge beam to wall connection secure. I discovered on my CAD program that the ceiling height would end up the same if I set the beam directly on the wall headers. Otherwise I would need to install a 6 inch block of wood which I could not figure out a good way to make secure. I’m sure there are some steel brackets somewhere, but I found nothing locally. When setting the rafters on top there is just enough room to cut a notch and set them on top of the beam. This diagram illustrates what I am going to do except that I will not overlap the tops because I want the rafters to be directly over the wall studs.
I will be using a steel strap over the top, some small joist hangers, and a triangle of plywood glued to each set of rafters to make a secure connection. Overkill yes, but for $20 I can make this much stronger so why not spend the money. The bottoms will be blocked in place.
At night (in the dark) this week I will be fitting and cutting rafters so they can be installed before the hurricane (possibly)(comes this weekend! The building inspector sent someone out to check up on my progress…they better watch out…its getting to be that season and Tim has a deep fryer and knows how to use it!