The Seven Most Common Mistakes People Make When Building a House

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Number 6

Here is one that most homeowners would not normally consider. Use engineered products wherever they are available. Engineered products are roof trusses, beams, floor systems, etc. They are engineered, designed and sized to do every specific job. For instance when your house is designed with roof trusses, every detail of the roof structure has been considered. You can be sure that all weight loads have been calculated and that the loads will be applied only to load bearing walls or beams. Using rafters and ceiling joists is almost a guessing game. Is the span too long? Did the contractor use big enough supports? Is this going to hold up if I get 36 inches of snow on the roof?

Here is something else. When a roof truss system is used the weight of the roof falls exactly where it supposed to be: on load bearing walls and beams. With “stick framed” construction, the weight can be shifted over to walls that were never intended to be load bearing. They may not be properly supported from underneath. Now, you may not notice a problem right away, but eventually the floor will begin to sag. You will drop a pencil and have to chase it halfway across the room because it rolls away. Or you will see this when the sheetrock above your doors starts cracking. Using roof trusses will keep this from happening.  Why go through all of that? Engineered products are exactly that. They are engineered for your house and you have peace of mind that they will not fail. Trusses are a little more expensive than rafters. But they are so much easier to install that the money you save on labor offsets the extra cost of the materials. It is faster so you can get the house under roof quicker, keeping water out. Don’t settle for less.

Don’t overlook engineered floor systems either. I could go into all this technical jargon about uniform loads and point loads, span distances and specific deflection criteria etc. But you don’t care about all of that. This is what you care about:  There may come a time that you have 10 giggling, pillow fighting, teenage girls on one waterbed in an upstairs room. You don’t want to worry that that the bed is going to come crashing through the ceiling. An engineered floor system will never allow that to happen.

You don’t want to have improper support in your floors.  You don’t want to feel the floor sinking beneath your feet as you walk. And, of course, the big one: You don’t want to hear creaks and squeaks every time that you take a step.  Engineered floor systems will prevent all of these headaches. Go with the best right from the start. You will be glad you did.


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