Framing, Roofing & Windows
Framing is about the easiest part of the project to manage since only one crew is working at the site. After the roof is on, it can get crazy because other subs can then get started -- and the framers also move inside to do the interior.
Cell phones are useful tools, but not everyone has one. So it makes sense to get telephone service on-site as soon as you can.
At the same time, we got electricity service for the framers. Those things seems obvious, but are a few more details the contractor has to take care of.
Once the foundation is laid, all efforts focus on capping it and "drying-in" the house. The subfloor, walls, and roof go up, then the windows are put in to basically make the structure weather tight. Our framers' first job was to nail up supports to brace the foundation walls until they cured.
The first stages of framing start by capping off the foundation and forming the subfloor. That lumber should be on-site and the remaining lumber should already be selected, ordered and waiting at the lumberyard.
Don't have all the wood delivered at once; because the roof sheathing could sit out for weeks while the carpenters cap the foundation and frame the walls. Don't gamble with the weather either. It's better to have the lumber delivered in smaller loads every few days.
Once lumber and plywood leave the mill, it's up to the lumberyard and then the builder to protect it from the elements. The lumberyard should have some kind of storage shelter. On-site, have a few tarps handy so the carpenters can cover the lumber every night to protect it from moisture.
The first real framing begins by capping the block with sill plates and hanging the first floor joists. After that, the subfloor panels are gapped about 1/8" then nailed and glued with construction a We used a 3/4" tongue and groove material recommended for use with the wood flooring we planned for the first floor.
Carpenters frame out typical 2x6 or 2x4 walls on the subfloor then raise them into place. Exterior walls are done first and sheathed with 1/2" plywood or oriented strand board. Headers support the framing load over the door and window openings.
Our main roof was framed with wood I-joist rafters. We did hit a couple of snags when a few intersecting valley and kneewall angles didn't quite work out. Our lead carpenter stopped the hand-framing work a couple times to call us and the architect until the problem got straightened out.
Luckily, we did order trusses for the garage roof about the same time. When the house roof framing hit a snag, the framers worked on the garage roof and sheathing which ended up being done before the house was. It's a good illustration of how you'll need to improvise to avoid downtime.
Once the carpenters were done sheathing, we had the roofers start shingling. They worked section by section starting right over the front door with copper flashing.
The roof had a fairly steep 14-12 pitch. Therefore, the roofers were really conscientious about giving themselves safe footing as they went higher. But they still moved pretty quickly.
On the high gable ends of the house, they set up scaffolding to speed up work. The details of our trim package were fairly extensive -- with frieze boards, banding and curved trim on the arch-top windows. So it took a few days to move around the house.
The roofers knocked off a few jobs each time they set up. First, they stapled up the house wrap to seal up the sheathing. Then, after putting up the trim and flashing, they put on the siding.
Instead of extending lap siding all the way up, we went with shingles to give a different texture to avoid a continuous, monolithic look from the ground.
Window and door choices have increased the last few years -- especially new insulating features and low maintenance exteriors.
Most windows now offer double-paned, insulating glass with Argon gas and Low E coating. As a result, R-values and overall performance have really improved.
Whatever styles and options you choose, windows shouldn't go in before the roof is sheathed and felted. Otherwise, water leaks could damage the window's millwork.
We had some slightly bad timing when we scheduled our window delivery. They came before the roof was totally done -- and we didn't have a secure place on-site to store them.
So we asked our lead carpenter to install as many as he could; like on the first floor where it stayed fairly dry and upstairs where the sheathing was finished.