Thanks John. You're vocabulary has picked-up where mine has fallen short.
Yes, it is exactly this "Wal-Mart syndrome", which seems to be afflicting
areas ranging from construction to health-insurance, that has got my goat.
And, "what the customer doesn't know won't hurt him..."? Uh huh. I used to
work in floor covering and dealt with many a commission salesman... Talk
about tunnel-vision! You can recite any of the litany of self-serving
excuses all you like. I've heard them all before.
I don't think Goedjn was commenting on the morality of doing inferior
work - not that trusses are in and by themselves inferior, but more
that the OP didn't have to buy the house in the first place. If he
needed attic storage, he should have bought attic storage or insured
that it was doable on his budget. If he didn't do the homework, he
shouldn't hold it against anyone but himself.
I [the OP] didn't take him to be commenting in any way on "morality" in
any way. My comment was simply to convey my personal distaste for
builders and/or other vendors, even other consumers, etc, who are just
plain "cheap". IOW, what's wrong with a little "class"? I will accept
however, that most people don't care to possess much in the way of this
quality. So I am well out-voted by the majority here.
How does "class" enter into it? I'm not sure what you could mean by
that. Do you mean that a builder should just throw in all sorts of
extras and upgrades for free to show he has class?
"Rant: For a home that sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, you'd
the builder could've been a little more liberal budgetwise and built
house to higher spec."
The builder didn't set prices for the materials he bought, the
subcontractors he used, the land in your area, etc., etc. He set the
sale price for the house based on what he thought the market would
bear. If he, or a subsequent owner that you purchased it from, had
priced it higher you might not have bought it, or it might not have
sold at all. It's a balancing act. If the builder was a fly by night,
or cut every imaginable corner, this should have shown up when you were
doing your research.
Since you bought the house, you must have felt it was a good value at
the time, based on your research into the housing market in your area.
have been afraid to spend the necessary money. So how did the building
all of a sudden become cheaply made?
Obviously it didn't change from when you had it inspected and made your
offer. You did have it professionally inspected, right? If the house
is as shoddily built as you say, I'm surprised that the inspector
didn't steer you away from the house you're in.
I'm not sure if this is the first home you've bought, but it sounds
like you've come to realize that you now have higher expectations for
your house, and have learned more about how houses are built.
Looking on the bright side, with the market the way it is, your house
is probably increasing in equity value fairly rapidly - regardless of
the way it was built.
This is the main reason I would NEVER build a house with trusses. The
older homes I have lived in all my life had stick framed roofs.
Normally 2x8's across the floor (above your ceiling) and they go from
the outer walls to the center support wall. Then the roof is 2X6's
from the outer walls, and come together at the peak. Built that way,
you can make a real attic, build rooms up there and whatever. Trusses
save the expense of the larger dimension lumber, but are all wasted
space. They are fine for a barn or something where you would not need
an attic, but for a house they are just a big waste of space.
Considering the high cost of trusses, I tend to wonder if they are
really worth the savings, because I tend to think the savings is
minimal. You can call me old fashioned, but I was taught to never have
boards end midstream between supports on horizontal runs (between
walls), but I have alot of disputes with modern construction. Don't
even get me started about those particle board floor joists, and if
you use them be sure your toilet never overflows or you might end up
sitting on your basement floor on top of a pile of wood chips.
As for your situation, I can only say this. You cant just sister the
roof joists, because the floor could drop (along with your ceiling
below) However, if you were to sister 2x8s across the floor, AND
2x6's on the roof, being sure both the 2x8's and 2x6s are resting on
the outer walls, and on the center support wall of the home, you could
probably get away with it. Look at the way an older home roof was
built, and duplicate that. But, if your trusses are 2x4s, you may not
be able to get your new wood onto the outer walls, unless you can cut
the angle and still have enough wood on the walls. I am not
suggesting you do this without having a professional engineer or
builder look at it, but it could possibly work. Your other option
would be to remove the entire roof and rebuild it using stick
construction, but I dont think you want to go that extreme.
As someone else said, trusses are not made to hold heavy loads, as a
floor. Those 2x4's are likely spliced right in the middle of your
rooms below, so even if you leave the trusses intact, I would still
add some at least 2x6's from outer walls to center walls and floor on
top of them.
Of course you could move too....
Remember, many of the older stick built houses have lasted a hundred
years or more. These new houses built out of crap have a life
expectancy of about 30 years. So you might save a few bucks today,
but you will pay and pay and pay later.
There is such a thing as an "attic truss". But, it must be specified at
the time of design and manufacture. Typically, the truss is designed
with an aisle way down the middle and the bottom chord is designed to
carny the weight of stuff stored in a typical attic.
The engineer or architect can specify a heavier than normal load on the
bottom chord. Obviously, the truss manufacturer will do what's typical
unless told to do otherwise. the spec building could specify an attic
truss, but that costs more. Most spec builders on not going to spend
the a few hundred extra dollars if they don't have to.
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
I didn't know they make "attic trusses". But if they are as costly as
you are saying, then I'd think using dimensional lumber would be about
the same price, both in materials and labor. I realize trusses go up
faster, but normally a crane is needed to lift them to the roof, and
renting or owning and running that crane adds to the cost of the
labor. Stick construction just requires some men to lift the boards.
I personally have never found it all that difficult to frame a roof
with boards. Once the first two rafters are cut to size, it's just a
matter of duplicating the angles and nailing them in place. putting
on the decking is the same as with trusses.
Pick-up-sticks construction? They don't just lift them, they have to
put them together. That takes time ($$$). Even with the cost of a
crane, there's no way that hand-built roofs in the field can be cheaper
than factory built roof trusses unless you're talking about building
_one_ house with cheap labour.
Most of the older homes that I've seen don't have such beefy floors.
Most of them have 2x6 ceiling joists or even 2x4s.
Sure, if the home is built the way you say.
Trusses can be, and are, designed for all sorts of conditions and
loads. I frequently have to beef up or replace existing stick frame
structures when remodeling. If it wasn't designed for it, it has to be
modified. The only difference is that trusses are more complicated to
analyze and therefore modify.
Every tract home builder in the country disagrees with you. There are
many advantages - much longer spans possible eliminating the need for
interior support and concomitant foundation costs, faster roof framing,
weight savings, etc.
> As for your situation, I can only say this. You cant just sister
If he's just looking to add storage capabilities (floor load), why does
he have to touch the roof? He could ignore the trusses and install
floor joists next to them, but if he doesn't have a center support
wall, he probably can't do that.
You are advising that substantial loads be placed on walls that may not
be bearing walls...?
Not sure where you got your life expectancy number from, but it's
Look what the original poster (OP) said:
"Currently I'm busy fastening 3/4" plyboard over the ceiling
rafters (so objects to be stored won't crash thru the drywall
So we can assume that the rafters are strong enough to support someone
wiggling around putting plywood down?
3/4 plywood to tie the rafters together will certainly give some
additional strength to the load-bearing capacity.
My parents house which I later bought from them was built in 1952. It
has 2X8 floor joists on joined together above the load bearing wall,
which is on top of the steel I-beam in the basement. The roof is 2X6
rafters. Some of the best built homes were built in the 1950's and
60s. I replaced the entrance wiring to get rid of the old fuse box,
and replaced the galvanized pipe with copper because it was clogged,
and replaced the old furnace, and added insulation. Otherwise it was
an extremely well built house. I sold it though, because I was not
happy in the city, and now live on a farm in a much older house that
has it's problems, and was not built nearly as well
If he dont cut out any truss pieces, he dont have to touch the roof.
But the OP said he wants to remove some truss uprights. Otherwise,
just adding some additional joists would be fine, and be sure they are
on a load bearing wall.
They MUST be load bearing walls. In most homes the wall down the
center of the house IS the load bearing wall. The way to find out is
to see if that wall is on top of the support beam in the basement.
Well, it's called resale value, and/or the kids can move in. I bought
my parents home when I was in my 30's. If that had been one of these
newer homes, the house would have been pretty much spent.
Exactly. Not of much help to the OP, but that's the way to do it. I have
just completed the rebuild of a total ground up rebuild of my home that was
lost in a fire. The original home (50 yrs old) had a stick built roof and
was considered to be in the premier neighborhood in the area at the time.
The construction was what I would rate as average, although contractors who
examined what was left said it was very well built. 2x6 outside walls,
plaster walls, mahogany trim, etc. Attic access was through the garage. 2
X 8's on 16" centers spanning 24'! Most of the plaster on the garage
ceiling was cracked due to sag. Didn't store too much other than christmas
stuff and empty boxes. Still, just my weight (170lbs) you could feel the
joists move. In the new house, I had the garage (increased to 35') area
trussed for storage (the truss people like to call it a "bonus room").
Solid as rock! I can literally jump up and down and the floor/ceiling
doesn't give a bit! So much for old vs. new construction. Could a free
rafter roof be as solid? Sure, I have no doubt. Lot's more expensive
lumber. The big bonus as far as I'm concerned with trusses is the future
flexibility with floor plans. Want to move a wall? No problem. Most
interior walls are non-load bearing so just knock 'em down and move 'em. As
far as the "particle board" I-joists, I doubt a toilet over flowing once (
or even a dozen times) is going to dissolve them. And if you've got that
bad of a water problem, you've got some serious problems! They got a bad
rap early on, but the adhesives have vastly improved in the last ten years.
A good analogy is the world of automobiles. Once upon a time, to build a
solid car, you added more metal. Now, look at the most structurally solid
cars. What do they use? Carbon fiber in honeycomb EPOXY matrix. Yeah,
they're glued together! Try to field a formula one or indy car out of good
old fashioned steel and see where you get. Technology marches on. If you
use it wisely, you can build a very solid house. However, I am convinced
after working early on in the design phase of my home that your typical GC
doesn't give a hoot about quality. If you want a well built house (or
anything else, for that matter) you're better off building it yourself.
That's what I had to do.
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