How To – Building Basics – The 4 main parts of a home

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    In this HowTo we will cover the 4 basic parts of a house structure.

    Yes I know you are saying there are so many items in a house how can it be broken down to just 4 main parts. Well here we will be covering the structure of the home better known as the Framing.

    Framing can be thought of as the shell or skeleton of the home.

    The parts used in framing include:
    Dimensional Lumber such as 2×4 studs, Steel and Wood Beams, Plywood sheathing, decking and roofing. It also includes the Concrete Footings and Foundation walls supporting structures.

    Framing gives our house its primary shape and stability on which all other items rely.

    The four basic parts are

    Vertical Supports
    Horizontal Supports

    Lets start off with Vertical Supports.
    This group includes all the items that give the height  of the structure and distribute loads from the top of the roof all the way down to the ground the home sits on.

    The Footing At the bottom of our house and the first thing to be installed is our footing. This is usually a 1 foot tall by 2 foot wide continuous block of concrete that runs around the outside of our building. The footing transfers the load of the entire building into the soil so the soil it sits on must be stable bedrock or highly compacted soil / gravel with no organic materials.

    As we travel up the side of the house we have the Foundation Walls. Foundation walls are usually made of poured concrete or block and rest on top of the footing. The normal dimension is 8 inch width and will travel the whole perimeter of the building. If you are installing brick on the outside walls of the home a ledge will be added to the top of the foundation wall for the brick to sit on. Foundation walls carry the total load of the house down to the footing.

    Posts and Stud Walls
    Most people have seen a stud wall before but they may not understand how they work.

    Stud walls are primarily located on the perimeter of the home and are load bearing walls. This means they transfer the load of what is above it (a roof or second floor) into the supports that are below the stud wall (the foundation or lower floor wall).

    Load bearing walls are usually made out of a bottom and top 2×4″ plate which runs horizontal and vertical Stud Grade 2×4’s which have been tested for quality to carry a specific load.

    The spacing between the studs in the wall is commonly 16 inches on center this means if you measure from the center of the first 2×4 to the center of the next 2×4. This distance gives architects and builders a common understanding of how much weight can be supported by that wall.

    In some instances the architect may increase the load carrying capacity of a stud wall by adding additional studs or a post.  This often occurs around window and door openings.

    Inside your home you may see posts used around your Stairs or in great rooms that have a 2 story ceiling.

    Posts will either be actual dimension or they can be built up with a series of 2x4s that are nailed together but no matter what type of post or stud is inside your wall it is there to transfer loads to the foundation and then down to the footing.

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