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Volume 6 Issue 6“Building Confidence”June 2008



Welcome to another newsletter. We hope all your projects are going well.

What's New!

Near the end of June the Pastor from our church and myself went down to the mountains of Northern Mexico to estimate our next mission project. It will be putting steel purlins and metal roofing on the roof of a 36' x 56' hay shed. The Mexican missionaries to the Indians in the Copper Canyon rely on their mules to pack down the food and supplies every month. They lost some of their hay due to heavy rains and winds which damaged the tarps. I'll keep you updated in our newsletters on our mission to take place during Spring break 2009.

Dan and his wife were in Wales for the last three weeks attending the wedding of their daughter to a Welshman. He says the wedding was the most beautiful of any he's seen and that the 25 man Welshmen Choir brought tears to every eye.

Dan and I are working on some ebooks. For those who prefer to read my articles in ebook format, while riding the bus to work or wherever, this may be an option for learning how to renovate your home.

Ask Away!

Let's discuss my questions for June.

Hi Dave,
I recently became a Journeyman member. I want to build a 12x12 hip roof
gazebo in our back yard, so I downloaded a set of your plans for this.
We already have a patio made of pavers, so I won't need a floor in the
gazebo. When reading through the plans though I noticed the beams had
been changed from two 2x10s to three 2x10s.
This may be a silly question, but won't this only leave one inch of
the top of the post for the short beam to rest on, since the outside
dimensions of the beam have to be exactly 12x12.
My 6x6s measured 5 1/2 x 5 1/2. Do I need to add some blocking or

Hi Kevin,

Let me assure you that this is a good question. It shows you are thinking. When we install multiple layers for a beam on a 6x6 post, we alternate the layers as in this drawing. This way we get more bearing for each laminate.

Diagram of the detail of a three beam bearing on a 6x6 post.

In your case when you used a dressed post of 5 1/2" it cuts the bearing surface down a bit, but the first 2 layers still have good bearing. Don't worry about this third layer having not much over 13/ 16" for bearing. Nail it up to the others and it will be good. This third layer is mainly to take any deflection out of the 12' span for a snow load of 50 lbs per square foot.


Dave, just a couple of questions if you wouldn't mind on the
10 X 12 gable roof shed:
1. You don't go into much detail regarding the fastening of the ridge
beam support to the ridge beam (I'm guessing it's toe nailed but I
suppose you could use some kind of metal fasteners as well) and bracing
along the end rafters to the wall. You mention something about fastening
"side supports as shown on the drawing" but I'm not sure what drawing
you're referring to. Would you mind providing a little more detail on
this part of the construction please?
2. On the overhang rafter, you don't mention anything about installing
lookouts so I was wondering what keeps the overhang rafters from warping?
BTW, I ended up using a 6" overhang instead of a 12" so is there anything
I should do different other than the way I laid out the rafters?
3. When building the back wall, you said to extend the tape past the
end of the plate by 3¾" and mark the stud at 11 1/4" then layout the studs
from there on 16" centers. You also mention later that I need to put in
a stud under the ridge beam to carry the load. However, when I laid it out,
there was already a stud exactly in the middle of the wall but it wasn't
laid out to accept plywood sheets from the end. What did I do wrong?
Thanks for the great plans Dave, it's really made this project a lot easier.
Best Regards,

Hi Mike,

1. Yes, toe-nails are used wherever you can't nail through a plate. Two 2 1/4" toe-nails are equivalent to a 3 1/4" spike driven through the plate. So 4 toe-nails are required - 2 opposing each other on a stud.

This drawing shows a toe-nail, from our dictionary.

Drawing showing what a construction toenail is.

When building houses or shed, we don't get into using metal plates, etc. The only metal plates we use is the joist and truss hangers and hurricane clips for rafters and trusses if required.

The drawing for the side supports are shown on the Front Wall Framing Elevation. The side supports shown are just studs nailed on the flat, flush with the outside of the wall and coming up against the ridge board, under the rafter. The sheathing will be eventually nailed to these members, as well, so they won't go anywhere.

2. You don't need lookouts for an overhang of 16" or under. The overhang rafters are nailed to each other at the top and the rafter fascia on the bottom. The roof sheathing helps support them. You could install a 2x6 block against the ridge board which would be nailed into the roof sheathing, as well. In normal construction, the ridge board is extended out the full overhang so the rafters are nailed on the end. In this case, this would work, but the last 12" would have to be ripped down to 5 1/2". Since we are only talking about short rafters, I chose to keep it simple. Changing the overhang from 12 to 6 shouldn't be a problem.

3. The purpose of coming in from the edge is that the sheathing would be centered on the wall, with a 12" strip on each side. There should be a stud in the center. The instructions are a bit redundant on this point, just trying to emphasize the importance of the ridge support. The studs on the gable end are flush with the lower wall framing.

Good questions, Mike,


Dave, I have written before about the construction of a detached garage.
I have decided to put concrete stub walls on top of footings. I want to
drop the floor 3 1/2 inches below the top of the stub walls. So, I
need to have cut outs in the concrete sub walls for the doors. How much
larger should I make the cut out than a garage door? How about a entry
door? I was thinking standard rough opening for the entry door.

For the standard 9' garage door allow 3 3/4 on each side = a total opening of 9'-7 1/2". You need 2 studs right down to the floor level on each side plus a 1 1/2 " trim on the inside, half of which is against the door. No bottom plate is necessary. The floor should be level and true at the door. The double studs need to go to the floor so the track can go to the floor, as well.

For a standard 3' man door allow 2 1/2 on each side plus 3/16 for clearance of the door in the jamb = 3'-5 3/16". The stud should go right down to the floor plus 1/4" for shims and 3/4 for the jamb. The casing of 2 1/4" wide will fit nicely then.


Hi Dave,
Thank you for such an informative and very helpful website.
I have to make a decision regarding a home I just purchased.
Built in 1980.
The patio was converted to a "Lanai" extra room with ducts, windows, etc
leaving no covered patio.
The floor of the ex-patio was slanted downward leading to a sliding
glass door.
The conversion is the same floor slope (slanted down to the sliding
glass door) and it feels like a circus room at an amusement park -
as you can see the slope and almost get dizzy.
The additional wall that had to be added on either side of the add on
has a crack from bottom of window to the floor on both sides of the room
in the same spot. (tiny crack but a crack all the way down from bottom
of window)
Would you recommend:
*Tear the room out and convert back to a patio (my Dad says that is the
best thing to do as the room makes you dizzy just to look at the slope)
*Get wood shims and place under furniture?
*Fill the 10 mm cracks on both sides of walls that are under the windows?

For Resale (down the road)
An extra large room is a huge value point
But room slants and they probably didn't do anything about it because it
would need to have where the sliding glass doors are built up to match
the "even" flooring - my Dad said you'd have to raise the entry of the
sliding doors to match the new level floor - (big job he said).

or for Re-sale the buyers could think "Structural Damage" and could see
just $$ to either fix or rip out and put in a new patio,

Which do you recommend? I'm looking at this entire thing as a re-sale
value point.

I appreciate your comments and recommendations as I want to have a
re-saleable home not one that bites me in the butt thinking I did the
right thing (the slanted room is done beautifully with 3 windows but the
SLANT and the CRACKS LOOK quite scary!
Thank you for your help!!!!

Hi Dianne,

Sounds like you should listen to Dad.

Not being there leaves me at a disadvantage. If the floor is as bad as you describe, you have 2 choices: fix it or remove it. Living with it isn't really a choice. It makes me wonder what else is wrong with this addition if the floor is so off. Before you decide to fix it, checkout the roof attachment. Make sure it won't leak and it is done properly. I'm assuming the floor is concrete. Even if the walls and roof are removed, you still have a sloped patio floor which is unusable until corrected.

I hoped the price you paid for this house reflects the work you need to do on it.


hi dave.
I am wondering if you or any members have construction plans for
bleachers. These are for a local not for profit organization and would
be 3 tier and 20 ft in length. Wood construction.

Hi Trevor,

I've done a bit of research for you on the bleachers. Bleachers over 30" need a side and back guard, along with provisions that a 4" ball can't pass through between risers. This is similar to the code for stairs. I've come to the conclusion that the best dimensions are: 16" for the height of the bench off the ground and the foot rests, 6" rise and 24" run between seats. This gives us a 28"seat height at the back. This should seat from 36 to 39 people with 3 rows. I would go with 2x10s for the seats and the foot rests supported on 2x6 verticals with 2x4s on each side, with a 3/4 nosing towards the front. Here is a drawing:

Diagram of bleachers end elevation with measurements.

Notice the 2x4 angle braces. This is necessary on each gable end. The object is to make sure no vertical will move either way. You may find a better way to brace everything once you have it built.

Diagram of bleachers brace detail with measurements.

Brace the seats and foot rests longitudinally with a 2x4 on each end, as shown. This brace would go in the center of the 2x10. If you are using 20' material, put in the verticals every 5'. I designed the bleachers for also 10' sections that would bolt together in the center, making it easier to move and store.

The lowest foot rest has the 2x4 longitudinals notched leaving 1 1/2" on top of the 2x4 on the mud sill, giving 6" above the ground. The mud sill should be pressure treated wood.

By the way, what is the non-profit organization? Hope this gives you an idea,


Thanks very much for the info Dave. I would like for you to renew my membership.
I must say it is wonderful to have the kind of support you offer and have the
resources available to draw upon....great value. The project is for a local
indian band and it is in their arbor which was built themselves. I don't think
they are worried about codes but i talked to my friend and mentioned that codes
are there for a reason and they would be better to build them accordingly.
I have volunteered my time and expertise to the project.
Thanks again Dave.

Good on Trevor!

I am installing kitchen cabinets and the stove is in between two
cabinets. Do I allow any space extra for overhang of counter-top?or does
counter-top end exactly at end of cabinet on end towards stove. I hope
this makes sense. I need to know so to install cabinet on right hand side
of stove. If counter-top did over hang on cabinet on left then it might
throw off the over the stove cabinet where the range hood is
going. Thanks dave. Really like your site.

Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. I have just returned from another mission trip for my church for the people in Northern Mexico. We will probably do some work down there in March of 2009. More to come about that in the newsletters.

To answer your question, I don't put in an overhang, as such, at the end of a cabinet against the fridge or stove. The edge should be finished, though. I return the edging on the gable end by gluing the plastic laminate directly onto the gable end. This finishes the edge off nicely with a clean edge and keeps the stove or fridge tight, without a large gap between the appliance and the counter. You should have a clearance of about 3/8" from the finished edges on each side so you can slide the stove in easily.

Hope this helps,


Hi Dave,

We are building an addition to our dining room. We are putting in a 6
feet wide eyebrow window in an end wall that is single story. The only
thing above it is a pitched roof 4/12 or so. There will be 2x6 framing
on each side of the window approximately 3 feet each side to support the roof.
Can I get away with not putting in a header over the window, as we
want as much glass as possible height wise? We would be forever grateful for
your help. We try to do things ourselves but are at a loss on this
Bruce & Patti

Hi Bruce & Patti,

I need to know if the roof framing is rafters or truss. If it is truss, then the gable end wall is not a bearing wall and doesn't need a header. The truss is supported on the side walls and spans the gable end. If rafters supported by a ridge board, then the wall supports the ridge which supports the rafters, making it a bearing wall requiring a header. If a header is required, all you need is a 3 - 2x6 laminated header for a 6' span.


This concludes our discussion for this month. Hope this inspires you to get those projects done yourself. Get that feeling of pure satisfaction when you complete a project by doing the work yourself.

We have available, through, a membership at the Foreman level [updated December 2009 to include ALL our members] for anyone who has extensive questions on their business or personal construction projects. The above questions and answers show the type of response I give. Checkout our membership page:

For non-members of our site who have a simple question on their project or on a plan they purchased from our site, please feel free to send me an email, at no charge. Please limit the length of your question, as you can imagine I am kept pretty busy answering emails. In my opinion, Summer is for boating and camping with my family. I don't take my computer camping! So 'bear' with me.

Enjoy your Summer!


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