Monday, May 16, 2011

Eight Easy Steps

I know I have shown ya'll some of this framing before but I wanted to go back and do a little more detailed account of how we built the chicken coop, partially because I think my chronicling of it kinda meandered off course towards the end.
Of course, the first steps were to form and pour the floor, which I did show pretty well, and then lay the block. I laid one row of block because I wanted my wood framing elevated above grade to avoid rot and termites and to make washing out the coop easier. Now, if ya'll recall, I poured the slab on a 1/4" per foot slope, to facilitate water running off when cleaning. So, since I laid my block evenly on the slab, not accounting for this slope, they are out of level too. I could have just left it this way but that's 2" over 8 feet and that would have made my framing pretty dang wonky. So...since I was going to fill the block anyway, to accommodate anchor bolts, I simply formed a little top of the blocks that brought everything back up to level. You can see this in one of the following photos.
In the above photo you can see the I framed and stood the wall on the left first. This is the wall shared with the tool shed. I then mostly framed the front wall and stood it. I waited to frame in the window and door because I wasn't real sure what height I wanted these things at and it was easier for me to judge with the wall standing. Plus, it's easy to throw in that framing once you have basically, your wall outline. If you look closely you can see that we did use reclaimed lumber where possible.

Here you can see the anchor bolts that were set into the cells of the block as I filled them with Sackcrete. I used 1/2" x 5" bolts and they have the little crook on the end to keep the bolts from pulling out. I laid out their location before pouring to make sure they were not going to coincide with a stud location and I think I put about 3 per side. You don't need many; just about one every 4 or 5 feet and I put one about 16" out of each corner. Most of the walls are framed laying on the ground as this lets you nail your studs through the bottom plate, rather than toenailing, which is not as strong. The bottom plate, or rat seal as we call it, is then drilled to accept the anchor bolts, the wall stood up and set down over the bolts. I pop a chalk line on my concrete also and worm the wall to the line as I tighten down the bolts.

Now, if you click on this picture to enlarge it you can see at the base of this closest wall, where I leveled out the top of the blocks with additional concrete. If I were a real concrete finisher I could have formed the slab level and then just finished the interior of the slab on a slope, leaving the edges level where the block would go. But..I'm not a real good finisher.
So, after framing this front wall, which faces south by the way, I then framed the back wall. Since this structure will have a shed roof it was easier to frame the two straight walls and then connect the two with the one sloped.

Now, this wall I framed in place. I had the two walls on each side to determine my slope and I knew I wanted somewhere around a 2/12 slope or so. It's actually not a dead on 2/12 because I just used the drop off the 12 foot 2x4's to frame the lowest wall after I had cut off what I needed to frame the front wall. This way I used every bit of the 12 footers, rather than have a bunch of little drop and waste money. I mean, you can always find uses for short 2x4's but I like to use every bit I can in the original framing. The building is also 8' x 12' because plywood comes in 4' x 8' sheets and I didn't want any drop from that either. Of course, I did have some because the building is less than 8 feet tall, but that waste went towards nesting boxes etc.
Anyway, to frame this wall I just set in my bottom plate, which are all pressure treated since they contact masonry, and then figured the slope for my top plate, cut it and nailed it in place. After laying out my studs on the bottom plate, I then took my 6' foot level and transferred those marks to the top plate. This allowed me to accurately measure the length of each stud.

Which I then cut on the correct pitch and nailed in place. Easypeasy! And yes, I always mark the side of the line I want to set my stud on with an 'X' like that. You would be surprised how easy it is to get mixed up on that. Before I did my studs though, I laid out where I wanted the little window to go to make sure I wasn't putting a whole stud in the way. After framing all the walls I then ran my double top plate to tie the walls together. One note I forgot to mention earlier; I don't mind having such a low slope on this roof because it will get metal roofing to finish it. It's generally not a good idea to use shingles on any roof that is a 3/12 or less. In fact, you will void your warranty on most shingles if you do this. Metal roofing or roll roofing is the only stuff designed for flatter roofs. That I know of anyway.

Now, a lot of people would look at this coop and think, that's a hell of a lot of trouble (and expense) to go through for some chickens. Well, this is just my way of doing things. See, as I build and finish each structure I don't want to ever have to go back and lay my hand on that building again, aside from regular maintenance. I've got way too much to do around here to be continually repairing other structures and as I get older I sure don't want to be out there when I'm damn 75 trying to fix the roof. Do it right the first time because if you don't, all you're doing is just barely keeping your head above water with the continual repair. I watched my father half-ass everything his whole life and I can honestly say very little of anything he built is still standing. And I realize not everyone, especially nowadays, has the funds to buy all new material but you can still build a structurally sound building with reclaimed or used material. Even completely unconventional building materials.
So, I will finish up this project in the next post. There were a few more little things I wanted to discuss.


ezrablu said...

Love this post! THANK YOU for going back over this...great timing, too cuz this afternoon all my lumber was delivered for building my 24'x 32' workshop! I'll be starting it'll be pretty much like building a giant chicken coop :D

edifice rex said...

Hey Ezra! Yaaay!! Glad I could offer you some info then. If you have any specific questions just let me know.

Pablo said...

That coop is as well built as my cabin.

Ed said...

Like you, I've been trained to build buildings the same way. So when I need a building, I do what I know best.

I often design my roof slopes and buildings based off the nearest size of steel roofing I have or can get and to minimize overlaps. I hate wasting roofing steel more than 2 x 4's.

Excellent post. I'm sure there will be many future people landing on your blog with a search on how to build a chicken coop step by step.

HermitJim said...

Hey, you're a pretty good teacher! Maybe you should have a work shop or a "how to" clinic!

Just charge materials for a fee! Think of all the projects you could get built!

edifice rex said...

Hey Pablo! thanks! you know, when I'm standing in there I think of it as a little cabin! :)

HEy Ed! thanks! yeah, I designed the roof for standard 12 foot metal roofing too! lol!

Hey Jim! oh lord, i don't think I would have the patience for a class! lol!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for a great post!
It's loaded with good stuff.