I was a jittering mess during work Friday. Why? I knew that I would be starting on the walls when work was done.
On Tuesday evening, I got started on the window headers. Having picked out some 24×30 rough opening units from Lowe’s, I was able to calculate the dimensions of the headers, where the windows were going to go, everything. I had originally planned on installing two windows, but after messing around with Sketchup and tool layouts, I went with three. Two on the house side, one on the back side. I centered the windows on stud locations, and sided the header to 30.5″ wide to fit in between two. I used 2×6 per some recommendations online. I used the leftover OSB between the boards to get to 3.5″ deep. I had already decided to make three headers, so my change wasn’t a big deal. I had just planned to keep one blank and install later. I used 2×8 for the door header, but have not sandwiched them together yet.
Back to Friday, I started by taking a trip to Lowe’s and picked up 12 2x4x12 foot boards for the top and bottom plates – double plate on top. I knew I wouldn’t have a ton of room in my SUV for the plate boards and the studs, so multiple trips were needed. Then I went to Home Depot for the studs, due to the selection I saw earlier when I bought the plates. I bought 24 92-5/8 studs, and 7 full studs. I figured I would only have room for that amount, which was the two long walls. I was right, along with figuring I would only have time for one or two walls to be built that evening.
Building the wall was fairly straight forward, the thing that took up time was getting all the cripples and jack studs sized and cut for the windows. The 12″ boards were also oversized, so those had to be trimmed down as well. Before I went to buy the studs, I marked the top and bottom plates with the stud locations. All stud locations are 16″ OC. I wouldn’t settle for less, not at only about $3.55 per stud.
The 3″ Hitachi nails I bought are working well in the borrowed nailer, and assembly went fairly quickly. I used California corners to support the interior walls, whatever they will be. That means using a second stud at the corners on the long wall, turned sideways. This will provide nailing surface on the inside when the adjoining walls come together. I think I over-engineered the window openings, but better safe than sorry. I cut down the second top plate to allow for overlap when all the walls come up.
When the first wall went up, the one closest to the house, it surprised me just how tall it was. I actually had to double-check that it was only 8′ tall, because it seemed almost 10′ tall. It does mean that my windows, which I intentionally did not use upper cripples for, are pretty high up on the wall. I will be able to see out the windows, but just barely. It is going to be great for storage, though. It will also let a lot of light in. I secured the wall temporarily with braces screwed to the floor joists, and will install permanently later with galvanized nails, as they will be going through the pressure treated ply floor and floor joists.
I got started on the opposing wall right after, using all the same techniques. Only one window on this wall, so that portion will go a little bit faster. The upper jack studs (I am dividing them with the sill) were cut with the first two windows. I got all the studs nailed to the first top plate before rain and darkness moved in quickly. I rushed to get my tools put away before they got soaked. I had roughly two hours in, so a wall and a half in that amount of time I think is pretty good.
Saturday morning, I went and picked up the remaining studs I needed to complete all four walls (I actually had to go buy two more towards the end of the day). I was able to get the second long wall complete on the floor before I had to head to my son’s soccer game, but the project was on hold until after lunch.
After lunch, the second wall went up and was braced. I decided at this point to build the front wall, because I knew the back wall would have to hand about a half inch over the floor, because the joist there for some reason wasn’t quite square to everything else. It was here I realized I would need two more studs, as I needed them here for the jack studs for the door frame. It was also here I made my first major mistake in the build.
What you see here is the door header nailed directly to the top plate. It should not have been, but I nailed the window headers like this and I wasn’t thinking properly. I had to break the recip saw out to cut the nails, slide it down to it’s proper spot, and then nail it back in place. My rough door opening is 80″ high, and if I didn’t correct this it would have been 86″. The fix went quickly, and I cut four pieces of board to make up the cripples that should have been installed above the header.
Once the front wall was up, the back wall went extremely quickly, as it was the only one with just studs and no headers. That wall went up in a matter of minutes with the replacement studs I bought.
With all the walls up, it was time to install the double top plate, which meant cutting two to 144″, and one to 137″ to match the one already installed on the first wall. I used these lengths to bring all the walls into the proper position and as before I used the nailer and the 3″ nails to assemble everything. Once the double plates up top were installed, I made sure the bottoms of the walls were in the proper position and manually nailed the 3″ galvanized nails through the bottom plate. My daughter was a huge help here, as she and her brother were earlier.
I attempted to start putting the roof rafters up before darkness fell, but I realized this would be a bad idea after one of the gussets on the end rafter assembly broke when I was trying to rotate it up. Thankfully I have two spare gussets on hand.
The hope is that on Sunday I can get some help putting all the rafter assemblies in place and be ready for the next step, which will either be the wall coverings or starting on the roof itself.