How things are built. Seriously, how are things built?

Here it is – summer time.  This is the time of year when it is the easiest to build homes.  It is a lot easier to build a home in the summer than in the brutal and harsh weather of winter.  So, with that in mind we thought it might be a good idea to take a look at how your new home is actually built.

For those of you that a contemplating building your new Modular Home it just might help if you understood how it all happens.  After all, there’s more to it than simply pounding nails.

The terminology that is used can easily be confusing to prospective home owners, so today let’s try to understand the lexicology being used.  What is…….??

  • Dimensional lumber – dimensional lumber is what all of us know as 2x4’s, 2x6’s, and so on.  It is the nominal size of lumber.  But, things aren’t always as easy as they seem.  For example a 2’ x 4” piece of lumber, commonly called a 2x4, isn’t really 2” x 4”.  Its dimensional size is 1½” x 3½”.  There are standard sizes of lumber throughout North America.  The size of a piece of lumber has a common name such as a 2x4 but a real size also, the real size is called Dimensional Lumber.
  • On Center – On-Center is most commonly referred to as o.c. or just oc.  When builders start to lay-out the construction of a building one of the first things that’s needed is the On Center dimensions.  Typical construction revolves around three common o.c. measurements, 16” oc, 24” oc, and 19.2” oc.  What this means is the measured distance between two pieces of lumber but, from the center of the lumber.  So, if a wall is being built with the lumber being 16” oc each piece of lumber will be exactly 13½” from edge to edge.  Remember the measurements are made from The Center of each piece. 
  • Sheets of Plywood or OSB – a sheet of “plywood” is almost always 4’ x 8’.  If we go back and look at o.c. measurements you will see that all of the oc measurements are easily divided into either 4’ or 8’ or both.  That is the reason why Dimensional Lumber is spaced at those o.c. measurements.  Make sense?
  • Joist – a joist is typically that piece of lumber that makes up either the floor or ceiling, joists typically run horizontally, not vertically.  A floor joist is normally a piece of Dimensional Lumber that is either a 2x8” or a 2x10” and their o.c. spacing is 16”, 24”, or 19.2” so that it fits with standard sheets of “plywood.”  Again, make sense?

Ok, that’s enough for today.  This conversation will continue tomorrow and hopefully you will rapidly become comfortable how things are built.

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