Now we need plates; no, not dinner plates.

For the past couple days we have talked about building The Floor Deck and that got finished yesterday; I think you have built a beautiful deck.  It looks straight, square, and of course strong.

Now it is time to think vertical and start building walls, both interior walls and exterior walls.  Just like everything else the walls will stand on top of a Plate.  Remember we installed a sill plate on top of the concrete walls, now we are going to install a plate on top of the Floor Deck and then build upwards.

  • Plates – each wall starts with a bottom plate that is the horizontal base of the wall; on top of the wall we will have a Top Plate and usually the Top Plates are doubled up.  Before plates can be attached everything must be laid out.
  • Lay-Out – one of the most challenging parts of residential construction is the lay-out.  Remember how everything is either 16” oc, 24” oc, or 19.2” oc?  Knowing how to do all that can be tricky.   Virtually nothing works out divisible by 16, 24, or 19.2 so the lay-out is critical and many times is the place where armature home builders make mistakes.
  • Studs – the vertical pieces of dimensional lumber are called studs.  The bottom of each stud is nailed to the bottom plate and the top end of the stud is nailed to The Top Plate.
  • Header – every time there is either a door or a window it gets in the way of placing the dimensional lumber Stud 16” oc, 24” oc, or 19.2” oc.  To maintain structural strength it requires that every door and every window have a header above the door/window.  Headers are typically two pieces of dimensional lumber with a piece of plywood in between the two, this is to create the necessary strength as a now significantly shortened stud will sit on top of the Header going up to the Top-Plate.
  • Jack Stud – every time there is either a window or a door another piece of dimensional lumber is cut and placed next to the Stud to hold up the Header.  This Stud is called a Jack Stud.

Please realize that the terms we are using are common practice but there are other names that are also used.  For example, a Jack Stud is often referred to as a Trimmer.

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