Two Books and a Good Store

Two books we’re using right now to help up come up with ideas and understand the construction process at the CMHC Canadian Wood-Frame Housing book, and the Time Life Outdoor Structures book from the Home Improvement series. Our copy is from the 70’s, but it all still applies and the drawings are great.

The CMHC Wood Frame Housing book is a good mix of the technical and the practical. It makes some pretty good suggestions about where you can cut corners and what building codes generally dictate in this frozen wasteland of ours. If you are a women, and live in the United States and are into a sham marriage, please feel free to e-mail me. I kid, but only very slightly. I’ll let you know after this winter.

The book also introduces the housing jargon in a way that allows for you to figure out what the heck they are talking about. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a sill plate and base wall plate are the same, because they’re not. If you did, you might end up with a crooked lintel and your subfloor would be ontop of your overlay instead of under it. I know things now, so don’t mess.

The drawings are OK, but they are a little overly complicated. The book is not designed for the amateur trying to build a small structure, so I use it mostly for figuring out the technical stuff, like what size bolts you need in your sill plate and what is the proper distance between studs. This is not a how-to book, more of a guidelines book. But it is the best selling book on the subject in Canada for a reason, and it’s only 25 bucks.

The Time-Life book is wonderfully amazing and has all kinds of neat tips and tricks and advice that will save you from wrecking things. Par example, you should carry trusses upside down so you don’t pull apart the joints accidentally. Seeing that they are the single most expensive line item on our budget, this would be sad if it happened. Speaking of which, I will post a detailed breakdown of our projected expenses for this building shortly, but it’s looking like it will cost about 7 grand right now.

The illustrations in the Time-Life book are way better than the CMHC book, but this is likely due to the amount of page real-estate they have. The book is just a lot bigger. Sometimes seeing the picture explains everything much better that the text alone could. The project they describe in the TL book is a garage, but the basic structure is the same, a single room structure with a single peak gable roof. That just means one peak, the regular way – sloping down to both sides from the middle. Damn. I wish I had a picture.

We’re looking at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for doors and windows on the cheep. I passed by the one just off Royal York and the Gardiner last week and there was tons of great stuff for reasonable prices there. We’ll probably end up using them for all the doors and windows. The windows are big and mostly in great condition, and compared to Home Depot’s prices, they are less than half. More on doors and windows in a separate post, but you can rest assured that we will not be buying new. Except maybe the patio door. More on that later.


~ by cabineer on May 16, 2009.

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