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Framing and Framing Materials

January 10th, 2012

Framing and Framing Materials.

When you walk into a finished home, you see the “end product.”  What you don’t see is how the home was constructed.  If the lower level is not completely finished, you can see some of the components the builder used to construct the home.

At Trustway, we use only the highest quality products in our homes.  We have, for over 50 years, chosen the best products available in the market.  We are known as the builder that introduces the best and newest products in the housing industry.  This has been achieved by constantly looking at new products and examining better ways to build a home.  Through intensive due diligence, we look at many new products but select only a few for our homes.

Over 40 years ago, wood I-joists were introduced to the residential building industry.  Up until then, all builders used dimensional lumber, that is, 2 x 10’s or 2 x 12’s.  The problem with dimensional lumber is it can cup, twist, warp, and crown which then detaches from the subfloor resulting in squeaks.

To improve the performance of floors in new homes, the floor joist needed to be stable and not move.  A wood I-joist has three parts; two flanges (top and bottom) and the wood web.  The wood web is basically an OSB (Oriented Strand Board) product.  OSB is very stable and moves very little.  The flanges are an engineered product which reduces movement.  Our floors are guaranteed for life not to squeak due to the wood I-joist moving.

But, as always, people try to figure out a way to reduce the cost of a product.  Many builders use inferior wood I-joists.  This can easily seen by any home buyer.  Check the flanges to see if they are solid wood; 2 x 4’s.  This defeats the whole purpose of the wood I-joist system as the 2 x 4’s move the same as the 2 x 10’s and 2 x12’s.  So, what have you really gained?  The best system to use is the I-joist with engineered flanges and an OSB web.  These are slightly more expensive but do you want a new house with floors that squeak?

The subfloor is just as important.  We use Louisiana Pacific’s 450 HP (High Performance) Top Notch OSB.  This is the best performing flooring material on the market.  Homes are built outside and most are going to get wet during construction.  In addition, contractors will be walking and working on these floors until the home is done.  The subfloor can really take a beating.  But, with LP’s Top Notch, the floor looks as good at the end of construction as it did when it was installed.  It is truly a great product.  It costs more, but you don’t have to worry about the rain or snow making it punky.  Also, if the subfloor gets damaged, the damage can project through any carpeting that is installed. 

Our exterior walls are built 16” on center (OC).  That means  if you measured from the middle of one stud to the next, the distance is 16”.  But, do you know there are well known Milwaukee area builders that frame their homes 24” OC?  That equates to 50% less studs in the exterior walls.  They don’t tell you this because it meets code.  But why would they want to widen the span for the drywall on the inside and the sheathing on the outside?  The answer is simple and it is not to give their buyers a better product.  It is done to save themselves money.

So, when checking out our competition, make sure you go the basement and look up at the I-joists and see if their I-joists are using 2 x 4’s for flanges and ask if the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.  Also, ask them about the manufacturer and product number for their subfloor material.  And finally, ask them if their exterior walls are 16” or 24” OC.

Other builders may say they are a quality builder, but Trustway really is the best builder in the Milwaukee area.