The Complete Visual Guide to Building a House
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The Complete Visual Guide to Building a House

The Complete Visual Guide to Building a House by John Carroll and Chuck Lockhart | PDF Free Download.

The Complete Visual Guide to Building a House Contents

Building Structure 

  • Chapter 1 Building Foundations 
  • Chapter 2 Framing Floors, Walls, and Ceilings 
  • Chapter 3 Framing Roofs 1: Raftered Roofs 
  • Chapter 4 Framing Roofs 2: Trusses, Eaves, Rakes, and Sheathing 

Closing the House to the Weather 

  • Chapter 5 Roofing House 
  • Chapter 6 Installing Windows, Exterior Doors, Siding, and Trim 
  • Chapter 7 Controlling Moisture in the Ground and in the Air 

Finishing the House 

  • Chapter 8 Installing Wall and Floor Coverings 
  • Chapter 9 Hanging Doors 
  • Chapter 10 Installing Trim and Cabinets 
  • Chapter 11 Building Stairs

Introduction to The Complete Visual Guide to Building a House

In America, houses are built in areas where several feet of snow accumulate, where hurricanes can be expected, or where temperatures exceed 100°F. In some areas, all these conditions might occur within the same year.

Within these very different climatic regions, furthermore, individual building sites pose a wide variety of challenges.

The surface of the land might slope steeply; the soil might contain expansive clay or bedrock, or there might be too much moisture in the ground.

To meet these and other challenges, builders have to adjust the design of their houses to the climatic and topographical conditions of the area they live in.

In Florida, for example, roof structures must be tied down with steel straps to keep them from being lifted off the walls during hurricanes. In Maine, on the other hand, roof frames must be beefed up to keep them from collapsing under the weight of several feet of snow.

These measures, which are required by building codes, go a long way toward creating durable houses. Beyond simply building houses that last, however, builders need to create houses that perform.

Once viewed as basic shelters from the extremes of the weather, houses are now seen as climate-controlled enclaves. Most people expect the environment inside their house to be comfortable year-round, no matter how brutal the weather is outside.

Accomplishing this goal in the face of ever-increasing energy costs is one of the biggest challenges confronting builders today. Again, the plan of attack has to be tailored to the location of the house.

A house that keeps a family warm during the winter on the Northern Plains has to be built much differently than a house that provides relief from the heat and humidity in the Deep South.

The diverse local requirements of the home building coupled with an ever-expanding choice of building materials, tools, and systems present a fundamental problem for a book like this one.

Because there are so many approaches and options, it’s difficult to decide what to discuss and how detailed that discussion should be.

As on any major building project, there have been many hard decisions to make and there have been many interesting and worthwhile topics that I could not include in this book. The first thing I decided to drop was a comparative analysis of different building systems.

There are at least a half-dozen alternatives to the light wood-framed house in America. However, builders and homeowners continue to vote with their wallets for the wood-framed house, which accounts for 90% of the houses in the United States and Canada.

Rather than devote a good portion of this book to a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the other systems, I chose to focus on the one system that dominates the housing market: the wood-framed house.

Along the same lines, I’ve focused on mainstream materials when describing the rest of the house. In the chapter on foundations, for example, I concentrated on concrete and masonry, and in the chapter on roofing, I focused on asphalt shingles because most houses in America are built with those materials.

If you happen to use materials that are outside of the mainstream, there’s a good chance that the installation techniques presented here will work, with minor adjustments, with the materials you use. I’ve also focused on common building projects and designs.

Throughout the book, I posed hypothetical building projects and then suggested ways to build them. In these projects, the rectangle predominated just as it does on most residential building sites.

In general, I have steered clear of complex designs, such as octangular buildings and curved staircases both because they couldn’t be covered adequately in the space allotted and because they are rare in American houses.

Sticking with common design elements and mainstream materials has allowed me to go into considerable detail when describing building techniques.

These details are often vital to the quality of the job, and builders who overlook them or try to force them in as an afterthought usually end up with substandard work.

Throughout this book, therefore, I’ve hammered home the idea that quality work requires two things: forethought and the proper sequence of installation. It’s essential to think through the details at the beginning of the job and then install them at just the right moment.

No book, including this one, can provide every important detail for every job. What I’ve tried to do here is show how to look at the job, anticipate problems, and then work in the optimal sequence to fit the parts together smoothly and correctly.

Learn these lessons well and you’ll find it easy to progress to more complex jobs. 

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