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Old 08-24-2012, 02:55 PM   #1
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Hi all! I'm on to my next project in our 1919 home that my wife and I have been in for a little over a year now. This project is to build a bench seat under the window sills of our sun room. The sun room appears to be a front porch which was converted to an enclosed, finished & conditioned sunroom at some point in the past. The living room opens to the sun room with french doors. The area below the porch is an unconditioned crawl space at grade.

The design we discussed is for me to build a "U" shaped bench seat around the room, just below the window sill. We want the inside of the seats to be storage space, accessed by moving the pillows and opening the top.

Now for some questions. I've got 2x4's and 3/4" plywood that was salvaged from a garage demolition that we just did. This will be the first real carpentry/framing type work that I've done in a house. I was overwhelmed with the variety of framing screws, nails, etc. that I found at Menards. What is the correct fastener to use for such a project? I need to draw up a plan for the framing, and am curious exactly how to do it. I saw these links which look like two longitudinal frames (front and back) and simply screwing the plywood to that. Is that correct, or would I need intermediate bracing as well?

http://blog.hgtv.com/design/2012/05/...h-seating-area

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how...at/page-2.html
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for your question, and it also depends on the tools at your disposal. More people have a drill than a framing nailer, and it's a more versatile and less expensive tool as well - so you'll probably be screwing it together.

Don't try to hand bang framing nails, it's a headache in SO many ways especially if you lack experience - but get a screw guide for the drill, or you'll likely end up having a screw slip out while you're screwing and the spinning tip will drive into your finger. Always happens while starting a long screw and applying pressure ... Been there, done that - no fun!

So get a CORDED drill like a dewalt VSR (much more power, and last forever, no batteries to charge or go bad - and a cheap cordless won't drive a 3" screw well - unless you want to spend $200+ on a decent dewalt or milwaukee 18v), screw guide (they have a sleeve that slips over the screw to keep it straight while you're screwing), and one of those tips that flips over and has a drill bit and countersink in the other end is really handy too - but there's no guide - it's for shorter screws to screw down plywood etc. where you'll be putting in a lot of short screws and have to predrill and countersink the hole. You won't use it for framing, screws are longer, and you just drive them harder to countersink them. You'll split trim if you do it that way though.

You'll also need a circular saw, and maybe a jig saw. Be CAREFUL with the circular saw, they will cut your hand in half before you know what happened. They can get away from you quick, and if they bind they can kick back hard. A jig saw won't do this, but it's a lot slower. It will make finer cuts though, and you can turn with it. Try turning a circular saw and it will KICK!

Now we're cooking with gas - you've got your tools, time for some fasteners. Get what's called a "deck screw". They look like drywall screws, but they are much stronger (wont snap off in framing). Get them in some different lengths. For fastening 3/4" ply to 2x framing, you'll need some that are between 1 1/2" and 2". For fastening 2x through the face - 3" - but if you overdrive them a little bit through two 2x's stacked on their faces (3" thick) the points may stick through, so be careful.

For trim pieces, get some finish nails - 6d or 8d maybe? These are hand bang nails - and get a nail set ($5) to countersink them in the trim.

If I were you, I'd only use the ply on the top where the cushions will be. I'd drywall and trim the walls. I'd use a wood corner bead, and paint to match the trim. You'll need a cheap miter box and backsaw to do it that way. ($15 for the set at HD).

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


I'm working on reading through your reply. For quick reference, I have more automotive experience than household, and an engineering background. The tools available are common hand tools, 33 gal. air compressor (dad has a LARGE pneumatic nailer, although I don't know the scale of nails that it can shoot), small cordless drill and corded circular saw (I'm assuming I can use this to cut the plywood, considering that I will use finishing trim around the edges). I'll check around to see if I have someone who can lend me a good corded drill . Great tips!

Good news is that I work in a very safe industry. Yeah...I'm that idiot with long sleeves and jeans sliding under a car with leather gloves, safety glasses and a face shield to do an oil change on a 100 degree day. ha!

Last edited by LuckyFoot15; 08-24-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:11 PM   #4
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


one thing to keep in mind .... you may need to change out the lower sash of your double hung windows for tempered glass (safety glass) sashes. children standing on the bench, or an adult leaning back against the glass may cause the glass to break with sharp jagged edges ......

see #3 under Section 308.4 of the 2009 International Residential Code http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/ic...?bu2=undefined

don't want to see little ones hurt

good luck!
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:17 PM   #5
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


That is a good point and something I would not have thought of. We plan to be in the house for the long haul, and replacing or refinishing the windows is one major project that will be considered in the future. We currently do not have children, but I will definitely look into using tempered glass.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:03 PM   #6
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyFoot15 View Post
I'm working on reading through your reply. For quick reference, I have more automotive experience than household, and an engineering background. The tools available are common hand tools, 33 gal. air compressor (dad has a LARGE pneumatic nailer, although I don't know the scale of nails that it can shoot), small cordless drill and corded circular saw (I'm assuming I can use this to cut the plywood, considering that I will use finishing trim around the edges). I'll check around to see if I have someone who can lend me a good corded drill . Great tips!

Good news is that I work in a very safe industry. Yeah...I'm that idiot with long sleeves and jeans sliding under a car with leather gloves, safety glasses and a face shield to do an oil change on a 100 degree day. ha!
You work with tools, so you know all about smashing up your extremities, drilling and cutting off appendages lol! I've seen guys shot with those nailers on a few occasions, but it's nothing compared to saw injuries.

He's probably got a framing gun. Those will usually shoot between a 16d and 6d nail.

If you're going to use that - which is a lot faster than a screw gun IF you are fast enough getting pieces measured, cut, and fit fast enough to where it's slowing you down. Definitely easier than screwing though.

As for sizes - get some 16d to shoot through your framing and join to your houses framing. Make sure you're hitting a stud or joist though, or it won't hold up, and you could hit something you don't want to (water / electrical / hvac) These will penetrate far enough to hold through existing drywall and whatnot. You won't need that many of them for your project, a rack or maybe two if you end up prying stuff apart a time or two. (I don't, but I do it every day too.)

The other size nail I'd use the most of is 10d. It's not 100% to spec, but it's a compromise nail. Spec is 2 16's to end nail a plate to a stud, but 3 10d's will hold pretty strong. You're not building a 10' tall shear wall, it's just a bench ...

The 10d's will also let you nail 2 2x's together side by side (like nailing a double top plate together), you can toe nail with them (careful on the angle - takes practice), AND you can fasten the plywood to the framing with them (shoot straight!)

That way you only have to buy 1 box of nails and hopefully dad has a strip or two of 16's you can have with the gun.

When buying framing nails, there are different types. They can be confusing but basically there are 3 types of framing guns. Wire collated coil guns which you probably DON'T have, and two different stick fed guns.

The two stick fed ones don't use the same kind of nails. One has a clipped head and is paper collated. The other uses round heads and is plastic collated. The angles are different on the nails too, so they aren't interchangeable.

I'd use that before screws, your compressor will run it just fine. The only other advantage to screws I can think of is that you can take them back apart easier in the event you make a mistake.

Note: Give unused nails you buy to your dad when you give back the framing gun ... it's common courtesy :D

Get the small boxes of nails - you won't need more than a few racks. Don't get hot dip galv, or ring shanks. You'll kick yourself if you have to take something apart that was put together with ring shanks, you'll break the wood before the nail comes out.

If he's got a coil gun (wire fed coil nails) he probably does a LOT of nailing, and probably has a couple of coils you can have - but you won't be able to buy small quantities that I've ever seen anyway.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


That's a very nice looking space, and in great condition too. If it were mine, I would leave it alone, get some nice comfortable cushioned chairs and hang out. The space is not large so U shaped window seats will eat up a large % of the floor space. That type of storage is a great junk collector and window seats are uncomfortable. Lot of work to move electrical and heating vents too.
Suggest you do a cardboard mockup first to see if you still have enough room left for furniture.
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Old 08-26-2012, 11:02 AM   #8
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Sorry I'm with Zircon on this one.
Might be fine for the end walls.
Here's some pictures to give you some ideas.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...eats&FORM=IGRE

The framing to build it is nothing more and no harder then building just building short walls. Do not use screws to attach the Plywood use finish nails instead.
Using used plywood to build this is not the best idea. Simple 1/2 A/C plywood on the faces and 3/4 cabinet grade for the tops will give you a stain or paintable surface.

If you look through some of those picture you can see what looks like fancy trim, but it's just 1 X 4's, to make it look even better you can add cap moulding to the inside of the frame.
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Old 08-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Some sort of pocket screw guide would be nice for you. I know of this one but have never used it. Your framing for this does not need to be complex and you can cover with custom cushions cut to size and covered with fabric.

http://www.kregjoint.com/index.php

I hate to see you give up so much floor space to built in bench seating too. And I don't think you will find it so enjoyable and as some comfy chairs you can roll up into with a book. If you want storage their are some nice cube type systems, with or without tops, doors, drawers that could fit under windows on one side. Not a big fan of their stuff but browse IKEA for ideas.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:44 AM   #10
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


I love windowseats, but the problem I see here is that you don't have enough height between the floor and the window sill. Most seats are 18 inches off the ground floor. Not sure if you have this space? If the top of the cushions that you place on the window seat is lower than 18 inches from the floor, the window seat will feel uncomfortably low.

If you decide to compensate and have the top of the cushions be 18 inches above the floor as it should be, chances are you will be covering the window sill and an inch or two of the window with the cushions. If you don't mind this look, then go ahead.

I've built window seats with 2x4 box framing, with verticals 16 inches on center for support, and 16 inch horizontal supports at the top, then nail in plywood. You can have an indented look on the vertical part of the window seat by placing plywood behind the framing.

Kevin
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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Framing To Build Sun Room Bench Seating - See Pictures of Area


Thank you for all the advice. At this point, we are looking at getting some nice comfy furniture to put in the room instead of the built-in window seats. I'll reuse the lumber to build shelves in the garage.

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