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Old 05-31-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
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Platform AND Balloon Style Framing In One House???


Is it possible, or am I just a bit confused? The house was built in 1948, and is an original 2-1/2 story, 3-family home.

I'm trying to figure out if my house is platform framed or balloon framed. I can't see any interior non-load-bearing walls from the basement. They are built on top of the sub-floor. That would be platform framing, right? Or are we just concerned about how the exterior walls are built?

I can see the bottom of the wall cavities for the exterior walls and the two parallel interior load-bearing walls from the basement. That would be balloon framing, right? I also noticed that I have fire blocking in each exterior wall cavity at each floor level.

The two parallel interior load-bearing walls are for the front and rear stairways. These two load bearing walls, which travel from the very front to the very back of the house, are carried by four solid wood beams and columns. They carry the weight of the 1st and 2nd floor front/rear halls, and the 3rd floor front hall, which is inside a gable dormer.

Floor joists are 2" x 8", at 12" OC. One end of the floor joists is notched over the sill, the other end notched over a beam. A 2" x 4" ledger is nailed to the side of the beam to support the bottom of the joist. Many joists have an inch gap between the bottom of the joist and the ledger. Many also have cracks where the notch cuts meet.

Isn't 1948 a bit late for a balloon-framed house? I thought builders switched to platform framing in the 30's...?

Fire-blocking at base of interior load-bearing walls.



Fire-blocking at base of exterior walls.



Fire-blocking at exterior wall seen from third floor joist space.



Two Parallel Load Bearing Walls Which Rest on Support Beams.


Last edited by NTL1991; 06-01-2012 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:49 AM   #2
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Platform AND Balloon Style Framing In One House???


My house was built in 1948 and is platformed at the foundation and balloon framed above that. I would say you'll find balloon frames up through the 50s. I think much depends on what part of the country you're in. Balloon frames are acceptable if they have fireblocks. I was never a fan of that ledger method used on the beams though. Over time the joists tend to shrink and crack right at the notch as you described. I would put some joist hangers wherever I could.

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Old 06-01-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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Platform AND Balloon Style Framing In One House???


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Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
My house was built in 1948 and is platformed at the foundation and balloon framed above that. I would say you'll find balloon frames up through the 50s. I think much depends on what part of the country you're in. Balloon frames are acceptable if they have fireblocks. I was never a fan of that ledger method used on the beams though. Over time the joists tend to shrink and crack right at the notch as you described. I would put some joist hangers wherever I could.
I completely agree with you on the ledger method... I have tons of joists with 6-12" long cracks at the notch. And I'm sure it doesn't help with keeping the floor squeak-free... One of my projects is trying to get rid of the floor squeaks. I've tried shimming, but my next step is screwing up into the subflooring to pull things together.

I'm in the process of jacking up the floor around the fireplace, as the hardwood flooring is sinking a bit along the front of the hearth. The floor joists butt into 2x8's framed around the fireplace opening, so I'll be using joist hangers to secure them.

It's tough to use joist hangers anywhere else because there isn't much wood to attach the hangers to. If I used a hanger at the beam end of the joist, I only have about 2.5" of beam from the bottom of the joist to secure it to.
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