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Old 08-10-2011, 02:22 PM   #1
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So, what type of construction is my house


Going to describe it the best I can.

Interior (partition) walls - original construction had none.
Exterior walls - Very few studs!

On the first floor, there are two horizontal 2x6s that act as fireblock (I believe). 3/4" pine boards nailed to to it and then the top plate (another 2x6). The only studs in existence are where the windows and doors are, and they only go up to the top plate and nothing else is above those specific spots. The top plate spans several feet without any vertical stud supports. The 2nd floor joists, spaced 24-28" centers, sit on the top plate, are 2x6 (sistered some, sandwiched others), and of course sit on the plate where there is no support (that I can see) below the top plate. 6" of wall space, followed by exterior wall which consists of 1x's nailed to the fireblock and the top plate, going vertical.

On the second floor, the walls are the same, except 2x4 construction instead of 2x6. Again, there are large openings in the walls where there are no studs, except where the windows are. 3/4" pine is nailed to the inside, just like the first floor, and then same exterior material as well.

I will add this: there are a few spots in the walls that have boards (2x6 on the first floor, 3x4? on the second) running from bottom plate to top plate, in a diagonal fashion. From what I could see, there are 2 on each exterior wall on the 2nd floor, and the same on the first floor.

This house has stood for over a century. I just don't understand how it's...standing. Has anyone ever heard of this type of construction?

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Old 08-10-2011, 03:56 PM   #2
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So, what type of construction is my house


You must post pictures---this sound quite unique.---Mike---

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Old 08-10-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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So, what type of construction is my house


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You must post pictures---this sound quite unique.---Mike---
Will try my best, all I have for a camera though is my phone with no flash. Perhaps a drawing might help. I'll try to get one up tonight.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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So, what type of construction is my house


From the description (which is a bit difficult to follow) it sounds like a balloon framed, single-wall construction.
I have dealt with a couple of these here in So. Cal. in homes in the historic district of Orange.
In these homes however the exterior siding is vertical 1x12 redwood with batten boards. No plaster or drywall on the interior surface.
Does that sound like your house?

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Old 08-11-2011, 12:32 AM   #5
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So, what type of construction is my house


Kinda, but they're not one-piece timbers, so I don't think it's balloon framed. 1x's on the exterior, 3/4 pine on the interior (which was covered by drywall sometime in the 60s)

Here's a crappy pic showing this. Pretty sure my drawing is accurate with what's there.

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/7741/crummydrawing.png
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:24 AM   #6
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So, what type of construction is my house


Interesting...kind of like a plank and beam type of framing

Further Description: http://sci301.uvi.edu/Structure/FrameConstruction.html

The 1x's and 3/4" boards allowed for the framing to be spaced further apart. The diagonal members at the ends of the wall provided your bracing which is provided by the plywood sheathing in modern day "stick frame" construction.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:00 AM   #7
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So, what type of construction is my house


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Interesting...kind of like a plank and beam type of framing

Further Description: http://sci301.uvi.edu/Structure/FrameConstruction.html

The 1x's and 3/4" boards allowed for the framing to be spaced further apart. The diagonal members at the ends of the wall provided your bracing which is provided by the plywood sheathing in modern day "stick frame" construction.
I guess that looks similar. The 2nd floor joists do sit midspan on several parts of the top plate (or not necessarily midspan, but not directly over anything). The 2nd floor studs that go up for the window also don't sit directly over a first floor stud.

I'm sure its not weak construction, seeing as how it's stood for over a century, but in the back of my mind, I ask: how would this type of construction hold up to high wind loads and earthquakes? (btw, the 1st floor joists are supported by stacks of rocks in midspan).

Also, are you basically telling me I should not be cutting the 3/4" pine interior, that it might be carrying some load? I've been cutting away at it to install electrical outlets, and I've never had a problem with my sawzall getting pinched or anything (just blades going dull real fast).
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:24 AM   #8
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So, what type of construction is my house


You have a Stressed Wall constructed home sometimes called monocoupe construction by engineers.
The 1" boards on the outer (and sometimes inner) wall provide the strength to hold up the exterior walls to your home. The 1" boards are usually applied vertically and span 8' high. These boards require siffeners to prevent them from bowing in and out so horizontal 2X4s(or 2X6 In your case) are install about 2-3 feet and again at about 5-6 feet off the floor. These stiffeners are nailed to randomly spaced studs (often at the edge of doors and windows) that span between the bottom plate to top plate. At the corners, diagonal wind bracing is installed.

This was a somewhat inexpensive way to build before the day of 4X8 sheets of plywood when 1" boards was the only way to sheath exterior walls. The weak link of this design is that all the wall stress is placed on the nails holding the 1" boards to the plates. Nails loosen and rust over time.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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So, what type of construction is my house


sounds kinda like I have heard of referred to as a "yankee wall" construction.

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