Nearly every piece of material that goes into the construction of a house has a name. While it would be unnecessary for the home mechanic to be familiar with every board, nail, and stone in his house, an understanding of the more important items will aid him in doing various repair jobs, and in deciding whether he can do the work himself or will need the services of a skilled workman.
Footing. The footing is located at the base of the foundation. It is made of concrete and considerably wider than the actual foundation. This is done so that the weight of the house will be distributed over a greater area. If the footing is not the right size for the weight of the house and the soil conditions, it will sink, and the house will tend to settle.
Foundation. The foundation is the masonry on top of the footing and supports the weight of the house. It also provides the walls for the basement. The foundation can be made of stone, cement, cinder blocks, poured concrete, or any other material that can sustain a considerable load.
Sills. Sills are the heavy wood or steel beams around the top of the foundation. These beams are attached and the house is built up from them.
Girders. Girders are large beams running between opposite sills. They are used to provide additional support for the frame of the house as well as carry the flooring.
Floor Joists. The floor joists are the beams that run across the sills and provide a base for the flooring., Floor joists are generally made of 2 x 10 inch lumber, or 2 x 8 inch lumber, depending upon the distance they must run. They are placed broadside upright for greater strength, and in well-constructed homes they are spaced sixteen inches from center to center.
Bridging. The bridging consists of small strips of I x 3 inch lumber, or a size near this, which are nailed diagonally between the floor joists along the center of the span. The purpose of the bridging is to keep the joists perpendicular so that they will provide the maximum amount of support, and to distribute the weight on the floor between several joists rather than one or two. Bridging can also be made out of strips of metal.
Subfloor. The subfloor is the under-flooring to which the finish floor is nailed. The subfloor is nailed directly to the floor joists and runs either at a forty-five or a ninetydegree angle to them. The subfloor, or rough floor, not only furnishes a base for the finish floor but also adds a degree of strength to the frame of the house.
Studding. Studding are the 2 x 4 inch upright timbers which form the walls. Studding is placed either 16 or 24 inches from center to center and is braced with diagonals, a protection against fire, as the diagonals prevent the interior of the wall from becoming a flue. Horizontal pieces of studding are also nailed between the vertical studding at floor levels. These are called solid bridging.
At each of the four corners of a house a 4 x 4 inch or a double 2 x 4 inch timber is used to provide additional support. Studding around window and door frames is also doubled.
Rafters. The rafters that form the roof are made of either 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, depending upon the size of the roof. If the roof has a composition shingle roofing, the entire roof 4 is boarded over with sheathing. If the roofing is made of wood shingles, shingle laths are nailed to the rafters to provide a base for the shingles.
Sheathing. Sheathing is generally made of tongue and groove I-amber, and is nailed to the studding to form a portion of the exterior wall. After the sheathing has been put on, building paper is placed over it and the outside wall of wood, brick, or stucco is raised. Sheathing provides additional strength for the frame of the house and is added protection against the wind and rain. In recent years a type of composition board has been used extensively in place of the regular tongue and groove lumber for sheathing.
Roof Saddle. The roof saddle is made of two boards -nailed together to form a V and placed over the top of the roof to cover the joint between the shingles.
Flashing. Flashing is a sheet of metal used for all joints on the exterior of the house formed by two different materials coming together, or by angles in the roof.
Just as it is important to select the right tool for a job, so is it equally important to use the right kind of materials. A simple illustration of the wrong selection of material is the use of a nail rather than a screw to fasten a door hinge. The nail can be driven in quicker, but it will soon become loose and the entire job will have to be done over again and the damage repaired.
If you are not sure of what materials to use, go to your hardware or paint store, or to a lumber yard. Here you will generally get sound and valuable advice, for any business interested in preserving its good name will recommend only the best. This advice should always be sought when planning a major project, such as building a garage, where the, cost of the materials required is considerable. Far too many home-construction jobs have failed because the wrong size of lumber was used or the nails were too short.
It is wise to be skeptical of any "cure-all" products unless recommended by a reliable person who has reason to know their value. There are a great many products on the market which are far superior to the older types, but there are just as many worthless ones which cost the home mechanic much in time and money. The old way is not always the quickest, but very often it is the best.
Do not cheat yourself by buying poor quality materials. If you are going to do the job yourself, you will save considerable money in labor cost, and a portion of this saving should be used in buying the best materials.
Molding is a thin strip of wood that has been machined into a special design. There are many different designs stocked by most lumber yards. Molding is used for interior trim around doors and windows, etc. One of the most familiar types of molding is the quarter-round, used for rounding off square corners, such as the top of a baseboard. Molding is sold by the linear foot.