Note to Do-it-yourselfers

The following is from a note I just sent off in an email and I thought it might be appropriate for the blog. In terms of budget and simplicity which go hand in hand I recommend one of two methods. If you have time and some good solid professional framing experience I recommend double wall stud frame construction. Otherwise I recommend a SIP shell. SIP's start to get expensive when you add a real timber frame and lots of jigs and jogs and dormers. Another consideration is to minimize working on a ladder, especially on an uneven site. Ladder/staging work adds time and $$ (and danger). So either keep roof work super simple and easily hired out or keep the roof low or wrap a porch roof around that you can use as staging to work on the roof. A simple rectangle with a double pitched roof can be made amazingly elegant and fun through detailing, proportion and windows. The SIP shell kills several birds with one stone (must think of better analogy) but I have seen some very messy SIP craftsman ship by big players in the SIP industry so you have to be careful. Mismatched joints that telescope through the shingles on the roof or make it difficult to sheetrock over are common as are un-foamed gaps where you can see light through. So careful oversight is important. With a Structural SIP shell you can get fancy with local hemlock lumber to support and upstairs which can have a very warm industrial/agricultural/modern look to it. I often seem to do houses for do-it-yourselfers and there is definitely some good inexpensive forgiving detailing that can be used. Above all, use methods of construction and detailing that are common and easily understood as well as hard to screw up.