Building Modern on a Budget | Ep.3 Framing

Friday, May 29, 2020 -

A husband and wife Framing a modern house and dream workshop on nights and weekends and sharing how much it costs

*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot, DAP Products, and Viewrail. This post contains affiliate links. 

It's getting hot here in Arizona. I know it's still technically Spring, but we've already crossed 110 degrees. I'll just say, I'm suuuuuuper happy we finished up the major framing of our new house and detached garage. 

If you're not up to speed, make sure you check out:

Check out the video below to see the whole house framing process or keep scrolling for more details. 

When it came time to put up the big walls, we pulled out some big equipment, but it may surprise you to know that just as useful as the full size nail guns and compressors were our good ole Ryobi 18V Drill and 18V Impact Driver. The same drill and driver that would come in handy for house hold chores.


We used the Ryobi Cordless Drill for tasks like boring through bottom plates, and the Cordless 1/4" Impact to drive beefy lag screws. 

Framing is typically one of the largest, if not the largest expense when building a house. As I mention in Episode 1, my Father-in-Law is our general contractor, who specializes in Framing. Bryce, my husband, used to frame houses for 14 years, until he got his engineering degree. So, we always planned on framing our house and shop ourselves. 

If you've been following along for very long, you know I'm cool with wood. I've built several large projects, and even did some remodeling, but I definitely didn't know very much about framing. I had to lean heavily on Bryce and asked about a million questions. For example, what's that thing he's holding?

Our house is wood framed, sitting on a concrete foundation. To tie the two together, you need to use mechanical fasteners and anchors. Those giant screw-looking things are actually Simpson Strong-Tie Titen HD® Heavy-Duty Screw Anchors.

Along the perimeter of the stem foundation, our concrete contractor embedded steel j-bolts every 36". After building the walls of the shop and house flat on the slab, we pre-drilled 7/8" holes using a Bosch Daredevil 6-Piece Spade Bit Set

When you need to drill a hole in a hurry, there's no better option than a sharp shade bit. The Daredevil bits are especially great because the hex shank fits into a standard 1/4" impact driver. It also has a design feature called a Speedwave paddle. The he curved body of the bit removes materials fast and helps prevent jamming.

In the areas where we needed a bolt but one didn't exist, our options were to install a Titen HD® Heavy-Duty Screw Anchors. Once you pre-drill through the bottom plate of a wall, the screw anchors can be driven all the way into the concrete, creating a tight connection between the two. 

Whether or not you've heard of Simpson Strong-Tie, odds are their products are helping to hold your house together. Simpson Strong-Tie manufactures thousands of products, like anchors, hangers, connectors, and many others. 

Depending on your local building codes, there is a good chance products like Simpson Strong-Tie's are required to connect the most critical components of a structure together, including the floor joists and ceiling trusses. 

We recently picked up a couple new tools that made the building process MUCH MUCH easier. First of all, have you tried using a laser measurer before?

The Bosch BLAZE 135 ' Laser Measure with Full Color Display is really simple to use and makes measuring long spans (like across the shop) easy for one person to do. 

The Easy-to-read backlit color display illuminates numbers in dark areas clearly, allowing work in low-light or no-light conditions. It also has on-board memory which means is can save up to 20 measurements at one time.

Speaking of immensely helpful tools; although it wasn't in the budget, once Bryce and I built the detached shop and moved on to the house, we ended up borrowing my Father-in-Law's forklift and hiring a framing crew.

The design of our house is kinda unique. There is a large, clear-story, 22' tall section in the center of the house. Bryce and I talked about it, and we decided those walls would be just way too difficult, if not impossible to stand ourselves. 

It was amazing what an experienced construction crew can achieve in a short amount of time. Working together with a crew of 6 framers, we were able to build more in a couple days than just Bryce and I were able to complete in two weeks. 

Construction is BOOMING in Arizona right now! Our framing crew was so swamped with work, we were only able to book them for 8 days of labor. In order to make the most of the limited time we had, we would work side-by-side with them during the day, and the two of us would keep working in the evening until dark. We ended up doing some really hard things, like mounting 15' tall posts by ourselves. 

One thing that wasn't difficult to do, was to install Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Bases. We added two of them inside the entryway of the house, and it only took us maybe 15 minutes. 

One critical tool on the jobsite that no one talks about is a good Wet/Dry shop vacuum, like the new Ridgid 9-Gallon Cordless Vacuum. Yep, you read that right! Cordless.

I've used almost every kind of cordless hand tool over the years, and let me tell you that a cordless shop vac is one of the smartest. You will not believe how UNBELIEVABLY convenient it is to be able to control dust or clean up debris without having to drag a tangley cord around.

I have this weird thing for stairs. I always wanted to live in a house with a beautiful staircase. Our new house has a small second story section, over the kitchen and dining room. Since the loft area will be the kid's playroom (read: noisy) and directly over the most popular room in the house, I wanted to take every step we could to secure the second story sub-floor. Cue DAP DYNAGrip Subfloor Construction Adhesive

DYNAGrip Subfloor is easy to use and creates a strong bond between the floor joists and floor decking. In addition to it's strong grip, the flexible texture helps prevent dreaded squeaking. 

I have to say, I remain wildly impressed with how efficiently the framers can sling a full 4' x 9' sheet of 1/2" OSB around. 

I'm also amazing by how fearless they are up on a 5-1/2" wide wall. 

Bryce and I built and sheeted the entire roof of the workshop ourselves. I'm not scared of heights, but I'll be honest, I was definitely nervous trying to balance on those wobbly walls, dozens of feet in the air. 

Something I'm definitely not nervous about is our stair situation. 

Remember how I said I have a thing for stairs? I knew I wanted to do something special with our stair system. That's how I discovered Viewrail

I go into a lot more detail in my YouTube video, but we are going to be installing FLOATING STAIRS people!!! I could not be more excited! We are working with the design team at Viewrail to design our very own FLIGHT system. 

The FLIGHT stair system  uses a steel mono-stringer up the middle, giving the treads a floating appearance. We were so excited about the idea of seeing through the stairs, we actually added an additional window to the staircase opening. The idea is, as you walk up to the front door, you'll be able to see directly through the window and past the stairs themselves. How freaking cool is that?!

In the past, we have hardly ever hired contractors to do anything. Repairs, improvements, etc., were all done by us. I'm learning through this process, as we have dozens of people of different trades working on the house, even experienced workers aren't perfect. 

We had a few crooked walls to straighten and a couple beams that needed to shave down. Thankfully, I recently received the new Ridgid Cordless Brushless Hand Planer

You've seen me use a thickness planer several time (like when I built my sister's bed) but a 3-1/4" wide hand planer can be an EXTREMELY helpful tool! This new cordless model from Ridgid is a game changer! When paired with a Ridgid OCTANE battery, it can deliver over 2 times the power in high demand applications like planing tough materials. Even hardwood. 

We also changed a few design things and had to move a couple walls. Good thing we've got a good reciprocating saw.

We own a couple different reciprocating saws, but lately we've been using the new Ridgid 18V One-Handed Reciprocating Saw. Even though it's small in size, we had no problem at all cutting through thick timber and embedded nails. Its a beefy little guy! And I feel much safer being able to hold it comfortably in my smaller hands.

Let's talk Numbers:

We don't call the video series "Building Modern on a Budget" for nothing. I've been sharing all the numbers, the whole way through. Here are the latest budget updates, including the finished framing. 

So as you can see, we are staggeringly over budget. I speak more to the subject in the video, but basically we're freaking out big time! Every single sub-contractor is coming in WAY over budget. We are getting really aggressive with looking for new bids and accepted the fact Bryce and I are going to end up doing a lot more labor than we were planning.

Make sure you're following along to see how it's going. SPOILER ALERT: I now know how to shingle a roof, so that's cool. 

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