Sunday, May 10, 2009


House construction has changed over the years. Back when Hardy House was built, balloon construction was an acceptable building practice. In balloon construction, studs are just sort of sistered together in one long vertical line up a wall, even if it is two stories or more high. There is no horizontal bracing like there is in today's construction.

If a fire should occur in a balloon-framed house, the fire has easy access all the way to the roof. Nothing is in the way to stop it. Basically, there is a clear chute from the basement to the roof where fire can easily climb and spread through the attic and down. It's a very scary scenario when you think about it.

Today's code requires that construction include fire stops. We are adding fire stops to Hardy House. This means that every single bay between every single stud requires a tight fitting piece of wood to block the spread of flames. This is adding time but I tell myself that the safety factor far outweighs my inconvenience or time. Fire stops must be added to both floors.

This could seem like it is an overwhelming task, especially since all the studs (because of sistering studs, etc.) are not evenly spaced. That means every single bay must be individually measured and each piece of wood cut. But then, I have Dave. Everyone should have a Dave. His mind is just working all the time.

Read on for Dave's solution to this problem.

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