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Author Topic: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction  (Read 16634 times)

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Offline brdmkr

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I talked with DanG sometime back about just what rough-sawn lumber could be used in constructing a home with regards to building codes.  It was my undestanding that flooring and paneling could be used without a problem, but that structural material, such as framing, would not pass code unless the lumber was inspected.   Has anyone cut their own lumber for a their house?  Assuming the answer is yes ::), what was involved with passing the building inspector?   Did you have to have your framing lumber inspected?  If so, who inspects lumber for private individuals?

I know I could likely contact my building inspector about this, but if I could go in with a little information :P, I think I may be able to get the OK to use a little more of my own stuff and a little less from the HD.  As I understand it, the building inspector has some leeway in matters such as this.

Forgive me if I am asking dumb quesyions, and thanks for your help.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline DanG

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2005, 09:59:32 am »
Hi Mike.  I went directly to the source for my info...the Florida Building Code online.  I read up on this and several other points before talking to the inspector.  When I met with them, the inspectors were asking me questions, because they hadn't yet seen the new revision of the code. :D :D

The codes are different from state to state, and county to county, so you need to educate yourself for your specific location.  I recommend reading some of the Georgia code, then talking to the County folks to see what they have added.  They can tell that you've studied up, and that will go a long way toward developing a rapport with them.

Before I found the code online, I talked with several contractors and none of them could/would answer my questions.  All they could talk about was what a bunch of jerks the inspectors are. ::)  I didn't find that to be the case.  When I met with them, I explained that I'd never built a house before.  They all said, "Don't worry. We'll get you through it." :) :)

The Florida code is very explicit in saying that "structural" materials must not only be graded and inspected, but must come from facilities that are inspected by certain agencies, and those agencies are listed in the code book.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2005, 11:14:41 am »
I'd follow DanG's suggestion, and only add reading up a bit about what the construction grades are, and be able to let the inspector know that you have some knowledge about what makes a No 2 & btr grade, and what you plan to not allow in your 'house' construction lumber. Also add some info about what constitutes cross grain, and localized steep grain that causes construction lumber to fail in tension, etc.  Being able to talk the talk will give the inspector (who probably doesn't know the grades either, but is familiar with the terminology) some confidence that you will be okay with your material.
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Offline brdmkr

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2005, 11:29:37 am »
DanG's idea is a good one for Florida.  Georgia's codes don't seem to be online.  I hope Georgia's codes aren't as strict.  I can buy the book for 80.00+, but I don't want to go that route unless I absolutely have to.  I don't mind talking to the inspector to get the info, but I'd like to be able to give him some info (much like suggested by beenthere). 
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2005, 11:37:21 am »
what did you end up doing to get the wood inspected DanG?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2005, 11:54:32 am »
brdmkr
Here is a link to Chapter 6 of the Wood Handbook (Tom's resource), that gives a general description of the visual grading procedure. Having some idea about these things should bode well with an inspector, if he is reasonable. A stop in at the SPIB (Southern Pine Inspection Bureau) in Pensacola, FL might also provide you with some materials to bone up on some of the terminology, if it's within spittin distance of you or your travels.

http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr113/ch06.pdf

Update, that Chpt. 6 is now Chpt 7 in the newest Wood Handbook (edit 3/2011).

http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr190/chapter_07.pdf
south central Wisconsin
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Offline DanG

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2005, 12:09:59 pm »
Nut'n, Dan. :D :D  We still haven't started construction. :-\  I think I will opt to just buy the framing material.  I'm workin' on a way to get it for wholesale from one of the large mills in the area.  What's really sticking in my craw is the siding.  The Fla code considers it structural.  I can use that flimsey vinyl crap, but not 1x12 cypress off my mill! >:(
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Online submarinesailor

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2005, 01:50:44 pm »
The timeliness of this tread is outstanding.  This past week end we started cutting the 2X lumber for my daughter house in New Mexico.  Got just short of 500 bf cut – had a pitch problem early on Sunday that drove us nuts.  Until I remember some of you stating ”use lots of water when cutting SYP”.  It worked.

 But my questions to you is, do any of you know if New Mexico requires graded and stamped lumber?  And if they do, can I get it graded and stamped here, take it there and use it?  The location is wayout in the outer reaches of Taos county, so how much can I get away with?  Start building without any permits?????? ??? ::) ??? ::) ??? ::) ???

Bruce/subsailor

Offline brdmkr

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2005, 02:08:54 pm »
What's really sticking in my craw is the siding. The Fla code considers it structural. I can use that flimsey vinyl crap, but not 1x12 cypress off my mill! >:(

As I said earlier, I sure hope GA code is more reasonable!
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline DanG

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2005, 02:42:36 pm »
Let's hope so, Mike.  Fla has one of the toughest codes in the country, so, chances are you will have an easier time.  You'll still have trouble if you don't get on the good side of the inspectors and stay there. ;)

Bruce, from what I could learn in a quick search, it looks like New Mexico has adopted the 2003 International Code, with certain revisions.  All the revisions I could find were on commercial buildings, but that doesn't mean there are not revisions on residential, just that I didn't find any.  I would sure check it out thoroughly before I got too deep.  It would be a real bummer to get started, then have to tear it down, plus paying a big fine.  You'd also be on the bad side of the inspectors, once you tried to put one over on them.
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Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2005, 02:48:29 pm »



  Made my own grade stamp.  Called the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau to see about getting where I can grade my lumber.  They said that people can not be graders but only mills were issued a grade stamp and had personal trained to grade and stamp.  I said "OK, I own a mill and wish to get ARKANSAWYER Sawmill in the program."  SPIB said that the mill had to have been in operation for more then 3 years.  No problem says I for I have been in business for 4 years.  They decided that I was unworthy of their blessings and soon blew me off.  Said they only sold books to subscribers  but if I wanted to pay the cost they could have a Grader come grade my lumber for a very nice fee.  I did not understand this as a person can not have a stamp?  ???  Mills are issued stamps but people can not have one.
  The purpose of the stamp is to let some one know that the board was looked at and it was within specs of the grade for which it is stamped.   Also the stamp will let you know what kind of wood and who sawed and graded it.  My stamp does just that.  I follow the rules of the American Lumber Standard requirements and the SPIB rules that govern SYP which is what I saw.  If a board is missed stamped and fails the only libility is to replace the board.  The SPIB and mill have no responsibility other then they allow themselves a 5% error margin and thus you just bite the bullet.   The rules were made back in the '60's so every one in the lumber trades was a talking the same on what a 2x4 was and how good it was.
   Most of the area where I live does not have any codes so there is no problem.  But in areas where they need the stamp I just stamp the lumber.  90% of the time no one ever looks at the lumber and most building inspectors have no clue what the grades are any way.  They just know that you need a 2x what ever to span so many feet.  They rely on blue prints by architects and just see that you nailed the right size board in the right place.
  Read the codes in your area and often there are loop holes.  I know there was a deal in NY where they changed the law and if you saw it and use it in your house it is OK.  Course they will change the law back if they start losing money.  The SPIB will send out a Bureau Quality Supervisor who will mark and tally the lumber and give a certificate.

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Offline leweee

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2005, 04:02:52 pm »
 8) 8) 8) Arky you the man  8) 8) 8)

In this neck of the woods we go to the lumber store & sort through the piles picking out the boards with stamps on em.....takem & seed the pile. ;D

Hard part is maken your stuff look as bad as there stuff ::)
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Offline Rod

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2005, 04:12:03 pm »
I'd ask the locol inspector and see the he says,if he says OK,then start building.

Offline Tobacco Plug

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2005, 04:17:43 pm »
Here in NC you can build a house out of non-grade-marked lumber as long as the logs belonged to the homeowner and the log owner (or a member of his immediate family) lives in the house for at least one year.  I think it was the Farm Bureau, who a few years ago, spent a lot of time a few years ago trying to get unform rulings from each state, as there were many requests from small sawmill owners for this.  Don't know how successful they were.  Check with your county inspector and hope that he isn't spoiled by the power of his position! ;)
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Offline brdmkr

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2005, 05:04:59 pm »
Right now, I am thinking I might as well just forget using my own wood for framing.  I suppose I had just better hope that I can get away with flooring and siding.  I'll still discuss this with the inspector, but I'll bet rough sawn for framing will be out of the question. 
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline rvrdivr

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2005, 05:28:26 pm »
Arky very well said! ;) I think some people don't realize there is always a way to get around things.
I hate to say it but the codes and inspectors are there for a reason, and I will say from personal experience, there are a lot of stupid people out there building homes. I have met with inspectors who don't have a clue and pretend to know, and builders that know and cut coners to make more $. What ever the call, the inspector will always try to cover thier but.
My sugestion is, that I would give the code inspector as much info I could, Patronize him, making him feel important. If they say no, go around them and find a way. There's always a way. ;)

Offline etat

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2005, 05:31:58 pm »
there are areas all around me that have codes and require inspectors.  However the county that I live has no codes and no inspectors.  NONE.  I built my house from the ground up, foundation to rooftop, did all the wire and all the plumbing too.  When I got ready for electricity they just came out and hooked it up.  Didn't even come inside and look at the switchbox.  Now let me say I'm proud to say I did a good job on this house, and built it to where I think even 'if' someone was inspecting it there wouldn't be a problem.  But the fact is, here where that I live, they just don't care............... ;D ;D ;D
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Offline Tobacco Plug

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2005, 06:36:14 pm »
Hey Brdmkr,
Don't give up on asking your local inspector.  Ask him to check it out for you.  After all, it is his job to know the code.  One thing I forgot to mention in the requirements here in NC is that the lumber must be dried in a dry place for a minimum of 90 days to a moisture content of not less than 20%.  The requirement that the builder or a member of his family llive in the house keeps the speculators from cutting corners.  If you are sawing your own lumber, you can control the quality and have better wood than that from Lowe's or Home Depot!
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Offline ely

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2005, 07:20:47 pm »
i am doing exactly like . it is better to not live where you have to jump through hoops.

Offline Don P

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Re: Question regarding use of rough sawn lumber for home construction
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2005, 10:20:02 pm »
If you do read up and understand grading, many inspectors will allow you to use your wood under the "alternative materials" clause in the code.

Here's an excerpt from an E-mail from our state dept of inspections, we've been trying to get something along the lines of NY and NH. We have a grader training class coming up in our area in Oct. for small sawmills and the regional inspectors.

Quote
TPI could also discuss their services for grading lumber and maybe regionally there could be some sort of cooperative type grading system established that building officials got to see the stamp marks while some building officials might be ok after such as class to let Don and others be approved under our USBC modification and alternate materials sections. Building officials and mill operators might find a reasonable and less costly inspections system by entities such as TPI. 



Timber Products offers grader training at their facility in Conyers, GA several times per year. They and SPIB also have staff in GA that can grade your structural lumber for a fee. Va does license their builders, stamping of my own lumber with a homemade stamp would likely lead to revocation of my license. I'm hoping to work within the system to change it.