Mike Holmes: Speaking in code

Before starting any job, it’s important to check code to ensure you’re using the proper materials and practices so that when the project is finished, it will pass inspection. By now, you all know that I like to build above minimum code whenever possible — and by doing so, we’ll have stronger buildings that are built using better products and practices.

In fact, because building codes are different depending on where you live, the best way for me to teach others is to leave minimum code at the curb and focus on teaching homeowners how to build better and stronger homes in the first place.

Here’s a question I’m asked often: When it comes to fasteners, what do I use? While there’s not one fastener for all occasions, when it comes to screws or nails, I’m going to use screws wherever possible.

The right fastener for the job

When it comes to fastening, I always say to glue it and screw it. Gluing gives you a solid connection while the screws will keep it there — and not loosen over time. Find the right fastener for the job by checking code first.

There are some projects where you need the right kind of screws, and other jobs where screws on their own just won’t cut it.

Wood screws are used to secure lumber, but the kind of job you’re doing will dictate what kind of screws to use. There are screws that are designed for interior or exterior projects.

In the case of exterior wood screws, you can get them specifically designed for the type of wood you’re using, like cedar, or a pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is treated with Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), which is more corrosive for metal. That means you need a fastener that is approved for outdoor use with ACQ treatment in mind.

For indoor projects, drywall screws are designed to hold drywall securely in place because they have deeper threads than a typical screw, which keeps them from dislodging from the wall.

Screws popping out of drywall

Have you ever had your screws pop right out of your drywall? There are a few reasons why this could be happening — but it usually comes down to an issue with the installation. A lot of installations are done too quickly. If you’ve only got one guy installing the drywall as fast as possible they might not be putting proper pressure on the sheet of drywall making sure it’s on tight.

Too many builders worry about speed, without taking the time to truly do the job right.

In the case of minor popping there’s a relatively simple fix. Push the drywall in and ensure it is snug against the stud, and add some new screws. From there, mud over the screws, sand it, and add a fresh coat of paint.

Squeaky floors

If you’ve ever tried to quietly sneak around your house only to be given away by the telltale sound of a squeaky floor — the problem may actually lie in your subfloor, and how the builder fastened the sheathing to the floor joists. You can sheath a subfloor with hardwood but you will find that it contracts and expands depending on the humidity conditions in the home.

Because the hardwood is nailed to the subfloor, in time, as the wood contracts, the nails can pop out.

To keep things quiet and in place, use a plywood subfloor that’s been properly glued down and secured with screws. The glue makes the connection between the sheathing and the subfloor, and the screws hold everything in place without loosening over time.

Builders often use a nail gun to install subfloors, and you sometimes have the nail missing the joist. When not completely secured, the floors will move when pressure is placed on them (every time someone walks on them), causing that annoying squeak you hear.

Before you decide on fasteners for your next project, always check what code dictates in your area. The spec of the job will let you know what kind of fastener you should be using. If it’s my choice — I’m going to glue it and screw it.

Building a strong house that will stand up to anything you can throw at it is all a matter of building it right and choosing the right materials.

Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.

Source: National Post – Mike Holmes | April 1, 2017

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