Carport Construction: Framing

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With the foundation in place, the next step was framing. We moved the camper back in between the foundations, so it could be used as a scaffold during construction.

We started by putting the 6x6 posts in place, checked to make sure each was plumb, and then set braces in two directions. 2x4's were used to brace the posts. We used duplex nails driven through 18" form stakes to hold the bottom end of the 2x4 at the ground.

We placed the corner posts first, and then ran a string line between them, in order to help place the posts in the middle. We cut the corner posts to size and then used the string line also to set the length of the cut for the middle mosts. This is more accurate than just measuring each post individually, in case the level of each foundation pier varies. They shouldn't, but it's safer this way. The posts are so big I had to use a circular saw to make a cut on three sides and then a 12" blade on a reciprocating saw to finish the cut.

With the posts in place, we could start placing the beams. Each beam is two 2x6's nailed together throughout their length, except for the beams above the 9' spans, which consist of 3 2x6's.

Each beam gets joined to the next beam and the post with a Simpson "66T" bracket. Each bracket gets several nails and some bolts that go through the beams. In retrospect, it seems to me that the engineer should have called for bigger T and L braces so the bolts could go through the center of the face of each beam. But he has the official stamp, and I don't. Every other post gets a set of diagonal braces. This post will also get a brace into the middle of the structure, that isn't done yet in this picture.

With the beams in place, the truss fabricator delivered the trusses with a crane and placed them in three bundles, upside down on the beams. This saves time with not having to carry them up, but at only about 45 lbs each for these small trusses, I think it would have been better to save the $250 crane fee, especially since we had to take 6 trusses down to cut them for the outriggers (more on that later).

We put up some scrap 2x4's at the end of the structure so that the first truss could be stood up and put in place easily. It turns out that the foundation was slightly off, and the end posts weren't completely plumb (or they shifted when leaning the ladder against them), so the sides of the frame were not completely even. As a result, we shifted one side of the first truss in slightly from the edge of the beam to compensate.

With the first truss in place, the rest went quickly. The truss company supplied 2x4 blocking to be put in between each pair of trusses. Each one was nailed in place from the opposite side of the truss. Every other block also got a Simpson "L50" bracket to help tie the trusses to the frame. Every truss also got an H2.5 bracket on each end to tie it to the beams.

Now, back to the outriggers, which are a set of 2x4 placed into notches of the trusses at the end of the structure, in order to support the "barge rafters" which hang out of the end of the frame and which are not supported from below. Note that the barge rafter is also a "gable end" which means it gets extra vertical members that exist to provide a nailing surface for the sheathing that gets applied to close up the open end.

I'm not sure how the pros do it, but we rigged up a set of 2x4's that made a giant fork shape to brace the barge rafter temporarily. This was the most difficult part of the whole job.

We nailed on the outriggers first, then put the barge rafter into place. Two of us lifted it into place, then one person could descend to place the fork brace. Then it was possible to nail the outriggers to the two supported trusses.

Then work could proceed quickly with applying the roof sheathing. We used "TechShield" OSB, which has a foil backing. Several friends have said how effective it is at keeping the heat out. So, for $1 more per sheet, I thought it was worth a try. Also of note in this picture is the tripled beam at right, because this span is 9'.

Here are some more pictures showing details. One item to note is the addition of a diagonal 2x4 that braces the last three supported trusses. Each truss is spaced at 24" on center, except the last supported truss, since the frame isn't an exact multiple of 2 feet.

Placing the rest of the sheathing went well, although in a few places the truss spacing wasn't right and we had to add 2x4's to provide a better nailing surface for the sheathing. We left a gap at the ridge for a ridge vent that will help release any heat that builds up at the peak of the roof.

We placed full 4x8 sheets on the roof then trimmed them off all at once, after snapping a chalk line to mark the line to trim. Snapping all 40' resulted in a faint chalk line, so I put a few nails in place to hold the line and then snapped it at several points. The next inspection is for the nail spacing of the roof sheathing, however, this stage was finished on a weekend and I needed to get back home. So, I painted the sheathing, just in case there is a freak summer rain. I called for the roof nailing inspection, which went smoothly. Next, we can put on 30# roofing felt, and then we're ready to put on the metal roofing, which will be the next project.

Next: Roofing

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