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Framing Estimate - Good price?


egbrown76's Avatar
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06-17-09, 06:54 AM   #1  
Framing Estimate - Good price?

Hi all. I have an addition to my house that was originally done poorly. I've attached photos. I had a contractor come out and tell me that for about $1,300 he can tear the roof off the addition and build a gable roof perpendicular to the main roof, as well as raise the ceiling (with a "pony wall") by about 10 inches. Note that he will only do the framing and sheathing, NOT any wiring, shingle, drywall or trim work. The floor of the addition measures 12 x 16.

Does $1,300 sound about right? Is it too high? (I doubt it). Is it so low that I should be suspicious? I've attached photos. Thanks.








 
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chandler's Avatar
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06-17-09, 01:18 PM   #2  
He won't put a gable on that addition with that tree there. The overhang will extend well past that. Did he give a contingency for the vent pipe to an apparent water heater in the corner? It must be boxed and "chased" properly. He will need to return the walls to a levelness at the 8' mark, since it is pitched lower on the outside (I guess that is what he means by a "pony" wall).
He'll have to permit it. Who discards the trash? Is he insured? If he falls and breaks an arm......
Just some things to think about. Not sure where you are located, but the price is a little low for a pro, but he may be cutting a deal in order to have work. I am not in the business of second guessing (except my wife).

 
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06-19-09, 05:38 PM   #3  
Hi egbrown76,

I would be suspicious of the price because in my opinion it is very low. As far as the "pony" walls go, I would not allow him to just extend the walls with a short wall on top, if that is what he is intending to do. I have seen a few so called framers do this when they frame a wall the wrong height and it is not a good structural detail. I would be tempted to frame over the existing structure if possible so you do not have much if any interior work to do. In any event the area where the new roof meets the old roof and that valley will be tricky to flash properly. As Chandler says, does he have insurance, license, etc?

Chandler - I do not follow why you say the tree will be in the way. They could keep the overhang to a minimum as to not interfere with the tree couldn't they?

Bill

 
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06-19-09, 07:26 PM   #4  
Thanks to both of you. He has no insurance and no license. He does, however, have 9 years experience as a rough framer. He provided several references. I called three and all gave great feedback, including one guy who hired him to build a gable roof. Another reference was to the general contractor that used to sub him out, who also gave him a green light.

I get the feeling that, as chandler suggested, he is new to working for himself and is looking to establish a reputation independent of a GC. Keep in mind, too, that he is doing no roofing work beyond framing and putting up sheets of plywood, nor is he doing any wiring or drywall work. He will leave me just with the frame and panels.

Regarding the tree and pipe, the overhang around the rest of the house is pretty short, so this will be short as well. There's about 10 inches between the house and tree, and about 8 inches between the house and vent pipe, and the overhand will be about 4 inches.

 
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06-19-09, 07:28 PM   #5  
Oh, and I should clarify. I said in the original post that it would cost $1,300. I should have typed $1,500, and that does not include the materials, only labor (and I, not he, will clean up with a trip or two to the dump, which also saves me money).

 
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06-20-09, 09:33 AM   #6  
Bill, I would just worry with only 10" between the wall and the tree, any movement or future growth would cause problems. You can build a minimally overhanging gable, but it leaves no space for gutters, etc. Just a little worry I would have if it were mine.
The pony walls will have to support the lateral movement once the gable roof is installed, so that wont be a good idea, should the roof shift. It will fail as Bill said.

 
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06-20-09, 10:55 AM   #7  
Chandler, you raise and interesting issue. Whether it would fail would depend on how well it's achored to the topplate of the lower wall, no? If the answer is that it would fail no matter how well it's anchored to the lower wall, wouldn't it follow that the lower wall would also fail because THAT wall is pretty much anchored to ITS foundation the same way the pony wall will be anchored to the base wall?

 
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06-20-09, 12:00 PM   #8  
Good point about the tree Chandler. I was not thinking about the gutter and the tree growing.

The pony wall could fail because it has no joist holding the walls together as the other walls should. It can act as a hinge of sorts.

Bill

 
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06-20-09, 04:42 PM   #9  
Is that window to the left of the entry door an operational window? If so - quite interesting to look out and see nothing but tree trunk.

My boss has such a tree literally growing through his overhang. And he had the overhang notched around it. He has had no problems with the mature tree infringing on the house in all the 20 years I have known him and he has lived in that house. There is only about 2 inches clearance, from my memory, and there are no crush marks either, from say windstorms causing the tree to sway into the house. I guess that lower 10 - 12 feet or so of large trunk can't move that much.

Is he working too cheap? **I** worked too cheap once in my life, when I was trying to get a foothold. It's also possible that when a contractor is younger and not as seasoned as a skilled craftman capable of building complex structures and able to do fine interior finish work - that it's possible this guy has enough talent to do what you have in mind. Go by referrals - not by what he is charging. But make sure, from what you can find out about him, that he is capable of the task you need doing.

By reviewing my own life, in retrospect, in how I operated as a newbie contractor 30 years ago - I can say that I was able to easily build stuff that was structurally sound, as one would expect say if one was schooled in "Building 101". But a contractor, with not as much work history under their belt, is not likely to have all the skills from past experience to choose the best ways of how to go about finishing off a job outside or inside.

A good illustration would be how a lesser skilled contractor could build a simple gable ranch home - where a highly skilled contractor could build a 2 1/2 story Victorian home, for example.

If all you need is a ranch home builder who will charge say 1/2 that of the Victorian home builder - then maybe you can take the chance on the 1-story ranch house builder - to make my point.


Last edited by ecman51; 06-20-09 at 05:08 PM.
 
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