||I started using engineered wood extensively about a decade ago. After I had designed and built a custom home in a small neighborhood, the couple who bought the lot across the street asked me to build them another one just like it. I did, but because the house had already sold itself and because I had complete control over the design, engineering, and construction details, I used the house as a test platform for engineered floor systems. Today, those two houses stand side by side. They're both good houses, but I think the one built with engineered lumber is straighter and stronger than the other.
A wise engineer once referred to wood as Miracle Fiber W. Thats because, despite all of our science and technology, we've never created a material that does so many things as well as wood. What we have learned to do, from the Stone Age to the present, is to use wood better and more efficiently. This book is about engineered lumber, which is the state of the art of our use of wood today.
Since we moved out of caves, most of us have lived in homes made primarily of wood. As we've become more technologically sophisticated, our construction methods have evolved from the primitive to today's refined framing techniques. The engineered beams, joists, columns, and rafters that are the primary focus of this book are simply the logical continuation of this process.
My own involvement in wood framing has evolved over 25 years of working in residential construction. I started out working for a remodeling company, moved into production framing, and then worked for custom homebuilders. For the past 17 years, I've been a general contractor, building two to three custom homes each year, along with an equal volume of renovation and light commercial construction.
Like most of us in the building trades, I am slow to try new materials and techniques, letting others do the pioneering. However, it's obvious to me that engineered materials are the future, for many reasons. They are lighter, straighter, stronger, and more stable. They use less material, preserving resources. In many cases, they save time, too. Most important of all, though, they build a better house.
After I made the switch to engineered floor systems, I began to incorporate more engineered products into my work. Today I use engineered beams, roofs, walls, and headers as well. My wife and partner maintains that most customers are oblivious to anything but the bottom line, but we leave the jobs knowing that they got a better result. And I must say that floor squeaks and nail pops have all but disappeared from our callback lists. I like to think that in the past 10 years or so, I've climbed the steepest part of the learning curve in using engineered materials. My goal in this book is to demystify the process of framing with engineered lumber and to share what I've learned about using it efficiently to produce high-quality results. I've tried to avoid technical jargon and to present information in useful, everyday language. At the same time, you'll find that the book equips you to speak comfortably with engineers, architects, and your lumber suppliers. I've also tried to make it an effective how-to book, so that you can order a pile of these new materials, frame a house with them, and not lose your shirt in the process. Happy hammering!