Building a house/cottage - Need books

Discussion in 'Technology / Science' started by Hashishh, Sep 17, 2018.


    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    Hey guys, so it's coming time for me to start building on a property I have. This coming summer will be the tear down and I'm expecting to not get around to actual construction until the year later.

    What I'm wondering is if anyone has any good books on framing, plumbing, basic electrical, etc - including codes, or separate code books would work. We're in Canada for the record.

    I've been tossing up a few things, such as modular homes, mobile homes and building myself. We settled on building mostly ourselves over the course of a few years. Something about being able to live debt free by 30 appeals to us.

    Now as far as things go I'll be tackling the framing, walls and plumbing myself, the rest I'll probably contract out (electrical, foundation, septic). It helps that there's currently a house there now so most everything is there in regards to plumbing and electrical, but the septic has to be re done and the house has to be tore down.

    The first structure we're planning on building will be a smaller shack that we'll use as an in law suite later on. Just something for us to live in for the time being and get our feet wet with this sort of thing.

    But with all that rambling said, if anyone could recommend some good books or point me in the right direction on this that'd be appreciated!

    And as a side note, we're not trying to build anything extravagant - just a small 2 bedroom 1 bathroom bungalow.

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    Depending on where it is being built you are most likely better off building it as a “seasonal” home. Using it as seasonal gets you out of all sorts of extra bs and paperwork.
    The entire permit process is long stretched out cash grab.

    Firstly you will need to get a lot plan approved.
    Then the septic plan approved
    Then all the expensive house drawings and truss info approved
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    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    Likely what's going to happen is itll be a seasonal home. Its located about 40km outside of a small town of less than 2000. I think the last permanent resident moved around 2009. Power and such is still hooked up.

    I was told there's very little permitting there but I've got to make some phone calls come the new year to figure out what I can do exactly. There's a couple issues such as the septic being located near a body of water, which I was told the house was grandfathered due to age so replacing the septic might be a little sticky.

    So far I just want to build up my knowledge on codes and general construction while I make the necessary calls to figure out what's what, and what I have to do. It may very well end up being a very extensive fixer-upper.

    I've done very little of this sort of work. I'm in the metal trades myself so wood is a little foreign but should be easy enough for me to learn.

    Obviously, I still haven't got a solid game plan on this, but I want to do a bit of reading on house construction so I've got a general idea come time. Plus a little bit of reading material and extra knowledge never hurt.
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    torontoke Well-Known Member

    Small world
    I too was a metal guy and was in this near exact situation.
    I can give you some of the permit info I was given. Here in Ontario you are allowed to build a bunkie/shed under 108sqft without a permit. Anything over that and you’re better off getting the permit and keeping it above board.
    You are allowed to design your own home up to 1000sq ft anything bigger needs to be drawn by a pro and engineered.
    Those drawings can add up fast.
    The septic could probably be redone where ever it is if it’s grandfathered. A lot of the larger contractors in small towns will take a look and quote you for free.
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    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    It really is.

    That's all great info, but this is an unorganized township which is way more relaxed from my understanding.
    Unfortunately we don't have many contractors for this sort of this thing in town. For some things we're looking at 2 hours plus.

    Still trying to figure everything out. I've gathered a few numbers. It's an unorganized township so I'll mainly be dealing with the ministry from my understanding. This could complicate some things more but I've been referred to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Municipal Services.

    Any experience dealing with building a year-round home in an organized township Torontoke?

    Anyways, back to the point, any good books or anything in regards to building a house from scratch? Framing, dry walling, finish, electrical, plumbing, foundations, etc?

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    I looked at an unorganized town first because I wanted to use shipping containers to build.
    I was given conflicting info. Naturally the realtor told me it was basically up to me to build and use all relevant up to date codes and that no one would even check but I quickly found out that isn’t true at all.
    You still need to follow the provincial code and most of the time you would still need to have things inspected by a permit guy that now lives out of jurisdiction and is actually more expensive.
    Best advice I can offer on that subject is you should contact the permit office closest to the unorganized township and pick their brains. Asking a million questions beforehand can save you a ton of money imo.
    If they say it’s poss Now to build without permitting then I’d suggest looking into 2or 3 shipping containers welded together on either a concrete slab or piers.
    The Home Depot sells a line of books building 101, plumbing 101 and electrical 101 which is nice and simplified
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    redivider Well-Known Member

    I would say if you don't have hands-on experience with woodworking or carpentry - don't even think about doing it yourself without an experienced carpenter to help you.... you might think you have it in you to do all that work by yourself, reading books or just winging it - but there's things in trade jobs that you just don't expect.

    for example do you know how to compensate for imperfections in wood when cutting out angles and pieces? if not get help - a few youtube videos and a few books won't be the same as a few years' experience in the matter....
    Digger47 likes this.

    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    Not to crap on carpenters at all but I've done a bit here and there helping out friends and it's not all that difficult. It's the codes that get me and some of the technical stuff. Like 3 stud corners, etc. To put things into perspective I essentially do carpentry but with steel. I've got a trade under my belt already and will be starting another in the next couple years.
    I'll be having a few friends and family members come by and help out a bit to get me started off but I want to do some independant reading on the subject to get me ahead of the game in those regards.

    And to answer your question, no I dont, and that's why I'm here.

    Spending 100k+ to build a shack out in the Bush is a little too steep for me.

    Can't learn if you dont try.

    redivider Well-Known Member

    well if you have hands-on experience with some sort of trade/manual labor then you have a good start.

    the thing is that if you don't know how hard placing a 8x8 inch beam that's 5 meters long is, while having it sit at the right angle, screwing it in while having it remaining in the proper position.... that's not a good place to not know what you are doing..

    it's a good place to seriously injure somebody or a good place to get somebody killed.... that's the part of the trade job that is only learned on the job site.... how to adjust for working conditions, how to find a solution to problems the books won't teach you.....

    and forget the codes for now. what you need to know is the proper way to put a door frame in, the proper way to sit window frames, the difference between setting structural and non-structural components, where a simple nail will do and where a screw will do... when to use just a screw or where you need glue and screws.... the difference between wood densities and how it affects the structure....

    you can then get to learning the codes....

    FYI I am not a carpenter - but I do remember clearly when the pine cabin where my business sits was being built.... there was some technique and finess involved I was not expecting.... especially when the roof was put into place... the guys at times seemed baffled with issues that arose and these were full time wood home builders....

    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    I get where you're coming from dude but this isn't some 2000+ sq/ft home made of cedar. We're looking to build a very modest 1 bedroom bungalow for the time being.
    The fact you even imply anything regarding how difficult setting an 8x8 beam into shows you really think I dont have any common sense nor regards for safety. I may be young but I haven't built a reputation in my trade by doing things recklessly and getting myself or others hurt.

    Just because YOU had something built, doesn't mean others have to. Man I'm 24, have a shit ton of time on my hands and love to learn - which explains why I'm asking questions, and trying to figure out where to start.

    Anyways, I've ordered a few books on general framing, one on plumbing, my dad still has some of his old books on electrical/wiring from when he did the place the first time around. Been doing a lot of forum searches, youtube videos, etc.

    Looks like me and the old lady are gonna drag the camper out there sometime in April and start building while we live out of there. Been working on some house plans via AutoCad in the mean time.

    We're gonna build a small 750+/- sq/ft shack that we'll use as a guest cabin/in law suite later on as we save up for the main dwelling.

    Oh, and :finger:

    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    We briefly thought about shipping containers as I could do the work myself (journeyman/red seal welder and done quite a bit of patch work on Sea Cans going to auction) but they're heavy as sin.
    I'm getting the info from the person who's handing down the property on who to call. Seems our biggest issue will be with MNR. As far as I've been told inspections just dont happen out there, but that's what I've been told. Come the new year once we're closer to moving (were leaving in April to head out that way) I'll be making the necessary calls.

    Been doing some digging on foundations. Pouring my own slab would cost me about 6-8 grand for a modest 1000sq/ft house. We're going to build on blocks/piers to save us money on the first little house we build, which will be converted into an inlaw suite after the main home is tore down and re built.

    This will give us time to save for a proper foundation and all the necessary materials for the next build.
    torontoke likes this.

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    Well in that case I’d recommend looking at maybe putting up a decent sized garage with an apartment up top.
    You can get some nice looking kits to do that on piers or a smaller slab and save some bucks

    Two containers seamed together on 16 piers wouldn’t be to bad imo.
    You would be in about 10k on the shell plus a roof

    Hashishh Well-Known Member

    Would have loved to do that but I'm planning to put a shop up where the old garage was - right beside the original house. Mainly due to height. I'd love to have a few gantry cranes and a vehicle lift in the shop. Looking at some smaller bay doors as well. I'd like enough height to get a big rig in and out with some room to spare, but that's something that's coming down the road. In the mean time I've got the portable welder for stuff like that. I'm young and dont mind crawling around, lol.

    I sort of enjoy doing side jobs. Spent a lot of time under those rigs. Well only about a year on that one, but it felt longer sometimes lol!

    This in law suite is probably going to go up near the corner in between the two boat launches with a nice enclosed deck overlooking the lake. Then once that's established we're going to get a family friend hook us up with a discounted trash bin and grab some equipment and level the old house then probably pour a concrete slab. It's all dependent on the ground as I've heard various rumours on the integrity.

    Another issue with the containers is the 6 hour trip to have them dropped off. Would be way too pricey at that point. I think Sudbury ON would be the nearest place to source them. And we're closer to Timmins area.

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    They can be arranged to be picked up anywhere the train runs.
    I totally get your point tho and wish ya luck none the less man
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    redivider Well-Known Member

    I am telling you - 100% for you own good - if you try to build this on your own by reading books and watching youtube videos - the first time some wind picks up, you get some heavy precip, or the temp drops outside to below freezing

    your little camping trip will turn into a fucking nightmare.... good luck with that....

    BarnBuster Virtually Unknown Member


    srh88 Well-Known Member

    That's comments sense stuff. To be expected.

    Op I would look for this book
    It's not bad. Any little issues you are unsure of or just need some help figuring... YouTube. Good luck man
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    doublejj Well-Known Member

    After returning for Vietnam in 1970 I had trouble re-adjusting. I took off to the hills of northern washington state and built this log cabin from the trees off the 40 acres of land I bought with inheritance from my grandparents. Very rural property, miles of 4x4 roads to get there. Built entirely by hand off grid. We lifted everything with block&tackle, you can see the rigging in the pictures. I had walked thru a couple of log cabins and was inspired to build one.
    I had no previous building experience and hired boys from the local high school to help me on weekends and after school. I had to learn it, do it, and teach it all at the same time. The whole project help we get thru a difficult time. It was great therapy. I was 22 years old..I thought I was Jerimiah Johnson. lol
    Just do it....
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    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018

    doublejj Well-Known Member

    Boys to men....

    Canada is about 20 miles beyond that ridge in the background.

    doublejj Well-Known Member

    I even built my own ladders...
    attachment 2.jpg

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