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Regional Construction Techniques, Materials

Regional Construction Techniques, Materials

Regional Construction Techniques, Materials

I am an engineer in Texas. I am about to begin a residential project on the Maine coast. In my travels around the country (mostly Midwest and Southwest) I have noticed quite a variety of construction methods and materials for residential construction. For instance some areas might build pier and beam foundations with CMU stem walls, where other areas tend to use slab on grade. Some differences are fairly obvious, such as the use of basements in northern climates such as the Chicago area. In addition it is obvious that variation in costs and availability of materials, as well as skilled laborers, can have an effect on which systems are used. I plan to talk with contractors in the vicintity of the project (Augusta, Portland) to find out what I can about the species of wood available, whether CMU or cast-in-place concrete is typically used in basement construction, etc. I would appreciate any information about regional construction (tips, books, magazines, etc.), in particular as related to this project.

RE: Regional Construction Techniques, Materials

As a resident of the Portland, Maine area who just finished building a home I can probably lend some information on this topic. Most residences in Maine are built with full foundations, or at the very least a +/-4' frost wall. Foundations are usually cast in place concrete, CMU's arent as popular around here. Depending on how close to the ocean you are, and at what elevation, you may run into some problems with a full foundation regarding water infiltration or flooding during storms. Floor joists are usually either dimensional lumber or TJI's. Exterior walls are 2x6, interior partitions are 2x4. Roofs are either stick built dimensional or pre-fab trusses depending on the contractor/designer. I believe the predominate species of lumber (untreated) will be either spruce-pine-fir or eastern hemlock. Pressure treated lumber will typically be southern yellow pine.

Hope this helps, and good luck with your project!

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