Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


Well----can you "special-order" me some?

     When I moved to the West coast, from the East coast, it was a little bit like starting over as a builder.   I had never heard of one-by-threes, one-by-fives or one-by-sevens.  What ARE you talking about?  I think the first time it came up was when I wanted to get some door jamb material.  I asked the lumber yard guy if he had any 4-9/16" jamb material.  He said, "No---but we have 1x5's?"  I remember feeling like I must be on Candid Camera or in the Twilight Zone.  But, no, he was serious---and the beginning of my learning curve.  These things may have been available back East by "special order" or maybe I was living too "remote" from the "real" lumber yards, but I had never heard of them.

     Seismic strapping was another thing I had to learn.  I knew what anchor bolts were, but the metal required in homes on the West Coast would rival any teenager's mouth.

     Perhaps the biggest adjustment was when I went into the roofing supply store----one of the largest in the NW--- and asked for 120 feet of D-flashing.  Back on Candid Camera in the Twilight Zone!  "Never heard of D-flashing Mister---what does it look like," he asked.  I drew a little picture.  "I think I remember ordering some of that stuff once," he says.  I was accustomed to always using metal D-flashings along the eave edges of the roofs I installed.  (I noticed recently that they now stock it---Don Quixote would be proud!) Out here it is rarely used.  I see lots of damage to the eaves of homes that don't have metal drip edges.  They are especially important on roofs with OSB and Plywood sheathing as these are more easily damaged by moisture than solid boards are---especially the OSB.  Here are some pictures that show how water can wrap around the end of the shingles and wick into the roof sheathing.

bad roof edge












 bad roof edgebad roof edge







     Back to builder learning curves.  I remember once when I was just starting out as a young carpenter, my boss sent me to the hardware to get a list of things.  On that list was a pound of 14d nails.  A bit of a kidder, he wasn't about to tell me there was no such thing.  A week later, while shingling the house, I nailed his pant cuff to the roof sheathing.

Charles Buell 

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Comment balloon 8 commentsCharles Buell • April 24 2008 09:58AM



No wonder you are so good at home inspection, you were a builder!!  Good post! 

Posted by Mary PAUL, ABR, CRS,GRI, e-PRO, (RE/MAX Advantage Realtors, Searcy, AR) about 12 years ago

Builders have told me to measure the board that goes from the window pane to the inside wall of a room and if it is 5" you have a 6" wall.  My husband calls a board that is 1"x 5" a 2x6, I believe.  My reaction is that men have lied about measurements for years and years!! 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 12 years ago

Mary, designer/builder 33+ years.  That said, I wish I had taken the Bellingham Technical College, Residential Home Inspection Course BEFORE I started building:)

Barbara, a 1x5 measures 3/4"x4-1/2" (roughly:), a 2x6 measures 1-1/2"x5-1/2" (roughly:)  Gotta love measurements!


Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 12 years ago

Why do they have the different size wood boards? Is there a reason why it is different sizes?

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) about 12 years ago

Sean, not sure I understand what you are asking. Mind rephrasing?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 12 years ago
Charlie, I don't know what "lumber yard" you went to.  Up here in the North it has always been 4 9/16 jambs for 2X4 framing.  The only 1X5 you find is CVG fir for trim use.  Also, those of us up here who cared about what they built, while not using that  strange sounding D flashing, always use metal drip edge on the eaves.  The weird thing I see about houses in the East is that a large percentage of them don't have eave overhangs.  A very special flashing would be needed to keep water out of the walls.
Posted by David Helm, Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp (Helm Home Inspections) about 12 years ago

Hey Charlie,

I think Sean is wondering what particular job one might do with a board of a specific dimension. What is for what? Certain sizes for certain spacing. That is what he was wondering says psychic Steve. Or is that psycho Steve?

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 12 years ago

Sean, what I found when I got here wast that many of the lumber yards were so much better than the ones that I was used to.  They had all grades and species of lumber in 1" increments instead of 2" increments like I was used to.  They even had 3x3's & 2x14's and 10 foot plywood----these things were unheard of in my area back East.

David, you should check out Limback Lumber in Ballard sometime---a true lumber yard's lumber yard. You will find 1x5 in many grades and species---pretty cool.


Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 12 years ago