how to square a building using batter boards

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Drop a plumb bob from the correct locations along the string line, always measuring from the same home base point, and then have your helper drive a small stake into the ground.Â. Measure 4 feet along the other line, and make a mark on the string. Excellent suggestion. Typically we set the batter boards 3-4 feet back from the corners of the planned outside dimensions of the finished structure. Or see FOUNDATION for the HOUSE where we give a detailed example of using batter boards to lay out excavation for a house. Drive a pair of stakes into the ground outside of where each corner of the foundation will be. Below is a photo (click to enlarge) showing our layout strings during construction of the Summerblue Arts Camp Stage in Two Harbors Minnesota. (Remember not to move the string on the reference wall.) Measure the diagonal distance between the two marks and adjust the stakes as needed so the distance is 5 feet. Choosing and making measurements from a single point avoids ugly errors creeping into a deck or porch or foundation layout. We've published so many articles on the details of deck building that I've neglected a string and batter-board layout description. To check the height you can use one of the following tools: a transit and builder’s level, a water level, or a laser transit. Drive a batterboard into the ground to mark where the project starts. The height can be adjusted by pounding the stakes further into the ground. Otherwise the batter board setup will be in the way when you go to dig or drill the post holes. Moving the batter boards to drill the post hole would lose all of the initial layout. Though the first stake locations are just approximate (the green stakes in my sketch), you might want a tack in the top of each stake so that later they can be placed more-precisely according to string lines. We first put out batter boards - stakes and horizontal wood strips - to mark the locations of the corners of the stage (not shown in this photo). Below: a recap of the 6-8-10 procedure for squaring up layout lines. The procedure uses little more than stakes, boards, string, a carpenter's level, and a measuring tape, and ok, and maybe a mallet or sledge or hammer to drive stakes and to tap in a couple of nails. For this project, because a tractor and auger had to have access to drill our post holes, the batter boards were set well back from the actual post locations - which is why you don't see them in my photo. Insulation vs. Obtained the necessary building permits and approvals to proceed. Note: appearance of your Comment below may be delayed: if your comment contains an image, web link, or text that looks to the software as if it might be a web link, your posting will appear after it has been approved by a moderator. So when setting the mason lines for a 30×40 dimension the … A Before beginning any excavation, call 811 to check for underground utilities. Our sketch summarizes the procedure for using batter boards and string to lay out any structure on the ground and to get the structure square, level, and exactly where you want it. Details of procedures to square up string lines, framing, a deck or a foundation or even a roof are given in a practical example at DECK LEVEL PLUMB SQUARE-UP and in more technical and mathematical detail at FRAMING SQUARE-UP 6-8-10 RULE. Use batter boards and mason lines to form the outline of the building dimensions. In our sketch the two green stakes along the line indicating the planned front of the structure are our first rough line. Step 5 - Check Your Diagonals and Parallels Watch out: if your diagonal measurements are not level your measurement distances will be in error. Set the general location for your deck - or see, Made a rough and then as needed, a more-refined drawing of the end-product: deck, building, or whatever it is you're going to build - or see, [2] Decks and Porches, the JLC Guide to, Best Practices for Outdoor Spaces, Steve Bliss (Editor), The Journal of Light Construction, Williston VT, 2010 ISBN 10: 1-928580-42-4, ISBN 13: 978-1-928580-42-3, available from Amazon.com. Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia. Keep adjusting until the two diagonals are the same length. Attach the string for the reference wall first, placing it exactly where you want the wall to be. For more information, watch our videos on how batterboards are built and squared in a fence project and deck layout. The basic steps are: How to complete these steps is described below. These are driven in a line parallel to the desired front face of the structure - from here on we'll call it a deck, though as I've said it could be a foundation for a home, or something else. Once the height of the batter boards are set, decide which wall will be the reference wall. You can see the soil was dense clay so digging was out of the question. InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. Here is how to do this yourself. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. BATTER BOARDS LAYOUT METHOD at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice. Thermal Mass. Verify that the layout is square using the three-four-five method. Watch out: building a structure that's out of square is more than an aesthetic problem or an eyesore. We have placed this material on layout of any structure in between our article on doing a deck drawing - DECK PLAN & SKETCH - and DECK LAYOUT the article on attaching the ledger board - the home base from which most decks sprout. You can use weights to temporarily hold the stings in place while you measure–this is especially helpful when working with less than three people. The batterboards do not need to be a precise 90° angle (though you can use a framing square to accomplish that quite easily). Here we will describe the steps in laying out a simple building, deck, or foundation layout. Start with setting the approximate deck location (sketch below) , paying careful attention to the front edge or to whichever side of the structure has a most-critical location, such as back from a property line or parallel to a building (or attached to it in which case your work will be simpler. Repeat the squaring process at all corners. After getting all of the heights correct, you may want to add a second set of stakes angling into the ground to make everything more sturdy. The distance away from the building corner stake should be about 10 feet. Secure a piece of string from batter board to batter board width-wise and then length-wise. The first batter board stake is located directly in line with the building line diagonal. Watch out: take care to make all layout measurements from a single common point. Every building has to start somewhere. Below I'm packing up tools as we finished building this deck-stage in the summer of 2001. The idea is to have strings intersecting at each corner of the foundation. Tie mason’s string to the batterboard to mark the line where the edges will be set. Using 1x3 or 1x4 or similar lumber make three or four pointed stakes that are long-enough to drive into the soil securely and that will be tall enough that you can level your string lines over the ground. But even for an attached deck you will need to make accurate square and level and plumb measurements of the three sides of the deck that are to be built to the building. This is a fussy process so you will need to check and adjust board heights, distances between string intersections and squareness of the string lines. If your project is a square or rectangle, make sure the measurements between the corners are accurate and match your project plan. Typically you want this height to be where the top of the foundation will be. Our sketch shows how to lay out the deck, building, or foundation location using string-lines, posts, and batter boards. What are batter boards and how are they used to lay out a structure? Allow enough space to adjust string placement. From an outside corner, measure 3 feet along one line, and make a mark on the string. Drive a 2-inch nail halfway into each stake to mark the projected front corners of the building. Set the opposite string (the final one if the building is a rectangle) by measuring the distance from the two string intersection you just created. The sooner we can get framing attached to our rows of posts the more-securely they'll stay in line. You can either build two separate batter boards on each corner like in the photos or a three cornered/two sided one like in the video. At that point we drilled holes for the remaining posts. Key is to locate the stake-and-batter-boards a few feet outside the actual desired post locations of the deck or stage corners. Are there buried utilities stubbed in that need to be a certain distance from the outside edge of the foundation? Those details are at FOUNDATION DAMAGE by ICE LENSING. Then take measurements again from where the strings intersect, adjusting as necessary. Here we'll give details of how to use this easy method to lay out a foundation, footing, deck, or just about any structure properly located, level, and square on the site.

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