What is your experience with rain during construction?

February 24, 2010


My contractor is going to start framing the roof next week...he figures that it will take 2 weeks to complete. I live in N. CA and we're experiencing rain this week, about 0.34" in the last 24 hours. More rain is expected tomorrow, and then again Friday and Saturday when the next storm comes through. The weather man predicts that there will be rain sometime next week as well.

Should I be worried about the plywood on my house that's currently exposed (subfloor, etc.)? My contractor said the rain won't hurt it, and that he'd replace any damaged ones, but is that a reasonable solution? How do you replace subfloor when the walls sit on top of it? I've been researching this issue on the web, and some people don't seem to think rain is a problem, while others do. What have you experienced so far? Should I be worried about this at all? I'm concerned about the wood rotting, the floor squeaking down the road and even mold.

Thanks! I'd appreciate any feedback to help a very stressed out first-time remodeling novice.

Comments (26)

  • worthy

    I've always said the biggest problem with building is that we do it outdoors!

    But water on plywood won't hurt it as long as it doesn't puddle. If it does, I drill drain holes as necessary.

    If there's warping or damage you don't have to replace the whole sheet of ply. Just cut it to the centre of the joists. Your contractor sounds like he knows what he's doing.

    To prevent floors from squeaking, glue, screw and nail the subflooring, as is standard on custom high-end housing. Expect to pay extra if you haven't contracted for this.

  • tracey_b

    It gets muddy!

    Seriously, though, I'm glad you asked this question because it's on my mind right now too. We just started; basement is poured (framing scheduled within days), and it's been a very rainy winter and the pattern hasn't changed yet (raining today). I'm just wondering how much the rain will slow us up, too.

    Worthy--thanks for the tip on flooring.

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  • tooskinneejs

    The answer to your question also depends on the type of subfloor. Regular plywood may be more prone to absorbing water than some of the more high-tech subfloors, such as Advantec.

    But I feel your pain. My house has seen several rains and 3 feet of snow while in the framing process (prior to the roof system being installed, which should be happening any day now).

  • pps7

    My builder assured me it was not a problem. He said maybe with "regular" plywood it might be an issue, but we were using extremely durable plywood with a 50 year warrenty. I'm happy to finally be under roof and with windows to keep the elements out.

  • srercrcr

    The plywood subfloor isn't under the wall studs. The studs are put up, then the plywood nailed down. Avoid puddling for extended times. I used OSB, I feel it has more glue, whereas plywood has a top veneer face that isn't gonna like water.

  • sierraeast

    "The plywood subfloor isn't under the wall studs. The studs are put up, then the plywood nailed down".


  • mel_bc

    If rain were a problem we would only be building 3 months out of the year here on the "wet" coast of BC. I really don't think it is a problem. I remember we had an unexpected snow storm (about 6") and of course it turned to mush the next day. We were brooming out massive amounts of melted snow, by then a small lake, off of our subfloor and it had zero effect on the final product. I know nothing about building but I think as long as you have a qualified builder who knows what what precautions to take, you are fine.

  • worthy

    Little did I know. I've been doing it wrong for 20 years. (DW says the same thing on occasion.)

    A worthy crew building walls on the first-floor deck.

  • brickeyee

    "The plywood subfloor isn't under the wall studs. "

    Not in standard platform construction.

    Joists down, plywood down, walls erected.
    Repeat as required for additional floors.

    The subfloor is the 'assembly zone' for sections of wall that are then tilted up into place.

  • dyno

    My house was framed last December which was unseasonably dry for the Pacific NW but they don't call us the Pacific Northwet for nothing. 0.34" (8.6mm) isn't much rain in a relative sense. A somewhat hard rainfall is in the 3-5mm/hr range. Don't worry about it. The plywood is more than likely exterior grade and designed to withstand inclement weather.

    As for squeaking floors, the key is that they are glued down in dry weather otherwise the glue won't stick. Eventually they'll be screwed down after drywall goes up. If you see evidence of delamination, point that out to your GC and the framers can deal with it as usual. I have a number of holes in the subfloor where the framers cut in to drain off puddles of water.

    I was worried too. My cellar had over a foot of water in it more than once. LOL There is a bit of warpage in a couple wood members but overall it's fine.

  • firstmmo

    The framing and plywood are not affected by the rain, but when you get to the part where the drywall needs to be delivered and the delivery people refuse to deliver in a downpour day after day after will slow you down. Especially here in CA. What happens is that our local suppliers and the shippers around here are not used to so many consecutive days of rain--spoiled by the weather. So they get picky and they don't always have the big covered trucks for everything (no need when 300 days of the year they can deliver just fine!). Other parts of the country function just fine in rain, sleet, snow, etc. But ever notice how when it rains here traffic gets snarled and everything comes to a halt? :)

    Next after that when they tape and texture, if it's pouring rain, high moisture and cold, the tape won't dry. You'll add days on for that or you can bring a blower which we did here in NorCal about a week ago to help dry out the tape so we could move on to texture. Then the texture has to dry--again rainy days rainy days. Days to dry, so rent power heat blower!

    Your builder, might be able to juggle things so that they are working mostly on interior things once the roof is on and if it's still raining, punt the exterior to later when it's better. We did the opposite....last Fall my GC did everything on the exterior to get it mostly done before the rains started coming including moving up putting on the roof. When it was Noah's second coming starting in December, we were safely indoors and the exterior is all done so once we are finished with the inside, we don't even have to do the exterior. Sometimes risky because risk damaging the ext with equip, etc, but this slight change will keep us on schedule.

  • gopintos

    I dont have much to add that hasnt been said, but thought I would post anyways :-)

    Our OSB was called - and this probably isnt the techinical term, but it was like one hundred some odd, meaning it could be wet for one hundred some odd days, and that probably means straight? I am not sure but the point is as already mentioned, they make stuff that can get wet, and thank goodness because we had lots and lots of rain, and our floors and walls did just fine once they dried out.

    Once we started drywalling, we had to make sure we had some heat on since it was wintertime. Also for the texture, it had to be a warmer day above freezing or so, for the machine to work.

    And with so much mud outside everywhere, there were many things we scheduled for early mornings on very cold days so that the ground was frozen so no one would get stuck. Like septic tank truck, etc.

    We already had an established drive-way, but it became a mudpit, so I have had to bring in more gravel just to make it bearable with all the big trucks and activity. This week with this last load, we went ahead and graveled up to the porch since we will want to be moving here in a few weeks, and the weather will be warming up turning the frozen tundra to a pig pen.

  • worthy

    As for squeaking floors, the key is that they are glued down in dry weather otherwise the glue won't stick. Eventually they'll be screwed down after drywall goes up.

    Proper construction adhesive can be used virtually whatever the weather. (Obviously not during a cloudburst.) Nailing and screwing the floor happens at the same time before the adhesive has set. Otherwise, it would be like gluing furniture together, then waiting a month or two to clamp it.

    It's also important to use the correct adhesive. One time, during a break, my framing crew were shaking their heads as they watched a crew on a nearby home rolling white glue onto the floor joists before putting down the subfloor.

  • dyno

    Point taken. I'm not a builder....just going through a build.

    The adhesive used was PL400 I believe. From their website "Surfaces should be clean, dry and free of dirt, sawdust, snow, mud or other foreign materials which would adversely affect positive adhesion."

    Your link suggests PL400 is fine to use in wet or frost conditions. Regardless, I'm glad they were on the cautious side. The better the surface conditions, the better the adhesion regardless of manufacturer claims.

    My framers liked their nail guns so the subfloor seems well secured flat to the joists. The website also states to use nails 'sparingly'. Not sure if that suggests that excessive nailing would cause most of the adhesive to be squeezed out from the contact area. Screwing it down immediately would have the same effect.

    Hopefully I won't have any problems.

  • sierraeast

    "My framers liked their nail guns so the subfloor seems well secured flat to the joists"

    I like my nailer as well, but you get a better hold with screws, especially in traffic and load areas.

    The website also states to use nails 'sparingly".

    Most areas have nailing schedules mandated by code. Same schedule applies to screws and they need to meet requirements for the purpose in which they are used. You dont want to see drywall type screws used in subfloors.

  • karenyang

    Hi claymaker - I'm not a builder, just going through a build in the SF Bay Area, so I'm just reporting what happened to some good friends of ours (who built right before we did). They framed during the rainy season in early 2008 and moved in late that same year. For the next year, they got *hundreds* of nail pops popping out through their drywall - they put blue tape on each one and it looked like their house was going through its teen years (i.e. acne). The builder (who is also our builder) thought that it likely had something to do with water absorbption during the wet season...when the framing dried, it contracted, squishing the nails out, etc.

    Anyhow, it's fixed now (pounded in, patched and painted), so no harm, no foul, but just thought I'd mention it as a possibility. I doubt that any builder would warrant that a big enough risk to slow down framing.

    We're about 4-6 weeks from completion - 14.5 months in and dying to get in to our house....

    Good luck!

  • juniork

    reviving an older thread...since there's now been rain twice in northern california, just wanted to know how others have approached framing in the rain. Should I be requesting that plywood subfloor is screwed down to my I-joists? Will I get squeaky floors? I think they're just nailed down right now. We're at least 2 weeks away from a possible roof, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow again!

  • joyce_6333

    Rain, rain, go away!!! We are in N. Wisconsin and we are saturated!! They excavated, and after 7" of rain in one day with lots of flooding in the area, and then hitting a spring, this is what our "hole" looked like!!

    They've done extensive ($$$$$) drainage work around the foundation, and everything looks great now.

  • worthy

    I've had to deal with a couple feet of water, but never a pond where my excavation was!

    I can feel my knee-highs squishing in the mud as I get ready to toss the submersible pump into the deep end.

    No wonder it's called the Land of 15,000 lakes.

  • juniork

    ok, joyce, I bow to your build! WOW! I am a wimp for whining about our little drizzles! That concrete looks fantastic!

    I realized that I posted about 2 non-related topics...water on the framing and possible squeaky subfloor. Just wanted to clarify that I know the two are not related, but I suppose they're my big 'worries of the week'.

  • motherof3sons

    In our research, this is one issue that kept coming up - weather and resulting damage to materials. We are considering a company that builds in a manufacturing setting. The home is built in a series of "boxes" or modules and placed on the foundation. We have toured several custom homes built by this company and I am unable to tell a difference from a stick-built in the elements and a stick-built in a controlled environment.

  • worthy

    Manufactured homes are typically bought for placement in rural or remote areas where trades are scarce and build-time is a big consideration.

  • motherof3sons

    Agriculture rural - yes, remote - no, trade scarce - no. Build time is approximately 16-20 weeks, which is about 8 weeks less than the typical on-site stick build in our area.

    Haven Homes, check them out.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Havens Homes

  • macv

    There are probably many reasons to use a manufactured/modular home but weather conditions would not be one of them unless you are in Alaska or the top of a very tall mountain.

  • brickeyee

    If you think getting trucks of supplies to a remote spot over poor roads you should see what happens when you try to move a very large truck (tractor trailer instead of lumber yard delivery flatbed) over those same roads.

    More than one time when working in VERY remote areas we used helicopters to bring in supplies.

    We could barely get in and out in heavy duty 4-wheel drive equipment.

  • worthy

    Try this with a modular home!

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