Second Top Plate
TEMP: 63°/ PARTLY SUNNY
For a few reasons we added a second top plate. The biggest reason, we wanted to add stability to the the frame by joining the 2 sidewalls. We built the left and right wall in 2- 10 foot sections so by adding an additional top plate we joined these two sections. Another reason was that we wanted all 5 windows in the loft, to be in-line. Knowing this, we knew we'd need another top plate so that we could cut out the original plate to have the space for the loft windows. Additionally, this gave us another opportunity to make the top plate totally level which will be important when we add the roof.
We started by pulling a string front to back. This showed us if we had to make the current top plate higher or lower to be level. We found in a few sections it had to be higher (I'd like to say that's due to warped wood not the framing of the walls :)). To fix this, we added some shims between the plate and the stud where necessary. When the string was in-line with the plate, we could then add the second top plate. By using a 2x4x12 we crossed over the break in the 2 wall sections which is what we were going for. To finish the plate cut a piece from a 2x4x8. Glue and then screws, this top plate was now in place. We did the same to the other side. When pulling the string this also showed us that the house wasn't totally plumb, aka the side walls were slightly leaning to the side. This was our fix for that.
For the second plate on the front and back walls, we added an angled shim that ran the whole width of the wall. This shim sits the board on the same angle as the roof. This was done because the roof frame will be similar to a single wall and will sit right on top, so needed that angle to sit flush with the boards below it.