Tag Archives: construction

Knife Plates 101: What Are They & Why Do We Use Them?

We talk a lot about our prefabrication method and, more specifically, the benefits of utilizing our pre-cut heavy timbers for your installation process. However, something we don’t discuss nearly as often as our pre-engineered heavy timbers is what we use to keep our posts looking beautiful over time and protected from moisture build-up and rot — aka knife plates.

Knife plates are steel connection hardware pieces welded to fit seamlessly with our pre-cut heavy timber posts. When used during construction, knife plates create a buffer between our heavy timbers and the structural footing below so any moisture in the foundational concrete can’t easily seep up into the wood. Knife plates also keep our heavy timbers rooted firmly to your foundation, creating a sturdy framework that acts as a substantially better alternative to post-frame and pole barn construction. Additionally, these hardware pieces help keep the connection between your structural concrete and posts hidden so you can enjoy a cleaner look for your exterior framing components. With all these benefits to consider, it’s easy to see why we implement knife plates as part of our process. That said, it’s important to understand some key differences* between our standard knife plates and those we offer as an available upgrade.

*The information listed below applies to exterior installations only. When used for interior applications, our standard knife plates create a clean, seamless appearance for your heavy timber posts. See below for reference:

Our Knife Plate Options & Their Benefits

At DC Structures, we offer two different choices for knife plates — the first being our standard knife plates. Our standard knife plates are powder-coated steel connection pieces that are installed on elevated concrete pedestals poured above your structural footing. These concrete pedestals provide a solid, weatherproof barrier between the ground and posts, making our standard offering a practical option for clients in areas that experience heavy rain and snow. This option is also ideal for clients who aren’t sure what their finished grade will be, as this method is more malleable to uneven or sloped lots.

Our second option, on the other hand, is our horse-friendly knife plates. These are steel connection hardware pieces that are hot-dipped galvanized and powder-coated for maximum protection. The primary difference between this option and our standard is our horse-friendly knife plates are bolted directly into the structural footing and feature an I-shaped design that raises the bottom of our posts to a pre-determined elevation.

One of the reasons why customers like our horse-friendly knife plates is because this option creates a sleek, polished appearance for your posts once your finished surfaces are complete. Instead of resting on concrete pedestals, your posts will appear as though they’re sitting right above your finished surface, providing a seamless look for your exterior. Another advantage to our horse-friendly knife plates is that your crews can install them before adding your surface material. By situating your posts above the area where your finished surface will be, your framing crews can easily map out and complete your drainage, utility hook-ups, and mechanicals before installing your surface material.

Most importantly, our horse-friendly knife plates are a great investment for horse owners and pet owners alike because they offer optimal safety for your animals. Because of the way our horse-friendly knife plates are designed, our clients can use sand, pavers, or other types of horse-safe material for their finished surface. This gives our customers who prefer softer surfaces for their turnout, paddock, or stall areas more leeway in deciding which surface material is best for their horse barn or riding arena project. Additionally, this option means our clients don’t have to worry about their horses tripping or injuring themselves on pesky concrete pedestals surrounding their posts. With your knife plates completely hidden and chew protection added to exposed corners of your posts, you can keep your heavy timbers in great shape and your horses protected from preventable accidents.

The choice between our standard knife plates and horse-friendly knife plates ultimately comes down to your preference. For instance, if you live in an area subject to inclement weather, you may be inclined to choose our standard knife plates as a precaution. Even so, there are plenty of ways that we can make your selection work for you and achieve your desired appearance and function.

Interested in learning more about our standard and horse-friendly knife plates? Be sure to visit our Options & Upgrades page or give us a call at (888) 975-2057 to speak with one of our representatives.

Project Feasibility: Can I Build This Here?

project feasibility

There are plenty of reasons to be exhausted by a construction projects, and one of the biggest of those headaches relates to project feasibility. As you begin your design, planning and construction process, it’s important to consider how things like zoning, building on protected lands and other new construction requirements may affect your project. With a little research and the right questions you can make sure you don’t end up putting the cart in front of the horse.

The first thing to consider is the kind of structure you want to build on your property. Depending on the size and intended use, there are hoops you may have to jump through with zoning and permit requirements. Will the structure be multi-functional and contain a living unit like this Shasta RV barn? If so, you will want to check with your county’s land use office for regulations on building new or additional residential units on your property. You may discover there are special permits you need to request and get approved before you start the building process.

The size of the structure you want to build on your property is also a point of distinction. It’s much easier to build a small structure on undeveloped property than it is to build an entire riding arena, like this impressive Canyon kit in Oregon City. If your property is still untamed or limited in use then you may want to consider a smaller more practical structure, like this Pendelton Shed Row barn. Its compact design is flexible and works well for any property.

Rural property owners should consider obstacles that come from building on undeveloped land. Keep in mind that building on undeveloped land requires you to plan out sewage, water and electrical solutions for your structure. You should also make sure the topography of your land lends itself to construction. Poor soil and rugged terrain can affect the foundation of your home over the long term and should be avoided. Other times there may be protected lands—such as wetlands or riparian zones—that can’t be built on. These problems can throw a serious wrench in any plans you have, so make sure you address them ahead of time.

The best way to avoid issues that may arise from building on your land is to be informed, and to work with experienced builders. Contacting your local planning commission will usually yield answers to any questions about zoning and protected lands, but it’s more difficult to find an experienced builder that you can trust. Nothing will provide more peace of mind than working with a contractor who has experience in the region you are looking to build.

DC Structures has worked with contractors both in-house and through outside partnerships to complete projects that span developed and undeveloped land, as well as those on rural properties and within city limits. You can trust DC Structures to get the job done right. Request a quote and start planning a dream home for your property today.