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RESOURCES

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KNOW-HOW YOU CAN TRUST.

We’ve been in building supply since 1904. Proving quality building materials is only part of the equation. Our staff is always friendly, always knowledgeable. We’ve hired and trained the best so contractors and “weekend warriors” alike can get the information they need. Build with confidence.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Videos From Vendors

Get Help With Building Codes

Construction Terminology

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ
Can I burn treated wood?

No. Treated wood is hazardous to your health when burned. Always dispose of it properly.

Do you deliver?

Yes. We have a fleet of well-maintained delivery trucks to offer delivery in the greater Grand Traverse area. Click here to learn more.

Can you assist my project design and material selection?

Yes, gladly. We’ve got a phenomenal staff that’s ready to help you design your kitchen, deck, or other projects. We’ll help you select the right materials for your needs and budget too.

Are you open to the public?

Yes. While we service contractors of all levels in the greater Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties areas, we’d love to add you to a growing contingent of do-it-yourselfers that trust our quality and expertise.

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Videos

See it Yourself with Videos

Our experienced team is always here to provide you with knowledge and advice, but what about on the site of your project? We’ve built a library of some of our vendors most popular how-to and tips videos.

Andersen Windows
Wolf Home Products
PPG Paints
Codes

Building Codes and Permits

Common questions about permits and codes, plus links to buy the codes if you need them. As always, Northern Building Supply is here to help guide you both online and in-store.

What construction projects require a building permit?

With very few exceptions, most new construction will require a building permit. Projects to existing structures also require permits. Additions, decks, siding, re-shingling, change of use, all need permits. Essential for safety, any project that requires structural or load-bearing modifications for safety.

What is a building code?

Building codes are the minimum set of standards to follow for the construction of structures that we use and occupy. They keep things both standardized and safe.

Who needs building codes?

Construction and remodeling projects need building codes. More generally, we all rely on building codes to establish confidence in the basic quality and safety of structures.

What building code do I need?

Currently, the “2015 Michigan Residential Code” applies to one and two-family dwellings. All other structures rely on the “2015 Michigan Building Code.” These codes are based on international standards. Other plumbing, mechanical, and electrical codes are also available through the International Code Council (ICC).

How do I get building codes or more information?

Your county-level government organization has information for applications/permits, inspections, and codes. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) also has great information on their Bureau of Construction Codes page. Click the images to purchase a physical or PDF version of the codes from ICC.

Residential Building Code Book Cover
MI-Building-Code
Terminology

Glossary of Construction Terminology

Sometimes the building industry uses jargon you might not be familiar with. We’ve included some terminology our customers have found helpful.

  • Area Wells
    Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.
  • Bottom Chord
    The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.
  • Cove Molding
    A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
  • Flame Retention Burner
    An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use.
  • Heat Trim
    Work performed by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat-related work.
  • Linear / Lineal Foot
    A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1″ x 12″ x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2″ x 12″ x 16′ = 32 board feet.
  • Rake Siding
    The practice of installing lap siding diagonally.
  • Sash Balance
    A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place.
  • Service Lateral
    Underground power supply line.
  • Stair Rise
    The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½”).
  • Sway Brace
    Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion.
  • Utility Easement
    The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.
  • Backout
    Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.
  • Concrete Board
    A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material.
  • Cross Bridging
    Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting.
  • Flue Lining
    2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually made in all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys run from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
  • Area Wells
    Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.
  • Bottom Chord
    The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.
  • Cove Molding
    A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
  • Flame Retention Burner
    An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use.
  • Heat Trim
    Work performed by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat-related work.
  • Linear / Lineal Foot
    A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1″ x 12″ x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2″ x 12″ x 16′ = 32 board feet.
  • Rake Siding
    The practice of installing lap siding diagonally.
  • Sash Balance
    A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place.
  • Service Lateral
    Underground power supply line.
  • Stair Rise
    The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½”).
  • Sway Brace
    Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion.
  • Utility Easement
    The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.
  • Backout
    Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.
  • Concrete Board
    A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material.
  • Cross Bridging
    Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting.
  • Flue Lining
    2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually made in all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys run from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
  • Area Wells
    Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth.
  • Bottom Chord
    The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.
  • Cove Molding
    A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
  • Flame Retention Burner
    An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use.
  • Heat Trim
    Work performed by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat-related work.
  • Linear / Lineal Foot
    A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1″ x 12″ x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2″ x 12″ x 16′ = 32 board feet.
  • Rake Siding
    The practice of installing lap siding diagonally.
  • Sash Balance
    A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place.
  • Service Lateral
    Underground power supply line.
  • Stair Rise
    The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½”).
  • Sway Brace
    Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion.
  • Utility Easement
    The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines.
  • Backout
    Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.
  • Concrete Board
    A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material.
  • Cross Bridging
    Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting.
  • Flue Lining
    2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually made in all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys run from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
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