Sunday, September 11, 2011

The House: Subfloor

On Saturday (September 10), we made some awesome progress on the house. I promised I would blog all these little steps, so here they are!

After the load bearing wall, green treated wood, and rimboard have been installed, we're ready to start placing the floor joists. The joists we are using are a composite particle board, encased by pine 2x4's (in other words, "I" beams). They are the biggest of any of our building materials, and measure between 16 (the shorties) and 32 feet long. We place them every 16 inches across the whole floor. We square off the rim board, then carefully measure where each joist will be placed. We cut the I joists, then place them in and nail them down with great big nails.

They balance in the middle on the load bearing basement wall. Between each joist, about half way through, we place more small pieces of floor joist, so everything is very solid and square.

We use the floor plan to know exactly where the joists should go, if any need to pop out over the edge of the foundation (cantilever) or where they need to be cut short to go around the stairway. Also, corners get reinforced with extra pieces of joist, and there's a few spots like around stairwells that might need some fidgeting to get the joists in correctly.
(By the way, in the picture above, you can see a house in the background, all framed but with no exterior... that is "House 1." Also, if you look VERY carefully, you can see the top of an empty foundation, which is our next-door neighbor and "House 7." Just to give you a bit of perspective on the neighborhood.)

Once the joists are all placed--which takes a lot of work--we can begin placing subfloor. The subfloor is also a composite particle board, 3/4" thick, with a pre-cut interlocking system (a notch on one side, a rabbit on the other). To place these big 4'x8' sheets, we first use subfloor glue on all the joists. Then we place the boards down, square it up, use a sledge hammer to interlock the rabbit into the notch, and then nail them down with the nail gun. The gluing was my job.

Over spots like cantilevers, stairwells, and corners, we usually place a whole piece of subfloor (or a pre-cut smaller piece) and use a router to cut off excess.

Yesterday it took us about 3 hours to place all the subfloor. At last, we nailed in the last board (both the last board in our stack and the last board on the house... how's that for awesome?), and we had just enough time to clean up and go home.

One last thing that happened at the house: while four of us were busily putting down the subfloor, one more guy started the framing of the large back wall. He's a framing master, I think. :) He laid out big long 2x6's and first marked out where everything will go--studs, windows, doors. Then he brought in the studs, built headers for the windows and doors, and nailed everything together. It's all built now. You can see this back wall laying down in the above pictures.

Today, Sunday Sept 11, we took the kids out to show them the floor on the house. They loved running around on the big empty floor. We did find one little nail and let the kids hammer it in. They have now helped build the house.

This is a very special project, and we are so thrilled we chose to do it. We are already forming a wonderful connection with our neighbors and with our home that will stick with us for life. Now, Tuesday--exterior walls!

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