Floor

When we originally constructed the foundation, we used 12 metposts, which are essentially metal spikes with a bracket for a 4×4 on the top, to hold up the beams to which we attached joists, and then covered with deck boards. We weren’t sure whether the foundation would be used as a floor for a structure and, honestly, we didn’t even know how you’d make a floor for a structure. We basically just used the technique we had used before to build a neighbours deck one summer. Every 8 feet we put a row of three met posts, hung a beam off a 4×4″ pillar and hung joists in between these beams. We also screwed everything in, instead of nailing them, something I think will end up being the right idea, in terms of general creakiness and give in the floor. This is the best picture:joists

In a normal house, you would just run long joists from wall to wall, putting supports where you can in the basement, or using load bearing walls to support them on the 2nd floor and above.

As it turns out, having deck board under the floor of a cabin is not really the traditional way of doing things. So we were asking ourselves if we should maybe take them off, and build the floor right on top of the joists. When you build a traditional floor, you basically put cross braces between joists in the form of an X or flat pieces of wood the same width as the joist toe nailed into them, called blocks.This is to improve the rigidity of the floor. Our joists don’t run very long, much shorter than traditional housing spans, so that leads me to believe we would have no issue with rigidity without the cross braces or blocks. Then, on top of the joists you screw or nail down 1/2″ tongue and groove plywood in an offset pattern, making sure to leave 2mm of space between each board for expansion.

I’ve had to deliberate on whether or not we should remove the decking, and put in braces of some sort for rigidity, but I am inclined to leave the decking. The decking will give incredible rigidity to the floor, as well as take up part of the total load of the structure. Because we are not on concrete piers or a full concrete foundation, this is important. The only disadvantage is the slight gap between the deck boards and the added height, and this really only affects the walls of the structure.

This affects things because we’ll be putting a 1/2″ plywood on top of 2″ deck board. Walls are made up of plates for the top and bottom, and studs that make up the height. The total height of the wall should be 8 feet, because that’s the height of the plywood sheets that will end up covering the walls. It just makes things super easy when building to not have to cut anything. But if there is also this 1/2 inch plywood and another 2 inches of deck board, the plywood will not cover this.

So, the solution would be to put a board around the sides that will cover this area. But the board will have to be flush with the walls so that the siding covers it as well, ensuring no moisture penetrates.

Right now, I’m feeling like I have to draw this out on paper. I’ll post it once I’ve got it figured out.

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~ by cabineer on May 20, 2009.

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