The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More floor framing

(This post was written yesterday, but Blogger/Picassa were having problems and prevented me from posting it last evening.)

Although the weather has been hot and humid, we keep working. And, we’re making progress.

On Wednesday, Jon had to leave early because he was needed at home. I had to run an errand into town which took longer than it was supposed to. After I returned, my dad offered to help me work on the house. continued framing -- three sectionsWe worked a little before lunch and then another couple of hours after lunch and accomplished a fair bit.

We continued framing the floor on the west side of the house, working out from the root cellar. I had to figure how to go about it since I only had enough 2x8s to use as floor joists for one section. There are three sections from framing for the floor above the root cellar toward the front of the house: the mudroom, porch, and the summer kitchen.

summer kitchen floor framing I decided to use the 2x8s for the floor joists of the summer kitchen (that’s what was left of the 2x dimensional lumber I bought at the beginning of the week). They were mostly 10’ long boards, and the span is approximately 9 feet. So, these worked well. They wouldn’t work in the mudroom section since the span there is 11 feet.

We started by putting beams from the mudroom foundation wall to the piers on this end of the house (two piers). Because of how the floor will be framed, I chose to use 6x8 beams between the piers. We ran a 6x8 beams from the first pier back to the foundation wall in order to ensure that the two longer beams I had would be long enough.

I designed the piers to be about 2 inches higher in elevation than the foundation wall. southwest corner of the houseThere is some variation to be handled with wood shims. However, when we laid the first beam from the corner of the mudroom foundation wall to the first pier, the level showed that it was level. The next beam between the two piers was low at the corner. Then, the 4x6 from the kitchen foundation to the pier showed the pier being high. This was confusing.

We checked things with a line level, but it just wasn’t accurate enough to determine how level the beams were. So, I used a straight cedar 2x4 I had with the four foot level on top. With this setup we were able to determine that the first pier was 1.75 inches higher than the foundation wall – more like it was supposed to be. So, I notched the bottoms of the beams, and amazingly, they came out level (the crown in the first beam accounts for most of the discrepancy that exists).

We worked the beams out to level before hanging floor joists for the summer kitchen. These went fairly quickly. They hung on the 2x10 box on the kitchen foundation wall on the inside and nailed into the 6x8 on the outside.

After framing this section, we hung two 6x8 beams from the house out to the outside edge. We’ll hang 2x6 floor joists out from these beams to the 2x10 on the edge of the floor above the root cellar, to the box on the mudroom foundation wall, and to the 6x8 at the edge of the summer kitchen floor framing (four sections of 2x6 floor joists all together). These 2x6 floor joists will only span 5.5 to 6 feet. So, they ought to be strong enough.

At this point, it was 5:00pm and we were at a good stopping point. Jon will probably be here to work tomorrow. We’ll continue with more floor framing then.



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