Introduction

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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Porch floor

With the porch roof put on (only two ridge caps left to complete), it was time to start laying the porch floor. With my dad’s help, I started putting boards down on Monday.

In the spring of 2009, a friend let me cut down some beech trees on his property and have the logs. stickered beech boards for the porch floorDad and I dragged the logs out of the woods and staged them for milling last fall. Finally, a friend of mine brought his Woodmizer sawmill over to saw the logs for me early this summer. We brought them home and stickered (stacked with sticks between the layers so that air can get all around the boards) them near the house, waiting for the time when they would become our porch floor.

We hauled several over near the cut-off saw, and porch floor boards screwed in placeDad began squaring one end. The design of the porch is for the floor to run from the house out. This allows the boards to be laid down without concern for their overall length, as long as they are long enough to allow some overhang at the edge of the porch. Once the boards are screwed down, I snap a line and cut them off to the right length with my circular saw. Then, they are all the same length.

After dad squared one end, I would put a board in place and then screw it down with deck screws. This takes a fair bit of time. We were able to complete almost 30 feet of floor along the front of the house on Monday. Yesterday, I finished up the last four feet and cut the excess off the edge leaving a nice overhang. It looks quite nice.

front porch floorfront porch floor

Today, Jon came over to work. He, Dad, and I worked on the porch floor on the back of the house. When I cut the trees and bucked them into saw logs, I was planning for the porch to be 9 feet wide. It turns out that it is actually 9.5 feet wide. So, some of the boards are almost but not quite long enough. So, we had to get creative.

back porch floorOn the back, we cut short lengths and screwed them near the house. Then, we ran longer lengths out from that. This made good use of our material with little waste, and it will work fine for the floor.

We completed the back porch floor and started on the east side of the house before quitting for the day. On Friday, we’ll continue where we left off.

4 comments:

curdy said...

Very nice! I can picture how nice it will be for you and the family to sit and enjoy that big porch!

What made you choose beech?

dp said...

I'm imagining how nice it will be too. It'll be a nice part of our living space for several months out of each year.

I chose beech for the floor because my friend offered the trees, and they were beech. It really wasn't about them being beech as much as it was that they didn't cost me anything. I was going to use cull lumber from a local sawmill otherwise.

curdy said...

Yup, that's exactly what I figured. Hard to beat the price.

I cut down a very large one at my brother's place a couple of years ago. I wish I had set it aside to be milled, but at the time, I wasn't into that like I am now.

I haven't worked any with beech before in my shop. I do hear its very strong and easier to work with than one may expect. Wears nicely too, so as a floor, it should be nice. Not rot resistant though. I know its a covered porch, but what are your thoughts on and moisture accumulating with windy rains and such?

dp said...

I'm continuing to ponder upon a treatment for the porch floor. I don't want anything chemical/poisonous, of course. I haven't decided yet what I'll use, but I will treat it with something.