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, September 8, 2010

Second floor subfloor

upstairs subfloorWe’ve spent several days preparing boards for the upstairs subfloor which is also the ceiling for the first floor. Previously, I bought some cull lumber for this purpose. I stickered the boards after culling out the ones that weren’t usable for the house. That was a few years ago (I can’t remember if it was three or four).

Jon and I ran a few of them through the planer several weeks ago when we had a lull in other construction tasks. Dad and I started planing the rest of the boards last week. We had to run each board through the planer three times, taking off about 3/32” each pass. A few boards were thicker and had to be run through more times. The final thickness was 15/16” with at least one side on each board smooth enough for the ceiling.

The next step in the process was cutting the boards to length. The original lengths were from 8 to 12 feet long. We cut them to 48”, 54”, and 67” lengths. Then, each board could be edged on the table saw before finally have a rabbet cut on each edge so there would be a lap joint when nailed into place.

We determined the necessary lengths of the boards based upon the spacing between the floor joists, wanting the boards to span across at least three joists. For most of them, that is 48”. It’s easier to edge shorter boards on the table saw than longer ones. Also, I’ve left the boards at various widths. boards ready to go to the houseSo, when they are installed, a row is put across which spans at least three floor joists, and then another row is put on.

While Jon and dad began installing the boards we prepared by Monday of this week, I finished cutting the rabbet joints in the remaining boards which had already been cut to length and edged. When I finished, I took them down to the house and checked on their progress. They were doing fine. So, while they worked on the floor, I put flashing on the front corners of the porch roof and installed the ridge cap.

The floor butts up against the cathedral ceiling at the front of the house. junction between the two ceilingsDad cut the edge of the board at 55 degrees to match the angle of the cathedral ceiling. The angle matched, but the boards didn’t line up perfectly because the existing ceiling is not perfect level across its face. That’s okay. I’ll cover this joint with some molding later on.

By the end of the day, we had the floor/ceiling on one side, the landing that will be at the top of the stairs, and the first section on the other side installed. We’ll continue putting the rest in on Friday. Tomorrow, I have to process a few more boards which are already planed (the ones Jon and I planed a few weeks ago). We need some more to finish the job. If I get those ready, we ought to be able to get the rest of the east side done in a few hours on Friday. Then, we might stack a few bales in one section.

   ceiling floor  The ceiling


curdy said...

LOVE IT!!! That ceiling is going to give the first floor such a nice warm feeling to it! Nice work!

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

I know its a lot of work but it looks great, keep up the good work.