The last few weeks have continued to be cold, but we still made a lot of progress. After some frozen fingers and toes, a smashed thumb, and one very long day (12 hours to be exact), we officially sealed in our subfloor! The process was trying at times, but we learned a lot and have honed our skills for framing and sheathing the walls.
Here’s a brief summary of our process:
1) Created 3 separate joist boxes of (hopefully) manageable size. We started with the framing (2×6 Doug-fir), made sure it was square, attached the plywood underside (1/2 inch CDX), attached the joist support brackets, then attached galvanized steel flashing to the bottom side of the plywood and sealed it with foil tape. We actually attached the metal joist brackets before the plywood on the first box, which ended up pulling the box out of square. Lesson learned for the next one.
2) Maneuver completed boxes into place. This took some finagling as they were still quite heavy, but we managed. We unfortunately scratched the trailer paint in the process when the screws holding the flashing scraped across the flange. 🙁 We painted over the scratches with auto paint to prevent rust.
3) Put wool insulation between the floor joists. We purchased our insulation from Oregon Shepherd, a company based in Rainier, Oregon. We have heard only good things about the product from other tiny-house inhabitants and the characteristics of wool insulation definitely appealed to us enough to spend a little more than conventional fiberglass bats would have cost. Oregon Shepherd uses 100% recycled wool treated with borate salts to deter pests and increase its natural fire-resistant qualities. Wool also doesn’t settle over time as other insulations tend to, in fact it expands a bit, allowing you to maintain your R-value over time. It also breathes, absorbs and desorbs moisture, helping to prevent condensation issues. On an environmental scale, wool insulation has far less embodied energy and is a renewable resource. And the R-value is comparable to more conventional insulation. There were just too many benefits for us to choose anything else!
Working with the wool was actually fun. It was a little like playing in fluffy rainbow-colored snow, but without the frozen, wet fingers part. When our fingers were cold, we could just dig them into the wool for a minute or two and really feel the insulating power . I love that our house will be wrapped in this cozy wool blanket.
4) Measured, cut and applied 3/4 inch tongue and groove plywood subfloor (using construction adhesive and ring shank nails). We were sure to stagger the sheets as recommended by Andrew Morrison of tinyhousebuild.com. His DVD series on how to build a tiny house has been a great resource for us.
- Square, square, and re-square.
- When snapping chalk lines, get the line as taut as possible.
- Mark everything clearly; never guesstimate.
- Take time to stop and think/talk through all the steps of any task before diving in. It will ultimately save you time.
- Nail guns are finicky little creatures and you must talk nicely to them.
It feels great to have the first major component of our house done! Here are some pics to enjoy: