Floor Construction page 2



After the floor joists were in, we started working on the drain lines. This is the black pipe in the photos.  The drain lines have to slope 1/4" per foot on their way down and out of the house.  Turns out it's fairly easy to get this slope by just measuring from the top of the pipe to the bottom of the floor joists.  And then when the pipes are running perpendicular to the floor joists, you just add or subtract an inch every 3rd joist.  This works because our joists are spaced every 16"....so it takes 3 of them to go 4'  Here are some photos from the drain line construction.
After the drain lines were in, we moved on to the heat duct work.  This has been going fairly well.  We're going with a mostly hard pipe for the ducts, except for the last 5' or so will be flexible pipe.  So far we have the hard pipe in and I've started to seal it up with mastic.  Mastic is my new best friend.  It seals up the pipe so it's air tight.  Before mastic, people used Duct Tape....for sealing ducts. Well, it turns out, duct tape isn't that good at sealing ducts.  Sure it works for a while, but then after a couple years it degrades and the ducts start leaking.  Mastic is like a thick paint with some fibers in it that you paint on the joints in the duct work to seal them up.  It's supposed to last for years and years without leaking.  The next step is to insulate the pipe.  We'll be starting that tonight or tomorrow.  I haven't been taking on this duct work all by myself.   It just so happens that one of the members of our church has a heating and cooling business.  We have a shiny new heat pump sitting the shop waiting to be installed after the house is assembled.  Roger, the heating and cooling guy, has been helping me get my ducts in a row.  Here are some pictures of the duct work. 
This is the box that the air handler, blower thingy, will sit on in the garage.  I still need to insulate it and anchor it down a little more.  Notice the flashing next to the house.  This is because the garage floor will be poured up to the level of the floor in the house. 



Here are some of the branch lines coming off the trunk line.  The trunk line starts out at 14" wide where it comes out of the garage.  Then it goes to 12" and finally 10".  Branch lines are mostly 7" with the exception of the lines going to the living room and the kitchen...they are 9" and 8".


I had to dust off the helicopter to get this shot.  I haven't had it out for almost 8 months.  But I charged up the batteries, Strapped on the new camera and up it went.  For these shots the camera was pointed straight down.  The sun was just about at noon here so the shadows were minimal.   You can see the helicopter shadow in each photo.  In the last picture it's a little larger than in the first two. 

7/18/2008 -

The sub floor inspection went well!  Everything passed.  It feels like getting a passing grade on a big homework project.....get it?.... Home....Work project.   Maybe I should cut back on the diet soda in the afternoons.

Well the insulation guys came out and insulated the floor.  The new code for around here is R30 for the floor.  I guess it used to be R24, but this past month it changed to R30.  So We could have went with the R24 stuff since our permit was issued in January, but I figured it's better to go big when it comes to insulation.  Especially with the rising cost of energy.  For the walls they have a BIBs (Blown In Blanket) technique that gives an R23 instead of the R21 you get with batting.  So we'll go with that also...it supposedly fills in around electrical and plumbing better, just another benefit.  It only cost like $300 more for the BIBs.  The ceiling has to be insulated to R38.  This will also be blown in.  I'm not sure how many inches of insulation makes R38, but it has to be a lot. 

Here is Katie standing next to the floor after the insulation guys installed the R30 in the floor

Besides the digging this was the only other thing we have hired out.  The insulation bid was cheaper than I could have bought in the insulation for....and the bid included installation.  

And here is Katie next to the flooring.  We're going with 7/8 osb Tongue and Groove (It's groovy!) sub floor.  There are 63 sheets there.....lets see, if I can install one sheet every 15 minutes, adding in some time for cutting out for pipes, and some time for breaks, and some time for going to buy more nails....it should only take me like 6 months to get the floor on.  I'll post more pictures when it's done. We're also going to be framing the deck before the walls so that we can stand on the deck while setting the roof trusses.


July 30th. 

Well the floor construction section is almost complete.  We have the sub floor down and have started on the deck.  Once the deck is on I'll wrap up this section and start on the walls and roof pages. 

Here the floor is all glued and nailed down.  It took 62 sheets of sub floor.  We used 27 big tubes of glue to glue the sub floor down to the floor joists.  And I haven't counted but we probably used over 3000 nails. 


All was going well until Kim started reading the ingredients on the tubes of glue.  Apparently the best part of the list was that the vapors were flammable.  I told her not to worry....those substances are only known to cause cancer and birth defects in the state of California!  We're in Oregon where it's perfectly safe.

A special thanks goes out to our neighbor Bob who came down and helped get the sub floor down!  It would have taken much longer without his help.

Here are the support posts for around the deck.  These post will hold up the roof once we get to that phase.  I was going to leave them off until later, but since we're going to start framing up the deck I figured I would put them on now while it's still easy to get to the brackets.  These are 6x6x 10' pressure treated posts.  The ceiling will be just about at the top of the posts.
Another view of the deck posts.  I worked on these today...so they get more photos.  Actually they only took a couple hours to put on....compared to a couple full days to put on the sub floor!

The 6x6 posts came with a little complication.  Well I'm sure it's not anything an experienced builder would have worried about.  But since this is my first time building a deck I has to stop and think about it for a minute.

You see, the 6x6 posts are actually 5.75 X 5.75 inches.  No big deal.  most lumber is actually smaller than the way it's specified.  A 2x6 is actually 1.5 X 5.5......so if you think of it that way, I got a deal with the 6x6 posts!  My brother informs me that this is how the saw mills get what they call "over run".  Over Run meaning that with an efficient saw mill they could cut maybe 11 2x studs out of a 20" section of log.  Where as normal math would say you could only get 10.

As another side note, I found another place where lumber is getting smaller.  We're building our house with 9' ceilings.  And you can buy studs that are cut specifically for 9' ceilings.  Which is great.  You put on one 2x6 plate on the bottom of your wall, nail in some pre cut 9' studs and two 2x6 plates at the top of the wall to tie it all together and you get a 9' wall.  In most parts of the country this means the studs are 104 5/8 inches long.  combine that with the 4.5 inches for the three 2x plates and you get 109 1/8.  Or 1 and 1/8th inch over 9'.  This allows for some room for the drywall on the ceiling and some carpet on the floor and still gives you 9' of visible wall.  Well I've read that in some parts of California the 9' pre cut studs are actually 104 1/4 inches.  This means that houses in that area will now have walls  3/8ths of an inch shorter than most places!  It's terrible.  Things are shrinking all around us and we are powerless to stop it!  And don't even get me started on how the square footage of your house is calculated by the outside dimensions of the house!  I mean, what about the square footage that the walls take up?  If you measured the inside dimensions of each room and added them up our house would probably be 200' smaller than specified!  I guess when they say an open floor plan makes things feel larger it really does!  Since there are less walls in an open floor plan you actually do have more square footage inside your house.

Well back to the original complication with the deck posts.  So I got these 6x6 post, which are 5.75 X 5.75.  And I got these fancy galvanized post brackets for 6x6 posts.....which only measure 5.5 inches wide.  The posts don't fit.  So I'm trying to figure out what to do, and I remember that these post brackets cost $30 a piece and the post only cost $25 a piece (there is something wrong with that!), so I decide to modify the cheaper piece.  I cut off 1/8th of an inch off each side of the bottom of the post so it would fit nicely into the bracket.  Why the post people and the bracket people can't get together and figure this out I will never know.  But maybe what happened is that I got a California bracket and a Oregon post.  Could be.

Here is a shot from up the hill....basically what the neighbors see of the project.  I'm sure they will love it when the house blocks the view of the big white truck (AKA the mobile drug lab)
Another little diversion was that we added the hose bibs on right before the floor went down.  This made it easier run the PEX to the faucets.  These faucets turn off 12" inside the house.  They are called no freeze faucets.  When you turn them off there isn't any water out towards the outside of the building to freeze.  Seems like a good idea to me.  Might even be code.  But since I'm not a licensed plumber I wouldn't know.  But I do know that they are fancy for another reason!   They are quarter turn faucets.  1/4 turn of the handle is all it takes to turn them fully on!  Seemed like a nice feature to me.  I'll let you know how they work.

And if they weren't fancy enough, we added a little more bling to them by putting these cedar blocks behind the hose bibs.  They help support the faucet and hold it out slightly from the siding.  They sell simple square blocks pre dilled and routed just for this purpose.  With a total disregard for any value of our time, we decided to make our own.  There are some window features in our house that will have an arched window between two shorter rectangular windows.  So we decided to repeat this pattern here. 




After spending a couple nice vacations in Florida and staying with my Aunt Fay and Uncle Bill we decided we needed an outside shower, just like theirs!  Since most showers have hot and cold water we decided to use hose bibs to attached the shower to house.  One for hot and one for cold.  In the winter we would unhook the hoses, the pipes would drain, and hopefully nothing will freeze.  Of course, with two hose bibs close together we needed another custom hose bib block.  These they don't sell, so it wasn't as much of a waste of time.

A side note. My Aunt Fay doesn't like to be called Aunt.  Says it makes her sound old.  Well she is actually a Great Aunt 3 times over now.  And soon to be 4 times, thanks to my brother and his wife.  So I dedicate this outside shower to Great Aunt Fay!  Thanks Fay and Bill for the inspiration.

One final bit of info worth passing on.  The cedar we used for the hose bib blocks is the same cedar you would use to cover your deck.  I was originally thinking of going with a nice cedar deck....I like the feel and look of real wood.  But I learned that cedar prices are way up.  So it would cost over $4 a square foot to cover the deck in cedar.  We won't be ready to cover the deck until next summer, so hopefully prices come down a lot.  Otherwise we might be looking at something else.