Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goin' With the Flo'

Now that the repaired trailer successfully made it back to my house. I can now start installing the frame for the floor and sub-floor. Before I left my parents house, over the Mardi Gras holidays, I needed to run some lumber through my dads table saw. The wood that needs to go inside of the c-channel steel needed to be cut at a 7 degree angle and then run through a router to get the correct curve that is inside of the steel in order to sit flush. The top lighter colored wood are 2x6s that I had to buy from Lowes, and the bottom darker 2x4s came from an old church in Alexandria, La, that my dad is renovating (Yay free stuff!). This step was pretty easy and only took part of a day to install everything. First, I dry fitted some of the wood to make sure everything fit and then applied liquid nail to the backside of the wood to help keep the wood in place. It all fit very snug but the extra adhesive didn't hurt.
Wood inside the frame (drivers side)

Wood inside the frame (passenger side). Some of the wood needed to be clamped because some were slightly warped.

Watch those trailer light wires. Make sure they don't get crimped!

Fit nice and snug!
 Next came time to hang the floor joists. I thought this was only going to take a day to do but it took about two instead. Turns out that hanging floor joists is probably a two man job! Oh well, I made it work. To make the floor joists sit flush with the top of the steel frame I had to cut about a quarter inch notch on each side of each joist. If I got it perfectly cut the joist would fit snug into the frame and would then be easy to install the hangers. I got it snug about 60% of the time I guess. The other 40% required me to hold the joist on my shoulder and hold the drill, hanger, and screw all at the same time to get it hung up there. It was a balancing act and sometimes frustrating but I eventually got it. Also don't let your wood sit for too long because some of them could start to warp very quickly. And I remember when I bought the wood I checked every piece to make sure nothing was warped, but inevitably some pieces just did it anyway.
Making some progress!

Most of the joists are in now.

View from the back. See the small rafter between the first and second joist?  The second one was warped bad and I had to pull them together with that rafter. It was a battle!
Now for the front porch!

The porch measures 4x8 and is covered with 8' treated decking. At first I was going to install the full 8' board across the width of the trailer but I would have had to put in more rafters in between the joists and I didn't feel like doing that. It seemed like more work. So I decided to cut pieces to lay them horizontally with an 8' piece on the front to kind of cap everything off. I think it made for a nice look. At this step in the process I dry fitted everything first before I screwed the boards to the joists. I had to get all of the gaps in between the decking correct and make sure it all looked even and flush. I took many steps back and took a long look to make sure it was pleasing to the eye. I mean, it is the front of the house and the first thing people are going to see. You don't want to invite the first person to your house and have them tell you something doesn't look straight, what a bummer that would be! I wasn't worried about the back of the porch being perfectly even because it will eventually be trimmed in and you won't be able see it anyway. But all in all I think the porch is a success and I can't wait to give it a nice dark wood stain like you would see on a sailboat or something.
The front porch is now complete!

Side porch view
Now finally for the first layer of OSB sub-floor.

To cover the entire trailer I only had to buy 5 4x8 sheets of OSB. It all fit very nicely and I only had to cut an inch and a half off of the piece laying next to the front porch. I got it all flush and was ready to screw these suckers in! It took two half days to complete this! While most of the floor joists are wood and it was easy to screw the OSB into them. The other joists were steel cross pieces of the trailer frame and it took some time to drill through the steel. All around the sides of the trailer I screwed in 1/4" hex screws to attach it to the wood that was running on the inside of the steel frame. That was pretty easy and I thought I could put in self-tapping wood to steel screws for the other spots. Oh no, that was not the case! While the self-tapping screws attached to the angle iron joists fairly easily, it was a way different story going through the c-channel joists. The steel on those guys are much thicker and the screws would not even come close to tapping themselves. So I had to drill through them and bolt the OSB down. While this worked for a little while it became harder and harder to drill through the steel. And then all of a sudden-Snap! My drill bit snapped in half! And then another one and another one! Three bits in a row. I thought I had all titanium bits and that would do just fine but apparently, after some research, Cobalt bits are better to use for steel. They can still break, but if you are careful they can work. Turns out that right when the bit is about to penetrate the other side of the steel is the most likely time that the bit will snap. It gets snagged on a few of the last shards of steel sticking out the other side. So if your drill starts to get stuck just back it out and slowly work your way through.
All of the OSB is now attached to the frame!


The next step is to now move the trailer to my friend Keith's house to finish building the house. I was planning on finishing it at my house but my landlord wants it gone. So thankfully Keith saves the day again! I also gave myself a deadline for getting this thing livable...June 1st! I told my landlord everything I was planning on doing and told him I would be out of the house by then. It is kind of scary to think about all I have to do between now and then but it is very exciting!

This is the first layer of OSB for the sub-floor and originally all I was planning on doing. But as I walk on the floor now I feel it needs to be stronger. I was researching online and I found a contractor that said you could glue down another layer of OSB and it should be a lot stronger. Then when I put the wood floors in everything should feel nice and solid.

Most tiny house builders put in the floor insulation at this time as well. And I am sure some of you might be wondering why I skipped this step. Well, one reason is I left the insulation I had at my parents place. My dad will bring it for me when the Easter holiday gets here. Second, the trailer, when even with the ground, sits about 3 feet high from the ground. So there will be plenty of room underneath to get the insulation, plumbing, electrical, or gas lines in. And then one day when I am done under there I will completely enclose it with something, probably aluminium sheets, but I'm not exactly sure about that yet. And because the trailer sits so high from the ground I now have to change part of my original interior design that I had revealed in a previous post. I can no longer use the sliding glass door that was going to be the bathroom door and wall. The door itself measures 6'8"h and when you add 2x4s under and over it to frame it in and not to mention the floor joists for the loft on top of that, that leaves little room up in the sleeping loft. To be street legal the house can only be 13'5" tall. So if I use the sliding glass door it would only leave like 2' up in the loft and while that might be enough for me to lay down it will definitely not be enough room for me to sit up. So the sliding door will now be used as the front door to my hoop greenhouse on the farm!

Turns out that taking out that door opened up new interior design possibilities. So now I will have to go back and draw up some new plans from the same program I used last time. But from the rough sketches I drew up at 3 in the morning just the other night, it will make the space even more fantastic! All will be revealed in due time. The only thing I can think of to describe what it will look like is these three things: Swedish IKEA design, a cube house, and a yacht all wrapped up into one!

So I will leave it at that until next time! The next step will be to haul the trailer to Keith's, double up the OSB, and start the pallet walls!

Wish me luck!