Floors and Doors

The first floor now has an actual floor. A subfloor, anyway. Working around some heavy rain, the five of us made quick work of gluing and nailing the tongue-and-groove plywood atop the floor joists. We started in the southwest corner of the main floor and the northwest corner of the mudroom, aiming to use as many full 4×8-foot sheets as possible on each level. In order to stagger the joints, I ripped half-sheets with a circular saw to start and finish every other row. Terry took care of more difficult cuts, like the goofy shape around the basement stairs and the 3-inch-wide lengthwise pieces to complete the north edge.

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Colin and Carson lay first floor plywood.

Turner, Carson, and I got into a great rhythm with the plywood and worked at a rate of about five minutes per sheet at our peak. First, we used two glue guns to lay a bead of Lumber Lock on all the joists and rim boards that would support the next sheet. When a tube of glue ran low, somebody would grab a full tube and prepare it by slicing off the tip and breaking the seal with a long screw or other poking device, so it was ready to sub in. (We three swapped jobs continually as needed.) Then, two of us carried the next sheet over and set it down on the glue bead. With the help of Sluggo and a shim to protect the plywood edge we fit the tongue into the groove and knocked the perpendicular edge flush with the previous sheet. Once the alignment satisfied us, we tack-nailed the sheet in one corner and then finished nailing the previous sheet at 12-inch intervals along every joist. Looking ahead, when the next sheet was a partial, I would go cut it; otherwise, we would immediately lay the next glue bead.

Turner inspects the finished subfloor. You can tell by the color change which sheets we laid before versus after the rainstorm.

Turner inspects the finished subfloor. You can tell by the color change which sheets we laid before versus after the rainstorm.

The basement stairs took some figuring out. Colin and Terry knew how many steps they wanted in each run, and they had to locate the bottom and top in space. It was difficult to visualize the stairs against the load-bearing walls we had already built. Finally Terry sliced 12 inches off a top plate we’d already erected and moved a floor joist to a new location, which seemed to solve the puzzle. The plywood installation came to a standstill during the stairs ordeal, which was on the critical path because of the order we need to fit the tongues into the grooves… it was the only significant downtime I had this week.

Complex stud walls around the stairwell, before installing the floor joists and plywood.

Complex stud walls around the stairwell, before installing the floor joists and plywood.

Colin chisels out hinge inserts. Note the door frame on the right, ready to hang.

Colin chisels out hinge inserts. Note the door frame on the right, ready to hang.

Meanwhile, the Barn gained three more doors. Two single swing doors lead to the breezeway and the north yard; they were delivered and installed in one piece. The east door we’re building ourselves. It’s a double door with a diagonal braced frame to match the traditional style. The frames are built and painted, and on Thursday we chiseled the outer frames to accommodate hinges. Then we hung them. All that’s left now is to fill the frames with green-painted plywood.

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