Mid-November Build Weekend: Halfway to a Subfloor + Meet a great eco building product

Mid-November Build Weekend: Halfway to a Subfloor + Meet a great eco building product

You know how sometimes when I start my posts, I declare “it’s going to be a quickie!”, then one hour later when you finish reading it you are all “Not such a quick one there, Kac”. Well, today I’ll keep it real. This is long, and not nearly as well laid out as I’d like it to be. Bare with me kids! Mama’s been busy, and I’m full of grammatical errors. Meet my growing subfloor:

I’m hoping to finish the subfloor and some wall framing this weekend…” or my words went something like that last week.

Ha, oh, my silly little week-ago naive self. Apparently, building takes time(And did you know that in order for nails to work in the nail gun, you need those strippy (parenthesis in a parenthesis: I do know that strippy is not a real word) things too? And they are in fact, not called strippy things? I figured it’s just some studs and screws, everyone seems to whip right through this stage. Thanks Bob Villa, for making it all look so easy.

It’s looking like patience is not going to be one of my virtues.

Progress was made though, and I do have myself about a half complete subfloor. Here’s the rundown:

Grammy took baby duty Friday through Monday so I could finally get a few solid work days in. Friday I was on my own, so I rushed back to Illinois at my dad’s property where we’ve been living for the month (and where, obviously, are building) still stuffed from a delicious turkey-less turkey day ready to work.

I then realized after looking over my framing plans, I miscalculated* how high the walls needed to be. It was about 4 inches off, so I needed to trim down about 22 boards I had already cut. This pretty took up most of my afternoon, between the re-cutting and moving some thing around in the shop. (*Builder Error: a few factors went into having to cut my studs down a bit. I forgot I want my OSB sheathing to connect from my subfloor all the way up to my top plate of the wall, well I only calculated the OSB connecting from the bottom plate to the top plate, and did not account for the those 4+ inches of the subfloor. And I want these walls to be 8 feet, and one of the reasons for that is because any higher and I won’t be able to get the house out of my dad’s shop come Spring! The upper walls will be added later on)

Prepping the Trailer:

My older brother came out on Saturday and was a life saver (Thanks big brudder). He is the best. The greatest.  (This would be me smoozing to try and get him to come out soon and help again). But really, he grinded down the straggler bolts that were left behind in the trailer after not-so-gracefully ripping up the decking a few weeks back. He also welded off a few small rusty pieces that didn’t need to be on the trailer, mostly because I think he just wanted to play with the flame.

My trailer did have some minor rust, so I made a last minute trip on Friday to the store and picked up some rust sealer spray paint cans….so many non-eco things went down this weekend, I’ve been hugging trees and ****all week trying to make up for it. It was a last minute kind of purchase and did not get time to score a better alternative. But it worked great, and we did a few coats on the top of the trailer wherever it would come in contact with the subfloor.

Burning treated trailer decking lumber to stay warm in 30 degree weather…naughty naughty.

My Plan for the Subfloor:

My subfloor is going to be built with 2×4’s, directly on top of the trailer framing. This was not my original plan (already realizing this is might be a pattern). I had planned on leaving about 4 boards on from the orginal decking and connecting the subfloor to there. After taking some of the boards up it was obvious they did not have much life in them, so I decided to take them all up.

Because I am using loose fill insulation for the subfloor (that will be covered in another post- since I’m not to that point yet) my studs do not need to be exactly 16 or 24 O.C. (on center). So, in my newbie eyes, I felt the easiest way to go was space the joists evenly, so they all average out around 22 O.C.

The play-by-play:

My subfloor is technically in three sections, so we did the two sections on each end (the middle section is just 4 equal sized joists that connect the two ends) We then started to lay the unassembled subfloor joists out on the trailer one at a time. Then, we took the perimeter joist studs that the middle joists will connect to, and marked where the O.C. point was for each to be screwed in. Then we did said screwing.

We decided to add some additional support between the joists on one end, as you can see later in photos. This section is where my bathroom and kitchen will be, with the loft overhead, so will carry the most weight. There are also some larger gaps in the trailer layout/ribs in this area, so I wanted to make sure the joists had a bit more bulk to them. So we beefed those boys up.

After the two sections were assembled, we laid them on the trailer exactly where they were going to be connected, and marked on the trailer with chalk on each side of the stud wherever it crossed a trailer rib, or the frame.

Then moved those sections out of the way so the holes could be pre-drilled where the lag screws would go through. This took a while, between out various drill batteries dying, and bits breaking, and the boys breaking to golf, time added up. Since we had to start with a smaller bit, then work our way up to a bigger hole, this was more of a project then I realized.  This is where we left off on Saturday.

Sunday, my younger brother and I took off to the small local hardware store to pick up the lag screws.

I was determined to finish and complete the subfloor this day. D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-E-D. As in, I will stay out here ‘til the middle of the night in this 20 degree whether if I have to determined. So we got right into it.

First step was finishing widening the screw holes in the trailer so the screws could easily fit. Check (although this took a while due to the same batteries kept dying and bits breaking issues we had the day before). But check mate, none the less.

Next stage I was excited for. Because of the generosity of Tiny R(e)volution and Ecofoil, I am using EcoFoil’s Double Bubble Insulation which also acts as a barrier underneath my subfloor, instead of the traditionally (wait, are tiny houses old enough to be set in traditional ways yet? ) used metal sheeting or plywood like many other tiny housers.

My happy EcoFoil

If you want to know more about this awesome product, check it out here on EcoFoil’s website.

Since the roll is about 4 feet wide, I rolled out 3 separate sections and attached them (READ: EcoFoil makes a particular tape for this specifically- which I completely forgot about, but will absolutely use if I am able to use more of this product in another way later on).

We laid the EcoFoil out on the trailer as one whole piece, however, because our space around the trailer is so cramped, and I should have done a slightly better job on planning how I was going to handle this step, I cut the pieces down into three sections for each subfloor section (hello there, run on sentence).

Then with a staple gun (watch yo’ fingers!) I flipped over each subfloor joist section and connected the EcoFoil Double Bubble, then flipped the section back over again. Ecofoil’s product was such an easy material to work with, I really can’t say enough good things. I’m thrilled it will add some R value to my floor, especially since I ended up going with a 2×4 subfloor frame instead of using 2×6’s.

I’ve seen subfloors connected to trailers in so many ways in the tiny house world, but this is how I’m doing mine: I decided if someday I want to pick up and move this house onto a foundation, or a different trailer, I want that option. Because of that decision, I chose to connect my trailer from underneath with lag screws, instead of  on top how you will see connecting subfloor to trailers on many other tiny houses. I am using about 20 lag screws, and will probably add some addition strapping underneath.

This is where the tiny show turned into tiny trauma.

We had pre-drilled pilot holes into all the subfloor framing that perfectly aligned up with where the screw holes in the trailer were….and then we put on the EcoFoil…and then? Couldn’t see the pilot holes! Or where the chalk marks on the trailer were for that matter to perfectly re-align everything up!

drilling wee pilot holes

Oops. Then oops turned into frustration. Then frustration turned into a party of curse words and foot stompings, it’s safe to say my daughter’s tantrums have rubbed off on me.

Because the way the trailer is underneath, the screws had to be done by hand, and those little screwy screws just weren’t having it. After two hours, we had in about 4.

I was beat, and in bed by 9. So much for workin’ it out til the morning freeze, huh?

I was able to get in about 4 more lag screws the next day. But the words coming out of my mouth would make the F-bomb look sweet, so I decided this part will be slow and steady throughout the next week while getting some other build things done on the side. A screw a day keeps the naughty words away.

Did you make it this far? Can you imagine what these posts will look like when more gets done? See you soon subfloor.

On a side note; I’ve decided to keep a more detailed documentation of my whole build to share or make available at the very end (more detailed she says? I hear you laughing). By that I mean, it will be laid out better with more matter-of-fact steps and how-I-done-its…less run ons and jumbled explanations. Anything particular you all would like to see included or in detail during the built?


10 Responses to Mid-November Build Weekend: Halfway to a Subfloor + Meet a great eco building product

  1. Carrie says:

    this was a great post! loved it.
    we broke a lot of drill bits going through our trailer frame too. (and by “we” I mean Shane – I somehow skipped out on that part of the hard work! ha.)
    are you going to anchor bolt all the way through your bottom plate / subfloor / trailer frame too? once you get walls up? a must do.
    loving following your build!
    take care,

    • Kacie says:

      Thanks so much Carrie! Can I tell you how much you just saved me?! (or at least my house)I absolutely was planning on bolting from the top plate all the way through the subfloor. Somehow, pre-drilling the holes for that too totally slipped my mind (How is it, after months of planning, I forget such obvious things? 🙂 ) Luckily, since you brought it to my attention, I realized since I don’t have all the lag screws in yet, I might expand on some of those holes to use when going up through the top plate. (make sense?) There are also a few holes in the trailer from the old decking screws that I’ll use for the anchoring later on. Phew, thank you thank you 🙂

  2. Macy says:

    Keep going! You are doing so fantastic! The whole process pretty much goes like this but once you start seeing the progress more you get ‘ok’ with the frustration, at least in my experience! 🙂
    One thing I want to mention that may save some frustration to think about is the spacing you used on the subfloor. I say this because I messed it up! The 24″ or 16″ spacing is to fit a 4’x8′ pieces of plywood. Your joints in your floor will need to line up on a stud to be stable and structural so they can fasten correctly. If your spacings are @ 22 o.c. you will need to cut your plywood in the next step so they align right. I found out that whenever I deviated from the standard in one area to save time and measuring, seemingly making things easier, I usually payed for it in some step down the road… It’s totally doable, just something to be aware of. I love you blog, you are doing amazing!

    • Carrie says:

      oh yeah, great comment Macy! I thought of that when I was reading it too. 16″ or 24″ o.c. is important.

      • Kacie says:

        Can I hug you both? Ha, okay, I can’t help but laugh. Another too obvious mistake, drat! I was so aware of making sure my framing for the walls and roof plans were designed right to line up with where the sheathing would attach…and completely forgot about the floor framing (laughing some more).

        Since some of these joists are already attached to the trailer, I don’t want to take it apart to realign them, do you guys have any suggestions?

        On the one end of my subfloor it’s not TO big of issues, because I did add some extra joists in there to aid in support (I didn’t get a great shot of that put up)..but I’m thinking I could either add some 2×4 blocking to the sides of the inner joists so the plywood has a spot to drill in to, OR, having to cut the plywood in specific sized pieces like Macy said.

        (still laughing). I am going to need you both to keep a close eye on my build for me, I need you!

        • Macy says:

          That’s what we’re here for! 🙂 I promise you, you have accounted for a lot more than I did! I am impressed!
          As far as the floor, you could either put blocking in, or I think if it were me, I would just cut the plywood, it’s sort of awkward shaped anyway, you’re probably going to have to be making some extra cuts anyhow, so what is one more?! 🙂 It was mostly a comment to be careful about that on your walls (I messed that up in my first shot) 🙂

        • Carrie says:

          you’re so sweet! would love a hug! haha.

          if you can’t move your joists to be 24″ o.c., I would just add joists at 48″ o.c. where your 4′ w. panels will meet. you never want the edge of a plywood sheet hanging over space… or you could cut the plywood sheets… but they’re stronger in bigger pieces, and you waste less…

          you’re doing an awesome job Kacie! keep it up! love your website, all your blogs, and your photos! so cool.
          – Carrie

  3. Paul - The Kind Little Blogger says:

    Glad to see things are coming along so well. 🙂

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