Living Offgrid Affordably 9: Finally, Something Goes Up

| 1/15/2012 12:28:26 PM

Tags: solar power, sustainable building, offgrid living, Jeff Chaney,

Jeff with his one kilowatt array After our last session, The Floor Goes In, we are tickled to have a flat and level platform to work from. The building inspector is happy and we know when to call him next. I should have expected some controversy, considering the fact that the government debates what the meaning of the word “is” is! One must remember that building codes exist to prevent unscrupulous builders from constructing and selling subpar unsafe structures. We had no intention of ever selling, and did not feel that we needed protected from ourselves. I would greatly exceed safety requirements because this entire exercise must be sustainable.

I continued with 2x6 pine framing lumber for the outside walls, building them in 10 foot sections for the front and rear walls, 12 foot sections for the sides. Construction was carried out per the “bible” instructions, using 93 inch studs with double plates. Extreme care must be taken when planning and laying out locations of windows and doors. The age old advice to “measure twice, cut once” I sometimes took to extremes, measuring three or four times. Lumber waste is unacceptable!

Each section was laid out on the floor, pre-drilled, then screwed together. Stud braces were installed, yielding a complete wall section laying on the floor. I simply slid the section into position, then stood it up and screwed it into place, having pre-drilled the sill plates and end studs. This single-handed operation is a little tricky, but highly successful. 

The walls go upI erected the two sections comprising the rear wall, then each rear section of the side walls. The back half of the building now had walls, which would allow construction and installation of the loft floor.

The loft floor was built with 2x6’s using the same procedure as the main floor, in two 10x12 foot sections. I was able to do this single-handedly by first assembling the sill/headers, screwing them into place, then inserting the joists and braces. I used braces every 2 feet, which looks like “overkill,” as my builder friend commented. Since this was a storage building, I thought strength was paramount. It does look rather “extensive,” but will support lots of weight. At the front center of the loft floor, I used two 4x4 posts as supports, with the center x of the foundation being directly underneath.

The sub floor was installed next, using the same 5/8 plywood and screw procedure as the main floor. The loft sub floor also received water sealer. One piece of plywood was left out, where the post holding up the black tarp was located. Essentially, the loft floor was built “around” the tarp support post. I would not remove the tarp until the rafters were ready to go up, because we had daily rain during loft floor construction.

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