Subfloor: Day One – Framing

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So lately we’ve been working on the subfloor.

Actually, we spent about three 12hr days working on the subfloor this week.

But we got it done! But not without help, of course. We had our friend Evan help us out. Lucky we did! We had to build the subfloor upside down and then flip it. It took 5 people each time, though we probably should have had more. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me me start from the beginning.

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On Monday, Drew and I began working on the framing. We had fun (half sarcasm) interpreting the plans and trying to figure out what to do. We found a few measurements that were wrong in the plans! We cross referenced our field measurements with other (correct) pages in our plans to find out where they went wrong, and carried on. Not only this, but we had to account for the fact that our trailer  was a different size than the one in the plans. Out trailer was about 3″ shorter and 2″ wider than called for in our plans, so we made those adjustments to our plans as well. Looking back, I’m still glad we got the trailer we did, but I think it would have been a lot easier to get both the trailer and the plans from the same manufacturer.

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Using the palm nailer on the subfloor frame. It takes a few seconds longer than a regular nailer, but is well worth the time for us when considering safety.

We also got to more thoroughly experiment with our palm nailer. It works pretty well. We’re sure one of the big-gun nailers would be faster (probably way faster), but we both feel a lot safer using this one. I don’t have to worry as much about where I point it, for one. Plus, we were working for 12 hours at a time (which probably isn’t smart in the first place, but once it’s hard to stop once we get going). Because of that, toward the end of the day we would start getting a bit careless. I can’t count how many times I’ve hit my fingers, one time being when I ran into a hammer (no, I didn’t hit myself with the hammer, I was using the nailer and pulled my hand back and hit the hammer sitting on the trailer…. I would.) So do as I say and not as I do – take breaks often and be extra careful.

We decided to break the subfloor into three separate parts – one being the front of the trailer near the hitch, the middle section around the wheel-wells, and then the end section. We started with the end. Drew and I got into a building rhythm where I’d be cutting with the chop saw while he measured, nailed, and placed boards where they needed to go. This system worked pretty well, and we were able to get all three sections done in around five or six hours.

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Using the chop saw for framing. We calculated all our measurements beforehand so I could cut while Drew worked on putting it together.
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We tried to make the cuts as precise as possible, by drawing our measurement markings on the wood and noting which side of the board we were keeping.
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The back section completed.
It fits!
It fits!

But of course, things couldn’t go that smoothly forever. We came across a problem with the middle section, again because our trailer was different from the one in the plans. The middle section, which was thankfully lighter than our other ones, was too wide to fit between the wheel-wells. What made matters worse was that there was a storm rolling in!

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It’s a blurry picture, but it gives you an idea of what we were up against.
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Attempting to sand the side of the middle section so it would fit in between the wheel-wells.

So since we had access to Drew’s dad’s woodworking tools (and Drew thankfully has experience using them), he pulled out the sander and tried to make it fit that way. No such luck. After realizing we weren’t getting anywhere fast, we ended up having to pry off that long board at the end and cutting off the ends of the three trusses, then reattaching them. Meanwhile, thunder rumbled ominously in the distance and the radio eeked out a severe thunderstorm warning. Ah, but we’re so close! We can’t just stop now! So we hurriedly carried our middle section back out and tried to squeeze it in. No dice. So we brought it back in yet again, shaved off more than we thought we needed, reattached again, and viola! It fit! And just in time too, as it started drizzling. So we covered the trailer with a tarp and got out of there. Success!

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The finished subfloor framing.

Now onto day two: attaching the zip boards and flashing to the subfloor frame.

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