Subflooring installation (take 2), and then some…

When the entire subfloor was complete (or so we thought), we began constructing the framing for the walls of the tiny house. Things were getting a little more exciting now. This is where I began to see the beautiful “guts” of my house! On a Friday afternoon, we completed one end wall.

Prepping the top and bottom plates for the walls.
Prepping the top and bottom plates for the walls.

 

Attaching the wall studs to the bottom plate.
Attaching the wall studs to the bottom plate.

 

One end wall complete!
One end wall complete!

 

The next morning, Mike was taking some measurements and verifying some things when he noticed there was about a ¼ inch dip in the floor down the center of the trailer. This is slightly an issue because if you’re building on a floor that is not level, all the measurements will be off from your plans.  We were baffled by what could be causing this dip. While trying to figure what was going on, Mike also noticed there were some bumps in the subflooring near both ends of the trailer. After some time of checking and measuring a handful of various things, Mike came to several conclusions. First, the trailer itself was not perfectly flat and the flanges that were added and welded to the sides of the trailer were ever so slightly at an angle, so the outer edge of the flanges were slightly higher than the inner edges. He also suspected that the steel beams that run down the middle of the trailer may be slightly lower than the platform around the perimeter. Consequently, one or both of these issues were causing the floor to “sink” in the middle when we bolted down the subfloor to the trailer. Secondly, the insulation we had installed was in fact creating bumps in the plywood in certain areas where the thickness of the insulation was greater than the cavity in which it filled.

Gap caused by dip in the subfloor.
Gap caused by dip in the subfloor.

 

Bumps and gaps caused by the insulation.
Bumps and gaps caused by the insulation.

 

We had two options. One, continue building on an uneven floor which would cause who knows what kind of problems later on down the line. Or two, fix the issues, which meant removing probably close to a hundred screws, ripping off the plywood that was now glued to the subflooring framing, shaving down the insulation in a bunch of areas, somehow fixing the dip in the middle of the floor, then once that was all done, reinstalling all the plywood again along with the hundred or so screws. Every step of building the subfloor was monotonous and tedious. The thought of undoing any of it and having to redo any of it was disheartening. But on the flip side, the thought of having to deal with unforeseen problems later down the road and regretting that we didn’t take care of the issue when we had the chance was all it took to come to the decision to fix the problems while we still had the opportunity. So began a day’s work of fixing the subfloor. But once Subfloor v2.0 was complete, we had a perfectly flat floor on which to build the tiny house. In the end, it felt better to go through all that trouble than to have a janky floor. By the end of a three-and-a-half day work weekend, we had a proper floor and all but one of the long walls built.

The gut-wrenching process of tearing off the plywood.
The gut-wrenching process of tearing off the plywood.

 

Shards of plywood torn off from the plywood that was glued to the subfloor framing.
Shards of plywood torn off from the plywood that was glued to the subfloor framing.

 

Below is an area where the insulation was sticking up past the 2×4 as a result of the trailer not being completely flat, and ultimately, causing bumps in the flooring once the plywood was installed. We noticed this issue when we initially installed the insulation, but hoped that the insulation would just squish down once we screwed down the plywood. That was not the case.

This is an area where the insulation was sticking up past the 2x4 as a result of the trailer not being completely flat, and ultimately, causing bumps in the flooring once the plywood was installed. We noticed this issue when we initially installed the insulation, but hoped that the insulation would just squish down once we screwed down the plywood. That was not the case.

 

Insulation shaved down to the tops of the 2x4s and shims installed in the middle of the flooring to fill the gap caused by the slight dip in the middle of the trailer.
Insulation shaved down to the tops of the 2x4s and shims installed in the middle of the flooring to fill the gap caused by the slight dip in the middle of the trailer.

 

Fixed and completed subfloor.
Fixed and completed subfloor.

 

The following day, we were able to resume with building the walls.
The following day, we were able to resume with building the walls.

 

Since this project began, I've learned how to use some serious tools like this miter saw. Much to Mike's dismay, my consistency for making accurate cuts varies from day to day.
Since this project began, I’ve learned how to use some serious tools like this miter saw. Much to Mike’s dismay, my consistency for making accurate cuts varies from day to day.

 

 

The following weekend, our good buddy Ross came out for a day to help with the build. It couldn’t have been more perfect timing as we needed to build just one more wall and then we’d be ready to stand the walls up, which was necessary to have another set of hands.

Mike and Ross assembling the last wall.
Mike and Ross assembling the last wall.

 

It soon came time to start standing the walls up.

First wall going up!
First wall going up!

 

Attaching the second wall.
Attaching the second wall.

 

Mike's monkey skills.
Mike’s got monkey skills.

 

All the lower walls in place. And just like that, the house began to seem like a real thing.
All the lower walls in place. And just like that, the house began to seem like a real thing.

 

We even had time left in the day to start installing some wall sheathing.

Thanks Ross!
Thanks Ross!

 

Nap time!
Nap time!

 

 

The following day, Mike continued installing more of the wall sheathing while I did some work on the bedroom loft floor joists. These joists will be exposed, so they had to be sanded, stained twice, and coated three times with polyurethane. As you can imagine, this can be a time consuming process since you can only work on three sides at a time and you have to allow it to dry anywhere from 2-24 hours, depending on what you are applying and what stage of the process you are applying it. So, I worked on this on and off over several weeks.

Sanding the bedroom loft floor joists. I did a few tests with a Red Mahogany stain, but I didn't really like the way it came out.
Sanding the bedroom loft floor joists. I did a few tests with a Red Mahogany stain, but I didn’t really like the way it came out.

 

I happened to come across a tiny house building youtube video and the woman mentioned she used Early American stain, which I really liked the look of. So, I gave that one a try and knew as soon as I brushed it on the wood, this was the one. Here, I’m applying a coat of polyurethane.

I happened to come across a tiny house building youtube video and the woman mentioned she used Early American stain, which I really liked the look of. So, I gave that one a try and knew as soon as I brushed it on the wood, this was the one. Here, I'm applying a coat of polyurethane.

 

Lower wall sheathing installed!
Lower wall sheathing installed!

Coming up… building the bedroom loft walls.

Author: Debora Schwartz

I am a traveler, a writer, an outdoor enthusiast and a tiny house dweller.

6 thoughts on “Subflooring installation (take 2), and then some…”

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