Tag Archives: level

A Subfloor

It’s like Christmas came early today.  I am so very happy with the work that was done today.   I am 19 1/2 inches away from a subfloor.  19 1/2 inches.  Even better, tomorrow I get to start working on my wall framing.  I head back to work Tuesday and will be building on weekends from here on in.  I am so glad I took the past 2 weeks off to start my build.

Friday morning , a welder came and welded on taller threaded rods onto my trailer.  He was fast, and charged me less than what he had quoted.  Yay!  I got rods.  The rest of the day was still spent working on flashing and we got held up by the rain.  I had hoped to be a little further along by the end of the day, but then the rain came.  We wrangled one of my uncles and a couple of my cousins to come over and help us move some of the sections of the subfloor about, which they did help us do, but we weren’t able to do as much as we hoped because of the rain.

Saturday was a day where a lot of work was done, but nothing really looked any different.  My uncle Phil and cousin Alex came back over and helped us move some of the subfloor sections as we needed some muscle.  We also put down some more Blueskin on the pressure treated wood on the trailer.  We got 2 sections in place, which with the new threaded rod was a bit of a challenge, figuring out where to drill holes and then having to re-drill holes when things didn’t line up quite as expected.  The third section was set up in place, raised up on blocks as we tried to line up the holes previously drilled and drill some new ones for the newly added rods. Throughout the process of this build, checking for square has been a regular part of the process.  With the 3rd section of the subfloor up on blocks, we checked for square and the previously square structure was completely out of alignment.  At the end of the day we had to leave the subfloor incomplete, unscrew the flashing on 2 sides of that section of subfloor and leave the section undone over night, while I went to a kegger at my brother & sister-in-law’s.  It was a much-needed evening of laughter, good food, good beer and friends.

When we were able to get to the construction this morning, we unscrewed a 3rd side of the flashing from that section, used  a series of clamps to get the subfloor square and then screwed the flashing back on and got back to getting the holes lined up for the subfloor to fit over the threaded rods.  My father was amazing as I found the process of getting everything lined up really frustrating.  He was able to get the subfloor in place.  Yay!

We started getting the insulation into the subfloor, a very quick and satisfying process of laying batts in the subfloor, when my neighbour Mike asked if he could lend a hand.  Mike was my favourite person today.  I did not realize that Mike used to build houses.  Mike also has amazing toys or tools, call them what you will, a contractor’s circular saw is a beautiful thing.  With Mike’s help we relevelled the trailer, and magically the subfloor was pretty much complete, if it hadn’t been for my purchasing one too few sheets of 3/4 plywood, the subfloor would be finished right now.  As it stands, a quick trip to the hardware store and a rummage through their off cuts and my subfloor will be done tomorrow and the process of starting the wall framing can begin.

Wet trailer with newly welded rods
Wet trailer with newly welded rods

 

The 3 sections of my subfloor leaning up against the house.  They had to be taken off the trailer so that the rods could be added to the trailer
The 3 sections of my subfloor leaning up against the house. They had to be taken off the trailer so that the rods could be added to the trailer
New rod!
New rod!
The trailer with all the rods on and one of the last times we will see all of the frame.
The trailer with all the rods on and one of the last times we will see all of the frame.
Sage supervising the build
Sage supervising the build
Clover's idea of helping with the build is to bring you a ball.  She is so very helpful.
Clover’s idea of helping with the build is to bring you a ball. She is so very helpful.
Me showing my best side!  Before covering up the trailer I used a grinder to remove some of the rusty metal shavings from the holes drilled to attach the boards to the trailer.
Me showing my best side! Before covering up the trailer I used a grinder to remove some of the rusty metal shavings from the holes drilled to attach the boards to the trailer.
After the rust was removed, my dad spray panted the now unpainted metal to protect it.
After the rust was removed, my dad spray panted the now unpainted metal to protect it.
My cousin Alex and raising the subfloor up over the rods so that the holes could be drilled for the rods to fit through.
My cousin Alex and raising the subfloor up over the rods so that the holes could be drilled for the rods to fit through.
Lining up the rods and the holes
Lining up the rods.
One section down! Now to remove some excess Blueskin
One section down! Now to remove some excess Blueskin
Drilling holes for the rods.
Drilling holes for the rods.
Jump to an insulated, re-levelled trailer and the first piece of plywood going in place.
Jump to an insulated, relevelled trailer and the first piece of plywood going in place.
Look at that subfloor!  It's beauty is only enhanced by the Iron Bridge brown ale sitting on it.  It was the last of the beer I brought back from PEI.
Look at that subfloor! It’s beauty is only enhanced by the last of the beer I brought back from PEI.
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On the Level

In each of the books I have read about building tiny houses on a trailer, the first step is to level the trailer.  And it is.  It’s the first step, yet none of them really go into much more depth than one sentence, maybe two.  It’s important to level the trailer.  Sounds simple enough.  In the end it wasn’t that complicated, but it wasn’t that straightforward either.

Clover helping me set the jacks under the trailer.  It should be noted the jack in the picture was the jack that I had to return.  The stabilizing jacks that I ended up buying are different.
Clover helping me set the jacks under the trailer. It should be noted the jack in the picture was the jack that I had to return. The stabilizing jacks that I ended up buying are different.

I had read on someone’s blog that they went to Canadian Tire and bought axle jacks.  I could see how an axle jack could work, unfortunately for me, it didn’t work all that well.  The axle jacks was able to purchase do not have the ability to adjust their height in small increments. In order to adjust in small increments you would either have to use shims or shift the placement of the jack along the frame of the trailer.  I wanted my axle jacks to be placed on the inner part of the trailer so that I don’t kick them or trip over the paving stones I put them on as I am building.

I am not keen on the idea of using shims particularly since the difference in height I needed ranged from 1/2″ to 1 1/2″, that’s an awful lot of shim.  The only shim I could find of that size is a metal shim used for log splitting, they are heavy and the one I saw was rusty.  No thank you.

Back to the drawing board or the internet to find a stabilizing jack that can handle upwards of 7 tonnes.  I was able to find such a beautiful thing at an RV supply store 30 minutes from my build.  I bought 4 jacks. I also scoped some tire covers and other fun RV items, but they will have to wait for another day.

Another helpful and though not completely straightforward hint, use a laser level.  I used laser levels in different context when I was working in theatre as a stage manager.  We used them to help tape out any given production’s set on the floor, but never to level a trailer.  My dad set up one of his laser levels on a camera tripod and we went about levelling the trailer.  He has a very handy bumper jack and we used his jack in conjunction with the jack built into the tongue of the trailer to raise each of the 4 corners of the trailer to place the stabilizing jacks and lower the trailer back onto the stabilizing jacks.  It took several times raising and lowering the stabilizing jacks to get the trailer level.  We checked for level with the laser light on a camera stand and by measuring the distance on the diagonal angles (corner to corner) to make sure they were the same.  We achieved level.