Finally it is time to work with some lumber! Wood is a welcome and familiar material after weeks of working with concrete block and clay brick. Heavy lifting is still involved, however, so the work is labor-intensive. The beam below is about 40 feet long and a couple hundred pounds. It is two-ply, which means it can be transported as two separate pieces, and fastened together once in position. The floor joists run perpendicular to the beam, such that there are 3 points of bearing for each floor joist – 1 point on the beam and 1 point on each side of the foundation wall. The weight distributed to the beam is in turn transferred to concrete block piers spaced about 10 feet apart.
The image below hopefully demonstrates the effort we put into securing the insulating foam to the foundation wall. The industry standard for crawlspace insulation offers foamboard adhesive as the only bonding agent to the block wall. Temporary supports are supposed to keep the foam in contact with the wall as the adhesive cures. This is a recipe for fallen pieces over the years, especially in a crawlspace that is out of view most of the time. It is important to us prevent maintenance issues such as this. In addition to adhesive, we use plastic concrete anchors in combination with a long screw and a washer to secure two layers of 2″ E.P.S. foam directly to the wall. The 8 mil plastic vapor barrier wraps part way up the wall behind the foamboard.
We take extra care to ensure that our work results in a floor that is as level as possible. The concrete block piers are laid to the perfect elevation to match the sill plates. We use a portable wood planer to shave off sixteenths of an inch from the sill plates where a slight compensation is required. We find ourselves going back and forth between the transit level. When the subfloor is laid, the result should be a floor that you could play billiards on!
Here Mel is pounding the tongue-and-groove subfloor into place. It feels great to have a sturdy platform to walk across.
An opening in the floor provides access to the crawlspace. Directly below the opening is an area that we dug out extra deep, which makes for a more comfortable tornado shelter.