Old Stone House

Framing – Abridged

October 20, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:38 am

bm1.jpgWith the major utilities dealt with, we could finally start framing the room, starting with the ceiling. Past additions and renovations meant that the ceiling joists were random at best. In the area beneath the oldest part of the kitchen, the joists were 2×10’s or 3×10’s (that’s true inches) on rough 16inch centers. The rest of the joists were combinations of different sized boards, with random spacing.

We decided to strap the ceiling perpendicular to the joists in order to create some consistent nailers, as well as further reduce the squeaks from above. We also decided to use 2”x3”s, rather then 1”x2”s or 1”x3”s. Our reasoning was that a lot of shimming was going to be needed to level the ceiling and the rigidity of the 2x3s would help to average any inconsistencies between joists by gently transitioning between the highs and lows. As well, if we needed to cut through any of the straps for lights etc., it would ensure that things remained rigid.

We found the lowest point on the ceiling, and worked outwards in a radial pattern – attaching each strap with a few tack nails and then adding shims and blocks until the board had levelled. Once we were satisfied with the position of a strap, we drove in 3 ½” screws. In the process of adding each board, if we found we were a bit off, we would simply back the screw off, hammer in another shim, and continue on.

In several places, the joists had been cut away completely, or badly compromised by previous plumbing/heating installations. In each case, we sistered the joists with a pair of 2x8s – slathered in construction adhesive, and used the same 3 1/2” screws to tighten the whole assembly.

A few nights of fiddling, and the entire ceiling was strapped.

Next we started building walls. The space provided some unique challenges, as parts of the room were too narrow for walls to be pre-built. In such cases, we installed the top and bottom plates first on the ceiling and floor, and then attached each stud after the fact. For the exterior walls, we decided to use 2”x3”s in order to maximise available space. As the existing cement walls weren’t square, bulged in the middle and leaned outward at the top, we were going to be creating some fairly deep cavities of space, and every inch of space was precious. (As well, I could transport a lot more 2x3s in the back of my car) However, the interior walls, such as the closet and the end of the stairs, were framed in using 2x4s – they would look more substantial, and allow for easier trimming.

In cases where the wall fell beneath a previously compromised joist (and we could pre-build the wall), we made the wall ¼” – ½” higher then needed. We tacked the top of the wall in place, and then using a sledge hammer, drove in the bottom – effectively raising the ceiling above. There are no more squeaks.

bm6.jpgFinally, we had to address the corridor between the two basements. The passage was 32” wide, and out of square. As we would likely be moving a second fridge, chest freezer, or laundry facilities into this unfinished space at a later date, we wanted to try to keep the passage as wide as possible – preferably 30inches. We strapped the passage using 1x4s, and managed to only reduce the wide the space about an inch. With drywall, the passage would be 29 1/2 inches wide.

To maximise the door width, we installed a 30inch door, but rather then use a decorative door stop, we planed down some 1×3” pine to 1/2” thickness, and installed it so that it sat atop the wall strapping – bridging the space between the door jam and the wall. The installed drywall would be flush with the door stop, creating a smooth passage between the two rooms.

Finally, the room is starting to look like a room.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] (Oh, and I did manage to update another past article, “Framing – Abridged”) […]

    Pingback by Old Stone House » Animatronic Deer: The Period Accent Every Victorian Home Needs… — December 6, 2006 @ 1:42 pm

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