bearers and joists

With the brick foundations complete we set about getting on with the floor framing. Every layer up needs a bit more precision and fine tuning and so we began with the bearers.

LVL bearers were specified in the engineering drawings – these laminated veneer lumber beams come in long spans and are very structurally load bearing. Delivered by the local hardware store the bearers were dropped onto site and placed horizontally across the brick piers. A bit of packing and chiselling was needed to make sure we are honing in on the perfectly level floor – bricks and mortar can only be so accurate. For the moment the bearers are just sitting there, held together with nails the weight keeps them in place but eventually all that metal strapping imbedded in the concrete will go up and over to tie them down.

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The next phase was the joists – these are made from standard sized timber we already have in the shed. Laid perpendicular to the bears the joists in what the flooring material is fixed to. Spaced at 450mm apart they are laid out across the bearers and simply nailed down with a couple of clinching nails. Two new toys get a work out already – the compound mitre drop saw and nail gun have made this process easier. However, being hardwood it does have a tendency to split when nailing close to the ends so in these areas the trusty hammer makes an appearance after a bit of pre-drilling.
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Joists also need to be set down in wet areas to allow for the extra thickness of cement sheeting, screed, glue and tiles to marry up with the rest of the flooring to make flush transitions with no steps. The second bathroom set down was relatively easy as it is square with the joists. However, the ensuit wet area needs to be set down and then packed back up in certain areas.

And ‘edge joist’ is also placed along the perimeter and blocked in between to add some extra rigidity. A couple of joists also needed to be doubled up to support the extra weight of the roof span and steel beams. We also opted to double up some where the wood heater and dividing panels will go as they combine to be quite heavy.
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Joists were finished just in time for the onset of a ‘blizzard’ – a good layer of snow fell over night and continued in the morning before melting away. With more on the way it has meant a few days of inside work but a chance to order the next layer to go down; the yellow tongue and compressed fiber cement sheets. Also a little matter of figuring out how to cover the perimeter overhang with more cement sheet to block out access to the floor space and ember attack from bushfires… hrmmm. Always learning and problem solving!
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