Saturday, June 2, 2012
Small Building Construction, Part One
Dear Preppers and Survivalists,
As some of you know, we had a fire many weeks ago. The fire killed eleven of our, really my wife's, fifteen chicken and destroyed the chicken coop in our barn.
So, I have been building a chicken coop.
Needless to say, I had been promising my wife that I would build this chicken coop for the last one to two years, anyway.
When building a building, you need a level foundation. The foundation can be concrete, concrete block, timbers (skids), posts, or ... We decided to place our building on skids.
Property taxes. If the building is on timbers (skids), we don't have property taxes on the building. Cool huh.
I had to dig out the ground before I placed the timbers (skids) four feet apart. I used concrete blocks, really 12X6 inch landscaping blocks, to help level the timbers.
To level the timbers, I leveled the first timber using a four foot level than leveled the second timber across to the first timber.
To level across, from timber to timber, I placed a 2X4 across the timbers and put the four foot level on top the 2X4.
I can't repeat myself enough. It is important to have a level foundation.
Building the Floor
Next, I started building the floor.
I will be adding a 2X4 to each end.
Since 2X4s are really 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. I have to remove 3 inches, so I will have an eight foot wide floor.
Next, I laid the recently cut 2X4s across the 12 foot long skids. Next, I marked another 2X4, that was 12 feet long, every 16 inches.
This gives me 16 inch centers.
Next, I lined up the 2X4s laying across the skids to the lines marked on the 12 foot long 2X4 and using two 3 inch long screws, per 2X4, screwed them together. Then I did the same to the other side.
You will notice, in the picture above, I pre-screwed the screws into the 2X4. Why? It makes it easier to attach the 2X4 because I'm not trying to juggle holding the 2X4, holding the screw, and holding the drill.
You will notice, in the picture to the left, I had to offset the blocking to allow for screwing each block to the 2X4.
Screws or Nails
Before I continue, I need to mention that I used 3 inch exterior grade deck screws to attach the 2X4s together. You can use nails, I thing 8d (said eight penny) or 10d (said ten penny) nails. Since I don't know, ask the hardware store to make sure you buy the right nails.
Laying the Floor
Once all the 2X4s are screwed, or nailed, together; I had to 'square' the 2X4 frame.
To square the floor, I measure diagonally from corner to corner then measure diagonally from the other corners. I moved the floor frame, at the corners, until each measurement was the same. This was a lot easier then I thought.
At first, I had ratcheted tie downs and rope holding the corners. That didn't work because I kept over tightening one corner. So, I removed the tie downs and rope, then I just gently kicked or pushed the corners until they were the same length.
Ok, they were 1/4 inch off.
I also made sure that the floor frame was evenly spaced on the timer before I very carefully screwed the 2X4 frame to both timbers.
Next, I placed three sheets of plywood on the frame and using 2 inch exterior deck screws screwed the plywood to the fame. I made sure that there was an 1/8 inch gap on each edge the plywood meet.
But, it looked like a wooden dance floor. My wife and I laid on the floor looking at clouds just before it got dark.
What I Would Do Differently
First, I would add a third set of blocking in the middle, just not the two sides.
Second, I would use 5/8 to 3/4 inch plywood for the floor. We used 3/8 inch plywood and it flexes when we walk on it. It feels like you're going to fall through the floor.
Third, I would have taken a few more pictures of some of the stuff; I talked about.