Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Archive for the ‘Floor Installation’ Category

Starting on the floor.

Monday, June 27th, 2011:

Began the installation of our Cork floor. It ended up being much more simple and intuitive than we’d anticipated. Granted, it is a fairly tiny space to cover, but most of the floor went in with just a few hours of dedicated work.

We are still very pleased with our decision to use cork, and the product from Bare Naked Cork Flooring is really quite beautiful. This will be a floating floor, meaning we did not tack or glue the cork down. Instead, it sits as-is on the plywood subfloor and can move a bit on its own as it expands and contracts. To accomodate for this natural movement, we left a 1/4″ gap between the floor and walls/cabinets. This should help prevent any buckling of the floor over time.



Monday, June 13th, 2011:

No component or aspect of our project has had more consideration, conversation, and debate than what to use to create the floor of our tiny house. -Though our decision to utilize natural wool insulation certainly may have come close.

The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company plans recommended yellow pine flooring, wich would be quite beautiful as well as very affordable.

For a long while, I was very interested in pursuing reclaimed Douglass Fir. Growing up on the Oregon Coast, I saw entire mountainsides denuded of Douglas Fir and found a great deal of comfort in the thought of reusing/repurposing just a little bit of that resource. This route, however, is just a bit too cost-prohibitive for us at this time.

While I was daydreaming about reclaimed Doug Fir, Gabby was beginning to think about flooring options that were more sustainable in nature, looking into Bamboo and Cork flooring.

After months of consideration and research, we have agreed upon Cork Flooring. As we’ve learned more about this natural option, we’ve become more and more enamored with it. We certainly appreciate the sustainability that surrounds this material.

Cork flooring is generally made from the left over materials from the wine cork industry, finding purpose for potentially wasted material. The Cork Oak tree who’s bark is harvested to provide the material known simply as ‘cork’ is not cut down, but sheered much like a sheep, allowing it to produce for decades -even centuries. The bark of a Cork Oak (one of the only trees that can survive having its bark completely stripped) is harvested in 9 or 10 year cycles, allowing the tree to regenerate and continue to live healthy and provide people in the areas it grows with a renewable resource.

Bamboo had some attractive qualities as well, particularly in the sustainability realm, but what really sold us on Cork (after getting past the initial concern about durability- turns out its really tough stuff!) was its insulating properties. Cork flooring provides a bit of a softer feel underfoot as well as provides for a warmer floor. We felt we could use all the help we can get as our floor is on a trailer and will be exposed to cold air underneath.

We explored several cork floor providers, many offering incredibly beautiful products, and eventually found Bare Naked Flooring, a cork floor manufacturer who’s product is 100% natural with no petrochemical coatings. They offer cork flooring with all natural finishes made without the use of chemicals or toxins. No VOC’s or nasty emissions, just real cork.

We are thrilled with where our floor search has taken us, and are really looking forward to the next step: installation!

Saturday, September 11th: Insulating and Decking the Floor

Floor frame was completed by mid-afternoon. A lot of work went into it, so much more than we could have imagined! The Aluminum Flashing was easily one of the more challenging aspects. Glad its done! It was fun to shoot the tar into the seams between sheets of aluminum, though…

The BEST PART BY FAR was installing the insulation! Gabby’s goal of utilizing as much natural material in our tiny house as we possibly can led her to discover the concept of using sheep’s wool as an insulation material. It sounded a little out there at first, but the more research we did about it, the more it started to not only become more attractive, but to actually make a lot of sense! While the use of wool insulation is much more common in Europe and Canada presently, Gabby was able to find a couple of suppliers in the States. We ultimately decided to go with Oregon Shepherd. It was important to us that we went with a company that used no chemicals or petroleum products in their wool. Oregon Shepherd only uses Borax, a naturally occurring mineral, and a protein to bind the Borax to the wool. They also use wool produced in the U.S., not wool imported from Europe. The wool they sell was grown in Oregon, Wyoming, and Montana. Having grown up in Oregon, I’m pretty excited to have a little Oregon Love in our tiny house as well.

So, good idea? The wool will provide R-20 to R-30 insulation value, it continues to expand over time instead of compact as does fiberglass, it will not mildew, is fire and rodent resistant, will not off-gas as may foamboard, can withstand the negative effects of condensation, and is a natural, renewable resource. Time will tell!

This is definitely worth mentioning: To take advantage of the help with framing this weekend, we needed to place an expedited order for enough insulation just for the floor. We placed the order on Wednesday and opted for 2-day shipping. (Expensive, but it would be the only thing holding us up from getting a start while there was still a free weekend and so many friends offering help!) I placed the oder a little late in the day on Wednesday, and Oregon Shepherd was unable to get it to FedEx in time for a 2-day delivery. SO THEY SENT IT OVERNIGHT ON THURSDAY. Without charging us anything extra. I know they must have lost money on this order, as overnight is WAY more expensive even than two day shipping. This company has integrity and customer service comes FIRST. Thanks to Bob Workman and the good folks at Oregon Shepherd!

Saturday, September 11th: Framing the Floor!

The build officially began at 8:15am with our first Barnes Lumber delivery. Thanks to Greg Baker and the folks at Barnes Lumber in Harrisburg, a great local lumber yard and hardware store!

After a warm breakfast of Gabby’s hand-made Swedish Pancakes, we got started framing up the floor by about 9:45am. Little did we know that this would end up taking our ENTIRE day!

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