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A floor project

Summer had gone fast. I had planned to get the firewood shed built before mid-Summer, but the project stood half-finished in mid-August. Should I complete it before starting any other project? But last winter wasn't that comfortable as I had to struggle to keep the house somewhat warm. To improve the house warmth insulation the next step would be to renovate the floor of the main room. So I postponed the firewood shed completion, giving higher priority to the floor project.

First I needed to expose all of the floor surface. I carried all the furniture away from the main room, stacking them in the smaller room. The smaller room became so full of stuff that only space that was left was a chair in front of the computer, and half of the sofa. From that on I slept in the upstairs of the entrance part.

I started removing the old floor. It had a plastic mat on top of chip-board. Under the chip-boards it was some 10 cm of mineral wool, and under it a layer of dry sand and peat. I removed all of that and found a thin layer of concrete. The concrete was little above the level of the bottom of the lowest logs of the walls. For the thermal insulation of a log wall one of the most crucial part is the bottom of the lowest log - if there is a gap under the lowest log, cold air gets inside the floor structure making the house rather drafty. So I needed to remove the concrete as well.

On the surface of the concrete there were pieces of newspaper. The text was still readable, the news dated to August 1941, so it was mostly news about the war. Well, but that also means that the layer of concrete has been made some time in the 1940's, so I don't know how exactly was the original floor structure back in the 1905 when this house was built. But what I know is that the rooms aren't that high, and that the lowest logs rest rather close to the ground. All of that means some restrictions to what kind of new floor structure I can plan.

There was an extra thick layer of concrete around the area where the water pipe and sewer are. I planned to save that. Alas, as I was working with removing the thin layer of concrete, the thicker layer got serious cracks. So I decided to remove it, too. That caused some extra work, and I had to temporarily disconnect the running water. Under the concrete it was just soil - mostly sand and stones.

So I had all of the old floor removed. Now I could clearly see the places which had gaps under the lowest log. I filled the gaps with a mixture of concrete and small stones. Then I started building the structure for a new floor. I designed it so that it will have a 60 cm wide bank of sand next to the walls. And under the centre area of the floor it will be 30 cm of empty space. So the idea is that the bank of sand stops the cold air coming from outside the walls. And the air in the empty space under the floor needs to circulate with the air above the floor. As the room is heated, the air under the floor also gets warm, and that prevents it from becoming too moist. It is moisture which destroys timber, so it is essential to keep things dry. This kind of floor structure was used in the 1800's, but got more rare in the 1900's. But, if properly constructed, there is nothing wrong with this kind of structure, and it can be used if needed. I learnt this by reading articles about traditional building methods, and decided to give it a try.

I've already used a similar structure when I renovated the floor of the smaller room. The floor of the smaller room has never felt particularly cold, so I think the structure works. The space under the floor of the smaller room has two ventilation channels. I close the channels in late autumn and open then in the early summer, so that outdoors fresh air will circulate under the floor - again, to let any moisture out. For the main room I only built one channel connecting the centre empty space with outdoor air. But there is a connection to the smaller room, so I figured that three channels all together will be enough for the two rooms.

I made the actual supporting structure of 2" by 5" timber. I got the structure completed by Monday night. Next it was time for some sort of make-shift structure holding the sinks and the water tap. But it was around midnight and I was too tired to continue building so I went to sleep. Tuesday morning I woke up at 4am, with ideas running through my mind. What would be the quickest and easiest way to build that structure for the sinks and the tap? An idea clarified in my mind, and at 5am I gave up and didn't try to sleep more. So I got up, drank some coffee and started building. By noon I had the running water and sewer re-connected. For the rest of the Tuesday I had customers for massage.

The following night I slept for six hours, and again woke up feeling an urge to start installing the new floor planks. I knew a few friends were coming to visit for the weekend, and I wanted to get everything done before that. Also, Wednesday night it would be MÄSÄ playing at Tampere, and I didn't want to miss that gig. I worked until 6pm, but because of some minor difficulties I only got about one third of the floor planks installed. Oh well. I felt sleep deprived, my mouth was dry and I had a little head-ache. I took some painkillers and drove to Tampere. A friend joined company and we went to see MÄSÄ. Oh, it was totally worth it. MÄSÄ packs real and toy instruments and a wild energetic stage performance. Despite all the fatigue I found myself dancing and singing along. (The band members have said that it is kind of a therapy project for them - to get to play music which isn't that much about serious perfection, but all about sheer wild joy and energy. Works for me!)

On Thursday my friend came to help me with the floor project. Together we got the rest of the floor planks installed. Before going to sleep we applied linen oil onto the floor. For Friday it was still some small finishing work, which we got all done before more guests arrived. So it was time to celebrate the autumn equinox and the new floor together with friends. Cheers!

Removing the old materials
New supporting structure built
Installing the floor planks
The new floor
tags: 
diary
homesteading
music
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Comments

cool project! I really like the look of your home, it's like a pioneers home. I'd like to really simplify my life more in the future even more and live in an even more traditional way. the old timers knew what they were doing, it's cool that you looked up their design and went with that, so many people would just fill the place up with foam or other insulation. great effort, I love this kind of post.

I assume you are referring to the European pioneers building their homes in North America. If so, I think the archetypical settler home was a lot influenced by log building methods brought by Swedish and Finnish settlers. So you are right - my house stems from the same tradition as the pioneer homes you are thinking of =)

My dream would be to have the interior side of wall logs visible. But I'm afraid that won't be very wise with my house, considering that it is made of rather thin logs. So, to make it properly warm, I'll need to add one extra layer of insulation onto the inner side of the walls. (But, sure, I'll be using all natural materials for that, too).

Oh well, but all in all, personally I feel that living in somewhat traditional way is good for my mental well-being. Like, I don't feel as a mere consumer buying and throwing away ready-made stuff; I have a personal relation with many elements of the basics of my life. If I'm too lazy to cut firewood, I'll suffer from cold. And when I burn firewood in the stove I feel a deep primitive sense of satisfaction for having taken care of myself, maintaining the warmth of my home.

Yeah, I was refering to the american pioneer home. I guess as a dutchman, that's my frame of reference. Although I'd prefer to look east to like a ukrainian or poland farmhouse for an example my intended lifestyle. I have seen videos of finnish men building a log home, it really is a wonderful craft and tradition. I come from the river delta's so we build with clay brick on sand or light wooden structures on the boggy soil or dikes.

Both freedom and poverty (which taught me a great down on personal responsibility) have pointed me in the way of traditionalism. I think what you are describing really echoes with my own personal experience, that's that we're not really meant to overspecialise as we do with the 40 hour workweek and the 1 hour commute. A lot more satisfaction is had when you take problems into your own hand and don't go for the easy, "store bought" solutions. I believe owning your culture is akin to following a "walk-through" while playing a video game with lots of random elements :)

By the way, I've been listening to this video series of Jordan Peterson, called "maps of meaning", I believe after a book that he wrote. It's a series of lectures on mythology and covers a broad range of topics. I thought you might be interested, you can find it here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL22J3VaeABQAT-0aSPq-OKOpQlHyR4k5h.

Oh wow, what a job!

I had to do that to one of my floors that was rotted out. Except I took out all the rotten wood, and then poured a bunch of concrete in through a window. It made a huge mess, splatter all over the walls and ceiling, lol.

Anyway, I hope all is well with you! It seems like it's been a while since I stopped by to say Hi, which I guess makes me a pretty poor internet-friend. D: I guess things have just been really busy here... It's just me and my 75-year-old uncle working the farm now, so that's a lot of extra work to do. And I have been spending much of my little bit of free time trying to find a good wife, haha.

Good luck with your house and your other projects. Happy autumn! :)

Yeah I remember following your video series on that floor project. Hehe, somehow that reminds me of a Finnish saying which is something like "when doing plaster, splatter also happens" - often used in metaphorical sense when you get minor accidents or collateral damage while frantically doing something.

And absolutely no need to worry about possibly being a poor internet-friend! I think it is just understandable that we all have our own lives, and sometimes there is ebb and flow in how actively we follow and comment stuff. Like, I've been following your youtube channel, seeing that there have been big things taking place in your life (funerals and all), but then somehow not finding words to express my warm thoughts. And sometimes the problem has also been that I didn't find words, but that there were too many of them and then I didn't find time to write =) Like, the happy smile on that veterans face sparked a stream of thoughts and I felt like sending you positive feedback in e-mail - but I never did since I was either busy with work or exhausted and trying to recover after working so much. Hehe, but now when I've mentioned my intention, maybe I really should write that mail =)

I'm happy to hear you've been looking for a good wife. Good luck with that! Personally I've still been keeping bit of a distance to the whole aspect of romantic relationships, but that is just to allow myself more time to recover from my depressive anxiety reactions which used to be so severe that before they ruined all of my attempts to maintain a warm relationship.

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