Floor joists

Floor joists

After the wet wall demo and finally resolving the drain cap issues, we were able to get the wet wall re-framed. The first stage was sistering to two of the existing floor joists, which I did with Mike’s help a couple of weeks ago. These joists are in the kitchen, directly below where the cabinets, refrigerator, and oversized range will go, so reinforcing the joists will help support that weight without it flexing overmuch.

The existing joists are not level, due in part to the outside walls not being at the exact same height as the beam and in larger part to the joists themselves bowing, tapering, and generally being wonky. We compensated for some of this by jacking up the old joist before gluing on the new ones, but in the end I wound up using my laser level and a planer to bring down all of the high spots.

After that was done, I installed the new joist that replaced the rotted one, which was thankfully much easier to make level. Lastly, I installed blocking between the new joist and the next joist over in order to support the wet wall itself. Normally walls parallel to joists sit directly above them, but in this case the wall needed to be in line with the PSL column, which is between joists. The blocking is installed every 16″. Because I had planed down the joists to be level, installing the blocking was pretty straightforward.

Level subfloor

Level subfloor

I then installed the subfloor. This was complicated by all of the pipes, and I had to cut notched sections and piece it together. I managed a decent job and I’m pleased to say that the subfloor is as close to level as anything in this house is likely to get. There were some low spots in the joists, so when I glued down the OSB subfloor, I only put screws in the corners. Then I let the bead of glue cure, acting almost as a shim. I’ll follow up with the screws afterward. My fancy collated screwdriver is missing its screw bit, and the screws I bought are square drive anyway, so I’ll wait until the new bit arrives to put those in.

Ceiling blocking

Ceiling blocking

I was all set to install the wall itself when I realized I needed blocking at the top as well. Unlike the nice and level floor, the ceiling was incredibly warped in both directions and partially rotted. I had to custom cut and fit each piece of blocking. This was easily the biggest pain in the whole project. I installed them with screws so I can adjust them from above when we do the second floor. At least one of the ceiling joists will need to be replaced at that point. We’ll be able to do that without disrupting the first floor because the first floor ceiling will be suspended on furring under the joists. When we install the furring, we’ll skip the joists that need to be replaced.

Wet wall

Wet wall

With the blocking in place I was finally able to frame the wet wall. It’s two rows of 2x4s, with the kitchen side not extending the entire length. This will create a nook for the refrigerator, so it sits flush with the counter without being counter depth. I installed bracing between the studs (not pictured) to add rigidity, bring the studs parallel with one another, and create a continuous nailing edge for shelving and cabinets.

The wall will eventually extend another couple of feet past the column, but that can wait until I do the rest of the subfloor. I’ll also frame an access panel for the plumbing, but I’m not in a rush to do that either. The main focus is getting the wall up so that the radiant heating plumbing has something to be attached to. Lester will be coming on Monday to start that work.

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