It’s Fall now, and we really want to get spray foam insulation installed before winter hits. That means we need all the framing done, as well as rough plumbing and electrical. Fortunately on the first floor we have an open floor plan, so there isn’t all that much framing to do. In addition to a few walls we need to finish the fire blocking and add nailing edges to the corners.

Blocking added to wall

Blocking added to wall

A few months ago, Dean came over and we got most of the fire blocking installed. The fire blocking consists of short pieces of 2×4 fit between the exterior wall studs at the floor, halfway up the wall, and behind the ribbon at the ceiling. They help prevent fire from spreading up the wall cavities, improve structural rigidity, add drywall nailing edges, and they’re required by code. Since we changed our plans, the only framing we need to do is the bathroom walls, the half-wall that divides the kitchen from the living room, and a small triangle of wall along the second run of stairs.

Last week I got the two bathroom walls up. As usual there was random shimming and allowances for our out-of-square house, but I must be learning because everything went pretty smoothly (except when one of the wall sections I had stood up fell over, broke the light, and almost crushed my camera). The walls are nice and straight despite the house and I didn’t have to take it apart to cut mis-measured boards.

Sarah’s dad, Mike, was over on Saturday and together we built the kitchen walls. There’s a short section under the beam connected to a half-wall that divides the kitchen from the living room, with a walkway near the wall. That went fairly smoothly, though we did run into one section by the wall we had to redo to compensate for the non-trueness of the outside wall.

Fire blocking with plugs

Fire blocking with holes and plugs

Sunday Sarah and I spent pretty much the whole day finishing the fire blocking. At the front and back of the house the floor joists run parallel to the wall, so if we’d put solid blocking in it would have closed off a pocket in the wall that couldn’t be spray foamed from below. To get around that I drilled 2″ holes in each piece of blocking so the spray foam installer can fill the pocket, put the little wood plug into the hole, then fill the rest of the wall.

Angled framing

Angled framing

Tuesday evening we framed the triangle of wall by the stairs and installed nailing edges at the corners. Wednesday evening our friend Mike came by with his truck and picked up most of our scrap metal pile in the basement, cutting down the big stuff with his torch. We need to clear all that out so the spray foam installers can get between the joists in the basement. We still have to get the tub and old boiler out, as well as some wiring, but it’s a huge improvement.

Truck loaded with scrap (also Derek)

Mike’s truck loaded with scrap (also Derek)

Yesterday I took care of some furring by the front door to even out the wall. We’ve got calls out to our plumber and electrician to get them lined up and see how soon they can do the work. Local code requires we use licensed contractors for the work, and it will certainly take them a lot less time than it would us. That’s not to say we won’t have anything to do ourselves. We still need to add furring to the ceiling, even up some of the outside walls, install the security system wiring, speaker wiring, and cabling conduit, plus clean out the rest of the basement, not to mention finish up a bunch of odds and ends we haven’t gotten around to. The exciting thing is that once all that’s done and Lester does some prep for the radiant floor heating, not only can we get our spray foam insulation, we can start drywalling. It’s been so long coming that it’s exciting just to think about.

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