If you have been following the story of our house, you know what a mess I got myself into. Yesterday I explained how I started the demo for our radiant heat. Before I continue, I wanted to explain a little just how I planned on doing the radiant so you don't think I was totally crazy. Where access from beneath is possible the most efficient way to add radiant heat to a wood subfloor is to run the tubing between the floor joists and staple it up with metal heat transfer plates. This is a fairly painless experience for those with full basements. My house had a 10' by 10' basement with 6 foot ceilings, about another 50% was crawl space ranging between 1' and 3' of clearance from floor joist to dirt. The remaining 40% above which I was currently doing the demo work mentioned previously had almost no clearance from below, making a staple up install impossible. There are plenty of above subfloor systems out there for the application I was planning on doing in the front of the house, most of which were quite costly. I opted for the DIY approach. It consists of ripping 9" wide strips of plywood and attaching those to the subfloor 1" apart from eachother. This creates a groove which you can safely lay your tubing and heat transfer plates before putting your finished floor in. The obvious downside to this is the extra thickness of the floor. Because I didn't want to have 3" thick floors and 5' door ways I decided I had to demo all the way down to the floor joists and level them out, install a new subfloor, the layer of radiant, and then the finished floor.
Taking out all the old floor meant reducing our 750 square foot home to less than 300 square feet of usable space. We managed to put most of the furniture in the kitchen, including our bed. While ripping out the floor I found old newspapers from the 30's and 60's. I kept some of them, but the majority went to the trash. After taking all the flooring out, I noticed that the wall between our bedroom and the living room was just floating in mid air. We had rough plans for our addition, and knew that we wanted to open up the front of our house as much as possible. After convincing myself that the house would indeed remain standing without the wall, I went to work on ripping it out. The results were dramatic. Our cramped little living room and bedroom were now one big open room. If only it had a floor.
If you actually made it this far into the story congratulations. I'll save you the boring details about the sub floor. The short story is that I very carefully cut joists to sit on top of the old ones, bringing all the floor to the same level. Everything was carefully braced, and eventually a real live subfloor was installed. The whole process from exposed floor joists to subfloor probably took just under two weeks. All praises at this point should go to my extremely patient and beautiful wife, who somehow made sleeping in the kitchen among piles of furniture and boxes seem like a sane thing to do.
The pictures speak for themselves Looking from our living room through the door to our bedroom. Our bedroom floor. Another shot of our bedroom floor, showing the old ducting below. The huge pile of wood in front of our house. It got bigger. The scary bridge from our front door to our kitchen and bathroom. Did I mention how beautiful and patient my wife is? The floating wall between our living room and bedroom. Demo of the wall. One big room. Cross bracing floor joist before leveling. Finally a subfloor in the bedroom half. This is well over a week into the project. Looking from the bedroom to the living room. Floor leveled and partially insulated prior to subfloor install. Living room. We officially have a floor in all of our house! Studio living never felt so nice. Next I have to learn to wire.