Cornish hall floor rebuild


Postby Greenman » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:26 pm

I have a hallway 17 x 4', earth floor with about 4" ballast. Walls are granite pieces cemented together, no cavity.

The original floor was built of columns of bricks, slates, bits of wood, football cards and chewing gum to get the columns all to the same height, then 2 x 3 joists every 2' just balanced on these columns and the floorbaords then nailed on to keep everything square and solid! Its amazing but this actually worked fine. However, woodworm and wetrot have forced me to strip all of this out and rebuild from scratch.

As there is no guarantee of having a gap between granite blocks to set joists every 18" and I have no desire to start mucking about with the walls, the local workaround is to form sleeper walls of concrete and place a rail of 2 x 6 along its length in which to nail the joists. This would work except that I have a water piper running along one one wall so obviously I cannot set this in concrete and I am no plumber (yet), so I am reluctant to try and move it.

My proposed solution then - sit breeze blocks largest face down on pillows of 3/4" to dust ballast so that all blocks (a total of 14 blocks, 7 each side lengthways) are level with each other, then sit a 17' 2 x 6 rail on each side for joists (6x2) to be nailed into every 18".

Then board out with T&G.

I am planning to stain and varnish the finished boards.

My concerns - will the breeze blocks be strong enough to hold this construction without sinking into the earth floor or crumbling? I think not as the earth floor is very compact and weight should be shared evenly throughout the matrix.

What do you good people say?
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Postby ollyburton » Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:15 pm

Greenman wrote:I have a hallway 17 x 4', earth floor with about 4" ballast. Walls are granite pieces cemented together, no cavity.

The original floor was built of columns of bricks, slates, bits of wood, football cards and chewing gum to get the columns all to the same height, then 2 x 3 joists every 2' just balanced on these columns and the floorbaords then nailed on to keep everything square and solid! Its amazing but this actually worked fine. However, woodworm and wetrot have forced me to strip all of this out and rebuild from scratch.

As there is no guarantee of having a gap between granite blocks to set joists every 18" and I have no desire to start mucking about with the walls, the local workaround is to form sleeper walls of concrete and place a rail of 2 x 6 along its length in which to nail the joists. This would work except that I have a water piper running along one one wall so obviously I cannot set this in concrete and I am no plumber (yet), so I am reluctant to try and move it.

My proposed solution then - sit breeze blocks largest face down on pillows of 3/4" to dust ballast so that all blocks (a total of 14 blocks, 7 each side lengthways) are level with each other, then sit a 17' 2 x 6 rail on each side for joists (6x2) to be nailed into every 18".

Then board out with T&G.

I am planning to stain and varnish the finished boards.

My concerns - will the breeze blocks be strong enough to hold this construction without sinking into the earth floor or crumbling? I think not as the earth floor is very compact and weight should be shared evenly throughout the matrix.

What do you good people say?
hello there i presume you have access to full area if so best way is to build a sleeper wall both sides of hall using bricks dont have to look pretty leave gaps between bricks say 3inch or there abouts build up to a height top of with a layer of damp course then 4x1 or 4x2 timber wallplate layed flat, lay 5x2 joists on wallplate every 400 mm then board .every meter or so remove the bottom part of groove on boards so you can lift out board to pack up joist if needed. make sure you clean all debris from under void to reduce dampness. hope this helps.
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Last edited by ollyburton on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Greenman » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:24 pm

Thanks ollyburton

I understand what you mean by the sleeper walls running down both walls, however replacing 2x3's with 2x6's I found I only needed a sleeper wall of about 4", so a brick wall would be too high even with two courses and I couldnt build a poured concrete sleeper on one side as there was an old water pipe running the length which I was reluctant to re-route further away from the wall (and too tight and headstrong to get a plumber in!).

The way I have approached this is to place a line of standard 3.5N breeze blocks with 3" gaps and made sure they are spirit levelled right down the hall length and comfortably flush with the bottom of the existing skirting boards once the joists and boards are down. These are sitting on a firm bed of ballast which is level across the hallway so these blocks should not creep.

Then I lay a single length of 2x6 flat along the breeze block line each side as rails in which to nail my joists every 18", then board.

[b]I liked your idea of stripping the bottom lip off one length of T&G (the hall is 4' wide so only needed one length like this to access all boards) to help access the floor if any part sinks and needs raising.[/b]

The old brick and slate columns and 3x2 joists every yard or so served the house for just over 100 years without a problem, except woodworm and rot, so I hope my rebuild will last me out! Mind you, I believe the Cornish were smaller and lighter back in the day!
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Postby TheDoctor5 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:45 am

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