My to-do list for the second floor is long. Two items at the top of that list are the ventilation duct work and the electrical installation. Before I could get to those two items, I had some ceiling framing to finish.
In preparation for the roof insulation, we removed the ceiling joists in the back third of the second floor. This was so we had enough room for the insulation and the ventilation duct work.
My friend Rubani and I had begun to rebuild drop ceilings in the bathroom and guest bed room. It was now time to tackle the framing of the kitchen ceiling.
When we removed the ceiling joists, I put them to the side so that they could be reused for the drop ceiling. These are old growth two by six, meaning they actually measure two inches by six inches, compared to the nominal lumber which measures one and a half inches by five and a half inches.
That matters because I have to use joist hangers. And joist hangers are made for nominal lumber.
I was in no mood to carve the ends of the old growth studs to fit the joist hangers. It turns out that you can find joist hangers for old growth lumber online. Ordering them took a little longer than picking the up at the store, but it saved me time and a headache.
Thanks again to Rubani for helping me to lift the old growth two by six into place!
To keep things interesting, we indulged in a different approach for the ceiling framing in the guest bedroom (like I had a choice!).
The span across the room was about twice that of the bathroom. To avoid a sagging ceiling, we reused the the original and sturdy two by six ceiling joists we had removed a while back. But rather than running the joists in the original east-west direction, we turned them north-south, the same direction the ventilation duct work will be running.
This will allow us to run the duct work in between the ceiling joists, and thus maximize the room height. Like in the bathroom, we only had to lower the room height by six inches, from ten feet to nine foot and six inches.
Things you take apart require putting together again. This circular process keeps following me on this project.
The framing configuration of the roof and attic towards the south end of the building left me with a spatial challenge. In order to have enough room to get the roof or attic insulated and air sealed, I had to remove the original 2nd floor ceiling joists. You can read up details in a previous post and follow the ceiling joist removal here.
Now, that the roof is insulated and air sealed, it’s time to look overhead, more so than ahead, and bring back the ceiling framing.
We started with the bathroom. Because we have a fairly short span across the room, two by fours were sufficient for the ceiling framing. The original room height was ten feet. We lowered it to nine feet and six inches. That gave us the space we needed for the insulation and the future ventilation duct work.
I detect a theme here: From simple to increasingly complicated.
Like I mentioned in the last post, I started with the west wall, which was very simple to build. On the south wall, I had to integrate windows, and on the east wall I had to deal with doors.
The last piece of the puzzle was completing the thermal enclosure of the basement space between the stairs leading up the the first floor, and the stairs leading into the enclosed basement space.
And a puzzle it was! Dealing with railings. Fitting the framing with enough wall cavity for the required insulation. Trying to avoid thermal bridging. Thinking about air tightness. Finding the right spot for the door. You name it …
My head started to hurt, and the framing showed it. But it did the job! I was ready to close everything up with sheathing, and in the process I used drywall adhesive, caulk and foam to seal all of the gaps.
That concluded the enclosure of the the basement space. To turn it into a thermal enclosure, I need to add some insulation.
“I said I had a plan – so let’s change it!” This may sum up the process of enclosing the east side of our back porch.
The west enclosure was a very simple wall to build. The south enclosure got more complicated, because I had to integrate some windows. On the east enclosure, I had doors to deal with.
This could be the beginning of a joke: How many doors do you need to get into your back porch?
Well, on first sight, the answer seemed simple: Two doors. One to access the back porch from the yard, and a second door to access the thermally enclosed basement level.
We also had plans for bicycle parking in the basement level. That’s not super convenient as we’ll need to carry the bikes up a few stairs, and especially not convenient when we’ll have to lug the bikes through two doors and around two corners. And what if we want to move bigger items (such as furniture) in and out of the basement?
We needed a third door. We needed a straight shot into the basement.
I had my eye firmly on the reuse market, but no luck this time. I had to buy two new insulated steel skin doors. But I was able to reuse our old front door (also an insulated steel skin door), which went on the inside.
While I was starting to put the east enclosure together, I realized that I had enough space and enough materials to build a quasi two hour fire rated wall, instead of the required one hour fire rating.
When it comes to energy efficiency, I read more and more that Building Code is not the that bar to meet, but it just the bare minimum that is required. I think that is true too for other building aspects.
So, it didn’t take much to decide in favor of the quasi two hour fire rated enclosure – in favor of a little bit more protection.