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Thread: The Alaskan Bush Cabin Project

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    Member Corpsman's Avatar
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    Default The Alaskan Bush Cabin Project

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm starting this thread not only to document the stick cabin as it goes up, but also to consolidate all the questions and informed answers that I will get as I progress in the build. This build will progress slowly, unfortunately, as the funds are available, I will move forward, but the good news is I don't need to wait for money to ask questions lol!!! My first question... I will be laying either a 3/4" or 5/8" subfloor, I haven't decided what I will ne using for flooring, I have a separate mud room where all boots,jackets and such will be left before entering the main cabin, in the main plans. It will mist be me and the dog. So with this mudroom, I was considering foregoing the more sensiblelow maintence and high wear approach for a nicer more comfortable flooring. Saying that I was wondering what you would suggest I put on top of the subfloor before I laid down whatever it is as the flooring I will use. I know that I will have different flooring in the kitchen and stove area, as opposed to the living and bed area. My cabin will only be 16x24 and a single floor, no loft planned at this moment. I welcome any input anyone has.

    Thank you
    God Bless

    Jeff
    My Brothers in Arms, I Will Never Be Able to Shake the Hands of the Real Heroes.

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    Jeff, First start with your sub-floor. That you should start with 3/4 t&g glued to the floor joist and then screwed down.There is nothing worse than a squeking, bouncing floor. In the mud room go with a 3/8 underlayment and then put down a one peice vinyl floor covering. The vinyl will be slick in winter with snow but a couple of non skid throw rugs will solve that. The vinyl will be easy to clean and be waterproof with snow melt and so forth.

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    I agree with glueing the subfloor (and definitely 3/4", assuming your joists are on 16" centers, I would advise against 24" centers for a floor) but not with the use of screws, which have next to no shear strength. Use galvanized ring shank nails.

    I dislike vinyl. Personally, I went with another layer of 3/4" t and g plywood, which can be easily painted or stained and sealed. A hard wood plywood like birch would hold up longer. I screwed the second layer down for ease of replacement.

    6 mil poly sits between the two layers for a vapor retarder, with seams sealed where it meets the walls' poly

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    I agree with the 3/4 tongue and groove flooring, glued and screwed. I nailed down for production and went back and screwed later. No OSB go with plywood. I also agree with a peice of vynol, quick and easy to clean. We are going to sand down the plywood and stain it for now, the real wood looks nice. 16" on centers for everything. Post pics as you go and good luck
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    1 1/2" of floor is way over kill .If you glue the subfloor to the floor joist that would have about as much holding power as the screws or nails .
    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    I agree with glueing the subfloor (and definitely 3/4", assuming your joists are on 16" centers, I would advise against 24" centers for a floor) but not with the use of screws, which have next to no shear strength. Use galvanized ring shank nails.

    I dislike vinyl. Personally, I went with another layer of 3/4" t and g plywood, which can be easily painted or stained and sealed. A hard wood plywood like birch would hold up longer. I screwed the second layer down for ease of replacement.

    6 mil poly sits between the two layers for a vapor retarder, with seams sealed where it meets the walls' poly

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    Thank you Everyone for the quick replies! I see no reason why I wouldn't do anything but 16" on center. I will go with 3/4" plywood for the subfloor, glued and screwed. The mud room unfortunately is the easiest to decide lol. No disrespect intended, but I want to have a nicer floor than just plywood above the subfloor. Like I said, I will have a mudroom, and its just me and the dog, no kids, so I should be able to keep the fort under control. I was envisioning some kind of tile in the kitchen area and around the wood stove, and near the entry ways,but the rest some kind of durable yet soft carpet. I had real Berber carpet in my home in California, I wont be able to afford that again, but what a beautiful carpet it was! Does my idea sound reasonable or am I being a little naive as far as maintenance and keeping it clean?

    Thanks Again

    Jeff
    My Brothers in Arms, I Will Never Be Able to Shake the Hands of the Real Heroes.

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    Hell Everyone,

    I thought I would throw in another question because I might have a opportunity for a purchase that presented itself. I have been doing some planning and though I am aware the in my area solar wont be something that I should solely rely on, it is something that I will have to fall back on. Saying that, I wanted to know of anyone had ideas and/or opinions on different brand inverter/chargers. I think I settled on incorparating a combination inverter/charger into my system and I want to get an idea for which ones to avoid and which ones are the bright stars to the group.

    Thank you

    Jeff
    My Brothers in Arms, I Will Never Be Able to Shake the Hands of the Real Heroes.

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    You may want to consider two layers of plywood in the tile areas, depending on the bracing under the floor. Too much deflection and your tile and grout will eventually crack. I know it is just a cabin, but why not do it right and not have problems later.

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    I would only use tile if I were installing a radiant floor heating system. Tile floors are cold, and if you are going to put rugs over the tiles for warmth, might as well just forget the tiles. I like tiles around a woodstove. Even with backerboard, I don't think 3/4" ply will be stiff enough to keep your tiles from cracking.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Jeff, I built a cabin a few years ago and I understand the questions you have and the advice given. As a contractor for the last 30 years, here is my two cents worth. I went with 9 1/2" joists, 2' on center. I put down 3/4 T&G osb. After my walls and the roof was on, i then put down a layer of 7/16 osb glued and stapled about every 6 to 8 inches. This is how professional flooring people like it except in a home they would use 3/8 underlayment instead. DO NOT USE SCREWS on your flooring anywhere. No shear strenth at all.

    You dont need or want a vapor barrier at all on the floor. I filled the cavity with insulation and put 7/16 osb to cover the bottom.

    I would be careful of ceramic tile unless you are living full time in the cabin. its not a cabin then its a home. Tile will crack if not constantly heated. I carpeted my 24 x 32 with meduim grade commercial carpet, got it new for $300( contractor perk).

    Lastly, do not skirt your cabin and you will have all the ventilation you need.

    Keep in mind that my decision for many of the ways i built was the distance i had to haul materials. 80 miles one way from Deshka landing.

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    Jeff, I built a cabin a few years ago and I understand the questions you have and the advice given. As a contractor for the last 30 years, here is my two cents worth. I went with 9 1/2" joists, 2' on center. I put down 3/4 T&G osb. After my walls and the roof was on, i then put down a layer of 7/16 osb glued and stapled about every 6 to 8 inches. This is how professional flooring people like it except in a home they would use 3/8 underlayment instead. DO NOT USE SCREWS on your flooring anywhere. No shear strenth at all.

    You dont need or want a vapor barrier at all on the floor. I filled the cavity with insulation and put 7/16 osb to cover the bottom.

    I would be careful of ceramic tile unless you are living full time in the cabin. its not a cabin then its a home. Tile will crack if not constantly heated. I carpeted my 24 x 32 with meduim grade commercial carpet, got it new for $300( contractor perk).

    Lastly, do not skirt your cabin and you will have all the ventilation you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsman View Post
    Hell Everyone,

    I thought I would throw in another question because I might have a opportunity for a purchase that presented itself. I have been doing some planning and though I am aware the in my area solar wont be something that I should solely rely on, it is something that I will have to fall back on. Saying that, I wanted to know of anyone had ideas and/or opinions on different brand inverter/chargers. I think I settled on incorparating a combination inverter/charger into my system and I want to get an idea for which ones to avoid and which ones are the bright stars to the group.

    Thank you

    Jeff
    Jeff,

    I used a Trace DR series inverter/charger for many years and have now upgraded to a Magnum Energy RD series inverter/charger. In both cases I went with a modified sine wave and I've never had any problem with the power for anything I've wanted to run. If you expect to run a Toyo or Monitor stove you'll want to use a more expensive true sine wave inverter. No big deal, just a little more money. My original Trace unit had a 120A charger built in and the Magnum's is 100A but the newer technology has better charging efficiency so the charge output is adequate. The newer inverter's control panel is far superior, too. And I chose the most basic panel. Solar power is a nice supplement to a generator system. I rarely need the generator in the summer months but winter's a different story. No surprise. When you decide on an inverter and charger you'll need to decide on your demand to size the inverter. The built-in chargers are great but remember a 100A charger will need a substantial generator to run. A portable 2000w won't do the job. If you do go with an inverter you'll need battery storage and there's the foundation of the system. Rolls and Trojan batteries are the premium brands for storage banks and buying quality does make a difference. I used Exides for a long time before switching to Rolls batteries in the same size and rating. There is no comparison. Rolls batteries do everything better. I recommend you talk to Renewable Energy Systems in Anchorage or ABS Alaska in Fairbanks. Both are excellent resources for alternative energy products and tech advice. FWIW, Trace inverters are very popular up here. Trace was sold several years ago to Xantrex. Xantrex sold to Schneider Electric. If you do any research you'll find reference to all three names for the same family of inverters. The Trace DR current equivalent is the Schneider TR series. Both Schneider and Magnum have lots of inverters and options to offer.

    On the flooring topic? I used 2x12s on 24" centers with 3/4 T&G osb sub floor, glued and nailed with ring shanks. The spacing is fine. The majority of city homes use 24" spacing and 3/4" subfloor and get tons more traffic than a cabin will. Span and spacing will dictate joist size and bounce is what you'll want to avoid by using properly sized joists. Add underlayment for hard flooring, both for the smoother surface and for building up to meet adjacent carpet height. I used 3/8 AC plywood glued and screwed under my sheet vinyl. 20+ years later it's been perfect. The floor is insulated from underneath using faced insulation (facing to the warm side) and is sheathed on the bottom with 3/8" CDX ply. Very solid, no varmint problems, and I get dry storage under the cabin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaflier View Post
    DO NOT USE SCREWS on your flooring anywhere. No shear strenth at all.
    LOL yeah, no screws allowed in decks, than, either; geez, gimme a frickin' break....
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Cdubbin. What I think he meant was that for shear strength it is inappropriate to use screws alone to secure structural sheeting if you want it to be seismically capable.

    Drive a 12 penny nail and an expensive screw into a board 3/4 inch and pound on each with a hammer. See the results.


    The requirements to secure decking are different as its a different application. If you are fastening flooring or undelaymebt over a plywood subfloor that's glued and nailed, then no problem.

    Will screws hold? Sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    LOL yeah, no screws allowed in decks, than, either; geez, gimme a frickin' break....

    Decks are not part of the shear diahram of the structure. I suggest you use them though on yours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaflier View Post
    Decks are not part of the shear diahram of the structure. I suggest you use them though on yours.
    You guys are cracka-lackin' me up!! C'mon, who else wants to take me to school?
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    You guys are cracka-lackin' me up!! C'mon, who else wants to take me to school?
    Sounds like you need to go back to school, quit smoking so many "dubbies" and learn from the experts, you of which are not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaflier View Post
    Sounds like you need to go back to school, quit smoking so many "dubbies" and learn from the experts, you of which are not.
    Funny stuff, flier! I haven't been to "school", unless you count 20 years of building in S.C. Alaska Yes, there are screws for framing with the shear strength of any nail; they get used pretty extensively by professional builders like me. My only angle in posting here is to dispel possible bad information; building technology's come a LONG way, some of it's even showed up in Alaska! Do your research, maybe just go into the desk at SBS and pick their brains about what's available; you might be surprised. Jeff, you get hung up on something and don't want to wade through a bunch of B.S., PM me. I've been hung up on about most situations you could name
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Curious which building code or standard references NOT using screws in flooring applications?
    National Building Code of Canada certainly allows for screws, even in seismic applications.
    Indeed, with the exception of renovations, I haven't seen nails in flooring in years with the exception of staples in T&G finish flooring.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    Funny stuff, flier! I haven't been to "school", unless you count 20 years of building in S.C. Alaska Yes, there are screws for framing with the shear strength of any nail; they get used pretty extensively by professional builders like me. My only angle in posting here is to dispel possible bad information; building technology's come a LONG way, some of it's even showed up in Alaska! Do your research, maybe just go into the desk at SBS and pick their brains about what's available; you might be surprised. Jeff, you get hung up on something and don't want to wade through a bunch of B.S., PM me. I've been hung up on about most situations you could name

    I have been in construction 30 years in AK and never have we put subfloor down with screws. Always ringshank 8d nails and glue. As far as underlayment under say vinyl, we never use screws. over time they back out. You can all do what you want but these are suppose to be discussion forums not arguments. If you all want to use frickin screws, be my guest. And by the way i dont no what pm means except project manager. Its a funny thing that we are arguing over a screw.

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