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Old 09-16-2010, 10:48 AM   #31
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Screenhouse in the woods


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Originally Posted by jules4 View Post
Thanks - Iím enjoying writing it too.

It is a very beautiful site, and I must admit to occasionally choosing my pictures on the basis their aesthetic qualities rather than their functional merits. (E.g., I particularly liked the contrast in the picture I posted immediately before your first reply to this thread - I actually had several other pictures using a flash that showed the joists much more clearly, but they lacked charm.)
I think we hear you about the flash problem Jules, natural light always seems to be warmer. Sometimes you can't avoid using a flash though, but you can often fix that bland look with your photo program.

The other trouble with a flash is that often only the closest part of the pic shows up well and the rest looks dark. I haven't got that one figured out yet.

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Old 09-16-2010, 11:42 AM   #32
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Screenhouse in the woods


Thursday (Sept 2)

I installed the solid floor blocking today.

Solid blocking isn’t really necessary since the joists are plenty strong (I went with 16oc joist spacing instead of my originally planned 24oc, since I decided to use 1" spruce boards instead of 3/4" Douglas Fir ply), and the floor boards themselves would have limited the lateral deflection of the joists.

However, because most of the walls of the screen house are open, and so don’t provide any bracing against lateral forces, finding other ways of protecting the structure from wracking is an ongoing concern. In this case, my (admittedly ad hoc) theory is that by adding tightly fitted, mid-span floor blocking, which has made it virtually impossible for the joists to deflect laterally with respect to each other, the whole floor will now function more like a moment frame (i.e., like a very wide box beam) and so provide some increased stability to the rest of the structure.




I also started installing the floor boards - a very exciting moment, the screen house will finally start looking like a usable structure!

I’ve actually been preparing the floor boards since last week, and the details of how I went about this might be useful to others who are contemplating such a project. Although the boards were technically kiln dried, they’d been rained on before I got them so the first thing I did was let them bake in the sun for four days to dry up (I could tell how dry they were by how much they’d twisted up - gotta love 2nd growth flat sawn spruce lol). Once dry, each board was soaked in a trough of clear wood preservative for 5 minutes. After this treatment they were baked in the sun for another 4 days.

Since I’m using cheap 1x6 T&G spruce boards, a good deal of surface prep was also required to deal with knot holes. Once the preservative was thoroughly dry I glued all the loose knots in place (using an exterior wood glue). In retrospect I obviously should have done this prior to treating the boards with preservative, since being impregnated with paraffin wax is unlikely to improve glue-adhesion. So, as an added safeguard, I nailed a scrap of wood across the back of each loose knot so they won’t fall out even if the glue fails. There were also a couple of open knot holes which I filled with PC Woody epoxy (again, nailing on a backer strip).





Since the boards were notched to fit around the posts/balusters/studs, all these fresh cuts were soaked in more wood preservative before the boards were nailed down. I also put a bead of silicone caulk down each groove before driving the tongue home, so that water can’t get into this joint and rot the tongue out.

Due to their warped personalities, many of the boards had to be forced into place using temp braces, levers and/or feet, and then held down, kicking and screaming, until secured. As a result I’m quite proud of how tight the joints turned out.




Another picture showing the superfluous roofing felt I added to the blocking and joists:


Last edited by jules4; 09-16-2010 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:49 AM   #33
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Screenhouse in the woods


The boxing/blocking certainly won't hurt!

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Old 09-16-2010, 11:54 AM   #34
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Screenhouse in the woods


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Originally Posted by cocobolo View Post
I think we hear you about the flash problem Jules, natural light always seems to be warmer. Sometimes you can't avoid using a flash though, but you can often fix that bland look with your photo program.

The other trouble with a flash is that often only the closest part of the pic shows up well and the rest looks dark. I haven't got that one figured out yet.
The biggest annoyance I have with flash - aside from it screwing the colours up - is that it flattens images by removing the changes in contrast that could otherwise provide clues to depth. I try to avoid editing photos though - I'm way too much of a perfectionist and will wind up spending hours on Photo Paint tweaking the histogram, fiddling with the tone curve, carefully removing glare . . . I can literally waste days working on a single picture.

I've found the best way to avoid having the rest of the image look too dark when attempting to brighten a nearby object is to adjust the white-balance rather than using a flash.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:59 AM   #35
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The boxing/blocking certainly won't hurt!

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This is essentially my operating principle when it comes to building:

Another coat of wood preservative? Can't hurt!

Felt over treated lumber? Can't hurt!

More blocking? Can't hurt!

Caulking all joints? Can't hurt! (Well, actually it does hurt a little when you have to scrape it all off and start again lol)
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #36
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Screenhouse in the woods


Friday (Sept 3)
Half of the floor boards are now installed!




I started running 6 mil poly underneath the floor today to act as a vapour barrier to lower the ambient humidity of the crawl space. This is also an unnecessary detail. I built the screen house at a local high point in the ground elevation, so water naturally runs away from it in all directions. Added to this the floor is a minimum of 13 inches off the ground (and often closer to 2 feet), and I’ll be leaving the sides of the crawl space open for ventilation (there’s usually a good breeze off the river).

However, like roofing felt, poly is cheap so I figured why the heck not. (The logs and lumber weighing the poly down are only temporary - covering a vapour barrier in rotting soft-wood would obviously be counter-productive).




Hurricane Earl is expected to still be a category 1 storm when it arrives in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, so I spent the afternoon engaged in some final preparations for the storm, such as this make-shift down spout to divert water from the eavestrough away from the foundation.




As of 7 pm everything is battened down as good as it can be:
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:25 PM   #37
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Screenhouse in the woods


Wow! That is quite the accomplishment.

I am little concerned about the distance of the side overhangs in relationship to how far back they set from bearing. Usually, it's 3 to 1 on a cantilever. Yours appear to be 1 back and 2+ out. Maybe adding an H-1 on the two center blocks/beam would help hold it's own in a heavy snow load. Use 2- 2.5's on the block above the beams running parallel on the cant. Possibly adding some on each block/rafter connection, if the forces are great enough there. Listing these for others, for their information.

rhttp://www.bgstructuralengineering.c...GASCE70803.htm

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...lpoLI0y_E8w56w
Codes figure double the snow load for tail overhangs and cantilevers, not sure on side cants though.


Nice job!

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Old 09-16-2010, 01:11 PM   #38
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Screenhouse in the woods


Saturday (Sept 4)

Well, Earl was not as bad as had been feared here on the South Shore. Although it made landfall very close by, it had weakened considerably with sustained winds of only 120 kph (75 mph), so not much worse than a winter nor’easter.

There were some heavy gusts, and loads of tropical rain, but it was moving fast so the whole business was over by the afternoon.

The screen house sustained no damage whatsoever - looked exactly the same as it had the evening before, expect for the channel the water had carved out leading away from my make-shift down spout.


I spent the rest of the day employed in fitting diagonal braces in the back section of each side wall - they look good even if the frame didn't appear to need any added bracing in this particular dimension.




With regards to wracking, by throwing my weight around on the posts so as to trigger oscillations I’ve discovered that the structure won’t shift (straight) laterally in any direction; however, the roof can be made to rotate slightly with respect to the ground.

I’m not sure what to do about this potential for rotational oscillation - but I suspect that preventing it would require the addition of some large, ugly, window-obscuring braces to the front and sides. Perhaps nothing even needs to be done about it, since no amount of encouragement can get the roof to rotated more than a degree or so, at which point it springs right back. I’d welcome your thoughts on this subject.

Last edited by jules4; 09-16-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:52 PM   #39
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Screenhouse in the woods


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Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
Wow! That is quite the accomplishment.

I am little concerned about the distance of the side overhangs in relationship to how far back they set from bearing. Usually, it's 3 to 1 on a cantilever. Yours appear to be 1 back and 2+ out. Maybe adding an H-1 on the two center blocks/beam would help hold it's own in a heavy snow load. Use 2- 2.5's on the block above the beams running parallel on the cant. Possibly adding some on each block/rafter connection, if the forces are great enough there.
You’re right, the blocks that support the fly rafters overhang their bearing points by about 2/3 of their length.

Hopefully that will be okay, it does feel pretty solid. I can stand at any point on the roof without causing any detectable movement in the sheathing or rafters; this includes putting all my (not inconsiderable) weight at the edge of one of the front corners - which strikes me as the roofs weakest point. (Although, as previously mentioned, the entire roof as a unit can be made to rotate slightly about centre.)

It would be easy enough to add some fasteners to reinforce the connection between these blocks and the beams they bear on though, so I’ll take your advice about adding some ties here.

Last edited by jules4; 09-16-2010 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #40
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Screenhouse in the woods


By the time you get finished with the wall structure, what do you think the chances are of rain getting at your floor?

I'm asking because I don't think we know yet what sort of screens you will be using. Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:05 PM   #41
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By the time you get finished with the wall structure, what do you think the chances are of rain getting at your floor?

I'm asking because I don't think we know yet what sort of screens you will be using. Thanks.
I'd say the chances of rain getting on the floor are 100%. Not only are the windows going to be all screen, but the knee wall formed by the railings will be screened in too. However, it rains a lot less here than on the "wet" coast, so the floor will spend most of its time dry.

I also plan on coming up with way to winterize the place to limit the amount of snow and ice that get in. The only difficulty is it's got to be a system that mom can handle on her own - I'm thinking of making the screen panels removable so that they can be taken down, stuck into poly "bags", and then just put back up again.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:30 PM   #42
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I'd say the chances of rain getting on the floor are 100%. Not only are the windows going to be all screen, but the knee wall formed by the railings will be screened in too. However, it rains a lot less here than on the "wet" coast, so the floor will spend most of its time dry.

I also plan on coming up with way to winterize the place to limit the amount of snow and ice that get in. The only difficulty is it's got to be a system that mom can handle on her own - I'm thinking of making the screen panels removable so that they can be taken down, stuck into poly "bags", and then just put back up again.
We certainly are notorious for getting rain here, that's for sure.

Where we are we average 37" a year. Mosquito Creek in North Vancouver is up around 140", and anything directly on the west coast - Tofino for example - enjoys (?) even more rain.

I wonder if something like a boat cover might work? The type that you fasten in place with the twist fasteners. The only thing about that would be you would need a way to get up to the top as well...maybe not such a good idea for your mum.

What about something you could hook on? A couple of hooks at the top and some sort of tie at the bottom?

Anyway, one of the reasons I was inquiring about the water getting at the deck was to see how it might be able to get off the deck.

Your wood for the floor was kiln dried...which means that the wood cells are dead. You can still expect the wood to expand and contract, maybe not as much as non kiln dried wood.

You may have done yourself a dis-service by adding silicone to the T & G.

Whatever water does get in there will now find it harder to get out. And inevitably, some will get in there. But with the wood treatment, it has a reasonable chance of lasting probably 20 years plus.

Incidentally, I like the fact that you have added felt to the top of your floor joist structure. I have been a fan of that idea for decades.

Dare I suggest that in future when you want to dry wood after you have soaked it in preservative, that you do it more slowly than baking it in the sun. While that will dry the wood eventually, so will the natural process of air drying. The outside of the wood (facing the sun) dries first, and puts the inner portion - which is still damp - under some pressure. At some point there is some stress in the board, which might lead to cracking.

I'm sure you have noticed that when a board is laying flat in the sun it will tend to curl up on the outer edges. This is because the top of the board is shrinking. Flip it over and the board will straighten out.

If you get a couple of stubborn boards which just don't want to co-operate, lay the two cupped sides together. After a day or two they should start to get flatter.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:56 PM   #43
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I actually haven't made any provisions for water getting off the floor other than by evaporation. I'd initially planned on sloping the floor, providing weep holes and the whole nine yards, but quickly realized that any water on the floor would stay put due to surface tension unless we got a truly massive deluge (combined with an unfavourable wind direction) or I really pitched the heck out of the floor.

And stubborn doesn't began to describe some of the boards I dealt with - I had one that turned itself into an 's' shape lol. Luckily there wasn't much cracking to deal with - it's local Black Spruce, which prefers to twist and bend rather than crack, so I could afford to get pretty aggressive about forcing it into place.

It's unfortunate that I don't have a portable mill - there's some old Douglass Fir in my parent's woodlot that would have made stellar rift-sawn floor boards. It pains me to see dad using it for fire wood (though not quite as much at is pains me to see him burning ancient burled apple trunks).
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:00 PM   #44
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OH NO!!! Can't you steal those burls before he does any more damage!!!
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:08 PM   #45
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Well, the problem is they're kinda heavy.

And a little large.

On the bright side there doesn't appear to be any shortage of old burled apples on the property, so if I ever do get my hands on a saw mill . . .

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