I began in earnest. Trips back and forth to Home Depot.
You can put a lot in a SUV but it’s nothing like having a trailer or a truck. By the time you go to the big box store, wrestle a few boards to the cash register, and load the in your car…there is simply no energy left to actually get the board through the house and up the stairs to work on your project.
Lesson learned: If you need a lot of wood and have limited time, have it delivered all at once! The store will deliver it to you for a charge and in my view it’s well worth it.
Second lesson learned: I put a ton of dings and scratches in our walls in the process. Mainly because I lacked the energy to care. Don’t work when you are tired. You will create more work for yourself later. Your work will be slow and possibly unsafe.
The progression began…Cut 2×4 to length, glue and screw it to the underlying 2×8” making pseudo 2x10s to raise the joists to the same height as the floor outside the attic.
Working atop joists with no plywood down is tricky if you haven’t done it before. There is a certain level of balance that takes a few days to attain. Early on I did put a foot through the ceiling. Twice actually. Talk about demoralizing. Ugh. It created a whole mini side project that completely slowed me down as I had to stop and fix the faux sunlight I had created from the attic to the kitchen. And every time the kids came through the kitchen, there was no chance they were not pointing it out!
There are also wires that go from light fixtures to switches and power cables for everything in the kitchen. Worry about that later I said. Anywhere I encountered a wire I just snaked the 2×4 underneath figuring there was some simple solution I knew of but had not thought of to address these wires that would be sandwiched between the plywood and modified ceiling joists. When I got to a point where I absolutely had to commit, i notched our a little space to let the wire slide through.
As I worked, I looked online for others who may have taken this innovative approach to making 2x10s out of 2x8s. Finding none, I applauded myself for being a progressive thinker with revolutionary techniques that would set the construction world ablaze.
As I finished the subfloor I started to worry. I was searching the whole internet and not finding a single example of anyone ever doing anything like this building up boards to make the subfloor higher. I think there was one guy who talked about it hypothetically.
I finally realized by measuring the span of the 2×8 joists and reading a little about framing that i was just adding dead weight to a structure that was already below specification for the live load of a living space plus furniture! As I began to add up the weight of all the walls and boards, insulation, drywall, and even screws yet to be installed I began to really get scared. My family is living in this house! What if it collapses! I needed real 2x10s instead of the 2x8s.
I won’t even begin to tell you how terrifying it is to admit that you have wasted thousands of dollars and many weekends that you could have spent with tour family to build a useless structure inside your own home that doesn’t meet code! I told my wife. While anyone can probably ascertain that this was not a pleasant conversation, and totally my fault…my wife was surprisingly gracious and merciful in not exploding at this news.
Logic would dictate that I was done at this point and there was no way I was going to touch any of this again and I needed to spend a boatload of money to hire a REAL contractor to come rip it all out and start over or it was just going to stay like this forever as light attic storage for the Christmas tree and ornaments. Well a quick survey of the internet said this size project was going to cost $40k+. And that was assuming no one has to demo an amateur’s work to get started. Yiii!
It took SEVERAL days to stop thinking about how much I had screwed up here but the wheels started turning again.
I really had to see this project through or I wouldn’t forgive myself. I promised my wife I would GET REAL INPUT from live humans this time and stop using the internet to validate my whims and ideas, pull a permit with the city, demo the work I had done before, and get it all built to code this time..
….surprisingly she was willing to go along with this. Little did I know the second time around was going to be even harder than the first. I could not have completed this project without her encouragement.