Porch Loft and Overhangs

Once the mad rush of the timber framing was finished, I still had plently of framework to complete. First, I had to go back and fix the brace that was in the wrong position on the post. I cut off the tenon on the bottom side of the brace and fitted the top joint in. Once it was pegged, I screwed many screws into the bottom of the brace going into the post. Since the joint for the brace won’t be exposed in the end, it won’t show and I consider it plenty strong enough for the application.

Faith came up with the idea to make a large porch off of the front of the cabin that could house a loft above it. This way we could have dual matching lofts which seems to be a bit of a staple in the tiny house movement.

In order to do this, I had to come up with some tricky carpentry and decided to over-engineer the whole thing since I’m not an engineer. A few months ago, I poured large concrete footers, two feet in depth and diameter that the posts for the loft sit on. The posts were attached to the footers with a stainless steel post anchor that bolts into the concrete and screws to the post.

These anchors keep the wood up off of the concrete which dramatically increase the longevity of the pressure treated wood.

Once the posts were set and plumbed, I ran floor joists to the posts coming from the crossbeam, leveling each one as I went. I rabbeted the top of the posts where the floor joists met them on the outside so that the load of the loft is more directly transferred to the post instead of the screws set in the post.

Once the two oustide floor joists were set, I screwed 4×4 braces to help stabilize the posts while setting the rest of the floor joists. In the end, I used a total of six braces; four for the front and two for the sides.

After the floor joists were set and the braces were in, I layed 3/4″ tongue and groove OSB flooring in the loft. Building a tiny house is really great when you only have to buy five sheets of subfloor. The total footprint of this loft is identical to the opposite loft, 8′ x 16′.

Following the subfloor, I started framing the 2×4 knee wall that supports the rest of the rafters. This was just conventional framing, but I made sure that I overlapped my top plates to brace the outside corners of the knee wall effectively. When using 2×4 truss systems, that isn’t too much of a concern, but it is when you have 4×6 rafters of red and white oak. (For the record, white oak is crazy ridiculously heavy.)

The knee wall on the gable face needed a double stud design at certain points to carry the load of the window that will be in the loft.

After the knee walls were completed, I had eight more rafters to place. Having Wednesday off and it being a gorgeous day, I decided I would try the first couple sets myself. Yes, I am aware that was stupid, but I pulled it off without any injuries. I carried the rafters individually up to the loft and pegged the joints on the knee wall. Once pegged, I tipped them into position by hand, leveled them, and screwed them into the knee wall. This was tough, but doable.

The last two sets hung out too far off the loft and I needed Pa’s help. He pulled the tractor down and put a pallet on the end of the forks. I stood on the pallet and pegged the joints, and then he pulled a block and tackle to tip the rafters into position. If you had seen the sight, you probably would have started video recording waiting for my impending doom, but luckily, it didn’t happen.

I didn’t get pictures of this process because I was using as many hands as I had available.

After the rafters were set, I created 12 inch overhangs for the gable ends by ripping down some 2×4’s. My father in law showed up at just the right time and we were able to get the front gable done by the end of the day Wednesday. I believe it’s fair to say that Wednesday was one of my most successful days of this build.

Next up, building up the roof, starting with tongue and groove planking. Looking forward to seeing some enclosure on our tiny abode.

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