Saturday, April 7, 2012

Floor Extension

I've talked about my over-sized stairs a couple times now on this blog, once about my idea to stick a planter there and once about my lack of ability to drive long nails.  We have a split level home; the upper level separated by what used to be four very long stairs.  Apparently before that they were about the size of a door and the previous owner knocked a whole wall out and made the stairs the size of the wall.  Ironically enough I begged the help on getting a game plan to shrink these stairs properly from the same neighbor who helped the previous owner lengthen them.  Thanks Tom!

At one point we were going to turn half of the stairs into a built in book case.  That plan didn't get far.  Then I was contemplating putting a planter there as a pretty divider.  But I did finally decide once and for all what to do.  I built the living room floor (the upper room) out extending over half of width of the stairs and I am going to get a wood burning stove and put it right there.  It is the perfect location for there is the perfect amount of space considering all the clearances needed with a stove large enough to heat our place and the stove can easily heat the upper level and the lower level.  It will perfectly occupy that unwanted portion of the stairs.

This is how it went down.  I framed the front in with six vertical 2x4s, doubling up on each end, in between two horizontal 2x4s.  First I made the frame and then attached it in place to the floor and wall.  Then I used 2x6 joists to stretch from the existing floor attached by joist hangars including a double joist hanger on the outer side, and resting on the frame I had just built on the other side.


Here is a before picture:


The 2x6 joists are attached to the simple frame on one side and joist hangars on the other side using a double hangar on the outer edge.  The 2x6 closest to the wall is nailed directly to the wall.


Per my dad's suggestion I put 2x4 blocks in between the 2x6s to keep them stable always.


The 2x4 blocks also aided in attaching the drywall.


On the stair side I cut holes in the drywall so it could fit snugly over the outer edge of the hangar nails without a bulge.  It worked perfectly.


I fastened a sheet of plywood to the joists to create what is now an extension of the living room floor! I then textured and primed the drywall.  I will wait until I actually know which wood stove we will get before I tile or brick the area - I want to make sure the specs all work and that I won't need to cut into the hardwood floor before finishing the floor.  One day I may actually get something on the sitars too!  I'm still not sure what to put there.  I'm pretty anti carpet though I wouldn't mind a runner on hardwood stairs.  Since the wood stove will be so close though I may tile the stairs.  Certainly there will be a railing to block off the stove from the stairway.  For the record if ever a fire occurred at the stairway, there is an emergency exit from the house from the upper level.


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I've always wanted a wood stove.  My grandparents and my aunt have one.  I adore the flicker of flames, covet the ability to get hot - really warm inside the home.  I am drawn to the self sustainability a wood stove offers for heat as well as the ability to cook off it.  A while back I gave up on my idea of having a stove in this house because I decided whoever buys it in the future isn't going to want to haul wood in since there is no entry to the house that does not involve stairs.  But screw that, I'm living here now.  I want a wood stove and I'll be damned if I don't have one by next winter!

I really want a stove with two doors on opposite sides so I can see the fire from upstairs and down but because of efficiency regulations those are not currently sold in the states.  There are wood stoves with two doors, one door being on the side and it just may work in this space but I'm not exactly sure since the side door may need the stair side to not be blocked off with a railing.  I really want the doors opposite each other.  We'll see.




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