If you are looking for economy in your construction project , timber floor will serve your ends well . And there is more , because its also strong, durable, resistant to damp penetration and offer good thermal insulation. Talk of a product that more than cater for all you need in a floor and leave a generous balance in your pockets to boot. Constructing this floor type or any floor for that matter, calls for systematic planning because ,you want availability of all necessary building materials and trades personnel like mason and plumbers at the right time and place, to avoid un-necessary delays that might cause you to overshoot your budget. Like Warren Buffets once said to Bill Gates (some of the famous billionaires), getting good stuff at bargain price is invaluable because you avoid waste and increase your net worth in the long run.
That said, I do not see any reason why we should not jump right into the actual construction steps.
First the cover the ground with 100mm of concrete laid on a base of hardcore stones. Lay the concrete at a slightly sloping angle with water discharge above the ground. This should preventing ponding and growth of vegetation.
Second construct the honeycombed sleeper walls. Sleeper wall are rough-stone or brick supports or walls separated by spaces at regular intervals built directly on the ground or on shallow foundation.
Third, seal the spaces in sleeper walls and incorporate into the substructure ventilation. The ventilations must be above the ground level and should allow air to enter and leave the void easily. This should keep the space dry and free from damp air.
Fourth fix the floor joist onto the sleeper walls in such a way that they do not touch the external wall, to avoid rising damp from infecting them and the outbreak of rot. At the external wall the joist should be support by joist hangers to ensure airtight and soundproof insulation.
A joist is one of a series of parallel timber beams used to span the gap between walls and directly support the floor surface. The sectional size of joist depend on its span, spacing , loading expected to be placed upon it and the quality of timber used.
A gap of a least 75mm should be left between the concrete and the wall plate.
Fifth lay the damp proof course on the wall .This should separate the entire floor from the substructure.
Sixth, deploy the floor finishing .Here you are free to choose square edged floorboards, tongued and grooved boards or chipboards. Square edged boards are generally 150 to 175 mm wide and 18 to 35 mm thick. These are actually pieces of strip timber that is fixed or nailed on the floor joist.
Tongued and grooved boards are close fitting joint boards that are nailed to the joist and form a smooth surface on which can be laid a variety additional finishes like shingles.
Chipboard consists of small wood chips bonded with synthetic resin and then compressed to form large sheets. The boards are generally 2400mm by 600mm by 18mm thick and are available with tongued and grooved edges. A sheet of chip board is therefore several times the width of of a typical floorboard. They have good wear resistance and cheaper than square edge board or strip timber flooring. Moisture resistant board are also available, but should not be subject to long term wetness.
Seven, and last step, Timber floor loose considerable amount of heat because of the flow of air below the joist. Its therefore advisable to consider building into the floor insulation of rigid foam supported by battens.
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Sources: The construction of houses by Duncan Marshall & Derek Worthing.