I came across the snake skin above while hiking the dogs last week. The inner diameter of it was at least an inch. That’s a big snake!
We finished using the saw to dig out the rays of our floor sun. We then went over Monday’s dug out rays to double-check levelness; those that failed were remarked for further digging.
Wash, rinse, repeat – we dug out the previous day’s updated troughs and checked levelness. Those that failed were marked for the next day. Had our saw’s battery not been low, we may have finished the inner circle that night. We’re close!
Since we have done a few do-overs with regards to leveling the floor, we thought it would be helpful to put this list out there for anybody else going through this. If you built/installed the subfloor yourself, some of these steps may not be necessary.
- Put the level away; you don’t need it yet.
- Get on your spider mask and crawl under the house [Note: Brian does not share the concern about using a spider mask]. Use shims between joists and the steel I-beams to make sure the wood joists are solidly connected to the foundation.
- Walk around inside the house and verify that the subfloor boards are attached wherever they cross a joist. The floor should not have any trampoline-esque areas of poor connection.
- You may now pick up the level. Also find a long, straight-piece-of-something (we used an 8ft aluminum L-beam because it’s light enough that it doesn’t perceptibly sag when held out horizontally).
- Use your metal beam to measure flatness. You can place the level on top of the beam to also check levelness. Mark the center of the room with a big dark spot; perhaps use a black sharpie. Put one end of your aluminum beam on the dark spot and pivot in a circle. When you can’t see light under the piece-of-something, it means the floor is touching there and perhaps high. When you see light shining under, it means the floor is low.
- You will have to determine how high and how low you are willing to accept. If you are using carpet, variation won’t be the end of your world. If you plan to install large pieces of tile (like us), you’ll want to be rigorous and consistent in your flatness checking. The Tile Council of America recommends keeping the floor within 1/8″ of flat over 10′.
- Your level of rigor will determine how many ‘sun rays’ to do (essentially, your resolution). As you pivot your metal beam, mark all the high spots (perhaps use a red sharpie) that keep your beam from being level. These will need to be knocked down.
- Once you’ve gone in a circle, put aside your metal beam and level. Knock the red lines down with a belt sander or circular saw. Actually don’t use a belt sander at all until the end. A circular saw is 50x faster.
- Using your metal beam, lay it in the troughs you just made and evaluate whether it now rests level. Re-mark areas that need to be further lowered and go ahead and knock those down.
- Use a piece of your fill (in our case, we’re filling low spots with #30 roofing felt) and slide it under the light gaps to measure where you will need to raise the floor height. Layer the pieces of your fill to measure spaces where you suspect you’ll need two or more layers; perhaps mark this with a blue sharpie.
- Before cutting fill for the low spots, extend your work sphere to outside your inner sun ray circle. As you work, mark points of reference that agree with the height of your inner circle dark spot; with these outposts of levelness you can make new clock faces as needed to cover the entire floor.
- Once you have followed the same process for the entire room and the high spots are all knocked down, you can then fill the low spots. There should be no red sharpie left and only blue zones that need fill and black dark spots that mark points of reference.
For a full summary of our experience with Arched Cabins, please read Arched Cabin Summary.