That’s right, bitches. I can safely say that the hard, hard work is done. Does that mean there won’t be any more hard work? Absolutely not.
L-Brackets for peace of mind
I’ve heard of people using ridiculous amounts of added strength on their tiny houses, but I opted to use only these small L-brackets on the corners of our floor joist frame. I did install one on every perpendicular intersection of 2×4’s.
Each L-bracket has a total of 4 screws. I’m pretty sure the ones I bought aren’t meant for bracing this type of structure, but I only found that out while shopping for nail plates and seeing the ‘real’ L-brackets in that same section.
Is 15 carriage bolts enough?
I might have overdone it a bit here, but if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-engineering. At first, I was thinking of bolting the frame to the trailer only in four different places, and only drilling through the wood. After a bit of thought though, I decided to do it up right, and drill this bad boy through the steel.
My initial plan included drilling 16 holes in the steel and running 1/2″ carriage bolts through the 2×4’s and through the frame, held in with nylon lock nuts. I was able to drill 15 holes, while killing two steel drill bits and two drills (one cordless and one corded). Here’s that process in photos.
The drill bit on top is ‘post 10 holes drilled through steel’. Not very sharp any more. Today, I destroyed that new-looking one on the bottom drilling 6 more holes. I also destroyed my Hitachi corded drill. Do they make drills rated for drilling through steel? It was kind of fun, watching the smoke come out of the drill – in a childish, boyish way.
I have to give a big should out to my new friend Allen (Allens rock! That means you too, KAM). He donated 40 lbs of books and tools for the build, including two badass Makita cordless drills. I’m sad to report that once my Hitachi drill gave out, I switched to using the drill he donated. I killed it too! I’ll have a word with Allen and see if it’s saveable.
You’ll also notice that I wasn’t able to get the lock nuts all the way up to the steel. It was ridiculously hard to get them as high as they are. (Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten lock nuts?) It required locking a vise grip on the top half of the carriage bolt and ratcheting them up all the while. I bent the threads a bit in that process, so I don’t think I could get them up much higher anyway, and I don’t really want that extra stress on the 2×4 frame boards.
The way they are now, they’ll keep the frame from sliding off of the trailer, and once it’s fully loaded, the house will be able to bounce up off the frame about 2″, but if we go over a bump big enough to get that sort of bounce, I think we’ve gone off of a mountain (so we have bigger things to worry about).
[box type=”note” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]It’s safe to say this house is not going anywhere (on the trailer).[/box]
Nail plates are tough work!
Hammering these suckers on was no easy feat. They’re quite fickle, and it’s almost as if they don’t want to go in. Nonetheless, I installed nail plates on each side of the floor joists where a bolt was installed.
It’s not the prettiest solution, but it definitely gives me complete confidence that the frame will remain completely solid, 1/2″ drilled hole aside.
When you hammer a nail plate into place, you have to start at the top or bottom of the middle section. Once that section gets in, you can go to town on the rest of it. You just have to be a bit careful that you don’t damage the frame boards while you’re hammering away.
As you can see in one of the photos above, one of the beams got a bit cracked while I was installing the nail plate. To remedy this, I’m going to install another L-bracket on the other side of that beam. Besides that tiny mishap (and it’s not even completely cracked), I’m very happy with the strength of the frame.
Now I’m ready to install flashing under the overhang areas of the frame and drop in the insulation! It should be delivered within the next 7 days, so the floor should be COMPLETELY done very soon!
If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments