2014 Spring Construction Project (Phase 1) 

My house is a pioneer-era home, one of the first built in this area in 1923 when the area was first settled. At that time the area was only accessible by a railroad, the Winnipeg Water District Railway, that was built to facilitate the construction of the Winnipeg aqueduct (http://winnipeg.ca/waterandwaste/dept/railway.stm). A group of homesteaders bought a sawmill and shipped it by GWWD railway to the future site of the town of Ross. Using the sawmill and local lumber they built five homes before selling the mill. My house is one of the five. The house was moved 5 miles down the road to its present location in the early 1970s and put on a foundation in about 1976. The house was constructed by sawing trees flat on one side for floor joists and flat on opposite sides for wall studs. All walls, internal and external, were then sheeted with 3/4" rough cut planks attached at 45 degrees on both sides with the planks on one side being 90 degrees to the planks on the opposite side - unbelievably sturdy construction when wood was cheap!

The house, when I bought it (1997) was very cold and drafty! With a northwest the 20KW furnace couldn't keep the house warm so a few years ago I removed all the cedar siding and added 2" of Styrofoam SM over the entire exterior, from below grade to the bottom of the roof planking. Despite the exterior insulation I still had one part of my living room where the ceiling got bitterly cold in a northwest wind and the falling cold air indicated that there was still a deficiency in the insulation, obviously in the second floor of the story-and-a-half. With the bitterly cold winter of 2013/2014 I decided to track down the air leak. I had always intended to open up the floor plan and turn the second floor into a loft so I could have space to set up my look and have a sewing table so it was time to start upgrading the upstairs.

The first step was to rip out the 1970 vintage paneling and three layers of wallpaper. The interior was all planked with 3/4" rough cut planks, some still with the bark on, and they all had to come off. Having no vapour barrier and having been through 91 winters, there was a lot of rot and mildew. Behind the planking there was some wood chip "insulation" in places but mostly there was no insulation at all - just voids that let the cold air from the attic pass down between the inside planks and the rafters, and circulate into the space above the living room ceiling. No wonder it was COLD! All the planking and framing was removed to return to the outside envelope.

Under as much as 3 layers of carpet and 3 layers of lenolium the original floor was planks, most of which had once been finished - that is what I was hoping for! My intent is to sand and refinish the floor.

Once the interior was stripped, it was time to start rebuilding. All the walls were uneven so the north wall was sheeted with 1/4" ply over R-8 foam board.

New knee walls were constructed leaving a "cold zone" air space between the new wall and the existing structure to allow ventilation to move between the rafters.

The entire second floor had been run from 1 15 Amp circuit and had only 1 light and one half of a duplex in each of the three rooms so it was decided to locate a sub-panel on the second floor and to providemore lights and more outlets.

A product called "Duravent" was installed to maintain an air space between the rafters and then R-12 fibreglass and vapour barrier were installed before the 1/4" plywood sheeting.

With the sheeting up, all that remains is final finish but that will wait until after the centre section of the second floor is completed in the fall. It was time to "move in"!

Continue to 2014 Construction - Phase 2

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