Tuesday, March 10, 2009

BUILDING THE VARDO: Lasagne style flooring

BUILDING THE VARDO: Lasagne style flooring

Building a home by hand takes time, lots of time. I read a description from Jim Toplin's website about building a customized wagon (vardo) and there was a WARNING to it. Saying in essence that building such a wagon took Toplin, a master wood craftsman 2,000 hours to construct. We didn't get the message in time ... oh wait, we did know it would take time and energy and did it ANYWAY. We had motivation. Back in November, 2008 Susie Collins from The Canary Report posted this story "Tiny home is safe alternative for woman with MCS." Another 1000 hours later, and we are still at it.

Today Pete's inside working on the tile floor. The pictures above are the story beneath those tiles, the many hours of work to layer materials like lasagne to create a safer than plywood subfloor. There is a plethora of information available if a person has the time and brain-power to sort through everything. I researched everything from Debra Lynne Dadd's MCS Building Forum and, emailed our MCS safe builder friend, Leslie Lawrence, went to other blogs and in the end came up with a decision laced generously with prayer.

VARDOFORTWO Lasagne style Floor Recipe:
(from bottom to top in the pictures above)

1. Galvanized metal sheets to protect the vardo from road wear and moisture while stationary.

2. Additional oak cross pieces screwed in horizontally (left to right) to hold denim insulation. Yes, we finally decided to go with the denim. Each cross piece was also notched and routed to hold the metal bars that would go over the denim.

3. Denny Foil, foil vapor barrier was layered over the denim to seal any dust or smell from the denim as it off-gasses.

4. Lengths of steel cut especially to fit over the oak cross pieces were screwed fast. These were Pete's choice as a plywood substitute. Even though some sources said exterior plywood might be okay to use for our MCS-safe home, we decided not to use it. Laying the steel in this tight pattern was Pete's idea to create a web of strength.

5. More Denny Foil covers all the wood, steel and insulation.

These 5 lasagne layering steps prepared Pete to get closer to the tiling ... See that in the next post.

These are a few of the reasons I appreciate Pete, everyday. Mokihana


Liberty said...

wow! so much work. A real labour of love :)
I'm glad you didn't go with exterior grade plywood. My personal experiences with using it as subfloor in my house was that it is *less* toxic than interior and therefore safER.
But that isn't even close to being 'nontoxic' or actually 'safe'. It's still filled with formaldehyde and, while phenol formaldehyde does seem to outgass less than urea formaldehyde, I can't tell how much less and it's not enough to make it safe for me. Additionally, the terpenes that come from the wood itself are really bad no matter if it's interior or exterior. I think you made an awesome choice and a very safe one! I'm really looking forward to seeing pictures of the tiles. Did you decide on the width of the groutlines yet?

Mokihana and Pete said...

Hi! Yes, the love labor, and love laborer. Your experience is what we are working to avoid, thanks for sharing what has happened with you and plywood. Like I said I researched so many forums regarding plywood before going with the 'lasagne layering' technique. Pete is going with 3/16" groutlines. The 1/4" was too wide and the 1/8" too narrow. I'm just back from my NAET treatment, and Pete's still tiling. Pictures of the tile are coming up soon.