Off Grid Living: How to Build and Insulate
a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home
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Building and Insulating a Wooden Floor for an Off Grid Shed, Cabin or Home
Colorado – One of the important areas that many people skip on insulating are shed and cabin floors due to limited access to the underside of floors because of small crawl spaces or budget problems. One of the main problems, especially in very cold environments is the combination of using propane to heat, cold furniture, and lots of humidity inside a shed, cabin or home.
Propane releases a lot of moisture when it burns and then cold furniture such as metal bed frames, claw feat on a bathtub and even the legs of a wood stove where the metal is cooler than the room or cold because the floor is not insulated causes water to condense, drip down and then saturate the wood underneath. This will cause the wood to rot and black mold to spread underneath the floor and into the home’s walls. By the time you discover the problem, it will be a giant mess and very expensive to clean up properly. It is much better to insulate as much as your budget will allow.
The best way to protect against moisture build up during winter months is to insulate underneath the floors and all of the walls. Filling the spaces between the floor joists under the cottage with insulation batts is the simplest and most cost-effective method to prevent air leaks and cold air from seeping int. To get the highest R-value, completely fill the cavities between the joists and then seal with plastic sheets or tape all seams.
If you only use the cottage a couple of weekends each winter, adding minimal insulation would be enough to keep your tootsies from freezing solid when you step out of bed in the morning. But if you’re crawling under the cottage to insulate anyway, then make dodging the spiderwebs worthwhile by spending a little extra money and time and getting the most R-value for your efforts.
Cover your insulation with 1/4 “hardware cloth” also called #welded wire.” The size of metal screen should be small enough to keep out nuisance animals, such as mice. Place the insulation batts against the underside of the floor, then cover with the hardware cloth, securing it to the joists with a staple gun. Make sure you haven’t overfilled the space—squishing the batts a little bit is okay, but too much compression will reduce their insulating properties.
It would also be worth your while to either install welded wire all the way around the perimeter of the house and/or run soffit all the way to the ground. And like the perimeter of a chicken coop also bury the welded wire flat going out 2 ft from the home’s edge. Then bury it and stack heavy rocks all the way around. This will keep skunks, coons, opossums, foxes, rabbits, rats, mice and all kinds of varmints from making a home underneath your cabin.
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