Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Rot Has Truly Set In

The floor of my garage workshop has been a patchwork of the original floorboards and various bits and pieces covering up holes where the boards have rotted through. These patch-boards are (a) unsightly, and (b) not entirely safe, since they all stand proud of the floor level and thus create a tripping hazard. Not to mention that few of them are actually fixed in place. The floor has been this way ever since we moved into this house, twenty-five years ago.

I fear that this may be cause for some Occupational Health & Safety concerns.
I decided to do something about the holes in my immediate work area; although doing the whole floor at once would be nice, it's just not practical with all the stuff that needs to be kept out of the weather.

The existing boards have actually done pretty well, considering that they were laid on bearers (jarrah, I think — some sort of very dark red-brown wood) straight on to the clay almost a hundred years ago. There's only about 100 mm free space between the floorboards and the dirt.

I tore up the most accessible floorboards — the neighbouring boards are also pretty spongy, but they will have to wait for another day.

I discovered a little brick step that I didn't know existed. I guess it's a rudimentary moisture barrier or something, but I don't know for sure.

The exposed bearers seem solid enough when I whack them on top, but the bottom half, in contact with the soil, is basically just wood-pulp, so they will have to go.

I bought a 2440 x 1220 mm sheet of 18 mm strand-board to lay down as a new floor, but having gone this far I'm actually wondering about ripping up all the boards, a quarter of the shed at a time, and laying the floor in concrete.

I started laying some rows of bricks to replace the rotten bearers, and sort of kind of failed to stop.

It's not exactly very level, but it's firm and dry underfoot. It's also about 25-30 mm lower than the original floor level, which makes my work surfaces relatively that much higher.

I shall try it out for a while just as it is, and if it's not too obnoxious, that means I can use the strand-board elsewhere in there. There's plenty of floor that needs it; if anything, it gets worse the further back you go.