The Story of the Log, the Rot, and the Stringers

Part I (sorta) – The Log.

The largest project we’ve had to encounter to date was tearing up our floor downstairs. Sadly, it won’t be the only very large project.

When we first looked at the house back in October 2012, there was a log that stuck out of the water at an alarming angle. We knew that it was a little more than just moving the dislodged log back in its original place. Some of you might wonder how, exactly, the log had moved, other than the fact it wasn’t pinned. Well, when our landlord was finally forced to dredge the area, after years of neglect (and once enough homes had hit bottom, one would assume), one of the steps to be undertaken was to move the homes from the area to be dredged. Well, you can pretty much guess what happened. They yanked here, they yanked there, and out came a log.

Logs are supposed to be pinned to stringers, so chances were that none of the other logs were pinned, either. Plus, we knew that the house needed a few more stringers in order for the structure to be up to code (and, in turn, financeable). Lastly, we were told during the dive inspection that when the log moved, so did a bunch of foam blocks, and they had ended up jammed together in several areas underneath the house. (Yes. Even with all of that, we ended up buying the house. Call us crazy—I know we did many, many times.)

Before I continue, I need to give a brief rundown on the ‘foundation,’ or better yet—what it takes to keep a floating home from sinking.

First you start with logs. These tend to vary in size, but you need a certain number of logs, depending on the size of the house. These logs serve as the foundation of the float. On top of the logs, the stringers are laid perpendicular to the logs. (Stringers are slightly thicker than railroad ties, and about twice the height.)  After the stringers, regular floor joists are laid perpendicular to the stringers, and then sheets of subfloor on top of that (you should add insulation at this point, but we didn’t, since we knew that we’d have to open up the floor again one day), and finally the sheets of plywood.

For a different explanation, and for other types of floating home “foundations,” check out this article: http://www.dwell.com/how/article/how-build-floating-home

 

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