Sorry about those past few non-woodworking posts, I sometimes dry-up of imagination on a single topic, and discover a veritable fountain at another point in my mind, and the deluge begins. Either way, I’ve got a 4-point post today, covering some woodworking projects that I’ve got to cover. One of which (photo featured) is a raised garden bed that I’ll build for the house in the spring, and the remaining three are some doors meant to tighten up the house a little bit. There is no air-break between the basement and the upper-story, so my wood furnace spends most of it’s time desperately trying to heat the basement to 15C (~59F) while the upstairs is regularly 22C – 25C (~72F – 77F). For those people NOT from the island, that’s almost unbearable for Sarah and I. The kind of energy-sucking heat that is ideal for TV and cold beer, but not conducive to housework or busy-projects. That said, I intend to build some walls/doors to prevent the heat from travelling UP the stairs, and keep the heat in the water radiation system to keep us warmer, longer, and maybe save some wood.First things first, This is the front of the house, with the dog enclosure to the right, and my beloved shed doing a little photobomb in the background, there. My idea was to build just shy of 2′ (~600mm) tall by 4′ (~1200mm) wide and 20′ (~6000mm) long structure, with two cavities. This will allow us to use just 18 posts 4″x4″ (~100mm by 100mm) and all just shy of 4′ (~1200mm) long. This is convenient by way of wastage because we can use 4 boards per 12′ (~3657mm) post, and only have to buy six 12’s. We then need 24 boards 10′ (~3000mm) long, and our wastage us under a yard (~meter) of wood in total. I have not done a contour survey of the downward slope, on the corner of the house, to determine our needs for the wood there, but it’s no more than 10% of the total wood needed, so we can add that length, just two or three of each board length, and see how it goes. It’s easier to buy more, build higher, and dig away. It’ll be stronger that way, anyway. It’d all be pressure-treated lumber, and we will lay weed barrier down on all sides, stapled to the inside, with holes poked in the bottom VERY near the rose bushes. They desperately need attention, but that can wait until the spring. This flower box will cost $500 – $600, if I were to guess. It’ll last forever, be a lovely large gardening box, and be a fantastic opportunity to do some grounds beautification that the property sorely needs.
Now, onto the Door Dilemma. There are three doors/openings that need attention. One at the tippy-top of the stairs (seen here with the dog gate, near the kitchen), one at the bottom of the first flight, (but due to the location of the load-bearing beam, it’s not a very high space, and could probably do without one there), and finally at the BOTTOM of the stairs, past the main entrance, which is where I think the most important place for a door would be. The kitchen door would be nice, but it’s there to prevent drafts more than any real heat loss.
The kitchen door is 30″ by 6’6″ (~762mm * 1981mm). I’m sure I can get a door for this, just buy the door box with the air seals around all sides and drop it in place. The existing frame is already hella-solid, and the door could swing next to that window, so it’s all good. It’d also be a better step to save the dogs from chewing through the baby-gate, which they’ve tried already.
You can see the savages here, clearly at one another’s throats. This rocking chair was usurped by them shortly after I got back for the summer, it’s right behind my chair at my desk in the office. The big guy, on the bottom, spends most of the day back there with me, and much of the evenings when he isn’t cuddle-raping Sarah (he doesn’t take NO for an answer).
At the bottom of the stairs is the iffy door… it’s 44″ wide and 69″ high (~1117mm * 1752mm). It’s a little short for a door, since typical doors are 6’8″ (~2032mm). I feel that this little space, at the top of a two-stair rise, looks less awkward as a gap than as a walled-off section and a door… though a heavy curtain may do a lot to help stay the flow of air. Hmm… I may have to leave that one alone. An alternative is to reduce the net-size of the porch/landing level by making a wall at 90 degrees to that opening, on the main level… but I don’t really want to truncate the hallway that much. The alternative, by that I mean walling-off the next level down, seems to be a much safer alternative at any rate.
This is the basement hallway, with the left-hand wall (as seen in the image) being the furnace-room wall, I am standing before the downstairs office cubby, a laundry room to my right, an ensuite bathroom in that enclosed/walled-off section next to the radiator and another bedroom down a hall, which is out of the frame. This space is 41″ by 92″ high ( ~1041mm x 2336mm). Seeing as there’s only two (four?) of us, we don’t use the downstairs for much other than the furnace. I see no reason why we can’t try to keep the heat down there by building a wall and door across the bottom of the stairs, and blocking the convective heat transfer from the bottom heaters in the bedrooms, downstairs laundry, office and furnace, we can heat the floors upstairs and prevent the furnace blower from cooking us alive upstairs.
The process really doesn’t require a diagram. Building a a frame that will fit snugly in the space, with an average of 16″ spaces, given the door ought to be in the middle or near it. I will probably use a 4″ (~100mm) wall and insulate it with fibreglass. I would build a shoe on the bottom of that wall, on either side of the door. The wooden, hollow core door will have a rubber seal around three sides and a rubber sweep on the bottom. The upstairs gap MAY end up being a dutch door, so that we can close the top up at night and leave it open by day, but leave the bottom closed to keep the dogs from digging out.
I may even build a proper door with rails, styles, glass panels, etc. But that isn’t a near-future thing, either. This is more a conversation-starter, but quite frankly, we really need those airlocks to keep our heat down stairs, and really make better use of our dual-zone heating infrastructure.
Does anyone else have any experience with this reasoning? Any ideas, tips, hints or suggestions? Drop a line in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out our new Zazzle store!