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Ravenrock Barn Floor

The first Ravenrock project which our December fund drive is making possible will be our barn floor. I’ve been emailing with Dana Bixby, architect and Dancemeditator, and here are a few ideas she sends:

I am wondering about something like what railroad tracks do:

  • 6″x6″ wood set on leveled crushed stone at about 4′ apart, with crushed stone in between for stability, and to eliminate air space (and thus too many critters) Local earth material could be used if it is “well draining”
  • then install 4″x4′ in the opposite direction over these, probably at 24″ on center (because of using 4′ sheets of plywood). The 4×4’s would have some resiliency, but sufficient stiffness, across 4′ span, Though a would be tested  this in some way before building it – we would want to right amount of resiliency.
  • I would also acquire some neoprene (easy on the internet) and put a little neoprene pad under the 4×4’s where thet cross the 6×6 for added resiliency – that is easy to do, so I would say why not?
  • I think there would be a piece of  wood all the way around the around perimeter (up against the posts of the barn) and thus would be leveled in installation and attached to the 6×6 and 4×4, but likely not attached to the barn posts.  I think there whole floor would want to be integral to itself, but be allowed to move up and down and be able to move relative to the barn post so as to allow for frost movement.
  • The floor might work with one layer of ply wood but two would be better.

    Dana Bixby

  • All timbers and the first layer of plywood would need to be “pressure treated.”
  • Plywood can obtained with no formaldehyde and thus no off-gassing – though the average stuff from the local lumberyard may not be this. It typically can be ordered from a good lumberyard.
  • The top layer if plywood could work nicely if cut into 4’x4′ sheets and then the pieces should be laid checkerboard at right angles to each other.  I would want to see a very regular screw pattern, with consistent setting of the screws heads just slight more than flush (the regularity creates an expression of our intentionality and care, even if people do not conscious think about it, they still get it.)
  • I got so far as thinking that the edges of each panel should be beveled very slightly (this prevents a hard edge if the panels move a little e.g. expand an contract), stained an earth color, sanded, and finished with a clear natural finish (many are available  e.g. beeswax, tung oil. Tung oil can a little involved to use because of the need for several coats and intermediate.

Such a floor, if assembled all with screws could be taken apart and used in other ways if that were ever a part of the evolution of things. I think about a layer of insulation as a good idea. Cold on the feet is felt a lot. But all wood would not store the cold as much as masonry, earth or concrete. I think this floor would be pretty well grounded, yet resilient. Like railroad tracks.


top photo: Jennifer Sears by Paul B. Goode


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    1. Very interesting, looking forward to being a part of this project….

      January 26, 2012
      • You never know, Carleen. You may be up there helping. 8>)

        January 26, 2012

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