Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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posted by Ana White

Momplex Stats

Money Spent So Far: 
$39,000 + Cost of Property
Time Spent So Far: 
840 Hours on Site + Planning

Now that the walls are all up in the Momplex, we can work on putting the upstairs floor (and downstairs ceiling!) in. 

I've had my doubts about how this whole thing is going to work out ... since back when we put the anchor bolts in the walls. Just to refresh ...
We cut out a pattern to use to cut pieces of the foam blocks out.  We don't want any foam to be between the floor and the walls - a concrete to wood joint will have the least wiggle room.
Then we made a bunch of these up - the wood parts hold the two bolts in, and get screwed to the black fastening strips.  
Here the anchor bolts are ready for the pour.
And then after the pour the wood pieces are removed, and all that's left is an anchor bolt poured in concrete, sticking out.  That's all we get to put the floor on.
How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

First things first, we chalked a line around the entire inside of the Momplex at the height of the first floor. Concrete slabs are notoriously not perfectly level, but the boss is always right.  You can see this line at the bottom of the photo.  This will be the bottom of the floor joists.

Are you doubting just how we are going to line boards up with those bolts?  
Me too.
How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

A little surgery was performed on a tape measure.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

Stanley really should come with a few predrilled holes for applications like this!

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

For consistency and accuracy over all the bolts, Stanley is screwed right to the end wall. That way we can get an accurate measurement of the placement of all bolts horizontally.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

The bolt placement is measured on the tape very precisely and called out.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

We will be hanging this massive board - called an LVL for Laminated Veneer Lumber and weighing hundreds of pounds - on the anchor bolts. So holes need to be drilled to match the anchor bolts placed in the wall.

The horizontal measurements are marked on the LVL.  This is then followed by vertical measurements taken off of the string line to find the precise location of all anchor bolts, transferred to the LVL.
How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

A spade bit with a precise point is used to start the holes. We finished drilling the holes with a Forstner bit - much easier on both me and the drill. The main thing here is to keep your drill level and plumb as you drill so the holes line up just right with the anchor bolts.

And just keep on drillin'!!!
How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

Before we hang the LVLs, we decided to hang the hangers. Because pounding nails on a flat surface at work height is WAAAAAAAAY easier than pounding nails on a ladder over your head. So the joists are marked at 16" on center, starting on the inside corner, and we nailed the hangers on.

If you are ever in a funk or just need to clear your mind of stress, grab a hammer - not a nailer, a real hammer - and start pounding.  There is something intensely satisfying about using a hammer and nails.  
How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

Justin and I built supports that are just below the height of the chalk line. That way, we have something to rest this monster on while getting the bolts and drilled holes lined up.

The supports are just screwed to the black fastening strips, and run to the concrete, so the weight of the beam is transferred directly to the slab. We can easily move these supports for hanging all the LVLs.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

Instead of just hauling the hole beam up, we got one side on the support and then slid it down, pivoted it and got the other side on the support. We are all about working smart.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

And the bolts slide right through the holes!

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

And of course we dig out an impact driver normally used for changing tires and other mechanical needs to tighten up nuts on the ends of the bolts.

How to Frame a Floor Inside ICF Walls - Part 1

Once the LVLs are up, we put the rim boards up on the sides that only have single bolts. Rim boards take the place of your first and last floor joist and are part of the flooring system.

The excitement over another step - and a big heavy one! - being completed is short lived. Because now of course I can't wait to see floor joists being dropped into those already set hangers!

Happy Building!

Ana

posted by Ana White

Beautiful tower bookshelf plans inspired by Pottery Barn Benchwright Towers. DIY and save money and get what you want!

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Handmade from this plan >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

About Project

Author Notes: 

So excited to post a plan today! Been working long and late hours trying to get a roof on the Momplex, and have really missed building furniture lately! What did I do before I knew how to use a saw??? I need my therapy!

Will be adding plans for the media console next, so you can build this entire wall system.

Best luck building!
Ana

Dimensions

Dimensions: 
Benchmark Storage or Media Tower
Dimensions: 
Dimensions are shown above.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

1 - Sheet 3/4" Plywood cut into strips 15 3/4" wide, 8 feet long, referred to as 1x16 boards throughtout this plan. Plan shows PureBond Rustic Alder Plywood 

1 - Sheet 1/4" Plywood or other backing (for the back - if you are building two towers, you will not need an extra sheet for the second back)
5 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
1 - knob
1 - sheet 1/4" acrylic glass, at least 15" x 22" (buy a 30" x 24" sheet if you are building two towers)
3/4 inch screws
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
circular saw
nailer
sander
level
countersink drill bit

Cut List

Cut List: 

2 - 1x16 @ 56 1/4" (Sides)
4 - 1x2 @ 15 3/4" (Side Trim)
4 - 2x2 @ 59 1/4" (Legs)
6 - 2x2 @ 17" (Front/Back Trim)
5 - 1x16 @ 17" (Shelves)
1 - 1x16 @ 22" (Top)
1 - 1x3 @ 22" (Top)
1 - 1x2 @ 22" (Top)
1 - 1/4" plywood @ 20" x 55 1/4" (Back)
2 - 1x3 @ 11 3/4" (Door)
2 - 1x3 @ 23 3/4" (Door)

Cutting Instructions: 
Have your hardware store cut the 3/4" plywood into 15 3/4" wide strips, 8 feet long. Ask to run the plywood through horizontally so the widths are exactly the same - that's the most important thing! If your hardware store says no, either use a table saw or a circular saw to cut your plywood into 1x16 boards. If you are using a circular saw, clamp a board to the top of your plywood and use it as a guide when cutting - will help you cut straighter.

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Before any assembly, go through the plan and diagrams and mark and drill all pocket holes.

On each side, on the outsides where no pocket holes are drilled, attach side trim to top and bottom with 1 1/4" finish nails and wood glue. Outside edges are flush.

You will need to build two.

Step 2

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

With top edges flush, attach legs using 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and glue. Do this on both sides.

Step 3

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Measure and mark the placement of front/back trim boards as shown in diagram. Then attach with 2 1/2" pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Step 4

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

For the fixed shelves, drill 3/4" pocket holes on all sides. Place inside trim and sides and attach with 1 1/4" pocket holes and glue. Tops are flush.

Step 5

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

You have some options here ... you can make shelves fixed at any height, or you can use shelf pins to make the shelves adjustable or optional. Keep shelves lined up with side 1x16 - this will give you some room to run cords through the backs and/or ventilation if you are using the tower for media controller storage.

Step 6

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Build the top first with 3/4" pocket holes and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Then screw on from the underside with 2" screws and glue.

Step 7

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Back is easy step - cut your plywood and attach with glue and 1 1/4" finish nails. Just make sure you hit all fixed shelves.

It would be a good idea to cut holes for cords at this stage.

Step 8

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Drill 3/4" pocket holes on each end of the shorter door pieces and build your doors with glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 9

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

Predrill holes in the acrylic glass and attach to back side of door frames. This acrylic glass should significantly strengthen your door.

NOTE: You may wish to mark the location of your hinges (next step) and notch out a spot for the hinges so you have a nice flat spot to attach hinges - or you could just cut your acrylic glass shorter on the hinge side. This will depend on what type of hinge you use.

Step 10

Benchmark Storage or Media Tower

The hinge I recommend are these ones:

Seriously sweet hinges!  But they do require more clearance, so do some fitting.
Leave an 1/8" gap on all sides of your doors to enable your door to open and close smoothly.  

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
posted by Ana White

Momplex Stats

Money Spent So Far: 
$39,000 + Cost of Property
Time Spent So Far: 
800 Hours on Site + Tons of Planning

It just started snowing. 

These past few weeks, it's been all hands on deck to get the Momplex as far along as possible before winter sets in, so I haven't had as much time to post plans and answer comments, and I do apologize. Thank you so much to everyone helping out - I am so thankful that our community of builders is not only very smart and innovative, but generous and helpful. Thank you thank you!
But we have been making steady progress on the Momplex, and I'm excited to share with you more posts on our work there.
I find myself quite confident when it comes to building furniture. Because if I make a mistake or don't like something, it's either fixable or liveable. But up there on the Momplex, I really loose my confidence fast when it comes time to do things like drilling holes in concrete, setting walls or choosing the location of windows. Knowing your actions and decisions are set in stone is more nerve racking then building independent furniture out of wood!
But with winter fast approaching, there hasn't been time for self doubt or second guessing, and I find myself just doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
I remember back in college having a horrible bussing/dishwashing job at a chain restaurant, and the dish sink drain backed up. We girls all said, "Ewwwww, I'm not sticking my hand in that drain!"

And someone said, "Find a Mom!  They aren't afraid of anything and will do whatever it takes!"

Wall Anchoring

After we built the walls, we need to anchor the walls to both the concrete slab, the other walls, and the exterior ICF walls.

Exterior Wall Attachment

To keep the walls from falling down, we immediately screw the interior framed walls to the ICF blocks at the black fastening strips.  Where no fastening strip is available, we used 1/8" metal strapping to reach the fastening strips.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Interior Walls to Interior Walls

The interior walls need to be nailed together. We make sure all the walls are plumb, square, and on the line.

Remember the blocking we put in the walls?  This blocking is used where interior walls meet up.  Not only does this give you a spot to nail walls together, it also gives us a spot to screw our drywall to when we go to hang drywall.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Top Plates

Top plates are handed up and nailed to the tops of the walls, overlapping wall joints.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Framing Nailer

We just purchased a framing nailer for $199 and man has it been a time and sanity saver!  There's nothing wrong with a hammer and nails, but having a framing nailer sure helps out!  The top plates are nailed to the tops of the walls.  Notice how this top plate extends beyond the center wall for extra support.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Concrete Anchor Holes

Finally, the interior framed walls need to be anchored to the concrete slab.  But remember, we have radiant heat tubes in the slab, and have to be very careful about not drilling into the heat tubes.  So the concrete drill bit is measured and taped off for the depth we can safely drill to.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Drilling Holes

I did the drilling, and let me tell you, I was nervous. Drilling into a heat tube would be catastrophic.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

Concrete Anchors

Aren't these strange looking nails?  Once they are pounded into the concrete, they will keep the walls from moving or shifting.
Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

It's easy to pound these in ...

Anchoring the Lower Level Walls

But the last little bit get's tough. Maybe I was too cautious in drilling my pilot holes, but thank goodness, we didn't see any pieces of heat pipes in the sawdust!

And our walls are secured!  
Now that our interior basement walls are in place, we can start working on putting the upper level floor in and building stairs!  Can't wait to share our progress with you.  Thanks for reading and keeping us encouraged and inspired!  
Happy Building, Ana

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