Well, I started thinking about all of the work I was going to have to do standing on the tops of ladders with my arms up pinning insulation to the wall and ceiling, and I decided to put in the short second floor I’d been thinking about for a while.
On the north end of the building over the wheel area, the loft will be used as a tea room, display area, customer reception, and ‘hide from my wife when she’s angry’ space. The south end loft for storage.
As you can see from the picture I put a 5×5 beam across the span under the big beam, and another 3×5 screwed to the north wall, then laid my cedar planks across the two. The planks weren’t strong enough to stand on without spreading the weight around so while I worked I laid another plank across them to stand on. Since I’m planning to lay down tatami in the tea space anyway, I decided to lay down some 3/8 in plywood, which I screwed down to the planks, and which really stiffened things up. I can walk around now and don’t feel like the thing’s going to collapse on me. However, I wouldn’t trust it to 3 or more people. So, though I wanted to avoid it, I’m trying to figure out what would be rigid enough to span the 4 meter space across the center of the loft without needing a post from the floor or from the roof beam, either of which would get in the way upstairs or down.
The wooden 5×5 wasn’t rigid enough in my opinion (thus the hanging support from the beam, which I have added to the south loft beam as well since taking the pictures), so I’m thinking about a couple of galvanized metal 2x4s (‘c’ cross section) screwed together and oriented vertically to span the width midway between the beam and the wall.
At any rate, the interior feel of the building has really changed with the lofts installed. More ‘cozy’ now than before.