Fixing the Wall Panel Frames: Day 1 – green oak barn

Tuesday 18/5/21

While I waited for the mortar to go off on the wall repair, I started to secure wall panel frames to the frame. I started by marking the amount I needed to take off the first wall panel frame to allow expanding foam to fit between this frame and the green oak frame. The green oak is going to shrink across its width so the expanding foam’s function is to fill the gaps that will emerge between the softwood frames and the green oak in this process.

Marking the amount to be removed from a wall panel frame

I planed the frames to this line using an electric plane.

Reducing the size of a wall panel frame

I then created recessed holes in the top of the frame to take 100mm stainless steel screws to secure the top of the frame to the green oak wall plate.

Recessing the top fixings

I have two sizes of expanding foam tape. Both are 15mm wide. One creates a weather-proof seal across 1 to 4mm but will ‘gap fill’ up to 9mm. This is perfect for the sides of the frames. These joints will not be exposed to weather so it’s just gap filling I want to stop drafts.

Expanding foam tape - 1

The second tape creates a weather-proof seal across 5 to 12mm but will ‘gap fill’ up to 28mm. I’m using this across the top of the frame.

Expanding foam tape - 2

First I stuck the tape to the sides and top of the frame.

Applying the expanding foam tape to the top and sides of the frame

I put strips of polythene sheeting on the sides of the posts to allow the tape to slide in. This worked brilliantly and I could easily pull out the polythene once the frame was in place.

Introducing the taped wall panel frame

In most places the gap looked like this.

Frame and tape in place - 1

Initially, I could see light through the junction at the top right of the frame. This was the only place.

Initial gap between the frame and the post

But after a couple of hours the foam had expanded to completely fill the gap.

Tape expanded to bridge the initial gap

I used 15mm spacers to keep the frame the correct distance from the braces and secured the top of the wall panel frame to the green oak wall plate. My logic here is that when the wall plate shrinks the bottom face won’t move upwards, but instead the top face will move downwards. So, fixing the frame at the top won’t be a problem. Note, however, there are no fixings down the side of the frames as I think this would pull the frame out of shape when the posts shrink.

15mm spacer between the brace and the frame

I used another 40mm ‘spacer’ to tap the frame into the right position to allow for the featherboards to fit against the posts without protruding beyond the face of the posts.

40mm template to help position the frame correctly

Once in the correct position, I hammered in wedges to lift the frame up as much as possible and compress the foam tape along the top edge. I then injected a sealant adhesive – CT1. This will form a seal and secure the frame to the brick plinth.

Injecting CT1 to fix and seal the bottom edge of the frame

I was a bit apprehensive about all of this but the method worked really well. Using polythene sheet to insert the taped frame was a brainwave!

CT1 applied to the bottom edge

Onwards and upwards.

Key posts

How it started
The plan
The site folder
Dealing with wonky timber
Moving into the third dimension
Raising the Barn: Day 1
Putting up the softwood roof






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