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Unread 04-19-2021, 11:13 AM   #1
Neverending
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Advice on flattening solid wood wall

Hiya Folks,
Haven't done a project like this before so figured I'd better reach out to the experts before I bugger things up.

I'm renovating a bathroom at our family cabin. The walls are solid wood (machined logs basically). I got the old fiberglass shower/tub out and started assessing things. Unfortunately, the wall is not flat with some logs sitting 1/4"+ proud of others. I am using Kerdi-Board. Given the size of the bathroom is so small, I'm trying to do this without furring out if it's possible.

So a few thoughts. One, do a wet shim by running lines of thinset spaced at 16"OC (just to mimick typical stud spacing) and set the Kerdi-board. Two, float the entire wall with something (what I'm not sure just yet) to flatten. Another option is to use drywall shims and fill in the low spots...just very time consuming given the gaps are not uniform.

I appreciate any advise.
Cheers.
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Unread 04-19-2021, 11:18 AM   #2
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How thick are the logs? Are they load-bearing? Maybe you could just plane down the ones that stick out?

(Even if they are load-bearing, it's possible, depending on their thickness etc. I seem to recall that 1/4" is an allowable field trim, but absolutely do not take my word for that!! I'm just saying it might be possible to plane it flat even if the wall is load-bearing, but you'd want to consult an engineer or someone there.)

ETA: It appears that it's not load-bearing and there's a gap between the top of the wall (beautiful wall, btw) and the ceiling? In which case there should be no problem planing it flat. That would be my choice, honestly--depending on thickness, with space being a concern, I'd even consider taking off more. (I'm currently trying to figure out how to scrounge for every fraction of an inch in my own even tinier shower, so I hear you!)
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Unread 04-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #3
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The logs are roughly 6"x8" and it's definitely a loadbearing wall (exterior too). See the attached to show a quick cross section....what you're seeing is the back side of the log. And that "gap" at the top is actually a piece of moulding that I just hadn't demo'd out when I took the photo.

Planing definitely crossed my mind which got me thinking there might be an easier way. Hence the wet shimming, etc... There would be an awful lot of planing to be done here but if that's the right way to do it, then I'll plan for it.

Cheers.
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Unread 04-20-2021, 05:17 AM   #4
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James from what I've read it's not a good idea to try do anything that will result in building off your solid timber. They are too unstable over time.

It's best to frame a wall that won't be attached to the logs and build on that.
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Unread 04-20-2021, 07:10 AM   #5
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Thanks Justin. I had considered this although with the walls having been up for 45+ years, was kind of hoping it would no longer be an issue. That may be a wrong assumption. Trouble I have is if I frame it up, we just really get squeezed for space. As it is now, I only have the bare minimum for toilet clearance so adding a 4" wall at the back causes issues.

I'll play with the dimensions a bit more to see what I can come up with as I do agree a framed wall would certainly eliminate any concern.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 08:06 AM   #6
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Hiya folks,
I think I have a plan but would like inputs. I plan to use 2x4's layed flat against the wall and will shim them if needed to get flatness across the wall. I plan to anchor these to the logs using screws and notches so if there is any seasonal movement, the wall should be able to stay put. Then the Kerdi-Board will mount to the 2x4's. Thoughts?

Cheers.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 08:26 AM   #7
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I'm not familiar with your "screws and notches" method of fastening, James, but furring out from the logs is a good idea. If you plan to get some insulation in there as well, I'd recommend ripping the 2x4s in half to make more room and less direct contact.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 08:49 AM   #8
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If isolating the new wall(s) from the log wall(s) is the goal then screwing the 2X's to the logs won't achieve that. But if that's the way you want to go then I'd probably be inclined to just use 1X2's instead of 2X4's to save 3/4". Even with 2X4's the only insulation you could get in there is foam board, and I don't think that would be a good combination under the Kerdi board.
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Unread 04-21-2021, 09:02 AM   #9
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Sorry guys. I should have used the term "slots" and screws vs. "notches". Basically, attach the furring strip (currently 2x4's but may go less per the advice above) at the bottom, solid to the lowest log. The rest of the attachment points would have a slot cut into the furring strip with the screw set midway in the slot into the logs. If the logs move, the furring strip would not.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's a quick picture detailing what I have in mind.

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