Build Day 35 (7/28/12)

As I’ve stated previously, life got crazy!  I was able to order appliances and do some theoretical work on the wee house, but no construction to speak of.  Back in the swing of things now though!  While I was in Las Vegas for a conference, the roof crew was working.  Although I had wanted to do this myself, time is of the essence (and somehow I’m justifying the cost….)  Also, a random fun pic of my sister’s camper with my tiny house.  🙂

For the actual day of 7/28, we finished up the siding on the dormers and the ends (minus a few small sections, saved for the next day).  There were a lot of odd cuts and tricky sections but we got it done!  Definitely helped having an extra person there too.  I’m thinking painting party for the siding – who wants to join?? 😉

Build Days 32, 33, 34 (6/21,6/23,6/24)

We kept chugging along at the end of June to get most of the siding done.  Since we had already completed the longer walls, it was time to tackle the siding around the front door.  The straight cuts were super easy, but then we had to cut around that lovely trim I picked out.  After that, we stopped for the day since we needed soffits before continuing the siding up to the top.

The next days focused on soffits and finishing the siding on the back and above the front door.  We were still waiting on the roof before we could official finish the siding.  Luckily the roof was done while I was out of town…look for a post on this soon!

Build Days 30 and 31 (6/16/12 – 6/17/12)

Apologies for the sporadic updates!  I was working on my paper, had to deal with moving, went to Vegas, and we were without of power for about 10 days!  The good news is that I am done with my degree (that’s right, DONE…I cannot express my excitement enough here).  Now that life is back to being life instead of a tornado, let’s talk siding:

Dad and I started on one of the long walls at the bottom with starter strips.  These guys are small pieces of trim we ripped down and nailed up that make sure the angle of the bottom piece of siding matches the angle of the rest of the siding pieces that go all the way up.  We staggered the seams in the longer pieces for aesthetics but also to make sure we didn’t leave much scrap just because we didn’t want too many seams.  The easy stretches under the windows were awesome!  We have these two siding tools that you nail onto the wall and it spaces your reveal perfectly every time without us measuring.  Kudos to dad for that find.

Around the windows was the rough part, mostly due to the odd trim I did.  There was lots of measuring and cutting, and remeasuring and recutting. 🙂  We are waiting to put on the siding on the dormers because we need certain roof panels to go on first.  It’s an interesting puzzle!

Video interlude

No time to actually post, so here’s a video update instead 🙂

My paper is due this weekend, so next week I’ll be back to full-force construction!  So excited!

Build Days 28 and 29 (6/9/12 – 6/10/12)

Pretty short update that will be mostly photos…I’ve been behind on these because the draft of my research paper is due this weekend and frankly that’s more important to me right now!  😉

On 6/9 and 6/10 Dad and I trimmed out the storage area on the back and put up the fascia boards around the house where the roof meets the walls.  The photos will tell you the rest…

Build Days 25, 26, 27 (6/6/12-6/8/12)

I’m combining these 3 days since they all deal with trim and would have been too short to separate and still be interesting.

6/6: We put all the corner trim on (well, almost all of it…there are some corners on the dormers that still need it, but we have to wait for the roof to come in).  It’s Smartside trim and siding from LP that is pretty environmentally-friendly.  I got a good deal on it through the local hardware store and the company didn’t require a minimum order.  I had looked into cedar and other options for this stuff that seemed cheaper, but everywhere I looked required a minimum of twice what I actually needed.

6/7: Trimmed out all but 2 windows after debating which style to go with.  It’s certainly different, but it fits in with the vision I have in my head.  Keep any disapproving comments to yourself please 😉

6/8: Finished the trim on the last windows, around the door, and spray-foamed (that’s a verb, right?) around the wheel wells on the inside of the house and around the windows.  Even though I knew it would expand a lot, I still managed to overfill the cracks.  At least you know it’s extra sealed!

Build Day 24 (6/3/12)

A short workday but we managed to install the front door.  It’s steel with a venting window to help cool down the house since I’m not putting in A/C.  The original plans called for two windows on either side of the door, but I really wanted to use the space on the inside for storage rather than for windows.  I think this meets the window/wall space requirement I had in my head quite nicely.  As for hardware, I’m going to scrounge around the ReStore but I’ll probably have to get a new knob and deadbolt set.  Boooo!

The installation itself was easier than I thought.  I caulked the floor underneath the door to seal out the elements and such, then we popped in the door.  After testing the swing and squareness, it just needed some shims on the side and to be screwed into the studs.  A bit of caulk around the molding on the outside, and voilà!  We’ll start the trim whenever we get another dry day.

Build Day 23 (6/02/12)

Been a few days since we worked on the house – I went up to the office for a bit again.  Yesterday the front door came in and we picked up the shower as well.  I can’t wait to see how the door looks on the house!  It’ll also be nice to keep out the bugs…they are quite enjoying their stay in the wee house.

As for construction, we finished the loft today!  The rafters are 2x6s, cut a smidgen shorter than the interior width of the house so we could squeeze them in.  It got a little awkward, but we managed to fit ourselves and the nail gun in the small spaces.  The plywood was also a bit of a struggle based on the shape of the loft…admittedly, it’s not completely square so we had to move the plywood a few times until we got it to fit.

The siding also came in, so it’s stacked up waiting to be installed.  I also ordered a fancy siding nail gun and dad found some cool tools for installation.

Build Days 21-22 (5/27/12 – 5/28/12)

The 27th was window day!  We installed the remaining windows (one was already in from the previous day) and took the rest of the afternoon off.  Honestly I was apprehensive about putting in windows myself based on some comments I’d seen on other blogs, but its’s not hard at all.  It helped that these are new construction so they had nailing flanges on…I highly recommend that!  We used more super flashing, popped them in, put the flashing around all sides, then tapped to our hearts’ content.

The next day was pretty short since we just put up some blocking.  This is really just some more 2x4s cut to size and nailed up under the roof overhang.  The soffits will be nailed to these blocks so it’ll all look nice and clean when you’re standing underneath and looking up at the finished roof.  Happily, I was able to use a few pieces of wood from the pallets I’ve dismantled.  Aside from some extra nails in them, they’re just like any new 2x4s you’d buy.

Water Heater Options

I have a few more building days to post but I thought I’d take a break and write about the current water heater situation that had me utterly stressed out.  I am still set on making this wee house off-grid ready, so figuring out how to get an acceptable hot water source going has been rather tough.  Here are the options I found and considered:


There are so many electric water heaters to choose from.  The one pictured above is just an example that I found online that would work pretty well in a tiny house.  Electric water heaters will probably run you anywhere from $150 – $700 depending on capacity, power, point-of-use versus whole-house, etc.  Under no circumstances will I install one of these! Yes, you could install some crazy solar panel system that could supply enough electricity to power it, but Virginia isn’t a great solar state and it would need a TON of energy.

  • Environment: 
  • Economy: ? just depends on which one you’d go with
  • Society: I’m going to use myself as “society” here and my desire for off-grid systems


Now that I have eliminated electric water heaters, it’s time to look at liquid propane (LP).  For those unfamiliar with this, these are usually able to operate on propane tanks that you see hooked up to grills.  There are natural gas heaters as well, but this house won’t be hooked up to that.  Here’s where the stress came in – most LP tankless water heaters still need electricity!  Being tankless, something needs to ignite the heater and this means electricity of some sort.  There are some models that use batteries instead of plug-in electricity but they are outdoor only models:

A few folks have rigged these for indoor use, but they really need to be outside or in a large enough area that there’s no fire or gas hazard.  They are a good way to save money, but I’m more interested in safety for whoever ends up living in it.

  • Environment:  (LP isn’t renewable, but better than electric models I say)
  • Economy: 
  • Society:  (the safety issue kills it here, and it’d be annoying to alter for my needs)

So what to do?  I went on a rant to my dad about how we could fly to the moon but couldn’t make a 100% non-electric , small, indoor, tankless water heater.  I was irked.  Luckily Bosch saved my sanity by making a hydro-powered model.  DUH!  It’s a water heater, so what better source of power for the ignition than the water that runs through it.  Genius.  They also have a push-button ignition model which is my alternate choice if for some reason I can’t get my hands on the hydro one.

  • Environment:  (again, LP isn’t renewable, but these use ZERO electricity or batteries)
  • Economy:  (way over my original budget for water heaters)
  • Society:(safe and reliable)


A quick thought on some other options: solar heaters are amazing.  They are also thousands of dollars and Virginia just doesn’t have enough sun all the time.  I saw on a forum somewhere about just putting a black hose up on the roof and letting the water get hot that way.  Personally, I think that’s a great option for the sunny, warm months.  For the winter, I could run coils from the wood stove but it’s “far” away from the bathroom and not really something I want to make someone deal with.  It’s all about willingness-to-pay and I’m WTP for a more reliable system like the hydro one.