Build Day 20 (5/26/12)

Today was house wrap day!  This was a neat transformation for me, as I’ve been staring at plywood walls for a while now.  I went with Lowe’s house wrap because I couldn’t get any from smaller, local stores.  I did research eco-friendly house wrap but couldn’t find anything legit that was made from recycled materials…they all say “recyclable.”  Fair enough.  My watch happens to be made from old Tyvek.

Back to my original point – Lowe’s wrap it is for convenience, logistics, price, and quality.  I’m going to see about having an open house at the Lowe’s nearby once this is done, so the pictures look like good advertising for them anyway.  Luckily we didn’t need more than one roll of wrap!  I was also able to save some tape by using some of dad’s from a previous project.  I am always happy to use leftovers if they’re still good – saves on material demand and cost.  This ended up being a 3 person job in order to make quick work of it, so we borrowed mother dearest again 🙂

After the house wrap was stapled in place everywhere it needed to be, I taped over the seams to seal out moisture and moved on to the window openings.  I only did one today because there was a chance of rain.  After cutting and peeling back the wrap on one of the living room window holes, we laid down some of the most sticky flashing I have ever seen!  I always thought flashing was metal, but apparently not.  And this stuff is really high quality…no worries about leaks here (did you see the stuff we used on the roof??).  In went the window, we nailed around it, and taped it all up around the edges.  I am really happy to see the big windows in the living room rather than two small ones on each side (no offense to everyone else’s window layout).  I think it takes better advantage of good views and it saved a little bit of money and material.

Build Day 18-19 (5/23/12-5/24/12)

Another rainy day on the 23rd!  Progress has been slow lately because of the weather.  We put roofing paper on just one section of the A frame part of the roof and picked up some kitchen cabinets from the YMCA thrift store.  They’re in great shape and I was able to buy them individually (most places sell them as an entire set, which is about 3 times as many cabinets as this tiny house needs!)  I also found a quirky cabinet that will be good for the bathroom.

The 24th was way more productive.  We finished up the paper and picked up the windows.  I took a risk going with prairie style grills but I’m happy with the character it gives.  Unfortunately, they’re new windows but they’re all energy efficient and the loft window was made in Rocky Mount, VA.  I think the others came from Ohio?  I’ll check on that again, but hey, Ohio is closer than getting windows from the other side of the country!  I spent a lot of time looking for used windows but I wanted quality and efficiency…and I don’t have 6 months to look for the perfect used windows.  Tomorrow we get to put up the house wrap which will really make it look different!  So excited 🙂

Build Day 17 (5/20/12)

…and yet another roofing day concludes.  The plywood went up on the dormers so we’re good to go with all the plywood for the roof.  Finally!  Because of the height of the house and weight of the plywood, ladders seemed more awkward than necessary so we used the tractor.  Not sure which would have won the awkward contest, but it certainly saved my arms this way.  We even sucked mom into this operation!  Basically we just both got in the bucket with the plywood, were lifted up to the roof, and flopped the boards over until all the pieces were up on the roof ready for nailing.  Thanks mom 🙂

We also managed to put up some tar paper on one section of the roof before the day ended.  We’re using some super paper that is way better than regular stuff, so it’ll be really sealed from the weather up there.  The weather is iffy all week, so it’s questionable if we’ll be able to finish the roofing paper tomorrow or the next day.

Build Day 16 (5/19/12)

Another roof day!  This one was more exciting than the others though because plywood eventually went up.  First I put on a few more brackets that secure all the planes of the house together, and then some went on over the roof trusses.  Those were a bit of a pain, to be honest.  The height, angle, and my shortness made for a frustrating combination.  I keep thinking about them like the hurricane ties that they use in Florida…they seem like the tiny house equivalent to me.

Once that was done, we cut the plywood to size and nailed it on the end sections of the roof.  Luckily the first piece just needed a little trimming and we were able to use some leftover pieces from the walls for the smaller bits that needed to go closer to the peak.  I probably get a little too giddy whenever I see us using pieces that would have otherwise gone into the burn pile, but hey, why else would I be studying environmental sustainability if I didn’t get into this stuff?  The various sections of plywood needed some clips to add strength wherever they didn’t meet the trusses.  It’s pretty amazing how much sturdier it felt with just those small metal clips.  I’m learning that there are a lot of seemingly insignificant items or methods to building that make a big difference on the finished product.  Duh.

Build Days 14 and 15 (5/17/12 – 5/18/12)

Another combo based on the smaller amount of work accomplished both days.  There was still some framing left to do on the dormers, so we put up both long angled boards on each side.  This is what the plywood roof will eventually sit on at the bottom.  Getting the angle cut right on these was a little tricky, since we were sans table saw and they’re both long boards (13 feet ish?  I can’t remember the exact length.)  I also screwed on some brackets that help secure the roof to the walls in case of high winds…it’s a bit of overkill, but good for peace of mind.

On the 18th we put up the last roof framing bits so we’d be ready for plywood tomorrow.  They’re the trusses on the very ends of the long angled pieces we installed yesterday.

Build Day 13 (5/16/12)

2.5 hours worked today, so this will be pretty short.  We found a small mistake made yesterday around the triangles so we cut out the trusses, trimmed them, and put them back in place.  It looked fine yesterday because sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how the next piece of the puzzle fits with the current one.  Luckily it was a quick fix!  Next we put plywood up on the dormers and cut out space for the windows.  You can really see now where I opted to not put in one of the windows…looks a little like a cyclops but I am still confident in my decision.

I’m also still going on my pallet pile.  Soon I’ll need to figure out where I am going to use pallets on the walls, combine the calculation with my floor dimensions, and then see how many more pieces I need.  I suspect almost double the pile I currently have. 😦

Build Days 11 and 12 (5/13/12 – 5/15/12)

I’m combining these since we only worked 2 hours each day and there’s not a ton of visual progress I can show you.  I’m working my real job during the day so the tiny house work doesn’t start until 4 or later, leaving just a few hours each evening.  But hey, it’s better than no construction during the week and having to migrate down here and drive back up north every weekend!

The small triangles at the corners of the dormers needed some additional attention, so we added the remaining trusses and some non-structural pieces in preparation for nailing on the plywood in a few days.  We also put up the roof extensions that will allow the front door and the storage compartment on the back to be covered a little from the rain.

And on a little bit of a weird note, those last two pictures are of the sawdust I keep saving.  Yes, I am saving sawdust in a bag…ready for the composting toilet!  And better to minimize waste by using everything I can for another application. 🙂

Build Day 10 (5/12/12)

YES!  We finally started to frame the roof today.  I am particularly excited about this because I can finally see the real height and design of the house in front of me instead of just in my head and on paper.

First we put up the ridge beam that we built about a week ago.  It’s attached to each end of the house with metal brackets and desperately needed some support in the middle until the rest of the roof can keep it from sagging.  The braces we keep making for the walls, dormers, and ridge beam have helped keep everything square as well until the framing is completely done.  Next we started to frame out the “A” portion back over the loft area.  The physical construction of the roof framing wasn’t too hard, but the math and angles were an absolute pain to figure out.  The other issues with angles is how the pieces eat up 2x4s and create a ton of leftover bits…because each board needed to be just over 4 feet long, I couldn’t get 2 out of each 2×4 I had so there’s a sizable pile of scraps now.  Don’t you worry!  I’ll use them for something (interior items, firewood, turning them into sawdust for the composting toilet, donating to Habitat, etc.)

We also managed to frame out most of the above-dormer section that’s in the middle of the roof.  There are some triangular parts that need more pieces and then some extensions out the front and back of the structure, but I’d say we’re 80% done with framing the roof!

Build Day 9 (5/6/12)

Today we built the two dormers that sit on both sides in the middle of the house.  I’m glad we went with this design to break up the roof line a bit and add more head room and storage on the inside.  These were actually pretty easy to make…they’re essentially mini walls.  The plans call for two windows in each dormer, but I removed one in order to gain some wall space inside.  This will make more sense once we get the roof on and I can have pictures of this section all plywooded in.

We ended up building each dormer inside the wee house since the floor is clear and it’s a decent amount of space to work.  Once one was built and installed up top, we built the other one in about 1/2 the time!  Although the framing was pretty sturdy, we get strong winds up here on the mountain.  The 2×4 you see going from one side to the other is just a temporary brace to keep the dormers from blowing off.  Next up: roof framing 🙂

Build Day 8 (5/5/12)

Last week I went back up to northern VA to be in the office for a few days, so the house sat untouched for a bit.  Minor progress today due mostly to the weather and it’s supposed to rain off and on for the next few days.  We managed to make the ridge beam that spans the length of the house and holds up the roof.  Since we needed it to be longer than any 2x4s we could get, we put two together.  To make it extra strong, each board was cut shiplap style, glued and screwed together.

….so that took all of 20 minutes.  Over the weekend I cleaned up an old barn elsewhere on the property and salvaged some nice boards.  They had nails sticking out and some of the ends were either torn up or rotten.  To clean them up and get them ready for their new lives as shelving, I beat out the nails first.  Next came clamping them onto the “work bench” (really the back of the Mule) and sawing off the bad parts.  I haven’t sanded them yet, but will get around to it soon and seal them once I find an eco-friendly sealer or light stain.  I hope to keep most of the weathered look though.