Monday, December 29, 2014

Insulation Complete

After spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday finishing the electricity, water heater insulation, and prepping for the spray-in foam insulation.  I'm amazed about how many undone things had to be completed.  I took photos of every wall, marked every stud where water and electric is run (by the way, it is best to wait until after the foam is sprayed before installing nail plates since the have a special saw that runs along the studs, removing the excess after it expands. Nail plates that are not flush with the 2x4s will catch the saw teeth.  Better yet, use the Dremel or a router to recess the nail plates 1/8". 

Daniel Insulation is a great outfit and very reasonable (I think) in price. The other option I considered was poly-encapsulated insulation (available from stores like Lowes.)  Poly-encapsulated insulation is entirely wrapped in plastic.  Supposedly Home Depot apparently carries the same spray-in foam for DIYers. I will explore both of these options next time. 

My Tiny House is now like a foam cooler. I'm ready for the planking installation! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Getting ready for Foam Insulation

I sprayed and brushed polyurethane sealer on the ceiling of my kitchen and bath (the floor of the loft).  Came out nice.  Sealing it will help keep it looking nice.

I also finally put on the decorative braces under the box window.  It is really lovely to see what I envisioned look as I hoped.

The goal of this weekend and last:  finish installing the venting between the roof rafters, finish any modifications to the electrical wring, finish plumbing the water heater, mark the location of floor to sill studs on the floor, photograph every wall for future reference.

The next step is to find someone willing to actually give me a bid on spraying open cell foam on the walls and ceiling before Christmas. I have called two insulation contractors and the bids were wildly different. 

I have ordered my bathroom sink, received my faucet, and medicine cabinet. When it arrived, the sink is too large as is the faucet.  But I'm keeping the cabinet. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Now we know...

The 12 mile round trip to the scales went well.  The scales showed the TH weighted 7600-7700 lbs including the trailer itself.  My Tundra did a great job pulling the load. After returning, Mac successfully backed the Tiny House into the side yard.  The only issue was the door didn't close/open easily.  After leveling the TH several days later, the door returned to normal is typical of RVs. I have no worries that I can finish the house with 2000 lbs, keeping the total gross weight under 10,000 lbs. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Preparing to Weigh In

This past weekend I had hoped to bring my TH to the transfer station to weigh.  Since I had some planning issues, like not knowing how to work my braking system or having a PSI gauge that could validate if my TH tires were inflated properly (65 PSI), I changed the goal for the day and decided to finish installing the siding on the dormer.  I am pleased -- very pleased -- to report that ALL THE SIDING is installed!  I need to give Jack the credit for figuring out the geometry of the angles for cutting the siding to match the pitch of the roof.  He says its his secret, but I can attest that doing all four side walls of the dormer only took ~4 hours. It is all in knowing the angle/degrees to set the chop saw.  We both joked that if our high school math teacher used this as the reason to learn that stuff, students would pay attention!  Can you imagine a TH as one big, educational and PRACTICAL mathematics project? 

Anyway, I plan to do a final test on the plumbing, the electric, and then begin installing the second layer of insulation in the walls this coming weekend. I ordered an electric knife to cut the insulation sheets and then plan use it to carve the Thanksgiving Day turkey.  Although the insulation company never called me back with a quote (which is not unusual in Florida), I learned that 200 cubic feet of foam insulation would cost about $700. I can use 4x8 sheets of insulation and have a similar R value at a much lower cost! 

4x8 Finished VC Birch Panel-Item 969-965
I found some very attractive, knotty pine wainscoting (paneling shown at right) at Home Depot. I'm considering this instead of the 3/8" T&G knotty pine since it weighs less and would be MUCH FASTER to install. And it really looks good. For those that may be asking the next logical question, yes, I *could* upgraded my axles to handle a heavier load if is necessary. Is only money, right?

So the official weigh in day is October 25th -- after Mercury goes direct. I don't tempt Murphy or Mercury.  I have a friend that is experienced in towing heaving loads who offered to drive. Additionally, I have had a new gate installed in the side yard so I can back the Tiny House Of Love (or an RV) into the side yard, thus avoid trying to back it into the back yard and straddling the septic tank. 

In closing this blog entry, let me ask if you have ever felt love for a inanimate object?  Well, I have fallen in love with my Tiny YELLOW House.  It makes me smile to just look at it and I feel pride having built it by hand.  I know it is built well and with lots of LOVE!  All I need is a white picket fence and a English garden...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dormer Windows Made By Hand

Last week, the dormer windows were finally finished and installed.  They are hand built and quite attractive.  Each window measures 17"x33". I decided try making them when got a quote of $400 per window.  Four of them would have cost $1600. I built them to look like the ones I did buy -- natural wood on the inside and white on the outside. After getting double pane glass made, and buying the wood, hinges, paint, and polyurethane...the cost of each window has cost me about $110 in materials...saving 70-75% of the cost!  Now that I know how easy it is to build windows, I will probably build all the windows by hand for my next Tiny House. If you do build your own, buy a Dremel for sanding. It has become one of my favorite tools.  The next time I build windows, I'll probably try this process:
Caulking the exterior of the handmade window

The rough openings had to be re-framed once my windows were built and I knew the exact size.  It was not difficult, just a bit annoying.  I suggest that you have your doors and windows in your hand or at least ordered before you begin building your walls!

Jack showing the first assembled window
The hardest part is deciding what hardware to use to open/close/lock the window.  I have not decided on the dormer window hardware.  I ordered casement adjusters, but realized after they arrived they are made for windows with side hinges, not for windows with hinges were on the top. Since then, I found telescoping push bars made in Denmark and sold in the USA by H Window. They will hold the open the window and lock it when closed. The only drawback is they are cost $77.50 each. They would work perfectly in my handmade awning windows, but I'm not sure if $310 is worth the money when something simpler would work. Stay tuned....

Handmade dormer windows are installed! (Picture by Jack)
Today, the siding around the dormers windows was also installed and painted.  It took all day. Although I the siding on the sides of the dormers still need to be installed as well as the soffit, and the corner trim, I hope to have the entire Tiny House weighed on October 4th. I need know how much it weights before I begin the the inside.

Someone asked how much time I have spent on the project so far. Since I began actual construction, I probably have only spent 1 day/week, but had on average, had 2-3 people working with me.  That is roughly 100 person days or three person months.

Not bad for such a quality piece of art!

Painting the Exterior

It has been a long time since my last post. For the most part, the siding was primed and painted yellow. I'm glad I spray painted the siding with primer before installing the boards. Five gallons is about right since you want to prime both sides.  I love the color...whether you call it Afternoon Tea or Tuscany Gold. Valspar Reserve is Lowe's best exterior pain; it sells at roughly $200 for 5 gallons.  The paint contains primer and a mildew preventative and is water-based for easy clean up.  I sprayed the first coat of paint with my sprayer and then used a brush on the second coat for a quality, brushed look. Since I only painted the outside, I have only used about 2.5 gallons.  I also learned the value of using the high quality brushes (a Purdy brush costs ~$17-20/brush.) They are worth the money. The result looks better, the bristles do not fall out while your painting, and they are easier to clean.

Tuscany Gold Exterior Paint.  I love how the white trim pops.
Although I started building the dormer windows in July, painting the outside became more important since mildew began to grow on the door frame and just a little on the siding.  I knew getting the final coat on the outside -- as far as I could get -- was a smart idea. And if this happens to you, there are two things you should know:  (1) spray diluted bleach (50/50), let stand overnight, then wipe the mildew off (2) oil based paint is virtually unattainable so I chose Lowe's Valspar Duramax. Duramax contains both paint and primer. Since painting the door frame, there has been no more mildew.  I used the same paint on the exterior of the dormer windows, tool. 

Can you envision the red bougainvillaea growing over the box window?  I can.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It takes a community....

Two weekends ago, the nail holes which were filled with wood filler were sanded and primed. I also built the door for the battery box and painted it with an enamel paint with primer. That same day, we also stuck bird block behind the bottom row of siding around the entire tiny house, allowing water to drain out should it get behind the siding but prevent bugs from getting in.  Jack and Luanne were on-site helping throughout the day.  Luanne organized all the tools, screws, and parts.  Do you know how wonderful it is to have things organized? 

During that week, I worked with Chris on debugging two electrical issues we had. Cell phone pictures made it all possible.  Now, all those problems are solved; the electric is working perfectly including the batteries and the inverter.

This past Saturday, more gable trim was put up and started caulking the windows.  On Sunday, I hosted a Tiny House movie and potluck for 27-30 folks who came as far as Orlando!  THANKS to everyone who came together as a community.  I loved it. My only disappointment was not making more time for us to get to know each other.  I also learned to include a map as a PDF in the invite so people don't get lost and not to use video streaming at a group event. Otherwise, it was a good event finishing with folks getting a chance to see the latest progress on the Tiny House.

Today, I started building the dormer windows. After failing using my router table, Leland (the next door neighbor) used his table saw to produce a 5/8" channel in the 2x3s where the window pane will sit. Unfortunately, progress is going to stop for a few weeks since I'll be traveling. Gulf Coast Supply came by today with the last piece of gable flashing and tomorrow it will be installed.  The entire roof will be done. Completely done. And I plan to open the bottle of Champagne I've been saving to celebrate completing the installation of the metal roof.  Do you know how long I've waited?  A long time.

Is it clear that it takes a community to build a Tiny House?  Well it does.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Siding, siding and more siding

Molding and Siding Installed on first side!
Siding the window box end of the Tiny House took two days (see picture on left.)  Cute, eh? I chose 7-8" shiplap siding made of yellow pine, pattern #105. I bought enough 8' boards for both ends and 12' boards for the two long sides. Although I used an on-line calculator to covert sq ft to linear feet, I still think I'll be returning some unused boards.  

After siding the side with the box window, I learned (on YouTube) it is good idea to prime the boards BEFORE installing them! Matter of fact, mildew has already started growing on one of the boards.  Needless to say, I didn't get to prime the wall fast enough. The mildew beat me. Anyway, $500 later, I own a fantastic paint sprayer and the first five gallons of Valspar primer with mildew preventative added. I can prime 6-8 boards in about 10 minutes, front and back, with my Magnum LTS 15 paint sprayer. [and it's available for rent!]

John Marshall install furring strips
I believed that siding goes up fast; however, it is not as fast as you would think.  First, you have to install the brick or trim molding around all the windows and doors.  Then, if you are using furring strips, they have to be attached about 16" on center.  I made my furring strips from pressure-treated 2x4's cut to a 3/8" width. Dee Williams recommended furring strips to allow airflow behind the wood siding, reducing the chance of water being trapped behind the boards resulting in mildewing and ultimately rotting. I'm sure if that was necessary, but it made sense to me. In the picture (see right), notice the highest furring strips match the slope of the gable roof.

Additionally, notice I applied Grace Ice and Water Shield to the tongue side of the Tiny House instead of Tyvex (or other moisture barrier.)  In theory, if it rains while driving down the road, this side of the house is well protected from water intrusion.  Today we almost finished siding the tongue side of the Tiny House.  We quit at 5pm, having spent 9 hours! 

I feel compelled to remind TH builders the tops of the boards need to align around the entire house. I was amazed how 1/4" is noticeable at eye level when the top of boards meet at the corner. So, a couple of times, we chose to removed a couple and reinstalled them.  So, after the first wall was sided, we took a furring strip and marked the tops of the boards and transferred those mark to all corners and sides. We took line level and confirmed that if the tops of boards are put up at those marks, they indeed would be level.  Nice!
John Marshall holding up perfectly cut piece of siding

Lastly, it takes time to go around things like window, power boxes, and sheds.  John Marshall is shown in this picture holding up one piece of siding cut precisely to fit above the shed roof and below the bathroom window. When this board went up, we were very pleased. It fit like a glove.

We have two sides or four times (4x) more siding still to be installed including all sides of the dormer.  The next long day (10 hours) we finished all the siding on the building (not the dormers.)  I now need to get one more stick of gable flashing and finish building the dormer window before the siding can be finished.  LEARNING POINTS:  Remember to prime the board ends, if possible; use wood filler to fill in the nail holes and caulk to fill in the crack between the board ends that are butted up together.

I ended up returning about 225 linear feet that I didn't use.  Perhaps it was because I didn't subtract the doors and windows.  Who knows?  You may find this calculator valuable for determining your linear feet: . I paid about $1.10 per linear foot.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tiny Open House

On Saturday, about 30 enthusiasts visited and toured my tiny house.  In celebration of the UN's World Environment Day (June 5th), I've dedicate the tiny open house event to all those endeavoring to live more simply and sustainably.  Reducing your residential footprint in a major step toward sustainable living!
"By shrinking their home, individuals in the tiny house movement reduce their environmental footprint, their housing costs, and their consumption resulting in an increasingly simplified existence." ~

Friday, May 30, 2014