Sunday, April 13, 2014

A/C installed. Electrical Plan Created

AC installed with Grace Weather Shield on a Wall!

Well, average daily high are about 85F now and we're at 80F by 10am.  So, I debated quite some time about when and where to put a window A/C. After last weekends baking-my-brains, I decided it was over and I would install an A/C early so that construction would be more comfortable. So, today I finished the framing for the A/C in the gable end and applied Grace Snow and Ice Shield -- peel and stick weather proofing.  I love that material. Usually applied to the roof, you can apply it to a wall.  Anyway, the picture shows the finished product. I spent the day cutting and installing the outermost insulation in the dormer.....feeling quite comfortable in midday.

As an update on the roof, I drove to Alachua to Gulf Coast Supply on late afternoon on Friday --- getting there just before the closed.  The loaded my truck with $1000 (including gas for the truck) of who-knows-what and handed me a detailed manual for the installation.   I suspect I won't begin putting on the standing steam roof until May. We shall see if installing the roof is satisfactory, I will have saved $1500! Everything is a learning experience, why not one more?

This week my friend Chris is coming from WA State to install the electrical.  For me, the electrical is something worth hiring a licensed expert.  It is simply something I don't understand and fear. Stay tuned.  I did finish my electrical wiring plan:

A Box Window

 On Saturday, Jack and I spent the day finishing fourth wall which contains the box window.

Two boxes were built:  a top and a bottom.  Both were built with 2x6s on the three exterior sides and a 2x4 on the interior side.  The floor and roof of the box window will rest onto of the 2x4. We added the first piece of insulation to the floor and roof of the box window. Next, we screwed 2x4 frame that was prebuilt, using the specified window rough opening, onto the Top box. We were able to then place it between the wall studs, level it, and add screws to hold.  Lastly, we the Bottom box in place, screwed the pre-built window box on the appropriate edge, then leveled the rest of the box between the studs and screwed it in place. The process of building the window box was  relatively easy.  Additionally, I will need to add some nailing piece in obvious places where the T&G will be installed.  The box window extends only 12" beyond the wall. I've decided to expand the width of the overall box window to about 48" to (1) add additional insulation and (2) enhance the look. 

A box window adds depth inside and creates character outside.  A lot of work for aesthetics, but I think it is worth it.  I also must add the box window necessitated some on-the-fly design. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Plumbing has no leads! I love shark bites!

Had to notch the corner for PEX supply lines
I finished the plumbing supply lines and hooked up a hose to test the connections.  I have a leak with the shower fixture itself, but that isn't concerning me right now.  ALL OTHER CONNECTIONS are dry!  Yes, shark bites saved another project.  I will be doing an all day pressure test once I get the shower drip fixed.

The T-fitting shown in the picture is where the supply line comes into the Tiny House.  I bought a special hose fitting from a local RV shop for $20.  The pipes with red duct tape are planned for hot water.  I have not decided on which model but I will be installing an external outlet for power should it be needed.  

Plumbing is never easy, but Shark Bites makes it almost simple and error free. Nonetheless, notching the corner and putting in all supply lines is a 1/2 day project. I had to return my initial shower fixture since it was too deep for 3.5" wall. 

My friend Chris reminded me about vent stacks for my disposal lines. When I bough my building plans for Tumbleweed, I did not receive plumbing plans. Just FYI. So look for plans that include everything. The plumbing is 'on your own' hence why I forgot about that the vent issue. 

After a bit of research, I'm planning to try using Air Admittance Valves (AAVs) under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. [Note: be sure you read about AAVs...the news is not all good.] My compost toilet won't need a vent stack.  This plan may change.  Connecting discharge pipes are details to be worked out later....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


SharkBite ( plumbing fixtures is one of God's gift to DIYers. They are amazing and almost fool proof. Matter of fact, while using these cool gizmos in the last house I built, I was joyful that no connection leaked EXCEPT the regular threaded fitting which was not a SharkBite!  These are available online and from Home Depot locally and although expensive, they are worth every penny.  I have one shower, one bathroom sink, one water line for the toilet (perhaps will never be used) and one kitchen sink.  This project will take full a day or less if you have everything. I unfortunately had one snag:  the corner of the building had to be notched to get two water lines around the corner...see picture.  A drill, chisel and sweat is all it took. I believe notching would have been unnecessary had I pre-drilled the walls in that corner when they were going up.  Another lesson learned.

Roofing Trials

This past weekend continued to have a goal:  GET THE ROOF ON.  Rains continue on a weekly basis and the tarps are getting difficult to use.  On Saturday, my visiting friend Perry and I installed the rafter blocks - 2x4s to support the seams where two pieces of plywood (sheathing) join.  I was sitting reading the plans and noticed them in the plans....another 'I almost forgot' moment.  Fortunately, this time it was not too late.  Each block - measured precisely for the space between each rafter -- included three 1 1/4" holes for ventilation. The entire effort only required about two hours in total. The feeling of getting anything done/accomplished is good but the heat inside the house with the tarps made that the one and only task to complete that day.
Sunday was a one-step-back-day or a 'redo' day.  I mentioned in an earlier post that my roof over the loft has a 1.5/12 pitch. So, on Sunday four of us removed the existing roof above the dormers, shortened the walls by 1.5" and raised the ridge board by 1.5" using a simple 2x4, trimmed and placed on top. We fabricated 10 new rafters and they installed perfectly. The rise is now almost 3/12 which meets the State's code,puts my worried head to rest, and should simplify the installation of the ridge caps which support two different pitches.
As an aside note, I am not reinstalling the dormer sheathing until AFTER the main (steep) portion of the roof is installed for two reasons.  First, having the loft to stand on to stand may make installation easier.  Second, I learned that it is impossible to screw the sheathing down where the two roofs meet since one overhang overlaps the other. So installing the dormer roof last will avoid this problem as well.

Also, I used standard hurricane anchors to tie the roof rafters to the ridge beam and the walls.  I did learn that the come in right and left hand designs AND there are special ones shown in the picture that work especially well with 2x4 rafters.  It is shorter than the 'regular' anchors.  Either HD or Lowes had these, but the picture does show the part number.

I plan to pick up the roof supplies on Friday in Alauchua.  Gulf Coast Supply (GCA) has been very poor at communicating which has added to my frustration. A Tiny House is super small in their terms, and as a result, relatively low importance. Nonetheless, I hope that JACK will join me again since my two regular helpers are traveling.  GCS's installation instructions appear to be very good and I'm hoping to be successful at installing a metal roof.  Bravery, in many ways, is necessary.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Furing strips installed

I bought 2x4s and sliced him into 1/2" x 1 1/2" strips.  You can buy 1x2 furring strips but like the homemade ones. They hold the moisture barrier to the house and will provide the locations of studs for nailing the siding to ... at some point, one day.  I bought pressure treated 2x4s since I have no idea how long it will be before siding will go on.  Here is a picture of Genie and Leland making strips using a table saw.  We later nailed them.  Why install furring strips?  If driving rain gets behinds your siding, it can drain down without creating a petri dish for mold and mildew. 

The Roof Saga Continues

We got 7" of rain in Z'hills on Saturday!  My well used Tarp leaked in four places and had a few puddles inside my TH.  Needless to say, you will be happier if you can build your house inside a building.  It is a lot of work and requires least two people to pull the tarp over the TH.  Trust me.

This past Sunday was sunny and warm.  My friend Genie and Jeff (a TH Enthusiast) joined me to finished putting sheathing up on the steep part of the roof.  Putting on the sheathing on one side of the TH was easy because it was reachable from scaffolding outside and scaffolding inside in TH.  The other side was a bit more challenging.  The sheathing on the lower portion of the roof was easy since it was reachable from the outside scaffolding.  The ~18" portion near the ridge required me to scale the roof.  I nailed a 8-foot 2x4 and 2x2 to create a step and tied myself to the ridge board using a rope.  Regardless of the precautions taken, it was unnerving experience.  In hindsight, it may have been possible to put the full 4x8 sheet near the ridge board screw it while standing on the top of the wall.  Being 5'9" I'm sure I could have reached the ridge board without using ropes!

There are roof ladders you could build or buy..ask Google.  Since panels are long, I may have to resort to building a roof ladder in order to install the standing seam pans.

By the way, I have applied a heat shield on the underside before putting up the sheathing.  It is like thick aluminum foil stuck to the sheathing with either double sided tape or spray adhesive.  I used spray and it worked well.  It can be applied before you put up the sheathing or installed afterwards between the rafters.  I believe I already feel the difference. 

For you information, a local roofing company agreed to install my roof for about $2500.  That feels just a little expensive.  The upside is that I could wave my magic wand (i.e. my checkbook) and have this done in a day or two.  I'm fairly certain that I can save a buck and buy my roofing material from Gulf Coast Supply ( I've selected a product called GulfLok.  Everyone there is very helpful and nice to work with...tell Barry that I sent you!  He understands the TH movement.  Besides GCS's documentation is GREAT for DIYers and was what convinced me I can install the roof myself.  I am using 1" standing seam, 12" wide pans made of 24 guage in Galvanized color.  I chose conventional drip eves which are simpler to install.