Tiny House Construction – Week 2
After waiting around for so long to start the build I have been very go go go on the house. My plan is to get the house watertight and road worthy so I can move it into the driveway where we are living and eliminate the rent I am paying on the barn. This does factor into my wanting to make good progress on the house, but mainly it’s because I am having so much fun.
Watch a time lapse to see what I got up to this week:
Build Day 5
Today I finished bolting the blocking in place. I also found out the hard way that a 5/8th inch bolt does not have a 5/8th inch nut (the bolt is 5/8″ in diameter, it makes sense that the bolt has to be bigger… in retrospect). So I popped to the builder merchants to buy an adjustable and I was on my way.
Things were mostly square, but I needed to tweak a few things before I could properly secure the blocking. As everything is to be build on top of this, I wanted to get it as square as possible.
Now it was time to lay the insulation. The insulation I chose matches the depth of my blocking and the width of my 24 inches on centre layout, so I only had to cut it in length to fit the space which is easily done with a bread knife. This meant that it only took around an hour to lay all of the insulation, which I had anticipated would take a full afternoon. ‘Mineral wool’ insulation is inert and non-toxic, but it is itchy!
Build Day 6
After uploading my blog post for week 1 last night I woke this morning to a very interesting comment from my friend Brady, who is himself very interested in small structures. He commented on my floor design, specifically about vapour barriers and the potential for mold. As well as doing my research on this I had paid close attention to what other people had done, but this got me second guessing my solution. As there is nothing ‘standard’ about tiny houses, it is very hard to get definitive answers for pretty much anything. Actually the more I looked in to the the less sure I was becoming. This is a critical time, if I am going to change anything it needs to be done right away, as I am sealing up the floor next!
I was planning on paying Paul (the other tiny house builder) a visit, who was working on a barn conversion around the corner, to see what he was working on. After a tour of the job site by his business partner Mark we got chatting. They seem very experienced, and as Mark explained they choose to only work on eco/sustainable projects. I mentioned my uncertainty and talked them through my set up, which they agreed sounded fine. I really appreciated this input and reassured me that I had made the right call. Onwards!
After the second-guessing delay I started cutting the plywood for the subfloor. Learning to use my new skill saw I found I was a little off in places. 1/8th of an inch normally seems to be acceptable, but 1/8th on either side of the trailer makes 1/4 of an inch, which isn’t. This was a bit of a learning curve but I think it is going to work out.
Build Day 7
Just a half day today. I finished cutting the ply subfloor to shape, which includes a hatch for what will be the shower room floor. I’m not quite sure how I am going to plumb this room in yet, and am considering a wet room, so I wanted the flexibility to be able to open the floor up in this area and do whatever I decide to do at a later date, rather then decide that now.
Richard came and gave me a hand today, he got to work cutting the rigid foam insulation which is going to fill some small air spaces around the perimeter of the trailer.
Before leaving we got to test out my new framing nailer, which I decided to spring for to make the framing stage easier. Just the small amount of hammering I have done in the last week was enough to make that decision an easy one.
Build Day 8
I was determined to finish the subfloor today, as it was taking a little longer than expected. So I woke up early and got a good start to the day. Working on this alone I had to get a system set up where I could apply the glue and quickly get the sheet of plywood in place before it dries. Once the sheet is lined up I could then start screwing it down.
Because nothing on this build is ‘standard’, the whole process was convoluted and it took me a while to figure out which order to do things in. I got there in the end, and although some of the gaps are a little winder than I would have liked I am very happy with how solid they feel. My spirit level also confirmed that the floor is nice and flat too.
With the subfloor down I reached the first milestone in the build. I now have a flat, wooden surface on which I can build a timber frame house using standardised, tried and tested techniques. Except as I may have mentioned, nothing on this build is ‘standard’.
Build Day 9
Another big day, starting to frame! I have been looking forward to framing because I spent so much time teaching myself the fundamentals and this is also the stage when the house starts to really take shape.
I spent the morning doing research to make sure I knew what I was doing. I wanted to refresh my memory but also to ensure I had the details of nailing patters, laying out and in which order to do things in, which YouTube has been great for.
I have been dealing with a local company to do my window and door quotes, and no matter how quick I think it will be, every time I go in I seem to spend at least an hour talking. The person I have been dealing with is extremely knowledgeable, is interested in my little house and has been very patient with me. All of which I am grateful for.
Starting a little later in the afternoon than I would have liked, Carly and I got a production line going to cut the lumber to frame the first wall. After a quick lesson on the chop saw, she took right to masterfully cutting the wood to the correct sizes, so she became the dedicated chopper. I prepared the wood and marked how long I wanted it, once cut we could then start laying out the wall. Working together like this felt not only efficient but enjoyable. I feel very lucky to have her helping me. We cut all of the wood for the first wall, a great few hours!
The tiny house is on my mind a lot at the moment, from when I wake up and even appearing in my dreams. I have been throughly enjoying getting stuck in to the project and have been putting in some long hours on the house. However I’m sure this kind of mental and physical commitment isn’t going to be sustainable over the next year, so in the back of my mind I know I need to calm my excitement a little and try to strike and balance between the house and everything else (i.e. ‘life’).