Tiny House Construction – Week 4
This was going to be a big week. We had some friends visiting so I wanted to finish the walls and get them raised while they were around, always a big moment when building a house. Before this could be achieved I needed to finish framing and figure out the logistics of getting them vertical. So there was lots of work to be done.
Watch a time lapse to see what I got up to this week:
Today was a very productive day! The friends who are staying with us right now kindly offered to help with the house (thanks Andrea and Brady!). We managed to buy, cut and lay out all of the wood for the last wall in one day. This would have taken me a lot longer by myself!
It took me a little while to figure out how to best utilise all of this extra man power, but we quickly got Andrea cutting wood to length on the chop saw and Brady measuring and laying out the wall while I made up the door and window headers.
By the end of the day the entire wall was laid out on the barn floor, where I am hoping (with a bit of help) we can wrestle with the uneven floor and made a square wall. Despite the current rain I decided to leave the wall in place on the floor instead of gathering up all of the pieces and putting them under the tarp. This will save us time when we come back by not having to reconstruct the wall puzzle. It is supposed to stop raining tonight, so I hope the wood doesn’t get too wet.
With Brady helping out today our first challenge was to figure out how to nail together the last wall (which remained mostly dry :)). As it was being built on the floor it would be quite big to move as one piece, so we figured out a way to build it in two sections to then be nailed together once in place.
Even working together with one person holding the wood in place and the other using the nailer we found it hard going. This was quite reassuring for me, as until now I had been doing this alone and I wasn’t sure if it was just me that found it hard. Brady too was surprised at how hard this step was… it all looks so straight forward in SketchUp!
After a slow start we eventually found a rhythm of working together and progress was better. Brady really took to using the nailer (much better than me in-fact) so I let him do most of the nailing for the rest of the day.
It had been a long day but we were so close to finishing the last wall that we decided to push on even though we were starting to get tired. With the last wall finished we were ready to raise the walls tomorrow.
I started the day by doing some preparation work for the wall raising, which meant running around ticking off little minute things whilst also trying to mentally prepare myself. I had invited some friends over to lend a hand who I had promised to cook for and ply with alcohol. I wanted to be ready to put all of this man power to work.
Once people started arriving we ate vegan chilli and Caesar salad (thanks Carly) while I gave people the tour of the will-be house. After going over the plan with everyone we started raising the walls. I had been concerned about lifting the large wall off of the trailer, but with this many people it wasn’t hard at all to get it vertical. We raised the first three walls in no time at all and they lined up well. Once in-place, I added temporary 2×4 braces inside and out on each wall to ensure they could not fall and stand unsupported.
I was ‘in the zone’ all night, trying to coordinate everyone whilst running around making sure things lined up, so I didn’t really get a chance to mingle with everyone as much as I would have liked. Judging from everyones mood and from speaking to people afterwards it sounded like everyone had a pretty enjoyable night.
Things had been going so well that it was inevitable that the last wall was going to give us some problems. This was the wall that Brady and I had completed in two sections yesterday (…yes at the end of the day whilst tired). With the first section in place, the second second did not align properly and left an 1/4 of an inch gap between the wall and the floor. This is when the head scratching began.
Long story short, after lots of different opinions and some text message correspondence with a carpenter friend (thanks Simon!) we came to the conclusion that Brady and I had nailed something not quite in the right place. I decided to brace the wall where it was and come back tomorrow to rectify the problem.
Almost everything went perfectly, but I must admit this small hiccup at the end did put a bit of a dampener on what was otherwise a very productive and enjoyable evening for me. I had put a lot in to get to this stage and leaving it like this was hard for me. I am quite an inpatient person, so I always want to fix things right away. In the moment I found it hard to take a step back and appreciate what had been achieved because of what in reality was a minor error. This project is a journey for me, in which I want to learn not only new physical skills, but I want to learn more about myself. There is definitely a lesson here for me.
Just a quick shout-out to: Carly, Brady, Andrea, Richard, Karina, Thomas, Dayna, Hugh and Willow who came to help out, I really appreciate it.
Brady had suggested going over early to fix the error and get resolution with ‘our’ wall. I hope this wasn’t because he felt any responsibility for the error, but I jumped at the chance to get a helping hand in going back with fresh eyes to get things sorted.
After re-measuring to make sure we had correctly identified the issue, we took Simon’s advice and used a sawzall to cut through some nails which were holding the error in place. Once this was done we were able to square the area and get the wall sitting on the floor.
With the problem quickly fixed (it’s always good to go away and come back… with a saw) I was finally able to take a step back from the house and appreciate the structure, which had been transformed into a house.
We started bolting the walls to the trailer which straight away made the walls feel a lot more sturdy.
Getting the walls raised was another big milestone in the project. I felt very lucky to have so much help this week and friends there to lend a hand and celebrate the moment. After working so hard on the house I have been left feeling very tired recently, both mentally and physically. I think a little break from the project is needed before getting back to it.