Tiny House Construction – Week 8 & 9
It’s been a busy couple of weeks and the house is really starting to take shape. Watch a time lapse to see what I have been up to:
Day 36 & 37
I started the week by finishing off some smaller jobs including some finishing touches to a couple of rafters and tightening up the threaded rods. Once the threaded rods were tight (but not not too tight) I used thread lock to glue the bolt at the top. This will prevent it from coming loose when it is encased within the wall. Should the rod ever loosen, I can re-tighten from underneath the trailer.
My windows also arrived today, note the size difference between the biggest and smallest one. The small window was a last minute addition and I hadn’t quite realised how little glass there would be once you take in to account the window frame!
I also framed this additional window in to the kitchen, squeezing it between two studs (the reason it is so small). If I had planned this window earlier, it would have been bigger. But I didn’t and I kind of like how ridiculously small it is!
The loft corner Richard and I re-did a few weeks ago still wasn’t completely straight. I had considered leaving it as it was, but this morning woke up with a strong desire to get it right. This involved detaching some of the roof rafters, pulling apart the corner of the wall and re-securing it in the correct place. This took nearly two hours, but I was very glad that I took the time to do this.
I then started attaching metal hurricane ties and corner braces to the rafters in order to secure them to the wall and the ridge beam. This was very time consuming!
Today I finished adding the braces to the rafters and also added the two remaining threaded rods I had bought. The house is feeling incredibly solid now, even without the sheathing installed, so I wasn’t even sure if two more rods were necessary. I could have returned them, but instead decided that it wouldn’t hurt. My new motto: if in doubt, over-engineer.
It was now time to start sheathing. This was always going to be a bit of a puzzle, so with Carly’s help we took our time getting ready for this stage. There is quite a lot to consider with sheathing: vertical or horizontal orientation, spacing between sheets, staggering sheets so you don’t have joints next to each other and what glue and nails (or screws?) to use and how to space them.
Throw in to the mix the fact that none of my walls are a standard height and have lots of obstacles that a ‘normal’ house doesn’t have (like wheel arches) and you have quite the head scratcher on your hands.
Once we got going we made pretty good progress. The steps involved consisted of:
- Marking out lines on the plywood sheathing which would be our nailing line
- Apply glue to the studs
- Get the sheet in place and add a screw to each corner to temporarily hold it in place
- Use the nail gun to nail to the studs (Carly’s role here was to go in to the house and tell me if a nail missed the stud)
More sheathing. Today my job was to cut out the shape of each wheel arches so the sheathing could fit around them. To achieve this I used a scrap piece of rigid foam which I used as a template.
This went well, but the gap between my first attempt and the top of the fender wasn’t quite big enough. This means that if there was water standing on the top of the fender it might be absorbed by the plywood. Having already glued it in to place when I decided to fix this, I had to run out and grab a specific saw to cut off some of the plywood while already installed.
Today Carly and I installed a full sheet of plywood into the top loft corner. Using a full sheet here will add strength to not only the corner, but also the connection between the top and bottom walls. Getting the sheet up however was tricky, as they are large, heavy and awkward. We got there eventually, but it was very tiring work.
Day 43, 44 & 45
Lots more sheathing. With the system getting a bit more streamlined, and with some help from Carly we finished sheathing the back and end walls.
Richard gave me a hand today and we raised up the second full sheet of ply up to the loft. With some lessons learned from the first attempt, this went pretty smoothly.
I was really looking forward to getting the sheathing done so I could take a well deserved break. Carly was very kind in helping me with this final push, despite both of us feeling completely exhausted. Today consisted of filling in a few small, odd gaps in the sheathing. With that the wall sheathing is finished.
I always knew this project was going to be hard. I felt fully ready to take on the amount of hard graft, learning and at some points stress that it would bring. What I didn’t expect was how much the build would take out of me and how this would affect me when I wasn’t working on the house.
In terms of time I have been spending a lot of my waking hours either working or thinking about the house. As I am learning on the go, I am constantly trying to keep ahead of myself by learning what I need to do to complete the next stage. It has been hard to find the time to sit down and do the necessary research in order to keep things moving, especially at the end of a tiring day.
With so many different things running through my mind I have been finding it hard to relax. I am very much in ‘action mode’ with my brain constantly running over small details, problem solving and organising. This has been hard to switch off, which has had a knock-on affect with my non-tiny house related activities (aka ‘life’).
I’m really bad at getting a good work:life balance, I always have been. I am an over-thinker and impatient. This means that if I have a job that needs doing I find it hard to not think about (read as: ‘obsess over’) it until it is complete. To reduce the time spent obsessing I work full-speed on that job until it is done. This hasn’t proven to be sustainable, or enjoyable in my paying work and the tiny house build is proving to be the same.
The build was always going to be as much a personal journey for me as a practical one. I know that my approach to ‘work’ isn’t a healthy one and I have been aware that I need to change this for some time now. As I feel that I have arrived at burn out with the build I need to seriously reconsider how I approach it, or risk turning the house into a nemesis, from what has been a very enjoyable project so far. My deadlines for the house are mostly self imposed, and while I do eventually want to finish the thing, taking longer than expected will only really mean spending a little more money on rent for the job site.
With the weather currently feeling more like summer than spring, I am reminded of all the reasons we moved to the island, what I have planned for the summer and the type of life I am trying to build for myself. I started the house in winter for the sole reason of freeing myself up during the summer. With this in mind, I am trying my best to take a more relaxed attitude to the build, by spreading my time equally between working on the house and getting out and enjoying the beautiful place I live in, with people I care about.
After all, a more balanced life, with a focus on having time to do what I enjoy is one of the biggest reasons for building the house. It doesn’t make sense to spend this whole year at burn out to get to destination of greater relaxation. I don’t expect to get the balance right over night, but I don’t want to give up on finding it either.