Tiny House Construction – Weeks 13-16
It’s been a while. I have been working hard though. Watch a time lapse to see what I have been up to:
I had been working on the fascia boards on-and-off for a while now. Once I finished cutting them to size and got them test fitted, I then had to remove all of the boards in order to sand them down, especially the rough cut ends.
Before installing the boards for real, we had to decide on what we actually want to house to look like on the outside. This is something I have been thinking about since day one, but now was decision time. After having spent months looking at houses in my area I knew I wanted cedar shingles to be part of my siding, but I wasn’t sure If I wanted them to fully of just partially cover the house. Seeing as I had never considered not using shingles, and didn’t know what else I would use to compliment them, in the end I decided to just cover the entire house with them. With Carly’s help, we took a trip to the builder’s merchants to compare paint/stain colours and metal roofing colours. I then mocked up our favourite colours in my SketchUp model to try them out. After a few attempts, we decided on the following exterior for the house
The fascia boards are going to be stained ‘Cape Cod Grey’ (stain vs paint and then water-based vs oil-based stains was a whole other decision making rabbit hole I won’t bother you with). This required two coats to be applied, so this was pretty time consuming. Luckily I have podcasts… and Carly’s help to make the time go quicker.
I switched pace slightly to install a drip edge all along the bottom edge of the house. This is to prevent any drops of water that get behind the siding from coming in to contact with the house as they hit the bottom of the house wrap. Paul gave me a hand by showing me how to cut the ends so they form a corner, which takes the drip edge around the house.
Once the fascia boards were dry Carly and I reinstalled them back in to place. With this done, it was now time to work on the soffits, which include vents that allow ventilation all the way up the gabled roof. The soffits turned out to be tricky. The plans didn’t give much detail on these, so I had to come up with my own design and method for securing them.
In the end I opted to make the soffits out of plywood with holes drilled out for the vents. Making these and making them look reasonably attractive was a learning process. After a lot of trail and error, and some frustrating times I eventually found a system for making the soffits which produced clean-cut holes in the plywood (not an easy thing to do), were easy to install and easy to stain. Unfortunately as I was figuring this out as I went, it wasn’t until I was nearly done that I became actually good at making them. This meant that when I finished, all I could see was the flaws in my earlier attempts, which were now installed on the house.
It was a big job to complete and took an entire week, but not being completely happy with my earlier craftsmanship I now had to make a decision – do I pull off the earlier attempts and re-do them, or leave it as it is and move on with the rest of the house? I don’t want to build a house that I’m not happy with, but I also want to finish it at some point. I’m sure I am the only person who is ever going to notice these little details, so I just need to do the best job I can at the time and move on. In the end I decided to just re-do a couple of sections I was particularly unhappy with.
This process was actually really hard on me. I’m putting in a lot of hours at the moment in order to not let the build drag on too long, as we eventually need to move out of the barn (which I am paying money for each month the house is there). All the while I am trying to learn everything on-the-go and do a decent job, usually by myself, while constantly feeling that I don’t know how to do… anything. This is a lot of pressure which I am putting on myself (as usual) and I’m really starting to feel it. So when I spend a week on something and at the end of it I’m not really happy with the outcome, it can get a little much.
I took a valuable lesson away from this though: you don’t always need to make everything so difficult for yourself.
After a chat with Carly and my Dad I came to the realisation that I need to get some help. Stubbornly trying to do everything myself is taking too much out of me, so I decided to ask or pay for help when I need it.
The same day I came to this realisation I bumped in to Mark, a local green builder I know. In sharing my revelation he offered to come and give me a hand with a few things on the horizon that I was unclear about. This was a huge help. Having someone who knows what they are doing teach me a few things saved me days of both work and research and made me feel a lot happier about the work ahead of me. To also relieve a little of the time pressure, I offered to pay a friend to come and help me labour away on the house. So far I have been very pleased with the x2 productivity boost.
Getting a lesson on installing shingles meant I needed to buy some shingles. I was very happy to put an end to my ongoing ‘shingle research’ phase and just buy the shingles that Mark recommended. The next day I got up early to drive an hour north to buy a van load of shingles direct from the mill in Campbell River.
With the soffits installed, stained, and bug screened I was finally ready to start working on the roof proper. The roof has been an intricate puzzle from the start, with everything having to be done in the right order. The small roof details had to be finished before the roof could be sheathed, but before I can do that I need to pre-install the insulation to ensure it is ventilated correctly before it gets sealed up.
Installing the insulation from below, this was the first time I had actually worked inside the house. It was a really nice feeling to be working in a structure I had built with my own hands. It makes me very excited for this to be where I spend a large chunk of my life. With the insulation closing off the roof, the inside to feel like a ‘home’ (albeit a rather messy, unfinished one).
Insulating the roof hasn’t been particularly challenging, but did require a few things to be worked out. I am nearly finished and plan to start sheathing the roof after the weekend.