July Recap & Month #3

I didn’t get as much done on the tiny house in July as I wanted to, but that’s okay. I worked on the tiny house 7 days in July. I did a lot of little things, I put up the ice and water shield by myself, and we finally put in the blocking.

We also fixed the ridge board, which had started to dip down in the middle. I believe that happened between putting it up and putting the collar ties in, because the collar ties keep the rafters from moving. When I realized this issue and measured the height of the board, we took out the newly installed collar ties, used a jack and three long 2x4s sandwiched together, and jacked up the ridge board an inch to the right height, then re-installed the collar ties. But we had put the ties back in so hastily, two of them were a bit crooked, so I fixed those. Then I noticed later that one of the ties was a little short on one end because of where we had nailed it. So I’m going to have to fix that again. I’m probably going to re-do two of them to make the collar ties symmetrical around the living room skylight.

Because we didn’t get a lot done in July, there are so many things to do in August, and some of that might get pushed until September, but that’s how building schedules go, right?😛 August is also going to be a busy month for other reasons, so we’ll see how all this goes. I’m sure once we get back to the bigger tasks that you can really see the change, we’ll be out there more often. It’s like sweeping every night versus cleaning behind the stove. You should clean regularly, but you get more satisfaction out of the things that make a big difference.

As for my shopping ban, I didn’t do too well.😛 I wasn’t as committed to it, and ended up going shopping several times with friends, especially later in the month. At first, I only bought things that I needed and had been on my to-buy list for a while, like a new pillowcase and a small cutting board, and I bought several replacement items, like new work shoes. But being out in stores made it harder to resist the sale items and the “I might use this someday” items. I spent some money on scratch tickets again, and some pretty things, and going to the movies. But I am getting better at saying no to things I don’t need. For every thing I bought, there were probably at least 5 more things I wanted but said no to. Even though I bought lots of things in July, I’ve built the habit of being very conscious of my spending, and that’s something I can carry with me.

I didn’t do too well eating out less either, because I didn’t have a plan to replace it. Grocery shopping tends to be an afterthought in my weird schedule. Getting a milkshake and someone else to cook for me in the heat of July was a lot more appealing than digging through the cupboards with no ideas. But I did learn more about what I need to do to eat at home more and I had some great meals with friends, so I consider that a success. These are all life experiments that I’m doing, so even if it doesn’t go as planned, I still learn something.🙂

As for avoiding convenience stores, I did okay, only stopping in 5 times this month despite being tempted many more times. And again, I’ve built the habit of being conscious of my spending. Convenience stores have a purpose, and it is nice to be able to run out and get an ingredient we’re missing, but I’ve stopped spending so much money at them.🙂

In the end, I was over my budget again, but I learned a lot. I’m aware of my spending and what affects it. I won’t be continuing the shopping ban into August though. I have something in the works that’s going to require shopping and spending. However, I get to keep my good habits and continue working on the not-so-good ones.

Cheers! Stay tuned for some big stuff coming up!

Dear Family

I know I haven’t updated in a little while, but I’m here now to catch you up.

It has been a challenge to balance work with the build and everyday life. Normally, you have one job, then when you’re not at work, that’s free time. You can take the time to spend time with your significant other, your friends, and your family. You can spend time by yourself, which is quite necessary for us introverts. You can practice your hobbies, exercise, read, watch TV, go to the movies, eat 3 meals a day, and do the laundry. Even if you have a side project that you’re working on, you only work on that some of the time, while still taking time for everything else.

A tiny house build, however, can be all-consuming. I’ve jumped into a huge project with infinite unknowns and I almost never stop thinking about it. It’s a risky project, because any mistakes will have a huge affect later, so I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing everything right. I have nightmares that my roof sheathing has been ripped off and it’s raining directly into the house again. I’m still tense every time it rains!

I have two jobs, and while they’re both part time, I work weird hours and pick up extra shifts when people ask. Dylan works long days, sometimes not getting home until 8 o’clock at night after starting at 6am. So this month has not been as productive as the past two, especially since I lost my steam after dealing with the skylights.

This month I’m working 4 days on, 3 days off (unless I pick up more shifts like last week), and despite the rare consistency in my schedule, it’s been hard. I get home between 9 and 10:30 on days that I work, so keeping up with laundry and dishes and my own introvert time feels like a losing battle sometimes. Then, when I have my three days off, I don’t start building right away because I’m busy catching up on everything else, and Dylan’s usually at work. Then building gets pushed and pushed until we’re scrambling to try and get something done on the third evening. And as much as I don’t like mornings, building in the evening seems to make us very cranky.

I’m still trying to fit my life and the build into what feels like not enough time for everything. But when I get motivated, and I get out there, I run with it. Here’s what I’ve managed to squeeze in, rain, shine, morning or night:

☑ Cut the piece for the porch ceiling (but the temporary door needs to come off before we can put it up)

☑ Trimmed around the other wheel well (thanks Colby!)

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☑ Cut all the blocking to fit each space. I did the first half with Colby’s help on Saturday, but we didn’t finish all the pieces. So I went back out on Sunday to do the rest and had the saw inside the tiny house while it rained.

☑ Put up the drip edge on the eaves

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It was fun to hammer by hand for once instead of lugging around the nail gun.

I originally only bought enough drip edge for the sides of the house because my roofing comes with pieces to finish the front of the house. But the guy at the hardware store insisted I needed some on the front too, so I bought some just in case. I was there buying nails, tin snips, and picking up the custom drip edge for over the wheel wells. But I should’ve stuck to what I already knew, because when I got home and tested the drip edge with the roofing piece, there’s no way I can use both, and I’m going to use the roofing piece.

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Finally got to use my tool belt.🙂

☑ Measured and marked where the skylights will go

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☑ Put up all the ice and water shield! It took a couple days working before and after work shifts, but it was easy and fun! I like being up on the roof, and for this, I was able to work by myself so Dylan didn’t have to get up on the roof.😛

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Doing all the right overlapping🙂

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And done! Easy!

Right now, Dylan and I are working on fixing an issue I discovered with the ridge board, which I will explain once we fix it, and getting the blocking up, which is tedious. After that, I need to cut out the windows, do a few little things, cut A LOT of nails because they don’t seem to sell the short ones in Canada, then get the house wrap up and the skylights in! Then it’s the window and door installation, roofing, and purple trim around the windows! Now that we’re nearing the end of July, we’re going to need to get a move on!

My goal is to get the exterior of the house, with maybe the exception of the siding (staining is going to be very time-consuming) done by August 31st. My sister and I leave for a road trip on September 1st, so that’s my deadline. That said, so long as I keep working on the house as much as I can, if I don’t get everything done before that, I’m not going to beat myself up. This build can be unpredictable and so can my life. I can still work on the house into September, and I’m still considering paying to get my siding installed for me, which would only take two days. August is going to be a big month. Let’s just hope more things are as easy as the ice and water shield was!

 

 

Little Bit of Building

The same weekend I had to order smaller skylights, I had a build day planned, but I had expected to have the skylights installed already. So I switched tracks and decided to get some little things done, then put up the house wrap.  That was before I read up on staples versus plastic capped nails though, and any hardware store that would have the latter was closed. It worked out, because all the little things ended up taking hours longer than I had planned, so we didn’t have time to do the house wrap anyway.

My goals for the build day were:
– Trim around the wheel wells (I need a bigger gap so I can seal it with big beads of caulking)
– Add the angled pieces to frame the octagon window
– Put in the collar ties
– Cut a piece of plywood for the porch ceiling
– Cut out the windows

We only got one wheel well trimmed, because the guys were distracted cutting each other’s hair.😛
Then I cut some angled pieces for the octagon, test-fitted those, then Dylan hammered some nails in all the corners. On the outside, Dylan used a chalk line around the nails to mark the shape of the window, then tapped the nails out, and drilled holes in each corner.

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Then we used a jigsaw to cut out the rough shape, cleaned up the edges, and test-fitted the window, which did not fit! It was so frustrating! All the other windows are slightly smaller than their rough openings to allow for shimming. With the octagon, I guess they made the smallest one they could, which is exactly 18″, just like the rough opening. We ended up having to hack away at the 2×4’s with a recip. saw (which I don’t like to use) and a jigsaw to give the window enough wiggle room. It took hours to make that window fit and add in the angled pieces. But it looks beautiful.🙂

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Just test-fitting, don’t get too excited.😛

Then I cut the 2×4’s for the collar ties and we got to work on the inside of the house. Getting them at the right height as per the engineer’s instructions was a little difficult and looks weird, but we got them up! They’re a lot higher than we pictured, but it’s because my roof has such a low slope.

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Looking up…

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Putting my feet up after a day of building🙂

We didn’t get the piece cut for the porch ceiling or cut out the windows, but that’s okay. It’s better to plan a lot and not get it all done than to only have one thing to do, get it done, and then have time but nothing to do. As long as I’m moving forward I’m happy. And we ended the 30° day with slushies and a swim in the pool.🙂

Tiny House Camping

After the whole skylight issue, we had some good weather, and since we’re going to start cutting holes in the tiny house soon, we decided to sleep in the tiny house overnight! With the loft floor made up of scrap plywood pieces, we dragged a thin memory foam mattress and a bunch of blankets and pillows up there. Along with flashlights and fuzzy socks, we slept up in the tiny house loft.🙂 The temperature dropped to 5° that night though, and I woke up several times because I was cold, but it was so lovely. I have plenty of headroom up there and didn’t bump my head once. My tall friends will have to duck through my short front door (which I tried to avoid), but it’s worth it to have enough headroom in the loft.

To look out over my tiny house before I went to sleep and to see the angled ceiling when I woke up was perfect. It’s exactly as I pictured (well, minus the interior wall surfaces).❤

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It was so cozy we slept up there the next night too!

What They Don’t Tell You

After I finished the roof sheathing, I needed to switch to research before starting the next steps. I had several days off, but ended up spending them on the computer.

(If you’re just here for the story, not the technical stuff, you can skim the next several paragraphs).

Skylights:
I researched how to install skylights and read the instructions that came with them, which all seemed pretty simple. I could cut my rough openings, line up the skylights, nail them down, put the sticky flashing around them, and then work on other things. The casing they come with can be put back on until I’m ready to put on the metal pieces of the flashing kits, around the same time as the roofing.

Weather-proofing:
I researched ice and water shield, and found amazing things about Grace ice and water shield and how other products don’t compare. I checked, the kind I have is not Grace brand. Then I researched Tyvek (the “best”) vs. Typar (what I bought). Tyvek seemed a lot better too! So I started calling hardware stores to check prices. I might as well use the best materials since I’m building such a small structure. But how can you know which brands make a difference and which ones are pretty much the same? Apparently Tyvek and Typar are similar and are almost the same price, so I stopped worrying about that. As for Grace ice and water shield, it’s $160 a roll! I only need one roll, but still, that’s 3x more expensive than what I picked up. The man I was talking to asked if a building inspector was making me use it, so I guess it’s not generally used, and the stuff I have is supposed to be as good. We’ll see.

Drip edges??
While I was reading about installing ice and water, I discovered drip edges and started Googling again. That was quite the rabbit hole, involving arguments on forums and people correcting people correcting other people. Finally I decided that I wouldn’t install gutters, unless it became apparent that I needed them down the road, but a drip edge would save my fascia, and should be installed underneath the ice and water at the eaves. But that was the point that people disagreed about, with some saying the drip edge should be installed on top, with an added skinny strip of I&W. That doesn’t make sense to me because that’s not a “water-shedding lap” like I kept reading about. You have to think like water, and about gravity, but also about where water might sneak backwards or up. So I might put a strip of ice and water underneath the drip edge in case any water finds its way up underneath, then install the drip edge, then roll out the I&W overtop. I still need to figure out exactly how to integrate the metal flashing of the skylight with the I&W, but all the videos show cutting back any underlayment before installing. I’m going to put the skylights up first, rather than putting on the I&W then trying to cut through it later to install the skylights.

House wrap:
House wrap seems pretty straight forward. You just tack it up with staples and you’re done, right? Well, what about the edges?? And as I was looking up how to install house wrap, every video – including a tiny houser I follow – recommended using plastic-capped nails instead of staples. The point of house wrap is seal the house from any water that gets behind your siding, which will happen, while still allowing your house to breathe (which doesn’t matter in my case with spray foam, I need an air circulation system). So, how is house wrap supposed to do its job when you’re poking thousands of holes in it, in pairs, with staples? Using the exposed side of the garage as an example, there are only 3 staples that are still securing the house wrap, while there are at least 10 others that have ripped through the house wrap. Knowing this, I couldn’t buy the $20 pack of staples and get to work. So I decided to wait on the house wrap until I could get the special nails.

It’s all this crap that they don’t tell you about. I didn’t even know drip edges existed until last week. Workshops and tiny house construction videos will talk about things like house wrap and siding, but they rarely mention how to do edges, corners, or things like weatherproofing the ceiling of the covered porch or underneath the eaves!

So, armed with my new knowledge, and some things I already knew, I made several trips to different hardware stores. I…

  • returned some glue and nails I didn’t need (got back $32)
  • bought wood to frame the skylights
  • bought wood to use for blocking in the roof
  • bought more galvanized nails to nail into the blocking
  • bought some plastic siding to cut up and use to cover underneath the overhang
  • bought some wood strips to use underneath the front and back overhangs
  • bought drip edges
  • ordered some custom bent metal to use as drip edges for the wheel wells
  • bought the expensive plastic capped nails ($100 a box!)

All while working 9 days out of 10, so I haven’t had much of a chance to build, unfortunately. I’ve fallen a bit behind in my plan for the summer months, but I expected that after the skylight issue. It’s also been pouring rain, which sucks, because I had planned to have the ice and water shield on by now, but that’s how it goes, and the inside of the house is dry at least. I’m back to work for the next 6 days, so we’ll see what I can squeeze in until my Saturday off.

 

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Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris
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