A Door and a Ridge!


My short lil front door.

I think doors and windows are their own category of difficulty. Installing a door feels more over my head than any other part of the build so far. Even though the door is in and seems correct, I still worry I’ve done it wrong. It’s continuously mind-boggling to build something or cut a hole, learn how to install a door or a skylight, install it, and then boom, it’s done. It’s there, and I put it there.

The door is a little tight at one corner and not as tight as it maybe should be in another corner. But it seems square and level and plumb, according to all the ways I could think of to check it. It doesn’t swing on its own, so the frame isn’t tilted. The gap between the door and the frame is even, although it’s wide on the strike side. And even though the holes on the door are lower than the holes in the frame on the strike side, the door and deadbolt still latch. I don’t know if something’s wrong with my installation, because I have no idea what would be. It swings and closes beautifully every time though, so maybe I should just stop worrying.

Oh, my one mistake: I installed the door flush with the outside walls, like you’re supposed to. But I failed to take into account the fact that there was no sheathing around the frame because it’s a weird spot. Soo, the door is a half inch deeper into the house than it should be, and creative trimming will definitely be required.

I ordered my door without brickmold because of how small the spot is. This way, I’ll be able to custom make and install my own trim to fit properly. As you can see, I added more wood to fill in the frame and give the trim a place to land. It took three or four days to prepare the opening, buy everything I needed, do more research, add more wood to the frame, and finally install the door, then the doorknob and deadbolt. It was a process and a whole bunch of things I had never done before! I’m glad I had my dad’s help.πŸ™‚

We installed the doorknob, and it was too low to latch at first, but Dad tapped the strike plate slightly lower, and now it latches no problem. We installed it without a plate on the door side, because the instructions give you the option of chiseling a rectangle out for the plate or simply using a circle of metal, so I chose the circle. But that allows way too much play in the latch, as you can see here:


The metal circle doesn’t stay where it’s supposed to.

So I decided to chisel the rectangle for the plate. Due to the doorknob being on the low side, the rectangle I chiseled out held the latch too low and it wouldn’t latch. So I had to make the rectangle bigger at the top, and now there’s some exposed wood at the bottom of the plate. Sigh. I’ll have to cover that up. But now the latch stays where it’s supposed to.

As for the deadbolt, I thought I was going to have to return the whole set because the deadbolt didn’t fit the hole in my door! Why in the world would a standard deadbolt not fit a factory-cut hole? Who decided on this teeny hole for the deadbolt? Do they sell smaller deadbolts? After a trip to the hardware store, I went back and read through the instructions again, and the large metal ring was, in fact, removable:


This was stopping the deadbolt from fitting.


This set is exactly what I wanted.πŸ™‚

Phew! That was all way too complicated and annoying. Unlike my ridge caps! A few hours on the roof, and I had them all on, with their foam closures underneath!


My baby’s now fully protected on top and no longer needs a blankie (aka a tarp :P)

So that’s what I’ve been up to, and now I have to make a new to-do list, because I’ve finished so many things!

The biggest task up next is windows! Oh goody, more shimming!πŸ˜›

Up on Ladders

I have the week off work and my dad’s home from Ottawa! With his help, I’ve been working away at my (not-so) tiny to-do list.

Goals for the week:

  • Fix the ridge
  • Finish the house wrap
  • Add the ridge caps (and foam closure strips)
  • And at Dad’s suggestion: install the door!


The collar ties didn’t seem to be doing their job after all, as the walls were spread wider at the top than they should’ve been. The collar ties would theoretically stop us from being able to pull the walls in, so Dad yanked the nails out and took them down.


My dad, the happy camper

I made new, longer collar ties (and sanded them this time).

I had already bought 10′ 2x4s to jack up the ridge again (having used up all the long lumber I had) and Dad screwed two together in a “T” for strength. We used that and it was much sturdier than the previous time I did this. I shouldn’t have to do this again!


We jacked the roof up to just slightly higher than where I wanted it, and installed two collar ties, lower this time. This also pulled the walls in to where they were supposed to be. We added some hurricane ties to the four rafters, tying them to the walls. Then we moved the jack to raise the roof in a second spot for the last two collar ties. Those ties are difficult to put into the corners with the roof on, and it was getting dark, so we called it a day.

We brought out a light, a little stove, and had supper together in my little house! We had soup and hot chocolate in my future living room.πŸ™‚


The lights are on, somebody must be home!




I spent Monday doing a little shopping. I looked at flooring! I’m mostly decided on a dark brown hand-scraped engineered hardwood, but I’m nervous about picking something too dark. I like dark wood stains; I just don’t want a dark colour to make the tiny house seem small. I like the hand-scraped because it looks and feels a little worn in rather than shiny new, and when I inevitably dent or scratch it, it will blend in. I want engineered hardwood because it’s thinner (and lighter) than hardwood, and it expands/shrinks less than hardwood. But I don’t want laminate or anything cheap, because I enjoy walking around barefoot and I want something that feels real underfoot. It’s a small enough space so I can afford to get something that’s more expensive per square foot.


A sample of stained hickory on top of a popular colour of laminate.

A lighter colour might be the safer choice, but I want a flooring I love.

As for the bathroom, I was thinking of doing cork, because it’s warm and cushy on the feet, it doesn’t absorb water, and it’s a renewable material. But I hadn’t found a style of cork I liked, until…


White cork!?

The reason I went flooring shopping was to find out how thick of a flooring I’m going to get. I needed to know how much clearance I needed for the swing of my front door. I might not buy the flooring until after I’ve finished building my kitchen though.


I got a massage as a treat to my poor shoulders, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day (after a nap) hammering to finish adding the brackets to the rafters. So that might’ve defeated the purpose of the massage. Dad and I also went for a hike and had hot chocolate again, this time by a waterfall! Tiny houses, to me, are partly meant to encourage you to go outside more, and it’s already working!πŸ˜›


Because the brackets had to go in tight corners, it was such a pain to get the nails in. I’d guess each bracket with its eight nails took about 100 hits, making that 2200 swings of a hammer to get all the brackets in. Oww.



I spent Wednesday working on the top strips of house wrap, so more hammering and more shin bruises from ladders.


I’m enjoying just getting out there and getting to work. It’s not often we single task these days. Focusing on one physical task and doing only that thing makes me feel a lot less scattered and stressed. So did the yoga class Dad and I went to in the evening.πŸ™‚ It’s shaped up to be a great week!


I had a lot of little things on my to-do list for Thursday, including several trips to different hardware stores for buying and returning. And I managed to check everything off my list by the end of the day!

I finished the last piece of house wrap, took the support beam out – the collar ties are holding, and did some measuring especially for the door.



I bought wood to frame the door (the rough opening is a lil bit big), shims, caulking, and a doorknob! I also returned some extra brackets. I brought back half of the plastic capped nails for a refund of $46! I don’t know what happened with numbers there, but I did not need them all!

I’ve been keeping my tiny house Excel document up to date with my spending and time log.

Then I spent my evening with friends.πŸ™‚

I’m taking the build one day at a time and trying to keep some balance.


A source of stress (and nightmares) for me has been rain and my subfloor. I know that before the roof was up, water got below my subfloor. Water can be very bad for a house!

I tested the floor by cutting out a small puck of wood to see the underside:


Dry, with no rot or mold! PHEW.

I will test another spot or two later. There is some water sitting on top of the insulation, unfortunately. Once the house in sealed for the winter, I’ll be able to heavily de-humidify the space. I’m very glad I chose spray foam and not wool or Roxul insulation, and plywood instead of OSB. It’s worth the money to not have your materials disintegrate or turn to mush!

With that little piece of mind, I worked on getting the door opening ready! I also added house wrap to my porch ceiling, which will get covered later by some art hopefully.πŸ™‚


All taped up. I cut open the entrance window so I’ll be able to hop in and out when we’re installing the door.

I’ve worked after dark a few times, a consequence of sleeping in, but it gets dark earlier and earlier…


P.S. This is my 200th post!

A New Season

A lot of the tiny housers I come across online are either single people or serious couples. I started planning my build when I was single, figuring I’d meet someone someday in the far off future. Then, the winter before my trailer arrived, I met Dylan and he became an important part of my life. He loved the tiny house plan, and we pictured the two of us living in it when it was finished. We spent all our time together, worked on the tiny house together, and started living together. But over time, it became clearer to me that he never had any plans of his own. As much as I loved him, I got tired of taking care of someone who hadn’t yet learned to take care of themselves. Independence and self-sufficiency, these are qualities that I value, and after almost two years together, I was still making the plans and paying for everything. I couldn’t continue that way, so I broke it off. Endings are sad, but you have to do what’s right for yourself.

It’s been a month of change, but also of growth. I’ve grown as the tiny house has progressed, and every day I become better: at handling the stress, fixing the problems, getting what I need from hardware store staff, and moving forward. I had my time away on vacation to recharge after working two jobs, building the tiny house, and balancing a draining relationship. I got to visit family and see some old friends who know me well. I came home refreshed and ready to reshape my life, to put myself first again.


I didn’t have time to get the ridge and verge caps on before I left for vacation (between work and some hair dyeing madness), but that turned out to be a good thing. The fancy tape kept the interior dry while I was away, and when I got back, I arranged to have the tiny house moved back to my mum’s. I added the verge caps (which may have involved some hammer throwing and tears due to uncooperative nails) before the move. That way, the edges of the roofing couldn’t lift up in the wind, and we put my house, with a roof this time, on the road again!



The house cleared all the wires, but loosened a rather large branch that fell on my car! Thankfully, it didn’t crack my windshield. But that’s something to be careful of when you’re the follow car!


Back home.


Where the tiny house is now, I can see the top of it from the front window of the main house, and the ridge is sinking in the middle again! So I’ve had to hold off putting the ridge caps on until I can push the ridge back into place and secure it better. Originally, I thought we had waited too long to put the collar ties in and the ridge had a chance to sink. But the issue doesn’t seem to be with the collar ties. Since it’s happened again, I believe the connectors I used where the rafters land on the top plate are bending slightly and allowing the rafters to slide. So the plan is to jack up the ridge board again and add different connectors, fingers crossed:


In the meantime, I leveled the trailer and bought myself an air compressor (on saleπŸ™‚ ). Then I got ready to do the house wrap. I’ve mentioned before that I had custom drip edges made for the wheel wells, so I went out and finally installed those:


However, in my rush to get them done (in addition to the fact that it’s been almost two months since I ordered the drip edges), I completely forgot that they were meant to be installed so that the metal sloped down. I installed them flat, so a little bit of water will pool. But at least the water will no longer be hitting the top of the wheel wells and splashing onto my sheathing. And there’s no chance of it getting into the house. I caulked the gap between the wheel well and the frame, then nailed the flashing on, and the house wrap will go over top.

I had my friend Ian’s help putting up the house wrap! I love steps that change the entire look of the tiny house:


Day one: Ian helped get the bulk of it done, and then I treated us to sushi for supper.πŸ™‚

This is one continuous piece of house wrap. Ian unrolled the wrap while I nailed along the top, and then we went back through and added the rest of the nails, smoothing the wrap as we went. The first wall had a very large ripple, so we ended up taking out most of the nails I had put at the top, pulling the wrap tighter, and then re-nailing. It took us about five hours to do this – oh and I also had Ian help me nail up the porch ceiling, the final piece of sheathing (using my new air compressor)! We even worked through some light rain.

This would’ve gone so much faster with a staple gun, but it wouldn’t have been as good of a job. I’m glad I chose to use the nails, and I haven’t run out of the short ones yet! But I did bruise my thumb at least a half dozen times, and we dropped and wrecked plenty of nails. The end of the day involved a game of “Pick Up Nails”.


Day two: I went around and trimmed the wrap around the wheel wells, taped any nails that weren’t fully sealing around the plastic caps, taped all the edges, and cut out the doorway.

I could’ve gotten more done on the second day had I started earlier – it’s getting dark so early now – but I can only do so much between sleep and work. I never like to work when I’m tired or cranky; it’s not worth the mistakes and potential for injuries. Working on the house for 2-5 hours a day as often as possible is going well so far. I’ve worked on the house 6 days this month, even after being gone for half of it, plus a day for moving the house. This is the first month that I’ve ever worked on the house without Dylan, but it’s been productive. Once I have the radio out there and a task in front of me, I lose track of time and just focus. It’s almost peaceful.πŸ™‚ I’ve also been getting better at hopping out of bed, pulling on my work clothes and boots, and getting out there (after breakfast). This has to be done, and I’m going to do it!


I told myself in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be on of those bloggers who let the updates stretch to months apart, but I do realize that the building life is a busy one. With everything else going on in my life, blogging hasn’t been on the top of the list. Plus I like to post updates when I completely finish a step, but sometimes the steps drag out. I only just put that last piece of sheathing on, the roofing isn’t fully finished (I ended up tarping it for a few rainy days), and I still have to add the top foot or two of the house wrap. But I’m making progress! And my dad’s home for a week so I’ll have his help for a few things.πŸ™‚ Trust me, I’m working on it, even if I’m not writing about it!

Holey House!

I said it was going to be a busy month! I ended up working six days a week for most of August. However, I was offered better shifts at the restaurant, which allowed me to quit my second job at the convenience store! So from here on, hopefully my life will be a little less hectic! In addition to that, I moved out of Dylan’s parents’ house. It was time.

And speaking of time, I felt like I didn’t have enough! After working six days a week, mostly nights, I was not jumping out of bed at 6am on Sunday morning to work on the house. Doing this build myself does give me flexibility and control over when and how long I build, which can be bad when I’m procrastinating, but it can be good when I need a bit more sleep. I do what I can. It’s nice to have a build day where I get up at a decent hour then build until dark, but I’ve also felt very accomplished sneaking in a few hours in the morning or early afternoon before a shift. Then there are other times when I take too long in the morning and run out of time to get anything done before my shift.

I’ve worked on the house six days so far this month, and have one more day planned before the 1st. I leave on a road trip with my sister September 1st! We’re driving to drop her off at university in Ontario, and then I’m spending a week visiting friends and family. I am so excited and I definitely need this vacation!

But before I leave, I have to catch you up with what I’ve done! I think the pictures will say it all:


I cut out the skylight holes, doing my first plunge cut!


My jigsaw guy ❀






While I was working on the roof, Dylan was busy cutting out all the downstairs windows!




I added a skylight!





One skylight in, one to go



Ooh look another one!




Ooh look, pretty roofing! Spanish tile inspired, 3D orange shingles made with recycled materialsπŸ™‚


Ignore my twisty fascia, it’s on the to-do list to fixπŸ˜› The ridges give the house a unique shadowπŸ™‚



Laying it out to test it. Before nailing these down, we taped the foam closure strips to the bottom of the shingles so they’d end up in the right place. The solid foam will keep bugs and little creatures from crawling in.


Finishing up the first row!


Dylan worked on the first row from the ladder, and I worked on the second row up on the roofπŸ™‚


Third row started and flashing kit installed (the kit took two hours on its own)


I can’t decide if it looks unreal or too realπŸ˜›


First row on the other side and the second skylight kit installed – only took an hour this time.πŸ™‚




The silver is tape, and will be covered by the ridge cap I have to add.



I’m just proud we didn’t put any pieces upside down!

It might not have been the unrealistically productive month I planned, but skylights and roofing are two big milestones, and they look amazing! I still have to put the verge and ridge caps on, but then it’s done! And we’ll see what September brings.πŸ™‚

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?πŸ˜› 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.πŸ˜› 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.πŸ™‚

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.πŸ™‚

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!

Previous Older Entries


"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