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).

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.

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.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dawn
    Jul 11, 2016 @ 11:50:42


    I’m wondering what kind of plastic capped nails you bought because I just purchased some about a week ago to use for the underlayment on my barn roof and they were only around $42/box of 1200 pcs (I believe) at Home Depot.


    • Natalie
      Jul 14, 2016 @ 23:25:09

      The receipt says Glasclad. They were $88 a box, plus tax, for about 1500 I think.
      Are you in Canada or in the U.S.?
      I potentially could’ve gotten them cheaper somewhere else but I wanted them in a hurry. I’d have to drive to a different town for a Home Depot and they’re almost as expensive there anyway.
      Thank you though, for reminding me to do my research first. 🙂


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"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

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