Mini Porch

My porch floor is finished! It’s so pretty and new that I don’t want to step on it with my dirty work boots!

It’s taken a lot of little steps to get the porch done. I covered most of the work in my last post, but I still spent six hours today working on it, as well as several hours throughout the week. I did a third coat of paint on the post. I primed and spray painted the porch and the back of the trailer (after sanding away a few spots of rust).

The porch has so many weird little corners that I needed to figure out. First off, the side wall sheathing was installed while the plywood porch was in place, so when I took the plywood out, I had a 5/8″ gap to deal with. I was planning on notching the porch boards to fit, but then I realized gluing in a strip of plywood would be way easier. I decided to paint it purple, so in the gaps between the porch boards, you would see a little colour.

I glued in the piece, then I thought I should caulk it as well, so no water can get stuck behind the piece.

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No more purple, oh well.

I spent a while fiddling with the boards to get them just right.

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Test fit!

I marked them, then predrilled, countersank, and set the screws partway in.

The edge of metal on the right side of the porch was simply not wide enough to accommodate the thick screws for drilling into the trailer, so I used some heavy duty adhesive. The first piece is almost completely underneath the threshold of the door, so that piece doesn’t have any screws in it:

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First piece down!

I didn’t want to put any screws into the flange (the 3 1/2″ on the left) where they’d be exposed, and besides, the wiring for the trailer lights runs underneath there. So that’s why there are no screws on the left.

After that I glued down the next five pieces and clamped them. Then I used the impact driver and burned through some screws and an hour or two. Drilling into metal is not fun! But it’s done! Oh and one screw unfortunately lined up exactly with some c-channel underneath, so it couldn’t tighten up and had to be glued in.

I shimmed the threshold because it was just a little higher than the decking:

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Then some caulking and it was finished!

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🙂

The boards are spanning three feet and bowed a little when you stepped on them, so the green screws in the center are for some support pieces underneath. My sis helped me with those. 🙂

My porch floor is done, so now I can get the trim up around the door and on those corners, and get the siding going!

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I’ll get some less fuzzy pictures soon. 😛

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P.S. I bought a third caulking gun, and it works amazingly. It is fifty times easier to use than the others I’ve used. I caulked around the octagon before I bought the new gun, and I was switching back and forth between two half-broken ones. With the new one, it took less than 20 minutes to caulk and tool one window, when before it was taking over an hour! I easily finished the last two windows, as well as around the wheel wells. 🙂

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$5, $10.50, & $13.50, respectively.

The porch ceiling will be the last exterior piece to go up. Trim and siding first!

It’s been a great week. I’ve been picking away at little to-do’s like priming and painting the plywood edges to protect them. I put together my porch! I’ve been researching HRVs and HVACs, as well as fans and vent hoods. I also did some 3D modeling of my future furniture, and it’s looking good!

It was pouring rain last night, so I went out and laid in my loft for a while, smiling in my little house that I built, listening to the rain, protected. I need to do something about the rain loudly hitting the wheel wells though…

And today was T-shirt weather! I had the windows in the tiny house open. 🙂 Cheers to warm weather!

Winter Blues

I realized I didn’t publish any posts in February. I’ve been picking away at tasks, barely. I cut all of the exterior trim, and started priming, but my morale has been low. I’ve been having a hard time doing anything on the house. It’s hard, doing this alone. I work six days a week. And there’s always tomorrow… Tomorrow I’ll make time, tomorrow I’ll get up early, tomorrow I’ll feel excited about the build again. But I have hit the low before the final stretch. There’s still so much work to do and not a lot of reward yet.

The weather warmed up a bit, but I got sick with another cold and then a stomach bug. 😦 Last night we got a little snow storm, but it’s back up to positive temps and the snow is melting away again. It’s been a weird, windy winter. Time is ticking away for my exposed house wrap, but it’s looking like I’ll get that covered mid-April. It should be covered by the end of March, but that’s not going to happen and then I’m going away for 10 days.

In January, I finished cutting and put up the soffits. In February, I cut all 50 pieces of trim for the exterior, for the corners and around the windows and wheel wells. I started priming, and after being sick, I’m back to priming. I’ve got a great little filtering mask that really helps with the smell, and I don’t have to worry about the weather thanks to the heated garage. 🙂 Soon I’ll be on to the purple paint, and I plan to have the trim up before I leave for my trip! When I get back I’ll be getting the siding on (finally) and then it’s on to interior work (finally).

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Because I Can

Back in December, work on the tiny house slowed to a halt – snow came early, I got sick, then it was Christmas and time to give myself a break from the tiny house build for the holidays. As a Christmas present to myself, I bought the queen-sized mattress that will go in the tiny house. I bought the thinnest one I could find, 5″ thick, and it was on sale! 🙂 The thinner the mattress, the more headroom I’ll have in the loft.

In the meantime, instead of putting the mattress on the floor, I decided to build a platform for it, because I can do that sort of thing. 🙂 I wasn’t going to spend several hundred dollars on a particle board bed frame when I won’t even need it in the tiny house. Besides, if I can build a house, a simple platform is an easy project. It only took me an afternoon (plus a lot of trips to different hardware stores to collect materials). It cost about $150 in materials, which is more than a cheap metal frame, but oh well! Plus I bought extra materials for a potential headboard, so the platform alone cost less than that. I’m pretty proud of it!

I’ve been pretty down this month, disappointed in myself for not getting the siding up in time for winter and trying to figure out what to do next. It’s tough, being solely responsible for this massive project, with no one to kick me out of bed to work on it except myself. My bed is so comfy! As much as I enjoy having full control over how I spend my time, I don’t always spend it wisely. Watching TV is more immediately appealing than going out and getting work done on the house. I’m learning to balance everything, to motivate myself, to plan small specific steps, to get out there even if it’s snowing. 😛 By this fall, I intend to be sleeping in the loft of my finished tiny house, so I just have to keep working towards that. ❤

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Doing My Best

It’s hard for me to keep the blog updated when I feel like I should be spending every free minute researching or building. This month, I’ve discovered that the siding installation is a bit more complicated than I’ve been picturing, as is building a house all by myself!

Let’s recap. Since I last posted, I finished all the staining. I would’ve finished the last boards on the 3rd, as planned, but I ran out of stain for the last set of 12! So I stained the final sides on Dec. 6th after picking up my 5th bucket of stain. The rest of that week was spent getting some car maintenance done before winter and researching how the rain screen, bug screen, trim, and siding will go together. Then winter came early. Normally we have a green Christmas where I live, so I was counting on having a couple more warm weeks to get the trim and siding up. Mother Nature had other plans!

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First, it was just a sprinkling of snow. Manageable.

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A few icicles.

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Then the snow stayed.

I was still determined to keep working on the house, to get the siding up before Christmas. One of my friends offered to help on a sunny day, so we put up most of the furring strips despite the fact that there was snow on the ground. I worked on the house on a couple more nice days and put up some wood underneath the eaves so I could attach the soffits. I started cutting the soffits, which was so much more difficult than I expected.

But it just kept snowing! And then I got sick with a cold. I actually don’t have any more pictures of the house in the snow because I was curled up inside researching rain screens and eating soup. But there was at least a foot of snow on the roof and the weather was nasty. With the wind, snow, and a windchill of -31°C, and being sick, I wasn’t working outside. So I researched and waited for the snow to melt as it usually does. The majority of it did finally melt, but not in time for me to get any more work done before Christmas.

So this is where the tiny house is at, and this is where it will most likely stay until spring:

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This isn’t ideal. I really wanted to have the siding up and the house protected properly for winter. At this point, it might even have been better to not have the furring strips up because the snow sticks to them, but there’s no point in taking them down. The Typar will keep the house dry inside, but I only have another 3 months before it should be covered to protect it from UV damage.

It’s discouraging, because I’ve done my best to get everything done before winter, but I simply had too much left to do for one person. I’ve been working on the house as much as I can. I worked on the house 14 days out of October and 19 days out of November. I need to balance the full-time project of the tiny house with working 5-6 days a week whilst still eating, sleeping, and socializing. I’ve only worked on the house 8 days this month, but that’s because it’s been negative temperatures. I’ve also been sick from not eating properly and spending too much time out in the cold. So it sucks. We’ll see what the new year brings.

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!

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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!

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Back home.

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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:

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In the meantime, I leveled the trailer and bought myself an air compressor (on sale 🙂 ). 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:

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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:

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

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”.

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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. 🙂 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. 🙂 Trust me, I’m working on it, even if I’m not writing about it!

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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