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:


Soffits and Snowflakes

Vinyl siding is pretty stiff, until you cut off the edges. Then it’s a flimsy piece of crap. 😛 I’m quite disappointed with my homemade soffits and how bumpy they are, but they’re done. I don’t know what else I could’ve used. Anything I could’ve done differently, structure-wise, would’ve had to have been changed way earlier on when I didn’t know how difficult the vinyl was going to be. I think some older houses have wood underneath their overhangs, but that would’ve just added more weight to the tiny house. Besides, only about two inches of the vinyl will show along the sides once the siding is up.

I put up the vinyl under one side eave yesterday, and finished off the final overhang today, just as it was starting to snow! Almost all our snow had melted, but it was only a matter of time until we got more. 😛

The vinyl was easier to attach under the sides, but it was still difficult to avoid ripples. The rafters are 24″ apart and the vinyl sagged between them:


This was my solution:


So it doesn’t look great from up on the ladder:




We’ll see how it holds up.




The snow’s back!

I should get used to working in the snow. I really need to have my siding up before the end of March or risk damage to my house wrap. I’ll be out working in the cold, hopefully getting everything done very quickly!


Hidden Details

The temperature has been above zero recently! We barely have any snow right now, and I managed to get a little bit of annoying work done.

There are some parts of a house that are not talked about, like soffits. I never knew what soffits were or how a roof was ventilated before I started researching, and even after that I found very few examples of how people build the more hidden parts of a house. Some tiny houses don’t even have an overhang, and others simply don’t show what they did for theirs. Some houses have exposed rafter tails, but mine aren’t particularly pretty, and I definitely don’t want to leave any sheltered spots open for hornet nests.

At a building supply store, when I asked for something to use for solid soffits (my roof is not vented because I will be using spray foam), they suggested vinyl siding, which I could cut to size. I bought a few pieces of white siding and matching nails, plus some thin pieces of wood. Underneath the overhang on the sides of the house, the vinyl will be attached to the rafter tails, but under the front and back, there’s nothing to attach the vinyl to. So I planned to nail up those thin pieces of wood to give me something to nail to. The first piece I put up I was able to hammer the nails in straight, but that left no space for hammering the second piece. For the second piece I used nails at an angle, and was pretty proud of myself for getting both pieces up.

The pieces that are attached to the house are nailed in straight, while the pieces attached to the fascia are attached with angled nails. Cut to me trying to put up the vinyl. I’ll give you a list of how many problems I ran into:

  • First off, the vinyl strips I cut were slightly too wide for the front overhang, which led to some very time-consuming trimming and checking, trimming and checking.
  • If the nail bit into the wood slightly over from where I intended, the vinyl would bubble.
  • Trying to leverage nails out by pushing against the very flimsy attached piece.
  • Trying not to hurt my nicely stained fascia.
  • The fact that the nails were designed to be difficult to pull out.
  • The wood had some flex to it I think, which meant that the majority of the time I hit the nail, it wouldn’t move. Ah, how many times I’ve been up on a ladder and swearing.
  • Sometimes a nail would go halfway in, and then just would not go in any further.
  • I was hammering at an angle, against gravity, on a ladder, mere inches from the house and a window.
  • The pieces attached to the fascia started to push up while I tried to nail to them, sometimes ripping out of the nails attaching them. One piece almost completely detached, and I added a nail through the side fascia to keep it in place.
  • The final piece I was trying to attach had split, ripped out of its nails, and the end of it also split when I tried to attach it through the side. It was impossible to nail to because it would just push up further into the cavity. And there was no easy way for me to fix it or replace it with the vinyl already half-attached.

But they’re done:



If you look closely on the right, there’s a nail sticking out of the fascia that the vinyl is resting on. That’s all I could do. So don’t look close. 😛 It looks good from a distance!

I also cut the rest of the vinyl I need for the side overhangs. It was a lot easier and didn’t take as long because the side overhang is a bit smaller. Instead of having to cut where the vinyl curved, I was able to cut along straight lines:


Putting the vinyl up along the sides should be way easier as well (except for the fact that they’re ten foot long strips) because I’m nailing into solid pieces of wood. But we had an ice storm today, so I didn’t get outside to work on the house.

Oh, my parents got me some wheel well covers for Christmas. 🙂

When all the snow melted off the roof, I took the opportunity to go up and inspect it, especially around the skylights and the ends of the ridge caps. It all looks good, and I checked the interior as well and it does not seem to be leaking! Yay! Phew!

I also measured all the windows so I can get ready to cut trim pieces. The plan is to cut them inside the tiny house, label them, then transfer them to the heated garage for priming and painting. I’m so excited to break out the purple paint! Then I’ll go from there.

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!


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


A few icicles.


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:



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 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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 😛

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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

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