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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜›

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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. πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚ Cheers to warm weather!

Colour Reveal!

Hi lovelies, I’m back again! It seems that the blog is not as high on my priority list as it once was… Truthfully, I just really prefer to write a post about one step when it is fully completed. Building isn’t that neat though. Tasks are constantly dragging on and overlapping. I don’t get to neatly finish one aspect of the house. At this point, multiple tasks require my attention and time simultaneously. I’m always balancing, doing a bit here, getting behind there, then switching to something else, and so on.

The other difficulty is that I never feel like I have time to write. If it’s daylight, I feel I should be outside working on the tiny house, and if it’s nighttime, then I should be researching or working in the garage. And if I did work on the house all day, then I’m too tired to stay up and blog.

I’m going to try to post more often, with simple updates, rather than lengthy posts about the past month and a half, but that’s what this is! Look, purple paint!

I wasn’t happy with the coverage, even after three coats, so I decided to do a fourth coat.

It took me 25 and a half hours to do one coat of primer with cheap brushes (which were recommended to me for primer because it can wreck your brushes). Then it only took me 15 hours to do four coats of paint with a roller! Priming and painting does get a little monotonous, but I took my laptop out to the garage, and listening to a show on Netflix kept me from getting bored. πŸ™‚ I primed for nine hours one day!

My dad was home for a week in March, and was able to help me with the corner trim pieces and a couple of windows. πŸ™‚

That’s all we had time for before he went back to Ottawa, but my mum kindly helped me put up the trim for three more windows! πŸ™‚

Then I went on a trip to Toronto! I got to visit some of my favourite people, including my sis, and I got to celebrate her 19th birthday with her! πŸ™‚ The following weekend I was away, and after that was my 21st birthday, then halfway through April I finally had time to get the tools out again.

When Dad and I put up the three corners, I realized my measuring had been a bit off. Because of the angles were the trim meets the roof overhang, the side wall corner trim pieces were about a quarter inch longer than the end wall pieces. I decided to put them up anyway, to be trimmed later with the jigsaw, and that’s exactly what I did:

A quick 15 minute touch-up several days in a row, and done!

Next was the tricky octagon. I wasn’t quite sure how well I could get 8 pieces to line up. I sanded the end grain a little, because the roughness was keeping the pieces from fitting tightly together. Then I predrilled, countersank, and set the screws, and got out the ladder. I ended up using Tuck Tape to get the pieces exactly where I needed them, and it held until I got the pieces screwed down. πŸ™‚

I also put up the trim around the wheel wells, now that there isn’t snow sitting on them.

I purposely cut all my trim to leave about an 1/8″ gap around the windows. Another tiny house builder left a small gap as well, and it seemed better than having anything tight together. Flexing, expansion, draining – these all seemed like good reasons to have a little space. Add primer and four coats of paint to both ends of a piece, and that gap ends up bigger than planned. But I wasn’t about to delay putting the trim up so I could trim the ends a little, then have to prime and repaint them. I was also wondering whether or not to caulk the gap, so that made the decision. I bought white, paintable, permanently flexible caulk. I chose to caulk the top of the trim as well, so any water that gets behind the siding won’t get behind the trim.

I was then reminded of how much I hate caulking. It’s such a pain, and a mess, and uncooperative. I only got three out of six windows done in one day. The tube said not to tool (as in smoothing it out, usually with your finger), so I did the top of the trim on five windows and the wheel wells without tooling, because that will be hidden by the siding. But it doesn’t look great and I ended up tooling around the windows. It’s still not super tidy, but I’m going to paint the edge along the trim.

I still have eight pieces of trim to put up, but I can only do that after the porch floor is finished. And I can’t finish the porch floor until I paint the post. And it keeps raining!

I bought some decking that was frozen together because it was “all they had”, then had to exchange the pieces when the ice melted and the inner sides were black. I also had to go back for an extra piece of decking. So many trips to the hardware store!

I cut the decking, sanded it all, stained it all, and drove to a specialty store for the right screws. I also had to cut, prime, and paint a little strip of plywood to take the place of the old temporary porch floor (which I had to cut out). I cut and primed a piece for the ceiling as well, and bought some little trim for around the porch post.

I brought in some of the lighter purple paint to the hardware store, and they darkened it for free. πŸ™‚ I primed the post, then did two coats of paint. I think I’ll do a third. The door will eventually be this colour as well. πŸ™‚

I think that just about catches you up to now. I wanted to have the siding up by the end of April, but then little things kept adding up on my list of “Before Siding”. The house wrap isn’t showing any signs of wear, and I’m doing the best I can to get everything done!

Oh, and the first half of the house is completely paid off! I am debt free, for now!

Now I just have to figure out air circulation, heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical…

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 -31Β°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.

Sunshine Portals!

All my windows are now installed! After the initial learning curve, and a bit of a mess with some caulking, everything went smoothly. πŸ™‚ Prepare for pictures! Here we go:

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The bathroom and entrance windows

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The living/dining room window and the kitchen window

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The front window for the window seat πŸ™‚

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And of course, my octagon!

This is how I installed my windows, based on the instructions that came with them (and influenced by some online research). Different brands have different installation instructions. My windows are Peter Kohler brand.

Step 1: Cut an upside down martini glass shape in the house wrap.

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Step 2: Trim the house wrap and tape the edges down (sides and bottom).

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Step 3: Cut a flap in the house wrap above the window, 45Β° angles from the corners and high enough to fit the width of the window flashing underneath. Tape it up.

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Step 4: Cut squares of flashing and add them to the bottom corners of the window.

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This is how the Peter Kohler instructions showed to cut the pieces for the corners, but I have seen multiple different ways of doing this part. I only did it this way for my first window because I found it doesn’t adequately seal the corner even after you put the sill flashing on, and I didn’t like how little flashing was below the window in the end. For the rest of my windows, I did a full piece of flashing like the picture below, and then put the sill flashing on as well.

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Step 5: Cut a piece 12″ longer than the sill, and apply it with 6″ up the side of the window.

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You can see in this picture that I added a little rectangle of flashing to the corners, similar to what I did with any weak spots in the skylight flashing.

Step 6: Put shims on the sill and check them with a level. I ended up taping mine so they would stay, and I planned to cut the ends off later. My instructions also had specific locations for shims on the sides, 3 on the hinge side and 2 on the other side. I almost quit at this point. Even if I could lift the window by myself, how was I supposed to put it in without having someone on the inside to help guide me? Other tiny housers installed their windows as a team: one person inside and one person outside.

I took a breather, went back to the window opening, and taped the side shims in place as well. That would help me center the window as I put it in.

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Step 7: First, have fasteners ready to go. The fasteners should be long enough to go an inch into the framing, so at least 1 3/4″ if you have 1/2″ sheathing because that accounts for the thickness of the vinyl. I also wanted something that had more gripping power than a smooth nail, considering all the vibration the house will go through on the road. But the hardware store only had 1 1/2″ nails with a rough finish, and 2″ smooth shank nails. So I went with a mix of the two.

Apply a bead of caulking closely around the opening, leaving gaps at the bottom.

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I was way better at a continuous, even bead of caulking on the later windows. πŸ˜› This was the first!

Steps 8/9/10?: Put the window in (some say to tilt it in, I ended up trying to carefully set the window in in a way that it didn’t disturb the shims). Hammer a nail in part way in, 4-6″ down from a top corner. Check that the window operates smoothly. Personally, I added two more nails in random places, then I checked the operation of the window again, just to be sure.

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This window went in pretty smoothly, but when I did the bathroom window, I accidentally lifted the window too high, and unknowingly got caulking all over the inside of the window. When I went inside to check the operation, I saw the mess, and my parents helped me find some mineral spirits to get it off. πŸ™‚

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Also check that there’s a gap all the way around the window, that the window is centered in the rough opening. The instructions for these windows called for a 5/8″ gap. Do NOT shim above the window. There should be no load transfer onto a window. This window doesn’t have a large header because it’s only 18″ wide, but normally there would be a header made of 2x4s on their side with a piece of 1/2″ ply in between.

Step 11: Hammer the first few nails all the way in, then fill the rest of the pre-punched holes with nails.

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On one of my windows, there was a gap between the sheathing and the nailing flange in one spot, even though the window was pressed tight to the house. I ended up shimming behind a couple of nails after the first nail started to pull the nailing flange away from the window.

Step 12: Apply flashing to the sides of the window, covering the nails and reaching at least a half inch past the bottom flashing and 2-3″ above the top of the window.

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Maybe I should’ve taken the step-by-step pictures after I’d gotten better at placing the flashing. πŸ˜›

Step 13: Apply flashing to the top of the window, reaching one inch past the edges of the side flashing.

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Always apply any flashing, tape, house wrap, etc. starting at the bottom. That way, water will run down the layers, rather than having the potential to sneak in behind an edge.

Step 14: Flip down the flap, trim it, and tape it. The instructions didn’t say to trim or tape it, they were very vague for this part, but it’s my understanding that it’s best to tape every edge of the house wrap so it preforms better. So that’s what I did.

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You’re not supposed to flash the bottom of the window, so any water or condensation that gets into the sill can drain out. Notice how little flashing there is showing underneath? For the rest of the windows, I put the first piece of flashing lower just so I felt more comfortable with it.

My mum helped me lift the two bigger windows into place, and my grandpa helped me with my kitchen window! Honestly, the windows were a bit easier than expected. Yay! Enjoy some more window-installation and family pictures below:

 

 

I also flashed around my front door so there’s no longer a drafty gap there:

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I love my lil porch!

Phew, that was a post and a half, huh? Stay tuned, I have more things to share!

A Door and a Ridge!

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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:

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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:

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This was stopping the deadbolt from fitting.

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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!

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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˜›

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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