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:

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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:

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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.

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 😛

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!

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:

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

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My jigsaw guy  ❤

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

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I added a skylight!

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One skylight in, one to go

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Ooh look another one!

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😀

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Ooh look, pretty roofing! Spanish tile inspired, 3D orange shingles made with recycled materials 🙂

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Ignore my twisty fascia, it’s on the to-do list to fix 😛 The ridges give the house a unique shadow 🙂

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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.

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Finishing up the first row!

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Dylan worked on the first row from the ladder, and I worked on the second row up on the roof 🙂

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

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I can’t decide if it looks unreal or too real 😛

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

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TA-DA!

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

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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. 🙂

Stuck and Stressed

I wish I had progress to report, but the trailer is still wall-less and summer is getting away from me.

Work, the weather, the engineer, the roofing, and calculations kept me from building before leaving for vacation for two weeks. One of my coworkers was on vacation for all of July, so I was working a lot, and then it seemed whenever I had a day off, it was raining. Now that I’m back, I still don’t have anything concrete from the engineer because she was out sick while I was gone.

I haven’t been able to confidently start on the walls for several reasons. First, I had to figure out how high I can build the framing without the ridge cap of my roof exceeding 13’6″. In the design stage, I appreciated the creative challenge of making my house fit into road restrictions. However, trying to get my house to be as tall as possible without going over has proven to be annoying and unusual. I don’t have any examples to go by because I’m working backwards from a specific height, whereas with normal houses, it doesn’t matter how tall they end up.

Then I found out that the only location in the Maritimes that sells the roofing I want, Onduvilla, is going to discontinue selling it. I hadn’t planned on ordering my roofing yet, but I wanted to get it before they stopped selling it! Since I want a special-order colour, I was told it could take 8 weeks or more, so all the more reason to order it right away. I was stressing for weeks about calculations and the framing and the roofing, and finally ordered the roofing the day I left for vacation. It arrived the day after we got back. So much for 8 weeks! I probably could’ve saved myself some stress by not worrying so much, but at least I have it now. It was exciting to go pick it up and see the orange colour in person. The house is going to look so good when it’s done!

A friend of my dad’s also gave me some leftover flooring for free:

I’m not sure if I’ll use it, but it’s a lovely medium brown that I would’ve picked for myself 🙂

I’m having a hard time balancing the build with a social life, but I’m STILL emailing back and forth with the engineer so I can’t do much. I should have her okay in the next couple days though. This week coming up, I’m back to my lighter work schedule and I will be out building as much as possible!

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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