Up on Ladders

I have the week off work and my dad’s home from Ottawa! With his help, I’ve been working away at my (not-so) tiny to-do list.

Goals for the week:

  • Fix the ridge
  • Finish the house wrap
  • Add the ridge caps (and foam closure strips)
  • And at Dad’s suggestion: install the door!

Sunday:

The collar ties didn’t seem to be doing their job after all, as the walls were spread wider at the top than they should’ve been. The collar ties would theoretically stop us from being able to pull the walls in, so Dad yanked the nails out and took them down.

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My dad, the happy camper

I made new, longer collar ties (and sanded them this time).

I had already bought 10′ 2x4s to jack up the ridge again (having used up all the long lumber I had) and Dad screwed two together in a “T” for strength. We used that and it was much sturdier than the previous time I did this. I shouldn’t have to do this again!

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We jacked the roof up to just slightly higher than where I wanted it, and installed two collar ties, lower this time. This also pulled the walls in to where they were supposed to be. We added some hurricane ties to the four rafters, tying them to the walls. Then we moved the jack to raise the roof in a second spot for the last two collar ties. Those ties are difficult to put into the corners with the roof on, and it was getting dark, so we called it a day.

We brought out a light, a little stove, and had supper together in my little house! We had soup and hot chocolate in my future living room. 🙂

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The lights are on, somebody must be home!

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Monday:

I spent Monday doing a little shopping. I looked at flooring! I’m mostly decided on a dark brown hand-scraped engineered hardwood, but I’m nervous about picking something too dark. I like dark wood stains; I just don’t want a dark colour to make the tiny house seem small. I like the hand-scraped because it looks and feels a little worn in rather than shiny new, and when I inevitably dent or scratch it, it will blend in. I want engineered hardwood because it’s thinner (and lighter) than hardwood, and it expands/shrinks less than hardwood. But I don’t want laminate or anything cheap, because I enjoy walking around barefoot and I want something that feels real underfoot. It’s a small enough space so I can afford to get something that’s more expensive per square foot.

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A sample of stained hickory on top of a popular colour of laminate.

A lighter colour might be the safer choice, but I want a flooring I love.

As for the bathroom, I was thinking of doing cork, because it’s warm and cushy on the feet, it doesn’t absorb water, and it’s a renewable material. But I hadn’t found a style of cork I liked, until…

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White cork!?

The reason I went flooring shopping was to find out how thick of a flooring I’m going to get. I needed to know how much clearance I needed for the swing of my front door. I might not buy the flooring until after I’ve finished building my kitchen though.

Tuesday:

I got a massage as a treat to my poor shoulders, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day (after a nap) hammering to finish adding the brackets to the rafters. So that might’ve defeated the purpose of the massage. Dad and I also went for a hike and had hot chocolate again, this time by a waterfall! Tiny houses, to me, are partly meant to encourage you to go outside more, and it’s already working! 😛

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Because the brackets had to go in tight corners, it was such a pain to get the nails in. I’d guess each bracket with its eight nails took about 100 hits, making that 2200 swings of a hammer to get all the brackets in. Oww.

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Wednesday:

I spent Wednesday working on the top strips of house wrap, so more hammering and more shin bruises from ladders.

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I’m enjoying just getting out there and getting to work. It’s not often we single task these days. Focusing on one physical task and doing only that thing makes me feel a lot less scattered and stressed. So did the yoga class Dad and I went to in the evening. 🙂 It’s shaped up to be a great week!

Thursday:

I had a lot of little things on my to-do list for Thursday, including several trips to different hardware stores for buying and returning. And I managed to check everything off my list by the end of the day!

I finished the last piece of house wrap, took the support beam out – the collar ties are holding, and did some measuring especially for the door.

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I bought wood to frame the door (the rough opening is a lil bit big), shims, caulking, and a doorknob! I also returned some extra brackets. I brought back half of the plastic capped nails for a refund of $46! I don’t know what happened with numbers there, but I did not need them all!

I’ve been keeping my tiny house Excel document up to date with my spending and time log.

Then I spent my evening with friends. 🙂

I’m taking the build one day at a time and trying to keep some balance.

Friday:

A source of stress (and nightmares) for me has been rain and my subfloor. I know that before the roof was up, water got below my subfloor. Water can be very bad for a house!

I tested the floor by cutting out a small puck of wood to see the underside:

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Dry, with no rot or mold! PHEW.

I will test another spot or two later. There is some water sitting on top of the insulation, unfortunately. Once the house in sealed for the winter, I’ll be able to heavily de-humidify the space. I’m very glad I chose spray foam and not wool or Roxul insulation, and plywood instead of OSB. It’s worth the money to not have your materials disintegrate or turn to mush!

With that little piece of mind, I worked on getting the door opening ready! I also added house wrap to my porch ceiling, which will get covered later by some art hopefully. 🙂

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All taped up. I cut open the entrance window so I’ll be able to hop in and out when we’re installing the door.

I’ve worked after dark a few times, a consequence of sleeping in, but it gets dark earlier and earlier…

Cheers!

P.S. This is my 200th post!

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Subfloor Steps

With the help of my dad’s friend and his jeep with a front hitch, my lovely trailer has been maneuvered out of our turn-around spot and onto the lawn where I’ll be building. We had it further away from the neighbour’s fence for the insulation spraying, and then didn’t get around to moving it until last week. It was convenient to have it closer to the garage to carry plywood and tools back and forth for the floor, but I couldn’t block the turn-around spot forever. Besides, I’ll be building the walls on the ground and then I’ll have people over to help move them around.

And it's a shady spot!

And it’s a shady spot!

I still need to put the jacks down and level it, but I’ve at least got a lock on it now.

Before I start to forget what I did, I want to share the steps I took up until this point. Here is the beginning of the 3rd phase of my steps list:

Phase 3

Do your own research as well though; I can’t guarantee anything I do is the right thing to do. I’ve never built a house before!

I love lists, so here’s one with all the tools and things I used for the first part of phase three:

– tarp

– bungee cords

– Shop Vac

– rope

– utility knife

– 4 foot metal ruler

– right angle metal ruler

– speed square

– carpenter’s square

– mini broom

– chalk box

– chalk

– tool belt

– clamps

– circular saw

– jigsaw

– drill

– impact driver

– extension cord

– measuring tape

– pencil

– gloves

– eye protection

– ear protection

– caulking gun

– awl

– wrench

– patio stones

– saw horses

– hammer

– and a camera!

Before I share how much time has been put into this build so far, here’s two tips from my mum:

1. Have a hammer and a 2×4 handy to hammer your T&G into place, like giant floor boards.

2. Have something soft, like a towel or a foam square, to put under your knees while you’re drilling into your trailer for hours.

So, I’ve started a time log. I could never guess how long I’ve spent online researching tiny houses, but I will be counting the hours I build. I’m also trying to keep track of some hardware store time and time put in by other people.

So far, I’ve spent 11 total hours drying out the trailer after rain and putting the tarp over it.

Mum and Dylan put in 3.5 hours between each other to help with the tarp and clean-up.

I worked on the subfloor for 42 hours total, and Dylan and Mum put in 40 hours between the two of them. With the walls, I’ll be working alone more often, but with the subfloor I needed help for almost everything. Plywood is bigger than me 😛

The insulation took an hour and 20 minutes. The welder took two hours.

I’ve spent 10.5 hours in hardware stores, and Dylan and Mum have put in 13 hours. I’ve always had one of them with me, and one time I had both of them with me.

So, I’ve put in 63.5 hours in the past month. The subfloor took 82 hours of work, if you don’t count clean-up or hardware stores. I’m telling you, those screws take SO LONG! Of those 82 hours, more than half of them were spent just on screwing.

Now, onto the walls!

The Subfloor’s Complete!

I did not expect the subfloor to take a month, but I also didn’t expect it not to 😛 I don’t have my timeline totally figured out yet and I was getting used to building. Hopefully I’ll be able to move faster with the walls because I won’t be drilling into METAL. I’m still waiting for an email back from the engineer before I get started on the framing though.

Here’s the pictures from the last three sheets (and days) of the subfloor:

Glue for the biggest piece.

Glue for the biggest piece.

Mum's been a great help, but she's not so great at drilling straight :P

Mum’s been a great help, but she’s not so great at drilling straight 😛

Dylan helped me get the last two pieces on!

Dylan helped me get the last two pieces on!

Yay! My bathroom has a subfloor!

Yay! My bathroom has a subfloor!

And finally, the last screw is in!

And finally, the last screw is in!

Dylan and I actually ran out of screws on the last few pieces 😦 Probably because we’re impatient and melted a ton of screws!

Out of 400, we melted almost 150 screws – 38%! That’s horrible! But they’re cheaper than drill bits. I picked up some more today and finished the last 25 screws this evening. I also got a whole new set of bug bites to go with all my old ones 😛

Soon, I’ll post a breakdown of how much I spent for the first few categories, and I’ll work on the subfloor part of my steps list to share.

Sunshine, Screws, and Sickness

The past couple days while it’s been raining, I’ve been working on my framing plans. I finally finished them, with the help of my favourite fluff ball:

Then this morning, the sun came out and I woke up with a cold. I am achy and sniffly, but I went out this afternoon, dried out the trailer, and got started. I finished all of the screws for the 3rd and 4th pieces:

Mum was kind enough to come out and help move the patio stones around. Then after I took a break, Dylan helped me put the fifth piece on! I love making progress 🙂

All secured while the glue cures.

All secured while the glue cures.

Unfortunately, the rain has turned my lovely floor into a black mess, for some unknown reason.

I’ve seen other tiny house builds with black subfloors, but they never said why. I’m glad I went with plywood instead of OSB though, because OSB swells when it gets wet and doesn’t go back, whereas plywood does. Plywood is also lighter.

Now it’s time for some much needed sleep.

Work Before Work

Before my evening shift, I finished the screws for the second piece and Mum helped me put on the fourth piece 🙂

She’s not very good at the screws though:

(The one on the right.)

The one on the right is hers.

Halfway there:

It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow. There is a ridiculous amount of rain in the forecast for the next month.

I have a lot of ordering to do: wood for framing, windows, and roofing.

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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