Name Reveal

Take a look at The Lilac:

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Every cottage and small home that is well loved has a name, and so I’ve named my tiny house The Lilac. The home I grew up in had a lilac bush in the yard, and my mum would sometimes bring in the flowers for the dining room table. The scent of lilacs remind me of home. ❀ They’re purple too!

To finish up the exterior, I built a front step:

I finally got around to scraping off all the window stickers:

And I added a couple little blocks of trim around the porch floor:

Also, my boots have taken a beating…

Now I’m onto electrical! Wish me luck!

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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!

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. πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ˜›

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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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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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!

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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πŸ˜€

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

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Ignore my twisty fascia, it’s on the to-do list to fix πŸ˜› The ridges give the house a unique shadow πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ˜›

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

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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. πŸ™‚

Little Bit of Building

The same weekend I had to order smaller skylights, I had a build day planned, but I had expected to have the skylights installed already. So I switched tracks and decided to get some little things done, then put up the house wrap.Β  That was before I read up on staples versus plastic capped nails though, and any hardware store that would have the latter was closed. It worked out, because all the little things ended up taking hours longer than I had planned, so we didn’t have time to do the house wrap anyway.

My goals for the build day were:
– Trim around the wheel wells (I need a bigger gap so I can seal it with big beads of caulking)
– Add the angled pieces to frame the octagon window
– Put in the collar ties
– Cut a piece of plywood for the porch ceiling
– Cut out the windows

We only got one wheel well trimmed, because the guys were distracted cutting each other’s hair. πŸ˜›
Then I cut some angled pieces for the octagon, test-fitted those, then Dylan hammered some nails in all the corners. On the outside, Dylan used a chalk line around the nails to mark the shape of the window, then tapped the nails out, and drilled holes in each corner.

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Then we used a jigsaw to cut out the rough shape, cleaned up the edges, and test-fitted the window, which did not fit! It was so frustrating! All the other windows are slightly smaller than their rough openings to allow for shimming. With the octagon, I guess they made the smallest one they could, which is exactly 18″, just like the rough opening. We ended up having to hack away at the 2×4’s with a recip. saw (which I don’t like to use) and a jigsaw to give the window enough wiggle room. It took hours to make that window fit and add in the angled pieces. But it looks beautiful. πŸ™‚

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Just test-fitting, don’t get too excited. πŸ˜›

Then I cut the 2×4’s for the collar ties and we got to work on the inside of the house. Getting them at the right height as per the engineer’s instructions was a little difficult and looks weird, but we got them up! They’re a lot higher than we pictured, but it’s because my roof has such a low slope.

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Looking up…

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Putting my feet up after a day of building πŸ™‚

We didn’t get the piece cut for the porch ceiling or cut out the windows, but that’s okay. It’s better to plan a lot and not get it all done than to only have one thing to do, get it done, and then have time but nothing to do. As long as I’m moving forward I’m happy. And we ended the 30Β° day with slushies and a swim in the pool. 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