I hear your footsteps through the wall

So I framed these out solo.  Kristen and Will helped me get them upright.  Would do it differently and plan my sections better next time.  I didn’t “cap off” ends that would be (and were) totally wonky when trying to get them vertical.  Anyway, it came out well.  Never underestimate how handy a come-along or ratchet tie-down strap can be, as well as using 3″ screws to pull your framing together after you’ve nailed in a few more studs, and realize that the one you nailed 5 minutes ago is a little separated from the framing.  I’d also do better planning next time–I used a lot of wood to hit 4′ for the sheathing and stuff.  Ah well, I’m psyched.

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Followed the lines going south – UPDATE

So, I’m somewhat embarrassed by my last attempt to draw up plans for the south wall for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t have all of my windows nor did I really think about where they might go, along with the balance of the wall
  2. It is very under-informing.

I made a new one today, once I ripped all of the windows out of the old boat on the property.  They’re all in surprisingly good shape, all they need is some sanding and staining.  They have these great brass fixture hinges that I cant wait to polish up and put in.

Not only did I discover the “dimensions” tool on SketchUp, I figured I could color-code the lumber so that I could count out how many I would need for each wall.  The blue are 12′, green are 10′, and orange is 8′.  Doing it this way makes you sure that you can use one long piece for two short ones (i.e. using one 12′ piece for two cuts that are less than 6′), thus saving you money (bigger boards are cheaper by the foot than shorter ones).  It’s worth the time, and it’s like a puzzle, a good doable challenge.

Click on the image below to see it enlarged, or go to the SketchUp Files page to download it.

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stick it to the floor and watch me roll

Below is the vapor barrier of 4 mil plastic that will act as the vapor barrier between the floor and the floor framing.  I just rolled it out and stapled it from front corner to back corner, being careful to pull the plastic taut at each bay.  It was kind of a pain, but just time wise.  Pretty easy, all things considered.  Also I added another 1″ of expanded polystyrene and used a hacksaw to cut this time.  Made things infinitely easier.  You sacrifice a bit of R value with the polystyrene but it has a plastic/foil layer to deflect moisture, and its way easier to push into corners as it is a bit softer and doesn’t snap if it bends.  It’s all a matter of how nice and square your framing is (mine wasn’t since I used some reused boards and some new) and how good you are at cutting straight lines 8 feet long with a hacksaw/utility knife.

Before I put the vapor barrier on, I bolted more bolts through the framing into the trailer.  This is the way to do it.  Even though the trailer had 10 or so 3/8″ diameter holes around the outside and some down the middle, these 1/2″ galvanized bolts are way beefier and better.  If I were to do this again, I’d just go ahead and skip using the holes as they are (3/8″), I’d buy a 12″ long 1/2″ diameter drill bit that can handle drilling through steel, and just make those holes a bit bigger and sink these bigger, badder-ass bolts through.  I feel OK though, I have about 20 bolts in all, around the outside, about 2 feet in on each side and then up the middle.  Be sure to measure and account for everything involved.  As you can see below, I didnt give myself much of a thread to work with, so I sunk the bolts into the wood a bit.  Once you get the ratchet on there, though, you can just crank em in.

I spent about 2.5 days straight doing the flooring.  Things I learned: use plywood no matter what, first.  Make sure if you use rough cut wood that you make your first laid board is your best 100% straight board and work everything to meet it.  Errors compound.  Use little slices of wood to fill out long cracks, and it can look OK.  Things I gained more skill in: using a circular saw to cut 1/2″ wide 12 foot long pieces of hemlock!!!!!!!

So the floor is on.  It’s rough cut hemlock, and it looks like the floor of a barn (I hope).  There are some pretty obvious “patches” where I had to fill in between cracks with slices of wood and I learned from it (and hopefully someone else out there will, too).  This is the first carpenter/lumber part that I did 100% solo.  It can get pretty frustrating.

Walls next, perhaps this weekend?


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a cushion convector

Finally got the insulation in, with much help from Chris.   That stuff sucks.  I got two different types because there were only 3 sheets left of the white polystyrene stuff, so I got some blue as well.  It is a pain to cut, especially since none of the bays were 16″ wide (the blue “scoreboard” insulation is pre-scored at 16″ and 24″).  It’s also what I saw most of the other folks using, so I went with it.  I did read yesterday that fiberglass insulation is a haven for mice, so I might want to avoid that in my walls.  I dont need mice.  Spray foam is wicked expensive, and would be a pain, really.

After we got the insulation cut and stuffed in, we sealed the cracks with sprayfoam insulation.  I didnt buy enough though, so I’ll finish that today:

Then, with the rest of the afternoon we got the sucker bolted down.  Note to self: check the diameter of the holes in the trailer before buying your bit.  I bought a bit that was 1/8″ too big, so Chris and I had to mark out two holes, slide the whole foundation, drill em, make sure the bolt fit, then mark the rest, then move, then drill, then bolt, repeat.  This was one of those pieces of working on the house where you dont get a lot done, visibly, but it’s out of the way, thank god.

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…watch me fall

We got the bottom of the flooring on (pictured below). I went with plywood (3/8″, which is very reasonably priced) instead of the aluminum flashing because this thing isnt going to be on the road, and because the floor needs to breathe.  If I do end up taking it on the road for some time or find that it needs more protection I will either seal it or put flashing on the bottom side of the trailer.  Either way, for now it will be OK.

We were sure to leave 1/8″ (a nail’s width) between each sheet for expansion space.

Then we had to flip the thing.  The middle section between the wheels proved to be a weak point, and the thing is very very very heavy.  Once we had it vertical, I was verrrry sketched out about how to get it over without it sliding out from under us and breaking all of our necks.  Rusty and Mike kept their cool and we did it without incident:

Once it was flipped we lined it up and it looks good.  Next: put in the insulation, foam where the insulation meets the “joists,” add the poly 4 mil membrane and then cap it with some 1″ rough cut hemlock boards as the flooring.

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…tilt my frame

The floor is framed out.  Mike came over after work yesterday and helped me finish it up.  This is a view looking down onto the floor from the loft in the barn.  Below is the shot looking out the window of the barn over the lake (if you click on the photo you’ll get a bigger, better photo).  Prettttty good.

The framing lined up nicely with all of the anchor spots on the outside of the trailer.  It’s an awesome feeling when your plans (however much modified as you go along) match up with reality when you finally lift the framing into place.  Now to do the insulation and floorboards today (hopefully) and then move onto the wall framing.

Also–check out this tiny house.  It’s 19′ 8″  long and 8’2″ wide, so it’s just a little bit bigger than this one, but it’s only 12′ 7″  tall, so we will have a few more inches of head room.  Anyway, its a really great design (I like the bathroom under the stairs, and the fact that there are stairs at all so Wyatt can sleep “upstairs”).  The upper loft is super impressive, and the whole usage of space is great.  I think I’ll re-influence my design with this in mind:


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Shocks my brain

Rusty and Dave came over on Saturday to help out getting part of the floor framed.  I realized on Saturday morning after we went to the bike swap and Rusty picked up a batmobile that while I know how to put most of these pieces of wood together correctly, I’d never actually bought all the stuff needed to build–my bosses always did that, and I never paid much mind to it all since we used nail guns.

Since I dont have a nail gun, we bought some 8 gauge 2 1/2″ coated nails and a framing hammer, at Mike’s request (which was a great call, those hammers make a HUGE difference when you want to just wail on a nail and get it in with 4 hits).  All the wood we used was from my first pickup at ReBUILD, so it’s all recycled so far.  We’ll see how much more I can get, but when we stopped by there twice last week, we found nothing in the way of quality 2 x 4’s…

Anyway, here are the pictures of the first part of the floor that is framed out.  This part measures 8′ wide by 8′ 10 1/8″.  The studs are close to 16″ OC but more importantly they were spaced out so that they could be anchored to the trailer.  I picked up some 1/2″ x 6″ long bolts to put through the 2 x 4’s to the trailer base, which I’ll put on once I have the floor all together and insulated.

I’m not putting the aluminum flashing on the bottom right away like all the other models due to the fact that I want the floor to “breathe” out of the bottomside.  I can always put the flashing on the bottom side of the trailer if I decide to take in on the road, but Charlie told me it shouldn’t be an issue to just use plywood on the bottom.  And Charlie is very wise.

So this floor will have a 3/8″ plywood bottom, 2″ polystyrene insulation with sprayfoam to seal the cracks, and then a 4mil plastic membrane to keep the vapor down.  I have to run down to southern Vermont to get my flooring, which will be hemlock floorboards.  I dont know if I will put on a true floor or if I will just sand down the hemlock til it is smooth.  Anyway, stay tuned.  And if anyone has anything to contribute re: the aluminum flashing omission I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are.  Not convinced that the way I’m doing it is the most genius, but I think for what I need (not a lot of traveling with the house, dont want moisture buildup) it is the most minimal and cheap (while not cutting corners).


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