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Outdoor Kitchens For Tiny Houses

One of the things I like best about living in NC is that we get a lot of good weather to spend outdoors. This had led me to want an outdoor kitchen.  Several other tiny housers do this already and I think it will make my tiny living better, because while I’ll have a kitchen inside, I can extend my living space to the outdoors.

Once I finish my tiny house, I plan to build a small deck and want a have this kitchen, but there’s a hitch… The land that I am going to be living on is land that I’m leasing and that means that while I’ll be there for the foreseeable future, I’m not going to be there forever most likely. So this leaves me with having to figure out how to have a deck and a outdoor kitchen, but be mobile.  So I found this video of a mobile kitchen cart and fell in love!  I’m not one for diamond plating, but I figure I can tweak it as I’ll need to build it myself.  Now I just need to learn how to weld….

Outdoor mobile kitchen

Raising The Roof

Ooohhh aaahhh!  Look that that fancy roof!  I just got the roof up and wanted to share this video with you all.

The roof has proven to be the most difficult thing with the tiny house so far mainly because I made the decision that the roof was best left to the professionals and now that I had it installed, I’m very glad I decided to hire someone.  I’m sure I could have pulled it off but the roof costs a lot and to be done wrong would spell disaster and cost a lot of money.

The roof is a standing seam roof, which means that the seams are in a vertical part that makes up the “ribs” of the roof.  I love the look of it and what is even better, the color (though hard to tell in photos and videos) matches my windows exactly.

There are a lot of parts to the roof that frankly were overwhelming to me when it came to purchase.  What makes it worse is that if you forget a part, you have to wait for it to come in (major delay) but if you order something extra, it costs a lot of money and can’t be returned.

All in all, I’m very happy with how the roof came out check out the video for more details.

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My Window Saga

So it has been a long time since I’ve updated you all on my tiny house because of what I am dubbing “The Great Window Saga”.  It all started last spring when I made the decision to widen the door from my existing plans.   The door of the Fencl is only 22 inches wide and after I framed it, I realized that I couldn’t walk straight through my door, because – after measuring – my shoulders are 27 inches across.  So doing that math I knew it didn’t add up.  So I re-engineered the whole front wall.

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I had designed this to widen the door, but I was still able to use the three windows my plans recommends in the front bay.  Everything was good and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that.  Fast forward to installing the windows.  The plans recommended to have 3 window sashes that you can integrate together by making your own window frame.  So I thought about it a long time and came up with the best way to do this.  I then fabricated all the wooden pieces I’d need to make the frame and got assembling.  photo

I decided at that point that I wanted to have my windows at this point be able to open, because I wanted the air circulation and its also the area that I’m going to be looking out the most as it is my desk space.

sdfsd What I ended up with was a double casement window that matched the rest of the windows.  This window opens up really wide so I can let a ton of air in if I want and it also looks really nice because it will be the window I look out most as it is where my desk will be.  So I bit the bullet, ordered it and waited.

downloadHere’s where the real saga began.  Since it was a custom ordered window, it took 4 weeks to get in.  The window finally came in – yeah! – then I realized something…. They had made the window the wrong size!  So we reordered it.  A month later the window came in – yeah! –   and at the store I asked to inspect it before I signed for it.   We’ll I’m glad I did because they sent the window with the wrong grill pattern!  So we reordered it, waited a month, the next new window came in – yeah! – oh wait… what’s that a crack?  Is that corner bashed in?  yup!  So we reordered it again!!!!  Wait a month!

Now at this point what I decided to do was because the issue was with the casement, not the actual frame, they told me I could install it and they would come out and replace just the casement/sash part when it gets in.  So that’s where I am now.

All in all this one window has held me up 4 months!  Which meant I had to extend my rent 4 times!!!  All of which culminated into the worlds most expensive tiny house window and killed my timeline.  Since I didn’t have the window in, I couldn’t finish the siding, which meant that I couldn’t really start doing interior finish work.   Now I am finally back at work on the tiny house after this saga.

I’ll post more photos when I get a chance.

A Tool Not In Your Tool Box

So I have been trying to make a final push on my tiny house, but I’ve had some delays with a window.  One of the things that I realized the other day was that there was a really important “tool” at my disposal that I’d never really thought of and frankly, at first didn’t realize I was even using.  It isn’t a traditional tool, but I’ve found it has been invaluable during this process.  The best part is that you have several of these in your possession already.

So what is this tool?  It’s a chair for thinking.

3132_Casual Adirondack Chair There are times in your build that you find something that stumps you, there are times where you have discovered a mistake, or there are times when things aren’t going your way.  Enter a chair to sit in and consider the problem.  It seriously have been invaluable, sitting in that chair, staring at the problem with your plans in your lap, you work it out in your mind.

A perfect example of this was when I went to put in my collar tie beams for the loft.  I cut them to the correct length, put it up on the top plate and notice there was some wiggle room.  At first I freaked out and thought I had cut the beam short, but after remeasuring I realized it wasn’t them.  What had happened was over the span of the wall, the center had bowed out slightly with the weight of sheathing.  The left side was bowed out 1/8th of an inch and the right side was out a 1/4th of an inch at the top; the bottoms were spot on.

Now at this point I had to figure out how pull the top of the walls inward the correct amount.  This is much easier said then done, because these walls now are secured firmly and are very strong.  I also had to pull one wall in more than the other.

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So I sat down and thought about the problem, several ideas came to mind, but after a while an elegant solution emerged.  I didn’t want to put holes in my floor and I noticed one important thing.  I had to bring one wall in twice as much as the other.  So I went to the store and bought a huge eye hook and fastened it halfway up the wall into a stud in the center of the bow.  From there I connected my trailer ratchet strap to the eye hook, and then to the top of the other wall.

What this did was allow me to pull the wall together, but since I fastened one side half way up the wall (the side I need 1/8th), it gave me a mechanical ratio of 1:2.  Meaning I pull in one wall an eighth of an inch, I pull the other wall in a quarter of an inch, which is exactly what I needed!  From there I dropped in my collar tie and fastened it through the outside of the wall to hold it in place.  After securing all the ties, I released the straps and the wall stayed perfect.

There are times you will get frustrated, upset, maybe even mad, but I have found the chair to be an important thing to use to clear my mind and get to a solution.  It has saved money, time and frustration; ultimately building a better house.  So consider a chair as a valuable tool that you already have.

 

Tiny House Sheathing

Playing catch up with the posts about building the house.   I went and ordered my sheathing for the walls and roof.  There is a newish product that I am using called the Zip system.  (zipsystem.com)  Basically it is wall and roof sheathing with the house wrap/roof felt already on it, which is pretty fancy.

It also has these little nubs on the edges so you don’t have to worry about expansion gaps like you would with traditional sheathing.  Along with the spacers, the board is printed with markers so if you do your walls correctly, you can just follow the guide on the boards and you hit a stud every time while securing it from the outside where you can’t see where the studs are.  The kicker is that not only does it have some major time and labor saving factors, it costs a lot less!  You have to use their special tape, but its about 1/2 the price of tyvek tape, so that isn’t a big deal.

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I priced it out and its much cheaper and then you don’t have to spend all that time house wrapping.  The vapor barrier on the zip panels does the exact same thing as tyvek, but its more durable and isn’t prone to being pulled off by inclement weather.    It also apparently makes a much better air seal and is LEED Credit Certified.

 

Traditional sheathing: 18 sheets @$28
Tyvek Wrap: 1 roll $150
Tyvek tape: $100
Roof Felt: $19
Capped Nails: $7
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Total: $780

zip boards: 12 @ $19.50  and 6 @ $26
Zip Tape: 2 rolls @ $27
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Total: $444.00

Me happy about saving money and getting the sheathing done!

Me happy about saving money and getting the sheathing done!

So when it comes to sheathing (which is what the plywood on the outside of the house are called) the trick with it all isn’t the actual plywood, but that you did your framing correctly.  If you have done your framing correctly, then the seams of each of your pieces of plywood will land right on the stud.  This is important because you need to be able to nail the edge of the sheathing to that stud.  There will be some cases where a panel lands on a window, so you will need to place an extra 2×4 piece to have something to nail into, you can see below an example of this.

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This photo also shows how in tiny houses we screw and glue our sheathing.  Here I used liquid nail on the studs.  A piece of advice for anyone who is doing this, help yourself and spring for a air powered caulk gun.  I tried to do this for one day and by the end of it I swore I gave myself arthritis because how hard you have to squeeze this stuff.  They have a lot of better powered caulk guns for $150-$350, but this gun is $35 and well worth it.  To give you an idea of how much you’ll be doing this, I went through about 40 tubes of this stuff while building my tiny house.  As far as fastening the sheathing, I used 2.5″ exterior grade screws, every 6 inches on the edges and 12″ in the center (field).

In the video and some of the photos you can see that the sheathing is actually larger than the wall frame.  I had the sheathing extend below the wall framing to hide the trailer so that you’d really only see the tongue and fenders, the rest of the trailer is hidden behind, once finished, nice looking cedar siding.  I also had it extend above the framing because I could wanted the sheathing to tie into the loft beams, flooring of the lofts, and the silplate.  So I carefully calculated the height of all the components listed and a few others, so that when I installed the silplate (that the roof rafters sit on) it was perfectly flush.  This

The other key thing to know about the overhang and extension was that this then tied all three systems together to be a very strong unit.  Effectively the floor framing, the wall framing and the roof became a unified piece because they all were brought together by the sheathing.

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