Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged build

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 Building Guide

So a while ago I introduced the “Ryan’s Tiny House” section which outlines the process of me building my tiny house, since there there hasn’t been much activity on that page except for my Tiny House Checklist.  Well I had some time to get a bunch of website work done and was able to start the Building Guide section.  You can access it by clicking “Ryan’s Tiny House” link in the menu or click here.

The guide is a chronological order of my building process that includes all the posts I have done to date on my house.  Each section has a “read more” button to get into the details.  Hope you all enjoy!

building section

Framing My Tiny House

Framing is a really exciting time in your building process.  When you tip that wall up for the first time the change is dramatic, the next wall goes up, then the rest and before you know it your home has a form.  It’s an inspiring time in building your home, so here are some of the details on how to frame.  In these two videos I show the process of me framing the rear wall of my Tiny House.  You can see the whole process and the concepts your see here can be applied to the rest of the walls.

The one difference you will see in these videos from traditional house framing is that all of my cross pieces (fire blocks) are all in line, which usually are staggered.  The reason for this is I later went through and wrapped the whole house with structural grade hurricane strapping.

Part 1:

Part two:

 

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Insulating The Floors – Part 1

So in my last update I showed how I framed the floor (here) of my Tiny House and the next step was to insulate the floor cavity.  When you frame the tiny house, most people frame it so that it hangs off the edge of the Tiny House on most of the sides.  This creates a gap between the framing and the actual trailer.  So we use expanding spray foam to close it up air tight.  This foam creates a water and vapor barrier.

One major tip I can give you if you are using this stuff, wear latex/nitrile gloves that you can throw away.  If this stuff gets on your skin it literally will not come off, even with paint thinner, goo gone, pumice soap, or any other trick you have in your book.  You basically have to wait for your skin to wear off.  trust me, I know!


First off, this is what I started with, the floor framed, beneath that you can see the white vapor barrier and that is covering the metal flashing.   Then I sprayed the expanding foam into all the cracks to seal it up.  From there I will be putting in the foam board, which I will show in my next update post.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trailer For My Tiny House

Picking up my trailer was a very surreal moment for me.  I think when I saw the trailer for the first time it finally hit me that I was committing to this project.  It was a weird mix of emotions… excitement mixed with a touch of oh s%!$ I have to build a whole house!  Even though I have been inside a Tumbleweed Fencl before, when I saw the trailer it seemed small.  The interesting thing is now that I am building on it, it’s size seems to get bigger feeling.  Even though it seemed small for a house, it was huge on the road!  I had to go down this little side road to get home; at one point I looked in my side mirrors and my right tire was on the pavement’s edge and the left side was a foot into the other lane!

So now the nitty gritty details for those who want them.

The trailer is a 18′ utility trailer, its a 8,000 GWVR made by Kaufman trailers.  Between the fenders it is 82.5 inches which is really important for to make sure your house is as wide as possible.  Basically if you have you maximum trailer width, minus the tires, clearance from the axle/wheel wells you get about 82″.  The decking is treated lumber and I opted to get a heavier duty trailer so I could just leave all the decking on instead of fooling with removing some of it like many houses do.  This also means that I have a (almost) solid chunk of wood underneath my insulation which adds to the R value of my house.  According to a web search this will add about R-3 to my already R-13, add the almost inch of flooring and then a 1/2 finished flooring we are looking a total of R 18.8 for the floor.

I took my trailer to a welder to add the tie downs and remove a bunch of parts.  I had him cut off the rear light arms that you can see in the above photo, also the spare tire bracket and one part of the front “I” beam to make it flush with the front of the trailer.  The tie downs are 4 bolts in the front, 6 threaded rods on the sides and two plates on the back.  Check out the video below for more.

 

Here (below) is the front “I” beam that the top right arm of the “I” was cut off, you can see them cutting it off in the above photo.

In the above photo notice that I made the tie downs go in line with the cross members of the trailer.  I will have to tweak the wall framing to accommodate, but it is much strong at this point.

Since the house extends about 6″ off the back of the trailer I needed more tie down spots and support.  Above and below are photos of the rear tie down plates.  I left them without holes because I wanted to be sure to place the hole exactly where I needed it to tie into the framing once it is built.  Because of this I made the plates out of 6″ C channel and then had gussets welded onto them.  These plates ended up being slightly too long, but I will just sheath this section of the house twice:  the first layer will extend the surface beyond the plate’s edge and the second will hand down to attach the siding and hide the trailer from sight.

 

 

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