Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged insulation

Tiny House Building Update

It has been a while since I updated you all on the tiny house, I’ve been spending all my free time building and getting the tiny house ready for the Tiny House Conference coming up very soon.  Right now I’m spending my time insulating the house, squaring away some of the plumbing and wiring.

Wiring:

I had the tiny house roughed in  (running wires, installing boxes, grounding) for electrical a while ago, but since then I decided I wanted a few more wire.  The two biggest additions I made was I wired for some outdoor speakers I wanted to add to my house and then I ran Ethernet cables for internet.

When I added these it was tricky because adding these wires you want to try to avoid your electrical lines the best you can.  Ideally you won’t have your Ethernet cable within 18 inches of your power lines and if you do have to cross them, you do so at a right angle.  The reason why is that the electromagnetic fields of the wires are essential to how the ethernet cables work to transmit the data for your internet connection.

When it comes to achieving this spacing it is pretty tricky because in a tiny house the walls there isn’t that much space to achieve this.  The other consideration when running wires is that the longer you run, the more the signal degrades.  In this case even if though I had to run the wires in a bit of a round about way, it wasn’t too far.  For Ethernet cables at about 1000′ the signal degrades and for speaker wire under 50′ you can use 16 gauge wire, over 50′ 14 gauge is recommended.

Insulating:

Initially I was going to use foam board, but after using in the floors I found that I wasn’t able to pack in enough of the foam board as I thought.  The floor framing cavity was 3.5″ deep, but I was only able to fit about 3″ of foam with the brackets, air pockets etc.  So for the walls I decided to go with standard fiberglass batts that were kraft paper backed.  This allowed me to use the full space because it could compress where there was things in the way.  It also meant that I could very quickly insulate the walls when compared to the rigid board insulation.

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Now I know many people are going to ask, so I’ll explain why I choose Fiberglass and Foam over other options.  My first choice was to get spray foam insulation, which has the highest R value of the common insulation for houses.  So I called around for quotes and for some reason to get this done in my area is more expensive than in other cities.  The lowest quote I got for my tiny house was $3400!  So that was out.

Next I considered sheeps wool, but at the time they didn’t have it in batts (combined into a thick sheet that fits in the wall framing) at the time I started building my house.  At the time it was just loose fill and everyone I spoke to it was a pain to fill into the wall cavities.  Wool is also about R-5 less than foam.  So while fiberglass isn’t great, I felt for me it was the right choice in terms of price, R value, and easy of installation.  The wool insulation was going to cost me close to $700 while the fiberglass insulation cost me $300.

Installing The Shower Drain:

When it came to putting a hole in the floor of my tiny house, I was pretty nervous about it.  One thing that I knew going into the build from day one was that I might go to put the hole for the drain, only to find that a metal support for the trailer was in the way; Talk about a potential nightmare!

offset drain

Well low and behold, the drain did in fact need to go where a 5″ metal beam was under the trailer.   It took some work to figure how the drain location on the inside, translated to the bottom of the trailer because you can’t really measure from the same point when you’re under the trailer.  Once I measured it out my nightmare became real life as I stared at the beam that stood in the way of the drain.  So off the the hardware store I went with some photos on my phone in order to find a solution.

After 45 minutes in the plumbing aisle I discovered something called an “off set drain”  which is pictured above.  This basically gave me the few inches I needed to miss the beam entirely and solved my problem.  With that set I picked up a hole saw to cut the correct size hole and I could move forward again.

Here are some photos of the house right now:

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photo 2

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Recycle Your Blues

I just ran across this and thought it was not only entertaining, but has to do with green building and recycling!  The GAP is taking old jeans and turning them into denim insulation (ultratouch) for those in need in our communities.  From the 6th to the 20th bring in your used, worn, ripped jeans and turn them in for 30% off some new jeans.   I don’t know if they have to be GAP branded jeans (update: It looks like they don’t, see store for details) you turn in or just any jeans, but I think it is pretty neat.

Note:  If you have a GAP credit card they will give you an additional 5% off