Monday, March 27, 2017

How to Save Weight in Your Tiny House Build By Combining Sheathing and Siding

For ease of construction, and where possible, walls are built flat.
Wall #1 was built ON the trailer, sheathed, and raised intact.

As you saw in Framing Part Two, the rest of the walls are raised once framed,
and THEN wrapped.

Mathematically, it's not easy to keep track of the framing calculations needed 
for building from the outside in, 
(as he did with Wall #1)
and building from inside out, 
(as he did with Wall # 2 through Wall #4)

And then just when he was just getting started on sheathing Wall #2, Mark made a mistake.

That mistake meant we had to scrap one entire sheet of siding / sheathing.

So I went and bought another sheet and painted it.

And, I figured that as long as I was painting, I'd get started on painting the fascia.

A front view with already-painted siding that doubles as structural sheathing.

The Rear View.

The Back Wall View - Almost Done!

Here you can see (and this will haunt me forever) that the replacement sheet 
was not from the same mill as the other sheets.   

I'm trying to get over it....

Front and Main Wall View - With Fascia!

(and I decided to add a 3rd coat of yellow to the entire house as well)

Tarped and waiting for a dry day to add the ice and rain shield / roofing underlayment.

After that, interior framing and roofing,
(Roofing will require another dry day which are in very short supply this season)
and trim, and door installation, and electrical, and wiring.......

Framing - Part Two

Wall #1, lookin' good!

It took only one day to get the other 3 walls framed.

And the next day, wall #4 went up and we started on the roof joists.

I love this pic.  
It's so illustrative of the complexities of the framing process.

And, THANK YOU AGAIN! Mr. Plywood, 
for the framing and siding materials we used to creative this lovely "sculpture".

Then, we wrap!

Looking out of the only rear window.

I drilled and screened 56 vent holes that day.
It was sooooo much work!

Thank you, Insulation Solutions, for our house wrap.
It was super easy to install because the rolls were only 36" wide.

Next, the windows were wrapped with flashing tape.
I love that stuff, it's so effective and so easy to use!!

And then we ran out of the black flashing tape.
But then we discovered an equally good but way cheaper flashing tape, 
and used it for the rest of the windows.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Advocacy In Action In April at The Tiny House NC Street Festival

Maybe this makes me sound “old” but here goes…..

There is simply no social media platform that can replace the relationships that are formed by making time for face-to-face contact. Advocacy, in its finest moment, is best expressed in a manner which is both personal and passionate. And in the tiny house movement, you will find nowhere better to make personal and sociological changes, than at a tiny house event.

In a few weeks, I will be headed East across this vast country of ours; to participate in the Tiny House NC Street Festival in Pink Hill North Carolina. And while I have attended more than a few events of its kind, I am particularly excited about this one; Andrew Odom’s brain-child-come-to-life.

Why am I excited about THIS event?

It won’t be held in a far-off field outside of town.

Picture this: A small town FILLED to the brim with tiny houses! Yes, the NC Street Festival will actually be held IN THE STREET!  The vibe that will be created by showing America what “Tiny House America” can actually look like, will be pretty cool. Realizing Andrew’s vision was, however, certainly no small feat; and I for one cannot fathom how many meetings and emails it took to even get the permission to take over this town for an entire weekend.  But the results will, no doubt, be quite impactful. Instead of showing tiny houses, standing alone, connected only by a power cord, the newspaper and local news channels will show a town…a REAL TOWN…with tiny houses incorporated into the landscape.

Pink Hill, NC; Small Town America

Consider what Advocacy in Action can do.

The coffee shop, the restaurant, the grocery store, and likely even the hardware store and pharmacy will be brimming with fun people who think that THIS is how our rural towns should look and feel.  The influx of leaders, and speakers, and builders, and vendors, and sponsors, and journalists, and enthusiasts will leave a lasting impression on all who attend.

Experience is the Best Teacher

After having attended and participated in several tiny house events himself, Andrew’s vision includes many attributes of a well organized community gathering. In addition to the tiny houses themselves and all of the great builders who will be on hand to answer questions, and all of the expert level speakers; (even Dee Williams will be there!) this event has all the little details already ironed out including a traffic management and parking plan, a large selection of product vendors to chat with, several food vendor options, adequate signage, waste recycling, volunteer perks, and a main stage that is centrally located.

Author of "The Big Tiny" - Dee Williams

And That’s Where You’ll Find ME!

“Honored” does not begin to describe how I feel about having been invited to be the Emcee for this event.  While I will fully admit that it will be a busy weekend and a lot of hard work, I am looking forward to adding my personal spin to his vision. Andrew and I have worked the stage together, more than once, and I appreciate his organized yet go-with-the-flow attitude about what can sometimes be, pure chaos.  You won’t find me ONLY on the stage, however.  You’ll also find me roaming the tiny streets, helping where I can, making sure everyone is having fun and knows where to go. I may not be Southern but, rest assured, I can be as hospitable as any Southerner ever was!

If you have not made your plans to attend yet, you should.

If you have not requested time off from work, do it today. 
The event is being held April 21 - 23rd in Pink Hill, North Carolina.

If you have not bought your tickets yet, what’s stopping you!?

And when you get there, don’t forget to find me and say “Hello!”. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Framing Pics - Part One

Hauling 20 foot long jacking studs with a short truck requires a bit of ingenuity.

Once the floor is sheathed, the first wall is framed outside / in, and flat.

To save weight, here is an illustration of the header design we used.

Here we're using hangars instead of cripple studs, also to reduce weight.

An overview of the headers in the first wall.
(Front to Back View)

Wrapped, sills are flashed, and windows installed.
(Back to Front View) 

Next the sheathing / siding is added and it's time to.......

...jack it up!

And up.
(I hate this part, it's so scary to watch; and dangerous to do unless you're a pro like Mark is.)

Wall #1 is DONE!

Break out the Build Day Six Champagne!!

Trailer and Sub-floor Pics

Once upon a time there was a $600 trailer that wanted to grow up to be a tiny house.....

After a long journey from OR to WA, loaded with building materials, 
it was unloaded and ready for demo.

It took us a day to strip the floor and fenders; 680 lbs worth.

After we were done, we were left with a bare frame.
(the wood is there to protect our thighs as we walk past the very sharp ribs on the trailer)

Then we bought some fenders and paid $200 to a guy we found on craigslist, to weld them on. 
He did a GREAT job and added some threaded rod to the front as well.
Then we removed some of the surface rust with a wire brush and re-painted the bare / chipped spots.

Our next challenge was to figure out how to attach the sub-floor to the trailer.
It involved drilling holes and installing over 80, 3/8x4-1/2 long, carriage bolts;
 at every spot where the frame meets the trailer.

Partially Framed.

An areal view of our build site.

The sub-floor frame is complete!

We decided to use 4 inches (over $200) of foam core insulation in the floor 
because it is water and mold resistant.
We did not add an underlayment material (steel or screen or plastic) because we felt it was unneeded.
To start, Mark installed stops using 1x2's he cut from scrap wood.

Once the stops were in, it was pretty easy to cut the insulation to size with a table saw 
(but VERY MESSY) and push it into the open cavities.

Ta Dah!
All Done!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mr. Plywood = Mr. Awesome Portland Lumber Guy

When I was 16 years old I started working in a furniture factory. For three years, my job was to stand in a non-insulated, non-cooled, non-heated, metal building and sort lumber by grade. Let me tell you, that kind of indoctrination into the working world tends to create lifelong friendships and it certainly did in this case. We sweat together, we froze together, we wrote notes on the scraps, and then sent them down the belt and then laughed till we peed our pants.

Little did I know, at the time, it was “training” that I would use many many years later but in a nutshell; I know a good board from a crappy one. This hasn’t exactly led to any high paying gigs and if you look long enough at a piece of wood I’m sure you can too; but if you’re picking out an entire house worth of lumber from a stack at the local big-box-lumber-store, being able to grade lumber quickly and easily can be a handy skill. (and dare I say, not one their employees likely posses)

Loading the siding was easy!

Or, you can buy from a lumber and building supply store like Mr. Plywood who takes the guesswork out of the process and, frankly, the process out of the process!

Mr. Plywood has been around longer than I have!

Buying local just makes sense. Putting your hard earned money back into the pockets of your neighbors is good for the local economy and the stability of a neighborhood at large. When a store, or restaurant sees you as a neighbor (and likely someone that they’ll run into at the local grocery store) a shift happens in the way you are treated. They do. Actually. Care. The transaction becomes much more personal. They’re vested in how you feel.

Unloading, by hand, was a different story.

I live in Oregon so moldy and wet wood is a pretty big issue. Recently, my friends fought with an entire load of OSB that was moldy within a few days of adding it to their tiny house. When I mean “fought” I mean taking advanced measures at abating the mold and attempting to get their money back from the big-box-store to no avail. Ugh. They swore to never return to the orange vested option and instead chose to buy their lumber for their next tiny house where I got my lumber from; you guessed it, at Mr. Plywood.

Like me, they placed their order and within a few days it was sorted, pulled, stacked, bound, covered, and ready for pick up. They had theirs delivered, I picked mine up. But the overall experience was the same. It was Awesome! They even loaded it onto my trailer with a forklift and I was out of there in less than 15 minutes. Try THAT anywhere else!?

Painting siding flat is so much easier than painting it once its hung!

No grading lumber.

No stacking and standing in line.

No slivers.

We LOVE Mr. Plywood!  (Who wouldn't!?)

I just watched them do the thing they do so well, and drank coffee.

I bet you’re wondering how much more their lumber costs than the blue-box store, aren’t you?
How can the little local guys, compete?

Lumber is a commodity. What the stores pay for their lumber changes, very often, and is set by the trading market. Only the lumber type and grade dictates the price differential. So the big stores pay for the cheapest grades and types knowing their customers may not likely know, or care. They just want a 2x4, right?

Stacked, dry, and ready for the build to start.

When it comes to my tiny house, its stability, and my time; I certainly CARE! And, the difference in price at Mr. Plywood is minimal but the service level and lumber grade is so much better! When I am building a tiny house, I would rather be working on it with my precious weekend time than standing in line.

I, however, was anything but dry that day.

Actually, I would rather be doing anything, ever; than standing in line and loading my own lumber.

If you’re building a tiny house, or any house for that matter, in Portland Oregon; I cannot recommend Mr. Plywood enough. If you place your order in advance, it’ll be ready. If you’re not sure what you need or how much, they’re experts. If you appreciate a friendly face, a kind demeanor, and a patient approach; Mr. Plywood fits the bill.

Framing is my favorite part of the build.
There is something so rewarding about a job well done with high quality materials.