ProcessHouse

Building a Modern Tiny House in Connecticut

Recent Comments

  • Mike replied to Problems, problems (Plywood sheathing underway) on 28 October 2016 9:31 am

    Hi Dana,
    Thanks for your input. I did eventually look up the "acceptable tolerances" for wall framing and found that we were well within them, though it sounds like that might not be saying much! I think most builders must pad their rough openings a bit more. I just followed the directions given by the door and window manufacturers.

    The trailer has two 8" steel C-channel runners going the full length. They rest on the axle assembly which is toward the middle, so if the trailer were to bend anywhere, it would be at the front and back rather than the middle. Crossmembers are 4" C-channel, spaced 36" apart. They are capped at the ends by two more 4" pieces running the full length.

  • Dana Seccombe replied to Problems, problems (Plywood sheathing underway) on 21 October 2016 3:48 am

    After thinking about the flatness issue a little bit more, I wonder what the structural rigidity of your frame is. In other words, the floor is essentially a big beam, and given a certain load, will bend. Even with thick I beams, over a long span (the length of the house), a modest load will cause the "foundation" to flex. This calculation can be easily approximated with "beam formulas", or modeled with finite element programs (such as Lisa which, for small models can be obtained for free on the internet, or larger models costs about $100). The easiest approximation would be the beam formulas; the first reference I found on the internet is: http://www.awc.org/pdf/codes-standards/publications/design-aids/AWC-DA6-BeamFormulas-0710.pdf . It would be interesting to see what load would cause the floor to dip, say 1/4" in the middle. It probably isn't that large. This is why you see big trailers for tractors actually arc'd up in the middle. When heavily loaded, that big beam bends flat.

  • Dana Seccombe replied to Problems, problems (Plywood sheathing underway) on 21 October 2016 3:33 am

    Sounds like you're doing a great job making your tiny house square.

    Actually, most houses built on foundations are NOT perfectly square, and it is not at all uncommon for a room to be 1/2" out of square, or more. All the places I've lived in have been disappointingly not square (and in the case of floors, not flat--which can be an issue when you're later tiling floor with 18" tiles--which have to be leveled with additional concrete or leveling compound).

    Inside most houses this "sloppy construction" is covered up with drywall and drywall tape to close gaps, then glossed over with "texture" to further hide gaffs. This explains why you never see a builder agonizing over the rectitude of his walls. They just do a fair job on the foundation, but after that, throw up the construction using, at most, a framing square and a tape. They do the outside walls first, then fill in with the inner walls. If the inner walls are off by a little bit, they don't care. All they have to do with the outer walls is make sure they are "over" the foundation...

  • Jon (Dad) replied to Roof Sheathing & House "Wrap-up" on 19 October 2016 1:42 am

    Some great new photos, Mike!

    I would just like to add that applying house wrap is absolutely, unquestionably and totally necessarily a more-than-one-person task - even when you are unrolling the wrap horizontally at the lowest level, where one of you can be standing on the ground while doing the job! The full roll - I think it was 100 feet long and 5 feet wide - is pretty heavy when you first start, and one of us (I) had to be the roll supporting and unrolling guy; while the other, Michael, monitored the horizontal alignment and tacked in the staples at two-foot intervals.

    It proved helpful to put staples in only along the top edge of the wrap at first - then to come back later and finish stapling at bottom and other levels.

    The wrap material tended to form ripples in places, which we generally smoothed out by adjusting the height of the roll itself as we advanced and applying moderate tension to the unrolled material before stapling it. Where the wrap material passed over an opening and there was no sheathing directly under its top edge, the wrap seemed to want to "billow" either into or away from the opening - even with some tension applied. We didn't fret much about this, as that material will be cut away (if the windows ever get here) before long.

    The practice we got by covering the lowest five vertical feet of sheathing all around the house with only one of us (the stapling guy, Mike) on a ladder was invaluable when it came to wrapping the next five-foot-high strip just above and overlapping it.

    For that next level, both of us had to be on ladders. We happen to have a very unwieldy, super heavy and ancient wooden stepladder about 7 or 8 feet tall; and it worked out that I, still the unroller - could rest most of the weight of the heavy roll either directly on the top of the stepladder or use the top to brace my left elbow while supporting the roll against the sheathing with my left hand. We progressed around the house in about two-foot intervals - moving first my ladder (while Mike stood on his ladder and held the roll temporarily for me) and then following with his ladder after he passed me the roll again in my new position. We got to be fairly proficient at this repeated routine. Had I not had the top of the stepladder to rest weight on, the job would have been much more awkward and exhausting. I never thought I would ever really appreciate that monstrous old stepladder!

    -Jon (Dad)

  • Kel replied to Roof Sheathing & House "Wrap-up" on 18 October 2016 8:49 pm

    This is in CT? Where at?

  • Skyler Irvin replied to Walls! on 14 September 2016 1:08 am

    This is great. Love the design and the realistic reports. I'm just started something similar, 90 percent done with building the trailer, and about half way on the sub floor. I def under estimated the price of materials so far.... Looking forward to more posts!

  • Dana Seccombe replied to Wall Framing Complete - Rafters Going Up on 20 August 2016 2:40 pm

    Out here in California I've had occasion to research "shear walls" whose purpose is to keep a building from falling down in an earthquake. I would have thought screws would be the better way to build one, but nails are. The reason: in a high "strain" situation, where the building may move inches, a nail can pull out, say an inch, and still maintain its structural strengh (though the walls will be deformed). A screw will strip the threads if moved one thread pitch-- and lose a lot of its strength. So, screws provide higher initial strength, but once things progress past the shear strength of wood, nails are actually better. You still probably made the right choice with screws, but I found this topic interesting when I researched it...

  • Melody replied to "The Trailer" no more - now "The House" on 9 August 2016 10:51 am

    Ahhh it's a HOUSE! It's beautiful.

  • Mike replied to Teeny Tiny Cardboard House on 15 February 2015 7:59 pm

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Sally. I am working on a second, smaller model right now which shares a similar aesthetic. A lot of tiny houses try to fit a lot into them with very little breathing room for each "zone", which--to be fair--may be required if more than one person will be sharing the space. But I'm focused more on designing a space that is optimal for one full time occupant, with space for visitors when they drop by.

  • Sally replied to Teeny Tiny Cardboard House on 15 February 2015 9:37 am

    I am loving the model of the tiny house with a modern aesthetic, it seems to build on the uncluttered and open feel of that style, and it seems that anyone planning to downsize to a much smaller house (even if not a tiny house!) should be taking lessons from your designs!

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