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Weekend 7 of Construction


The weekend of the Super Moon – and much rain. We had grand plans to start the loft this weekend, but alas, we mostly just worked on the roof, in the rain and in between the rain.

Roofing generally goes in this order: apply braces and measure to make sure your walls are square and sturdy. Make your rafters if you are building a house with a curved roof like ours. Toe-screw your rafters in place, make and apply bird-block (so-called because the blocks have holes with metal mesh over them, to ventilate the roof without allowing birds to nest in it) and apply hurricane clips. Drill small holes in the peak of the rafters to allow cross-ventilation of roof spaces. Apply fascia (we used cedar) as a drip edge, apply 3/8″ exterior-grade plywood to the roof in the rain with staples, follow up with screws. Try not to slip off the wet, slick roof and die.

For those not on the roof in the rain, stand in the house with 5 gallon buckets and towels trying to keep up with the flood before it soaks into the floor. Re-cover the roof with non-perforated plastic, tack down. When all done, stand in your house and sip hot tea, wet and tired but so stoked with the feel of the space. Or at least that is what we did. In pictures:


Sheeting the roof


Sheeting the roof at night to get ahead of the rain


Applying curved fascia to the end of the gable


Buckets catching the rain flooding in through the holey plastic


Almost done sheeting the roof!


Re-sheeted in new plastic, with all windows and doors covered. Safe from the rain!


Soaked and tired puppy that refused to go inside out of the rain. She had to be where we were!

Started researching propane systems, and since the dad had concerns with the weight of galvanized electrical boxes, I looked up alternatives to steel. And guess what? All of the alternatives are made out of… PVC. The current standard in natural gas lines is CSST, or corrugated stainless steel tubing, which is made with flexible steel, covered in PVC. Extra flexible PVC, which we know has even more scary plasticizers in it than plain PVC vinyl. And the “thermoplastic” blue boxes are made from PVC as well. It’s starting to make me mad. Just say No! to #!&@ PVC in your house! So… we will deal with the heavy metal electrical boxes, and only run short lines of black steel pipe for the stove and hot water heater. We were going to run a line to the back of our fridge area just in case we could find a propane RV fridge, but you know, the more I think about propane and the fossil fuels it represents, and also the chemicals it releases when burned, I would rather not have a fridge than propane dependency. Or hold out until we can afford a 12v solar fridge. Eventually we may replace our adorable propane stove with an alcohol one as they look promising, and find a water tank that fits around the pipe of our wood stove like the Swedes do in their hunter’s cabins. Dunno. The non-toxic choice is always so HEAVY, and it has me panicked about weight. Suggestions?

Weekend 5 of Construction


We finished the wall siding this weekend, and mostly finished up the bay window framing. As soon as the sheeting was up, it was much easier to visualize the space, and you can start to feel the size better. The house seems massively tall standing in the driveway (which had me freaking out a little bit thinking about transport), but inside it feels just right. We also installed the Simpson Strong-Ties with our cool little no-weld brackets, and they work great! Although we did discover that the location of the cross-members NEVER coincides with the 16″ o.c. studs (which line up with our 48″ wide sheeting), of course. So if you are designing your own house and you really have it together, maybe you could get the builder to weld the cross-members every 16″. And to build according to code, the strong ties should be nailed to doubled studs, which are not located beneath a window. So we had to add a whole lot more studs than we would have liked. We had to skip one due to the French doors, so only 7 were installed.

Tiny_house_strongties We also “screwed and glued” our sheets to the framing, to give added shear strength. Since the Hi-Omega Epoxy STILL hasn’t arrived (in fact, it had not even been shipped) we bought some glue called Eco-Bond Heavy Duty Adhesive in 12 oz tubes, and that stuff works great! You can special order it through Big Box Stores, and it is zero VOC, non-petroleum based, and has almost no odor. In fact, I accidentally got some on my hands and found that I could detect no odors until I had it 1″ from my nose, and even then, it was faint. No headaches for me! And it is 1/4 as expensive as the above special glue.

Tiny_house_glueingThe other thing we spent a lot of time doing this weekend was stripping the many layers of lead and latex paint off of our antique windows, to get down to the beautiful vertical grain fir that was standard for windows back in the day. We used CitriStrip (available at Big Box Stores) and it works well… to strip one layer off at a time. Next weekend we will sand the windows and apply sealant. No pictures, as it was pretty boring to look at.

The Furry Assistant mostly chilled out. Here she is, napping on the couch in the shade. Lucky dog!


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