Day 1: Tiny House Foundation

Today was the first day of our week-long tiny house build and we're relaxing after a productive day. We've just finished a splendid supper and we're making our shopping and to do lists for tomorrow.

We started out just before noon with a feasibility test of sorts as we described our plans to Jane's friends who are helping with the tiny house build. They have more construction experience than Jane and me, so we were anxious to make sure that our design is build-able. We knew there would be some figuring out and some troubleshooting, but it was a little nerve-wracking trying to explain the construction details we'd basically invented. Since we wanted to maximize the space of the trailer we had a custom trailer built so we weren't able to rely on many of the design details that many other tiny housers have already developed. Fortunately, a few moments playing with 2x4s and 2x6s enabled us come up with a plan to move forward.

Our goal for the day was to get the foundation finished and we're very pleased we succeeded. We started out by building the floor box for the central portion of the trailer. We screwed eleven 75" 2x6s to the two 20 ft 2x6 rim joists. (We was pretty exciting about using the impact driver - what a fun new toy!) Then we flipped the whole assembly over and tacked 6 mm plastic and rolled aluminum flashing to the frame. The moment of truth came when we flipped the frame over again and settled it into place inside the trailer. With a few whacks of the sledgehammer it fit snugly into place. Once it was settled, we bolted the central floor box and the 2x6s on the other side to the trailer frame with 6" long 1/2" bolts. We'd special requested 5/8" holes drilled horizontally through the sides of the custom trailer frame at the corners and on either side of the wheel wells. The extra $5 per hole seems to be worth the time saved drilling through the steel ourselves.

We cut 1" extruded polystyrene insulation to fit in the bays. (Unfortunately, Home Depot made a couple of errors in the order and delivered some of the wrong materials, so we actually ended up with mostly 3/4" foam. We decided to go with it anyhow since we were eager to get the insulation in.) Once we had the rigid foam insulation in place, we spray foamed all the edges. We decided to wait on adding any additional insulation till tomorrow morning. The weather report is for clear skies so keep your fingers crossed for us!

As evening approached we worked out a revised stud layout that is a compromise between the plentiful windows Jane wants and her builder friends' insistence that we have more wall surface for increased shear strength. We marked the stud layout onto the sill plates on the exterior walls so that we can tackle it in the morning.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day as we'll be laying the subfloor and framing up the first of the walls. Stay tuned!