Day 6: Tiny House Windows

Today Noah (a friend from Whitman College) and Aaron (a friend from my grad program) came out to help with the build. Together we finished tar papering the house and then helped put in the windows. All the windows are now in their rightful places and they look great! We covered the edges of the window flanges with a waterproofing flashing so the exterior of the house is now ready for siding.

It's such a joy to have the windows in. This was a big step for me since windows add so much character to a building. Now it's starting to feel like a house instead of a construction project! I loved walking through the house this afternoon to get a feel for what it will be like to lounge on the window seat or to look out the kitchen window.

Meanwhile the roofing framer put up all the trusses and added supports for the roof's overhangs. I helped by cutting a few pieces for him and admired -  from a safe vantage point - his fearlessness about clambering around on the roof while using a circular saw to cut notches into the top of the roof rafters. The builders had to leave the site mid-afternoon for another appointment, so I helped tarp the house and we wrapped up early. A quiet evening at home and early to bed for me!

We've already cut the sheets of OSB for the roof sheathing so we're ready to put it up first thing in the morning. We're all eager to get the house dried in since the Portland spring promises plenty of rain.

Day 4: Tiny House Plumbing & Wiring Begins

Today we did a walk around of the tiny house first thing so Jane could decide where she wanted all of her outlets and switches. One of the builders focused on the electrical and plumbing most of the day while the rest of us finished sheathing the house.

We continued with our method of measuring the area to cover, cutting the piece, holding it up to make sure it fit properly, then adding a bead of construction adhesive to each stud and header, and stapling the OSB to the studs. We have become pretty handy with Liquid Nails construction adhesive, a circular saw, and a staple gun. The trick of nailing a pieces of 2x4 to the top plate so that we can butt the sheet of OSB up to it is a great one!

Because the house is 8'6" wide and 20' long we aren't able to use full sheets of dimensional OSB so we have used full sheets as often as possible and placed our filler pieces strategically. The stud layouts I'd sketched out a couple weeks ago were useless since the layout of the house has been tweeked a bit. We also didn't have the trailer yet so we couldn't get precise measurements from it until just before we started building. We certainly added some weight by using extra studs, but hopefully the enhanced sheer strength will be worth it. As we covered it in sheathing the house started getting darker but we cut open the windows again with a sawzall.

The trickiest pieces we worked on were around the wheel wells. Since we are building out to the full width of the trailer we're bringing the wheel wells into the house. We needed to make sure we had a good connection between the walls and the trailer and we wanted to minimize the number of exterior wall surfaces. We all puzzled over it for a while and finally came up with a solution that involved capping the ends of our double joists with plywood, then placing a 2x4 at the bottom of the gap and gluing it into place with massive amounts of construction adhesive. We'll be sure to tape it well, too, with our handy aluminum tape. Then we had the fun task of bringing the OSB to the fenders. We ended up scribing the cuts from the inside with a long pencil and then cutting them out with a jigsaw. This allowed us to get a pretty close connection which we can seal up with spray foam and caulk.

We seem to have hit a snafu with our insulation that we'll be working on later this week. Tomorrow a roofing framer is going to come out to get started on the roof which we're all looking forward to since the house will really take shape then. It's been gorgeous the past four days but we got sprinkled on this evening so we wrapped things up early. Roofing in the rain is neither fun or safe so we're hoping for some good weather the next couple of days! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Day 3: Tiny House Subfloor & Sheathing

Today I got to the site early to take pictures of construction details so that we can recall what we've done after we've closed everything in. Then I finished insulating the gap between the interior floor box and the exterior wall with rigid foam insulation so that we could get our subfloor into place. Meanwhile, everyone else finished up the fourth wall and cut blocks, cripples, and headers. A neighbor saved the day by loaning us his nail gun and staple gun, so the framing went much more quickly today!

Ricardo and Zef (two of my classmates) and John (a fellow tiny house dweller) came by to lend a hand today as well. John crawled around under the trailer to seal all the seams with aluminum tape. (We should have done this before we put the floorbox into the trailer frame, so we're very grateful John was up for the task!) Ricardo and I made a trip to Builders' City to pick up the door we found while Zef and John got the 3/4" tongue and groove subfloor into place (at least temporarily - we'll need to remove part of it again to do our plumbing). It was pretty impressive to see how far the house progressed just while I was away on this errand!

This afternoon we got several sheets of 1/2" OSB sheathing up. Most tiny houses use a glue and screw method: gluing all the sheathing to the studs and then screwing them into place. Since we don't anticipate this house traveling far or often we decided to go for liberal use of glue and 1 1/2" staples. We wrapped up a little earlier than usual since we were at a good stopping point and the sky was looking threatening. We hope to get the other sheets of sheathing hung in the morning so we can move on to roofing on Tuesday.

We have been brainstorming plumbing, electrical, and roofing details this evening. Lots of decisions to make tomorrow!