T42 Lofts, Interior Walls, Paint

Day 20 = Done!

Day 20 = Done!

It’s been a very productive week for our tiny house, T42. (It’s also been a very exciting week for Isha and I because we made A Big Announcement!) This week, with the help of a few friends and a couple Tiny House Sidekicks, we managed to install the sleeping loft, the studio pocket door, the bathroom pocket door, the studio wall, the access hatch for our loo bucket, and do the first coat of paint on the interior of our little house. (If you’d like to see more photos and the play-by-play, be sure to check out Niche Consulting on Instagram!)

I worked solo for two half days the first couple days of the week, caulking seams, spray foaming our fenders, and finishing priming. I’d started T42 Sealing & Priming a few weeks ago when my baby cousin was in town and she’s right, it’s boring. But listening to books on Audible kept me entertained. I also got our keyless door lock installed so we can remain Key Free.

T42 Roof Complete

T42 Roof Complete

On Wednesday, the roofers from TB Quality Construction finished installing our roof. This is the same team that did The Lucky Penny’s Copper Penny Roof and, once again, they did a great job! Additionally, Andy (who joined me for the first two Build Blitzes) spent a day helping the inside of our little house take shape. We built the frame for the sleeping loft out of cedar 2x4s and then attached birch plywood to the bottom and with the help of the folks building near us at Green Anchors, we hoisted it into place and anchored it there with structural screws. We supported the hanging corner of the loft with a 4×4 post and then cut the pocket door frame and door down to size. We also built a little wall next to the pocket door to finish out that wall. The clearance underneath our sleeping loft will be about 5’8″ once our finish floor is installed, which is too short for folks like Andy to stand up in, but perfectly comfy for Isha (who is 5’5″) and me. (I’m 5’2″ on a tall day!) This gives us more room in the sleeping loft, which we’re really looking forward to! I was so excited to have this new room in the house I couldn’t resist getting a little paint on the wall, so I painted our lavender wall that day, too!

Chris Painting in Corner

Chris Painting in Corner

On Thursday I ordered our cork flooring, picked up more Colorhouse no-VOC paint at Green Depot, washed the skylights, insulated our sleeping loft with Roxul Safe & Sound mineral wool insulation, and started noodling through installation of the access hatch in the bathroom.

Friday I was joined by my pal Chris and two Tiny House Sidekicks, Christine and Robb, for a painting party. We finished some caulk and priming details and then started playing with color. The ceiling is a creamy white, the long walls are spring green, the tongue wall is lavender, and the tail wall is barely blue. It’s so fun to see the house transformed by color!

Lina Tests Access Hatch with Loo Bucket

Lina Tests Access Hatch with Loo Bucket

Sunday Isha and I installed the access hatch in the bathroom for our loo bucket. It felt strange to cut another hole in the house after working so hard to seal everything up. If I had it to do over again I’d definitely have had it cut out in the factory since the access hatch is harder to flash than the windows. Nevertheless, we got it done and we’re excited about being able to empty our loo bucket from outside the house instead of carrying the bucket through the kitchen and outside! We also installed the pocket door for our bathroom, which we’d been holding off on until the access hatch was cut because we knew it would be more difficult to do once that wall was in place! (Saws require clearances!)

Hanging Out Inside & Outside T42

Hanging Out Inside & Outside T42

We also made a trip to Ikea to select our sink and explore storage solutions for our studio. Our water heater and exhaust fan are on order and this week I’ll be ordering our kitchen cabinets, our bathtub, and our countertops so that we can work on Cabinets & Built-Ins for Build Blitz #5. If you’d like to join us, please sign up. This is the last T42 Build Blitz before September so if you’ve been itching to get some hands-on building experience, this is your chance!

 

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A Big Announcement from Lina & Isha

In March I shared A Tiny Announcement from Lina & Isha when we told everyone about the tiny house we’re building, T42. Today we’re excited to share a BIG announcement:

We're engaged!

We’re engaged!

Last week Isha asked me to marry him and I said “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” We’re engaged! Hooray! We’re so excited!

We haven’t set a date yet. We’re taking it one thing at a time and this year we’re building our tiny house! So we’ll keep you posted.

Read on for our engagement story:

I caught the bouquet at a wedding in May - yes, please!

I caught the bouquet at a wedding in May – yes, please!

Lina has long admired the tradition a handful of friends have created of both partners wearing engagement rings. So seven years ago, while she was traveling in Thailand, she bought a set of silver bands. Since she didn’t yet know the man she was going to marry, she chose one that fit her ring finger and one that fit her thumb. The idea was that she and her future sweetie would wear these engagement rings until their wedding day when they’d trade them for wedding rings of their choosing.

Then she kept her fingers crossed that she’d find her fella someday!

Meanwhile, Isha had his fingers crossed that someday he’d find his lady. He moved to Portland from the Bay Area three and a half years ago to hoping to learn about growing and preserving food (and where better to learn the art of fermentation then Portland, OR?!) Oh, and to find the love of his life. That was a primary motivator, too.

Imbuing each other's rings with love

Imbuing each other’s rings with love

Isha finally found Lina a year ago when he visited Simply Home Community for a tour of the tiny houses. He was interested in creating a tiny house community and trying out tiny house living. Luckily for all of us, the tiny house next door to Lina’s was for rent and Isha moved in. We hit it off and it was quickly clear that we were a great match. With our community’s blessing, we started dating. We’ve thoroughly loved the past year together and making future plans.

As we approached the one year mark of knowing each other, Lina told Isha about the engagement rings and the idea that we’d wear them on chains around our necks (she’d wear his and he’d wear hers) until the moment was right to exchange them. He said he liked the idea, but wanted to check out the rings. When Isha tried on the ring Lina had selected for her future partner seven years ago, it fit perfectly without needing to be resized! It felt like a fairy tale!

We're going out to celebrate our engagement!

We’re going out to celebrate our engagement!

Last week Isha was planning to steal the rings from Lina’s jewelry box in the middle of the night and propose to her on the anniversary of when we met. However, she didn’t know that. So in her eagerness, she convinced Isha to get the rings out a day early and wear them on chains.

So for a couple days Isha wore Lina’s ring on a chain around his neck and she did the same with his. Fortunately, this gave us a chance to imbue each other’s ring with our love and time for us to make sure we are really ready to commit to each other.

This weekend we were headed up to see Lina’s auntie and sisters, so Isha teased Lina about telling her sisters about the ring on the chain around her neck. “Or, I could tell them about the ring around my finger…” she replied. “Huh?” he asked, eyebrows shooting up. “I’m ready when you are,” she told him.

So Isha asked Lina on the spot to marry him and she said yes over and over again. We relished the opportunity to tell our family in person and to share the news with a few close friends. Now we’re excited to shout it from the rooftops! We’re engaged!      

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T42 Door Installation & Final Dry In

Hooray! We love our new French doors!

Hooray! We love our new French doors!

Yesterday Isha and I rallied a group of friends for Build Day #17 to install our French doors. We were eager to get our little house dried in before we moved it out from our covered build spot. It was great having a bunch of strong backs and clever brains for our door install. And it was especially nice to have Russ join us since he’s a contractor and he was able to teach us some great tricks!

We started out by ensuring that our rough opening was square and level so that the door will swing and close properly. Then we dryfit the door by hoisting it up into place to check our wiggle room all the way around. Once we were sure it was a go, we removed the handles that were attached to the door frame and put three beads of sealant down on the sill. We then hefted the door into place, making sure it is flush with the inside of the house. Then we adjusted the door side-to-side, placing our shims behind each of the door hinges.

Replacing hinge screws with long screws that will go through hinges and shims into door frame

Replacing hinge screws with long screws that will go through hinges and shims into door frame

I’d already learned the trick of tucking screws behind the weatherstripping when anchoring the top of the door, but Russ taught us the new trick of removing one of the screws in each hinge (one by one, as you go along, instead of all at once!) and replacing it with a nice long screw through the hinge and the shims into the door framing. This way you don’t have any visible fasteners through the door frame. We’re so pleased with our new door!

Isha and I spent the rest of the day working on staining and sealing our cedar plywood siding with OSMO One Coat. It was a hot day (probably too hot for staining, really!) and we were as grateful to be under cover as we would have been if it had been pouring! In the evening we tidied up our covered build site at Green Anchors, packed up our little house, loaded some offcuts (read: firewood!) into the truck for next weekend’s camping trip, and worked with Matt and the forklift to move the tiny house out to the central tiny house pod.

Sarah helped me get the corner trim finished so we can work on siding on nice days

Sarah helped me get the corner trim finished so we can work on siding on nice days

Today my friend Sarah joined me for the first half of Build Day 18 to get the house level in its new spot and get the corner trim up so that we can work on our exterior siding and trim on nice days. The second half of Build Day 18 was getting the door sealed up by stuffing backerrod in the space between the shims and closing it up with a sealant joint. And none-to-soon since it started drizzling while I was finishing up! (Typically we’d put the sealant joint on the inside as we’re going to do with the windows, but we treated the door as we did the fenders, sealing it on the outside with the plan to use a low-expansion spray foam from the inside for these two areas.)

T42 is in its new spot now in the central tiny house pod at Green Anchors

T42 is in its new spot now in the central tiny house pod at Green Anchors

There are nearly a dozen other tiny houses under construction in the central pod so it’s going to be great to be with all the other tiny house builders for the rest of our build. But, I’ve got to say, it was wonderful having 4 weeks under cover to get our house dried in! (Considering that we were only building two of those four weeks, we made pretty darn good progress! It was great to have the time off between Build Blitzes though for travels, project management, and design work for my Package Deal clients.) I slept so much better at night during the dry in period for this house than I did when I was working on The Lucky Penny’s Plan F: Take 2!

Now that we’re dried in, we’ll switch to the interior for Build Blitz #4 so that we can work on our painting, interior walls, and lofts.

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T42 Last Window

We finished the cuts with a reciprocating saw

We finished the cuts with a reciprocating saw

This past week we completed Build Blitz #3 with the help of Meg from Boston and a couple other Tiny House Sidekicks. We wrapped up some important steps for our little house, including:

Thursday afternoon we were on a roll and everything was going splendidly with T42 Window Installation until we got to the window above the door. This window is 2″ wider than the other clerestory windows so that it lines up properly with the door. We figured that it was more important that it match the door than to match the other windows, but they’d all look fine together and we’d be the only ones to know. Hopefully that will still be the case (except that those of you reading this post will know that we had to cheat it again)!

When I sent the window schedule (the list of windows we wanted) to Sue at Home Depot so we could get a quote for our windows, I included the nominal sizes. For instance, we said we wanted the kitchen windows to be 2′ x 3′ (two feet wide and three feet tall). Sue adjusted the measurements down 1/2″ in each direction so that the rough openings could be 2′ x 3′ and the windows would be 23.5″ x 35.5″. That way the windows would fit beautifully into the openings with 1/4″ wiggle room all the way around. 

Day 16 = done

Day 16 = done

Before we placed the order I triple checked the list and then we signed off on the windows. Unfortunately, when we went to install that window over the door it was too big for the rough opening. When we measured it, we discovered that it was exactly the same size as the rough opening. It hadn’t been adjusted down 1/2″ in each direction. I reviewed our order and realized that all the other windows were on a different page of the order and they all marched along with their 1/2″ smaller sizes. Then we flipped the page and it was 50″ x 24″. I didn’t realize that one hadn’t been adjusted down and Sue must have thought that I’d actually wanted that one to be a little bigger since when we talked about it I confirmed that the window above the door wasn’t the same as the others. So ultimately, it was my fault for not noticing the discrepancy.

So… we started out Friday by making the rough opening for that window 1/2″ bigger in each direction. We marked the lines with a combination square, made a plunge cut from both sides with a circular saw, and then matched up the cut lines with a reciprocating saw. Once the RO was big enough we dry fitted the window. Then we used Fast Flash to flash the window rough opening. While we were waiting for it to set up we put the FastFlash over the window fins on the other windows.

Tom and Jeremy showing off the start of our metal roof

Tom and Jeremy showing off the start of our metal roof

Meanwhile, our roofers from TB Quality Construction arrived to work on our metal roof. There was a little hang up on getting the flashing kits sorted out for the skylights, so they’ll need to come back to finish it up, but it’s great to see the roof panels going up and Jeremy and Tom are great fellas so we’ll be happy to have them back.

 

Finally, we were able to pop that last window into it’s RO, square it up, check the reveal, fasten it in to place, and FastFlash its window fin, too. Whew! Now ALL the windows are truly in and the last thing we need to do to be dried in is install our French doors! That’s today’s project, which I’ll be working on with Isha, so stay tuned for more!

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T42 Window Installation

Meg and Sarah installing a window

Meg and Sarah installing a window

T42 has windows! Hip, hip, hooray!

They were two weeks late, but our windows finally arrived yesterday afternoon and with the help of my Tiny House Sidekick Meg and my friend Sarah we got them all* installed in an afternoon!

*Okay, well not quite all of them. Our hiccup on windows is that one of them was misordered. More on that in my next post…

Meg and I spent the morning installing our Z-flashing over the bottom boards and building and installing our first corner trim. We’re using 5/4″ by 6″ boards which are, of course, really 1″ thick by 5.5″ wide. To make the corners look the same width in both directions we used a table saw to rip 1″ off one of the sides. We then glued them together and screwed them with GRK trim screws which have a pretty star head. We were careful to set the corners up so that on the tongue side we have a full board on the tongue side so that rain won’t get driven into the seam as we take the little house down the road. The Z-flashing is installed over the bottom trim board to protect it from any water that might sit on that horizontal surface and rot the wood. They’re attached with tiny self-tapping metal screws to the lath. The siding will go right over the top leg of the flashing and all that will be seen is the little silver edge that comes out and over the trim. Our house is cedar, silver, and black and it should look pretty sharp!

Day 15 = done!

Day 15 = done!

When the windows I arrived I was so excited I nearly hugged the driver, Joe. He and his sidekick helped us unload the windows and as soon as my friend Sarah arrived we got to work with installation. I’ve found it’s great to have three people for window install. Two to put the window in and hold it in place and then shift it whichever way it needs to go while there’s one person inside the house checking for a consistent reveal all the way around the rough opening and adding shims as needed to get the window in place. Once the window is where it needs to be, the people on the outside secure it in place with fasteners through the nailing fins.

Window installation is one of my favorite moments in a tiny house build because the windows are the eyes of the house and the give the house so much of its character. Installing windows also closes up the gaps we’ve cut into the walls and brings us much closer to being dried in. They house is now almost ready to be outside on its own!

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T42 Rainscreen & Bottom Trim

Our rainscreen system is important in the Pacific Northwest

Our rainscreen system is important in the Pacific Northwest

On Wednesday, which was Build Day #14, we continued our exterior work with waterproofing quality control, instilling our rainscreen, and installing the first of our exterior trim. Our day started out with sealing up the space between the SIPs and the fenders with backerrod and a liquid-applied sealant. Air sealing is important for energy-efficiency and moisture management so it’s nice to have this little step done. We also installed a few SIPs screws from the exterior through the SIPs and into the ledgers that hold up our storage loft. Now it’s secured into the wall SIP from both sides. These were two little steps closer to being dried in. Once the windows and door are in we’ll be able to be actually dried in and that’s really exciting!

Next we started putting up our rainscreen system. “Rainscreen” is a tricky term because it makes it sounds like you’re adding some sort of screen to the house to protect it from rain. The reality is that a rainscreen is almost a lack of things. It’s negative space. Basically, a rain screen system – which is designed to protect your house from getting waterlogged and rotting – is a gap created between the exterior siding and the water resistant covering your sheathing. Unfortunately, linguistic matters get a bit more complicated by the fact that there is often bug screen involved in a rainscreen system! I’ll try to break it down. Here we go!

Day 14 = Done!

Day 14 = Done!

In our case the wall system is structural insulated panels (SIPs) covered in a layer of R-Guard Cat 5, which is a liquid-applied water resistant barrier. We then stapled 3/8″ cedar lath over the waterproofing layer, leaving the bottoms loose so we could add bug netting at the bottom. When we’re ready to put the siding up we’ll attach it to the lath strips and into the sheathing. (Since we’re using SIPs we don’t have to line up with studs, but if you’re doing stick framing you do want to line up with the studs!) Installing the lath gives us a gap between the siding and the water resistant barrier so that any water that might get behind the siding can drain away. This provides a little breathing and airing out space which makes your siding more durable and protects the structure of the house from having waterlogged siding boards sitting right against it.

After the lath was up we picked up some bug netting (the fiberglass kind you’d use to make a screen for a window or screen door) and cut it into long strips. We tucked these under the bottoms of the lath, wrapping up a few inches on both sides, and then stapled the bottoms of the lath into place to hold the netting in place, too. We now have a screen at the bottom of the house behind the bottom trim board so that water can drain out but bugs can’t get in!

Once the rainscreen was up we could install our bottom trim boards, so we wrapped up the day by installing our first trim boards. Woohoo! It’s starting to come together!

The windows didn’t arrive today as anticipated and they’re now a couple weeks late. Fingers crossed that they come tomorrow!

 

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T42 Window Flashing & Staining Trim

Day 12 Begins: Teresa here to help with window flashing

Day 12 Begins: Teresa here to help with window flashing

This week I am working with a fabulous woman named Meg who has come all the way from Boston to participate in our T42 Build Blitz to work on exterior tasks like waterproofing, rainscreen, windows, trim, and siding. Meg plans to build her tiny house, starting this fall, with her dad who has been building most of his life. He’s been boneyarding materials including an amazing door and some great windows in preparation for her build. It sounds like it’s going to be an awesome little house! We started out the week on Monday with the assistance of Teresa, a Portlander who was in my Tiny House Considerations E-Course last fall. Teresa plans to build her tiny house in the next couple of years and situate it so that she can have a garden.

Teresa got to be quite the pro at liquid-applied window flashings

Teresa got to be quite the pro at liquid-applied window flashings

Our main project for Monday was doing touch ups on the R-Guard liquid-applied waterproofing system and flashing the windows. We first filled in gaps with Joint & Seam Filler and then slathered a layer of Fast Flash in the rough openings and around them on the exterior. It’s similar to frosting a cake but very sticky work. Fortunately, there are no power tools involved so we were able to yak the day away.

Towards the end of the day on Monday we did a chop saw lesson as we cut down our bottom and middle trim boards so that we wouldn’t seal wood we’d be cutting off. I’d much rather use those cedar planks for grilling fish this summer than send them to the landfill! It was so great to see Meg and Teresa getting a feel for this power tool and I was downright impressed by how quickly they braved up to it! Woohoo for power tool empowerment!

Day 13 = Done!

Day 13 = Done!

On Tuesday Meg and I sanded and oiled our exterior trim boards with OSMO One Coat, which is a stain and sealer in one that we picked up at Green Depot. It goes on with brushes and you spread the oil in as thin a layer as you possibly can. The boards we’re using for the trim are salvaged, so they’re rough in places and it was interesting working with them since the wood has so much character! Fortunately, we got into a rhythm with it and were able to spend most of the day talking, which was lovely. I am so delighted with how these boards look and how the OSMO makes the grain of the wood pop! While we were waiting for the boards to dry before flipping them over we made a trip to my favorite lumberyard, Shur-Way Building Center so we could pick up our cedar plywood siding and some lath for our rainscreen. We’re on a roll and eager for our windows to show up tomorrow so we can start installing them!

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T42 Sealing & Priming

When we wrapped up the second T42 Build Blitz a week ago, we’d put in 8 build days and we’d completed all of the following:

Priming with bare hands

Priming with bare hands

Over the past week, we’ve slipped in a couple half-days of building in amongst the project management and design work I’ve been doing for my two Package Deal clients and prep for the upcoming Tiny House Collaborative Tiny House 101 Workshop in July.

Early this week we had a fabulous visit from my aunties and my baby cousin (technically a first cousin, once removed, but “baby cousin” is easier, even if she is 14 now!) My lil cousin was eager to help out with my tiny house (though I’m starting to think it’s bribery to get me to come help her with her tiny house someday!) She’s an incredible artist so I’m hoping she’ll be up for helping when we get to finish work, but meanwhile, priming the interior seemed a good next step, so that’s what my baby cousin helped me out with this week! She quickly declared that priming is boring, but she stuck with me until we had the walls primed as high as we could reach. (And she also thoroughly enjoyed exploring our build site Green Anchors.) Additionally, she has proven that it really is more fun (albeit slower) to apply primer with bare hands! (Good thing we’re using Safecoat, right!?) We also had a bunch of fun designing her tiny house the next morning before they left town!

Isha sealing up the roof box

Isha sealing up the roof box

Additionally, this week Isha and I added more staples to the roof seams and sealed up exposed framing with R-Guard Fast Flash. Once the sealing around the top of the SIPs roof box was done, we were able to install cedar roof extensions, which are important since the roof of the house matched up with the walls on our SIPs kit. The extensions will enable us to add a rain screen and siding without dumping water from the roof right into the siding! Our windows, which we ordered 10 weeks ago, were supposed to be here 2 weeks ago, but they’ve been delayed three times now. They’re now scheduled for Wednesday of next week.

Our next Build Blitz will kick off on Monday with preparation for installation of our windows and siding. Join us if you can or follow along virtually on Instagram!

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T42 Roof Raising & Storage Loft

 

Day 8 = Done.

Day 8 = Done.

On Friday we wrapped up our second Build Blitz and our eighth day of building on T42, the tiny house I’m building to live in with my sweetheart Isha (who also happens to be The Guy Next Door). Monday we did T42 SIPs Prep and Tuesday and Wednesday we had our T42 Wall Raising. I anticipated that the roof might give us some challenges, so we’d set aside Thursday and Friday for Roof Raising. Fortunately, the roof went together quickly and easily with the brawn, brains, and good humor of two Tiny House Helpers, Kelly and Andy.

We got into a nice rhythm of building our skylight panels, hoisting our panels onto the scaffolding then guiding them up onto the roof, sliding them on the panel before them, and then slipping them into place and anchoring them with SIPs screws in all the corners. We had the last roof panel up before taking a late lunch so we went to celebrate our success with warm bowls of Hawaiian noodle soup at Big Kahuna’s. (It was, of course, raining on roofing day, so we were darn thankful for the covered build spot!)

After lunch Andy and I installed the perimeter blocking in the roof and the rest of the SIPs screws, while Kelly worked on sealing up seams between the SIPs panels with R-Guard Joint & Seam Filler. We were at a good stopping point by the time that was done so we cut out a little early and I jumped on a conference call for the Tiny House Collaborative.

On Friday Andy helped me put the finishing touches on the Puzzle Wall. We installed a few more studs to create the appropriately sized rough openings for the windows at the top of our tall wall and then cut 1/2″ OSB for the sheathing. We were able to use up a few scraps of 3/4″ OSB that we’d used as the subfloor as well.

Our storage loft, made from a piece of SIP scrap

Our storage loft, made from a piece of SIP scrap

After lunch we installed our storage loft, using an extra piece of SIP. When our SIP panels were cut from the master panel (check out Picking Up Our T42 SIPs Kit for more on that!) there was an extra piece that was sent along with the rest of the panels as filler for the stack during delivery. It was 38″ wide, which was just shy of the 40″ we were planning to make the storage loft, so we decided to go for it. We wanted the bathroom to be 36″ wide to accommodate a 36″ tub and we like the idea that a twin size mattress could fit above just in case we ever want to use it as a guest bed.

Andy and I measured and marked the height of the loft, measured and cut ledgers for the three sides along the walls, and then anchored our ledgers into place from the inside with beefy structural screws. (Before we install the siding we’ll also anchor the ledgers from the outside with SIPs screws.) We dry fit the panel first to make sure it would go. Then we added mastic and shimmied the SIP into place. As soon as it was ready I crawled up to test it out and, sure enough, it’s quite comfy up there!

We’ve made good progress in 8 days of building and I’m looking forward to our next Build Blitz when we’ll be installing windows, a rainscreen, and our exterior siding! If you’d like to join us, you can sign up for the Build Blitz or be a Tiny House Sidekick for a day.

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T42 Wall Raising

T42 Walls Up

More photos to come soon!

We kicked off our T42 Wall Raising Build Blitz on Monday with T42 SIPs Prep. Tuesday and yesterday were wall raising days. On Tuesday morning my beloved landie Tony came with me to Sun Belt Rentals to pick up the scaffolding we’re renting for the week. With our new truck loaded up, we headed to the job site (with a quick stop at the coffeeshop, of course!)

Andy and Tony helped me finish the last of the panel prep (painting the last two panels with R-Guard and leveling the trailer first thing. Then we were joined by Patrick Sughrue of Artisan Tiny House and Derin Williams of Shelter Wise. Our first wall went up around 10 AM and we got it braced into place while we got our second panel up and secured to the first. With two panels in place we had a corner! The next panel had to be cut out for the wheelwell, so we used the template I’d made to jigsaw out the curve on both sides, then removed the foam with a foam cutter, and installed blocking in recess. The second panel went up very nicely, snugging up against the first and the third panel followed along. Patrick showed us a trick to use a bottlejack in the right spot on the trailer frame to get the panels squared up. By lunchtime we had two walls up so we took a break to eat a picnic overlooking the river.

After lunch we popped the third wall into place and the first panel of the fourth wall (which is our Puzzle Wall). We started prepping the next parts of our puzzle wall. My friends Katie and Elliot from the east coast and my new friend Christian from Seattle all arrived around 4pm. The infusion of extra energy was very welcome, but we soon found ourselves scratching our heads because once we put the next wall panel up the first panel of that wall was far from level and nothing we tried straightened it out again. We finally decided to call it a day and come back to it in the morning. We pulled the last panel down and set it on the trailer again.

Yesterday, with fresh minds and bodies, Patrick and Christian removed the staples in the spline that joined the two panels and we were able to ratchet strap the panel back down into place. The next panel went up just fine afterwards and the rest of the Puzzle Wall came together nicely until we reached the last panel, which was long by about 1/2″. There was only 1/4″ difference between the two long walls in length, but that 1/2″ wasn’t working. The only thing we could figure was the the bottom plates weren’t completely square. We’d measured thrice and checked square in the corners when we installed the bottom plates, but we hadn’t taken diagonals, so next time we definitely will! We deliberated about a variety of options before Patrick landed on the plan: pull the last panel back, cut 1/2″ off the second-to-last panel, scoop out the foam, and then slip the two panels together again. It worked beautifully!

We’d earned our lunch, so we headed up to my favorite St. John’s haunt, Proper Eats, to celebrate having 4 walls up! After lunch Michael (who is also building a tiny house at Green Anchors) helped us get our glulam in place at the top of the tall wall. Then Patrick talked us through the roof details before he headed out.

Andy, Christian and I got our first wall panel (the biggest and therefore heaviest) and were horrified to discover how far off it was from square. One of the things I love best about SIPs is how well the usually come together! So we had another round of brainstorming before Andy reminded me that messed with the level of the trailer the day before while trying to get those two Puzzle Wall panels to square up! Usually we level the trailer before we start raising walls and again before we install the roof. As soon as we leveled the trailer the roof panel lined up beautifully! I can’t believe I forgot, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget again!

Isha came down after work as we were wrapping up and we got to enjoy stepping into our house with all four walls up (and a roof panel, too!) We celebrated with a beer at Occidental Brewing around the corner. Whew!

Today Andy, Kelly, and I will work on the roof raising. It’s raining (of course!) so I’m really glad we’re under shelter. Here we go!

Posted in building, SIPs, T42, tiny house | 2 Comments