Framing the Walls – MISTAKES

With Help From Paul (left)

With Help From Paul (left)

We stumbled into a whole crop of thorny rough territory here. I made a few mistakes to be sure. A few mistakes in particular cost me time and effort to redo to my satisfaction. I decided to cover those mistakes in detail here on the blog. Horses and water come to mind. I had the information, and made mistakes anyway.  Perhaps if I write about it I won’t make them twice. I invite you to make your own mistakes, but leave me out of it 🙂
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Floor Top Sheathing

Sorry for the delay between posts, and thanks everyone for looking at our site. We have been extremely busy getting ready to go. I am going to try to catch up over the next couple of days and bring the blog up to speed.

In this post We will take a quick look at the plywood top sheathe for our subfloor.  We used 3/4 inch TnG plywood floor sheathing over the top of our very sturdy Subfloor Part 1 structure. We used PL400 subfloor glue liberally on every connection in the subfloor and now again we used a double bead of PL400 on top of every joist and brace. Quickly My wife and I carefully lifted and affixed the first piece of the sheathe, scraping and re-using the extra glue squeezed out as we screwed it down. The first sheet was a half-sheet and easy to place. The the middle 4 sheets were full 8×4, and required some muscle to lift into place without smearing the glue out. It also took several good whacks with “duck” my trusty rubber mallet to properly seat the Tongue and Groove. We were careful to leave the gap required by the mill, but used glue liberally on the underpart of the TnG seam. You may remember from The Subfloor Part 2 post that we used double blocking under each seam for a full 3 inches of support where the TnG joined.

Once all of the pieces were glued and screwed, we let the glue cure for a day then painted it teal blue, using yellow to mark seams and places where the paint didn’t cover fully.  I was to wrapped up in the glue process to take many photos,

Here are some later photos showing the application of aluminum tape around the Edge of the floor, top and bottom.  This tape was applied in two strips at each edge to protect the top edge of the plywood and cover the seam between the ledger board and the plywood, Then I used premium outdoor grade construction glue and staples to affix aluminum roll flashing around the entire floor edge.  In Subfloor Road Guard we showed how we used 20 gauge galvanized steel to protect the bottom of the floor.  Both serve to not only protect and seal the floor as well as make it real hard for critters to chew into it. We really don’t want water, rats or bugs in our floor… thanks anyway!
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This last photo skips ahead a bit, but it clearly shows the aluminum flashing in place, which is what I needed.
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Downsizing- Can you have too little stuff?

I lived carefree on the road as a wild hippie teen- basically with a blanket and a backpack. Half the time I didn’t even wear shoes. I spent as much time as I could camping in forests with friends while I tried to determine my place in this crazy world. Well- three kids and 12 years of college/grad school later, and we have a lot more stuff than I ever dreamed. Mind you- we have a lot less than most middle class Americans- a car, a three bedroom house with kid-stained/ripped furniture, books lining multiple shelves, and toys that are begging to be stepped on everywhere you go.

But, as a Gypsy in both blood and spirit, I have always longed to be free of these material fetters and be able to flow more with the spirit of life. To have our family be more present in the moment and to appreciate the little things. So, as life has slowed down a bit after graduating from Acupuncture school, we had the opportunity to reexamine our priorities. Did we want to work towards the modern American dream of owning a large house in the suburbs, paying off cars and mortgages and things you don’t really need- or did we want to find a piece of land somewhere where we could farm and live peacefully and use as a base to travel from? Unequivocally the answer was the second.

So we come to the issue of downsizing- how much do we get rid of, how much do we try to put into our tiny house, and how much do we store??? At this point, we are getting rid of all furniture. The items that are nice enough, we will sell. The rest will be donated or dumped (not the best option, but I don’t think anyone or anyplace would want our toddler destroyed couch). I have been slowly, painfully gleaning down our book collection. There are some that are essential- my Chinese medicine books (although I am selling off many that I don’t need anymore), our favorite crafting books, homeschool books, and the kids favorite books.

Toys are a whole other issue. We have been working for the last year on replacing our plastic, bright colored, closed-ended toys with more natural, open-ended versions, but it is a challenge. We have put all of our meager, post-grad school savings into the TIny House build, and so have been using our intermediate crafting skills to make wooden and felted animals and dolls for the boys. We have cut back on electronic use (although it is a big challenge here in the desert as there is not a lot to occupy kids, especially in the 6-month long super hot summer) and are encouraging more outside play as well as creative play inside. The other issue with natural toys is that they can be just as bulky as the toys we want to replace. So we are going to take the smaller natural items that we have made/gathered/bought and are planning on encouraging the boys to make their own play items from outdoor materials when we get up North.

Then we come to the kitchen- my favorite place in a house and undoubtedly the place I spend the most time. I love my kitchen gadgets- especially the ones that make my life as a from-scratch cook easier. We can pare down to a large pot, medium pot, small pot, large pan, and small pan and a few cooking spoons/spatulas. We are planning on carving our own wooden bowls/plates/utensils- one set for each of us- and treating them with respect and care. I could do without my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, but I saved for months and waited for a sale just so I could get one. Torn. And I use my Vita-mix every day- multiple times. Not sure what to do about that one…We will have solar cells and may create a bicycle powered unit but it is another bulky item. And it can do most things that a food processor can (my food processor is old and falling apart anyway, so that will definitely not be coming).

Clothes are getting pared down to essentials and favorites. I think the majority of our space will be taken up by musical instruments and art supplies. Three guitars, a large djembe and a tiny one, two violins, and a number of flutes/recorders will be tucked in wherever possible. Art and craft supplies will be in the loft and under the bed. The challenge here will be containing the art/craft explosion that is in our house now. A big part of our homeschooling in creating, so we will be doing a lot of creating outdoors- which is exciting. Nature art, observation, gardening, storytelling, and making music around a campfire will become our new rituals and we are so looking forward to it!

What are your favorite small living solutions?

Sub Floor Part Four – Insulation

409 In this post, we will look at the laborious process of insulating the floor. It took me a few days of work to get it finished properly.  We chose solid core foam insulation by RMAX. After a lot of research and fumbling we discovered that solid core foam has one of the highest R-Values per cubic inch. It is also resistant to moisture and mold and is less attractive to pests then many other types of insulation.   Continue reading

Sub Floor Part 3 – Wheel Wells

326 In this post will will look at one of the most tedious and difficult parts of the build to date: The Wheel Wells. Our trailer came without fenders. We used the 2′ x 4′ leftover pieces from our road guard build to make the pieces and I joined them to wooden framing and sealed with goop and aluminum tape. I also used Medium L Angles every few inches to reinforce the inner edge of the curve. Continue reading

Subfloor Part Two: Cross Braces and leveling the subfloor

IMG_3316 In this post we will look at the fabrication and leveling of the cross braces in the sub floor assembly. With the long beams in place and held square to the ends by heavy supports, the warp in these long boards became pronounced in the middle. By carefully trimming the cross braces to exact length and levering them into position, then gently driving them into place with a rubber mallet. we were able to true up most of the more exaggerated warping and bring the joists mostly level. Continue reading

Sub Floor Part One -Setting the Joists.

IMG_3349  In this post we will take a look at the sub floor construction. We designed and built for maximum strength as our house is designed to be lifted off the trailer, if we so choose.  With this in mind, we used a fairly serious amount of heavy hardware to anchor the sub-floor to the Foundation beams. This is a long post, so grab some refreshment and get cozy, or bookmark us and visit often! Continue reading