Posts Tagged With: building materials

Lofts, Ceilings & Finish

The ridge of the 10′ ceiling is complete all the way into both lofts.

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Sleeping loft decking

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Back of Arborion

The lofts now have the bottom side covered with the 1/2″ maple plywood. This makes up the ceiling in the kitchen and bathroom as well as the reading nook under the storage loft. The tops have been decked over with 5/8″ plywood on the sleeping loft and 1/2″ in the storage loft. The same bronze can lights are installed in the kitchen and bathroom ceilings as I used for the porch landing.

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Storage loft decking

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Front of Arborion

For the finish on the maple I used three coats of water-based matte polyurethane. The walnut was coated with a mixture of paraffin and linseed oil to match the door.

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Maple & Walnut Walls

For several weekends my Dad and I have been installing lightweight 1/2″ plywood as the finished walls inside the tiny house Arborion. Other than a few trim pieces, the walls are complete. Many of the pieces were fairly complex. They required careful measuring and several trips back to the work area under my carport to fine tune the shaping of each section. Like the ceiling, each section was installed one piece at a time with super construction adhesive and finish nails.

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My Dad applying construction adhesive before attaching the maple plywood panel

My brother, Daniel, was able to to help out during the first weekend of wall installation which was awesome. Having an extra set of hands and eyes on some of these large intricate sections was very helpful.

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Daniel and Dad working together on a complicated panel section

The walnut portion of the walls make up the lower 30 inches in a wainscot sort of appearance, while the maple fills the rest of the walls and ceiling. I am currently in the time consuming process of filling the small nail holes in preparation for the finishes I will be applying soon.

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Walnut panels in the bathroom

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Back of Arborion and bathroom

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Front of Arborion and reading nook

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Wall sections complete

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maple-Paneling: Ceiling

I have been really excited to share this latest step in the tiny house build. Arborion has really taken on a beautiful look with its ceiling clad in light maple.

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First two panel pieces glued and finish nailed

I’m using half inch maple plywood with a garnica core that makes it very flat and light weight. The quality of the maple is such that the wood grain is very subtle, which is good since it covers such a large area. There is a warmth to the light that bounces down from the dormer windows off the angles of the maple ceiling.

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Sleeping loft complete except for a thin ridge panel

Fitting the panels to the angles and shapes of the ceiling and gables is a slow and painstaking task. By making cardboard templates of the trickier areas we saved making mistakes with our more expensive materials. We used construction adhesive and small finish nails in order to make a strong and permanent bond and keep a cleaner finished appearance.

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Main ceiling is coming along

On a separate note I must add that shaving down the closed-cell foam insulation is messy and time consuming work. The installers did wonderful work, but there are always areas that need more attention and trimming in order for the paneling to be installed properly.

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Storage loft looking good

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Utility Annex

Over the tongue of the trailer I have designed a space to serve my secure storage needs. This is where I plan to install all the components for the tiny house that for one reason or another do not need to be inside the living space. The propane tank, tankless water heater on one side, and batteries, inverter, charge controller, electric panel on the other with a partition in the center. There will also be some shelves for tools and other misc. storage.

Utility layout

Utility layout

Utility subfloor insulation

Utility subfloor insulation

This is the same process I used to construct the main subfloor for the rest of tiny house.

Polyethylene feet will keep the subfloor off the trailer tongue.

Polyethylene feet will keep the subfloor off the metal trailer tongue

The polyethylene feet will prevent water from staying in contact with the wood of the subfloor due to condensation or rain. Also, they are durable and will not rot.

Utility framing started

Utility framing started

I wanted to have as much utility space as possible, but without infringing on the bathroom window trim and utility roofing system. In order to achieve this I measured down from the window for each material that would take up space including the window trim, endwall flashing, aluminum shingles with underlayment and the roof sheathing. This gave me the maximum height I could frame to. The purple lines on the underlayment show the progress. I also marked the studs for secure fastening.

Sister-in-law Heather helps with construction

Sister-in-law Heather helps with construction

Heather wields a nail gun for the first time and does a great job.

Utility framing with partition

Utility framing with partition

The utility partition will separate the wet side (water heater and propane) from the electrical side (batteries and electrical panel).

Utility framing with rafters and sheathing

Utility framing with rafters and sheathing

Stained cypress facia and underlayment started

Stained cypress facia and underlayment started

Roofing the utility annex

Roofing the utility annex

I roofed the utility annex with the same aluminum shingles used on the main roof.

Utility roofing and underlayment

Underlayment applied and fastened with staples

Even though the underlayment is sticky, it is still is a good idea to use staples to hold it in place on vertical surfaces until the siding is applied.

Doorless utility annex

Doorless utility annex

The completion of the utility annex also allows us to continue the siding up the bathroom wall.

Bathroom wall fully sided

Bathroom wall fully sided

Utility annex completed with hardware

Utility annex completed with hardware

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Cedar Shakes

This part of the project, like many others, I had never attempted before. It seemed simple enough, but I was not sure how steep the learning curve would be. In the end, I found that the entire process was fun and easy. With a little research and planning the rest only required time and common sense. It is a slow process, but the look adds so much character.

The undercourse - first row of a double row

The undercourse – first row of a double row

Extending the undercourse

Extending the undercourse

Initial double row complete

Initial double row complete

Fitting shakes around the gable window trim

Fitting shakes around the gable window trim

Gable shakes completed

Gable shakes completed

Starting the dormer shakes

Starting the dormer shakes

Continued the shakes tight between the two trims and up to the soffit

Continued the shakes tight between the two trims and up to the soffit

Dormer shakes completed

Dormer shakes completed

Dormer shakes oiled

Dormer shakes oiled

Here are some helpful tips I learned and used as I worked with my shakes.

  • I recommend using a continuous underlayment (tar paper, house wrap, storm guard, etc.).
  • Start with a double row at the bottom of a new section.
  • Leave 1/8″ gaps for expansion.
  • Use two nails per shake whenever possible.
  • Pre-drill the nail holes to prevent cracking.
  • Unless you are trying to achieve a specific pattern, alternate between wide and thin, dark and light shakes.
  • Keep the distance between courses consistent and level.
Arborion is looking more like a home with each passing weekend

Arborion is looking more like a home with each passing weekend

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Cedar Siding

The past few weekends have been devoted mostly to creating and installing siding on Arborion. Here’s a look at how it went.

Two weeks after the cedar boards were shaped into Dutch lap siding they had dried enough to plane the outer surface for a smoother finish.

Final surface planing of the siding

Final surface planing of the siding

Loaded down and ready to haul the siding home

Loaded down and ready to haul the siding home

After hauling them home, I sorted the boards into several categories involving colors and quality. This way I could make best use of siding and disperse the shades of the wood evenly across the walls.

Sorting the siding boards by color and quality

Sorting the siding boards by color and quality

Several of the cedar siding boards I purchased wider than the others. These were stained dark to create a trim for both the top and bottom of the wall sections that received siding.

Stained cedar siding trim

Stained cedar siding trim

The bottom cedar siding/trim had to start just below the trailer bed and the top cedar siding/trim had to begin at a specific location as well.

Installing the wider stained siding as trim at the bottom of the walls

Installing the wider stained siding as trim at the bottom of the walls

The rest of the siding was spaced evenly and installed with about a 5-1/8″ reveal. This precise distance required some careful figuring on a story pole to figure out. Accurate measuring and chalk lines helped to create a consistent spacing.

First few courses of siding in place

First few courses of siding in place

Fitting siding around the window trim

Fitting siding around the window trim

Carefully figuring out the double ended notching that will go between the windows

Carefully figuring out the double ended notching that will go between the windows

Careful fit

Careful fit

Snug fit

Snug fit

Siding at the porch and door

Siding at the porch and door

Finishing up the front porch siding

Finishing up the front porch siding

Porch ceiling

Porch ceiling

Porch ceiling oiled

Porch ceiling oiled

Once the siding was installed on the rest of the walls I rubbed them down with boiled linseed oil. The result was beautiful cedar-clad walls.

Oiling the siding

Oiling the siding

Insulating wall complete and oiled with boiled linseed oil

Insulating wall complete and oiled with boiled linseed oil

Careful finish work with the trim

Careful finish work with the trim

Work on the bathroom wall had to wait because of the window repairs and the building of a utility shed over the trailer tongue that needed to come first.

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Roofing with Aluminum Shingles

I want to start by highly recommending aluminum shingle roofing to anyone who wants a good looking 50+ year roof for their tiny house. The Permalock system by the Aluminum Shingle Company is the product I used for my tiny house. I have no professional experience with roofing, but with the installation videos provided and some detailed notes and sketches I created, I found the installation a challenging, but enjoyable, experience.

A word of caution: 45 degree angled roofs are very challenging to work on. If you are working on a steep roof, please use every safety measure to keep yourself and others from being injured.

The first step is to install the drip edge. This is nailed directly to the plywood before the underlayment. Be sure to leave about 6″ extra on either end to serve as tabs when folded around the facia.

Dormer dripedge

Dormer dripedge

I cut to length and adhered the GAF Stormguard underlayment. This stuff can be tricky to work with alone and is very messy. Be sure to wear work clothes and have mineral spirits on hand for clean up. I worked from the bottom to the top on each roof slope and capped it off with smaller and more manageable pieces at the ridge caps. Each layer overlaps the last by at least 6″.

Dormer underlayment

Dormer underlayment

Once the underlayment is in place then a frame of various aluminum sections are trimmed, shaped and nailed in place to form a start and end point for the shingles on each roof section.

Shaping a section of gable rake with a pneumatic grinder

Shaping a section of gable rake with a pneumatic grinder

Gable rake

Gable rake

My brother Daniel and I lining up the gable rake

My brother Daniel and I lining up the gable rake

End wall flashing

End wall flashing

The shingles follow a very basic pattern that is then modified for special features. The rhythm is simple to maintain as long as you pay attention to the half mark on each shingle. This will make sure they continue to line up on each course.

Dormer shingles

Dormer shingles

Finally, the shingles are finished off at the top of the roof with interlocking ridge caps.

Ridgecaps

Ridgecaps

Fancy gable returns

Fancy gable returns

Gable rake finished off with rivets

Gable rake finished off with rivets

My brother and I finishing up the gable roofing

My brother and I finishing up the gable roofing

Roofing completed!

Roofing completed!

Roofing completed!

Roofing completed!

Categories: Green Building, Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sheathing Roof and Walls

This stage of the build makes a big visual and structural change to the tiny house. Not only does the appearance become more solid as the framing is covered, but the entire structure becomes completely rigid. No longer does the 2×4 framing creak when moving around in the lofts.

The plywood goes up fairly quickly depending on the details of the cuts. In most cases my Dad and I were able to get two sheets of plywood up each evening after work. This really helped to speed along the building process by chipping away at it daily instead of waiting for the weekend.

My Dad standing over the 30 sheets of 5-ply 5/8" plywood

My Dad standing over the 30 sheets of 5-ply 5/8″ plywood

I brought the plywood home in a borrowed truck

I brought the plywood home in a borrowed truck

I chose to use 5/8″ 5-ply plywood for everything including subfloor, roof and walls. The extra weight was acceptable on my upgraded trailer. The extra cost was less than $3 per sheet compared to the 1/2″ plywood. The quality was significantly better than the selection of 1/2″ plywood. And finally, the added strength was worth the added weight and cost.

Gable roof sheathed

Dormer and one gable roof sheathed

First plywood up on the walls

First plywood up on the walls

Each sheet of plywood is glued and fastened with 2-1/4″ galvanized ring-shank nails.

Back of Arborion is sheathed

Back of Arborion is sheathed

Back of Arborion is sheathed

Back of Arborion is sheathed

I used blue painters tape to mark the positions of the studs, then chalk lines once the plywood was in place. This made nailing into the framing much easier.

Back of the house from the inside

Back of the house from the inside

Plywood extends above dormer wall seems foe extra strength

Plywood extends above dormer wall seems for extra strength

Notching at the gable facia returns

Notching at the gable facia returns

Cutouts around the wheel wells

Cutouts around the wheel wells

I created a simple cardboard template which helped with this step.

The plywood goes up fairly quickly

The plywood goes up fairly quickly

A stack of plywood falls creating a M.C. Escher-like shape out of a fiberglass latter

A stack of plywood falls by accident creating a M.C. Escher-like shape out of a fiberglass ladder

Luckily, no one was hurt. The ladder was a little bent out of shape, but still usable.

Sleeping loft

Sleeping loft

Fully sheathed back

Fully sheathed back

Fully sheathed front

Fully sheathed front

Fully sheathed

Fully sheathed

I now have a finely crafted, labor intensive plywood box on wheels.

Next on the to-do list: roofing.

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Structural Reinforcements

Now that the framing is complete, it’s time to focus on reinforcing the connections between the various parts. This was achieved with a variety of metal fasteners, bolts, tie-downs and hurricane clips. The basic strategy is to create as many unbroken chains of connections as possible from the rafters all the way down to the trailer frame.

Dormer rafter hurricane clips

Dormer rafter hurricane clips

Gable hurricane clips

Gable rafter hurricane clips

Both sets of hurricane clips are in addition to the 5″ timber screws posted previously.

Steel strapping tying the dormer walls to the top plate and main walls.

Steel strapping tying the dormer walls to the top plate and main walls

Additional steel strapping over the wheel wells

Additional steel strapping over the wheel wells

Nine of these hardy Simpson tie-downs anchor the walls to the trailer frame through the bottom plate and subfloor

Nine of these hardy Simpson tie-downs anchor the walls to the trailer frame through the bottom plate and subfloor

Trailer anchor hardware reference

Trailer anchor hardware reference

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Anchor bolt below the trailer flange

Next post, Arborion get’s a skin of plywood.

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Framing the Walls

There is no other time during the construction of a home when it takes shape as quickly as framing the walls. The 2 x 4 frame work serve as the skeletal support structure for the rest of the building. With all the time spent carefully planning out the placement of each member, we still had to make a few adjustments on the fly. These changes were mostly made to improve the durability of the structure, but occasionally they were made to save on materials and weight.

Hauling hand selected 2x4s

Hauling hand selected 2x4s

Dad helps with the framing

Dad helps with the framing

First wall completed

First wall completed

Wall sections laid out for assembly

Wall sections laid out for assembly

Routing out for the wheelwell fins

Routing out for the wheelwell fins

Wall sections that span the wheelwells

Wall sections that span the wheelwells

Dormer walls

Dormer walls

Wall sections complete

Wall sections complete

Categories: Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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