Monthly Archives: June 2012

We’re Floored!

June 24, 2012 – Our welding was completed last thursday and this weekend we were able to complete the floor.  As I stated in the last post, we had three options for dealing with our subfloor.  We chose option 3, cutting the subfloor so that the edges landed on one of our floor joists. Our first piece, which we only had to cut the tongue off, was pretty easy.  The other sheets, however, had to have the tongue and the groove cut off in addition to cutting it so it landed on a board (the tongue and groove while ideal, is not essential to the subfloor).  We used an aluminum guide that we borrowed from a co-worker (Thanks Brian!) in order to ensure that we were making straight cuts.  This almost worked!  A table saw would have been the ideal tool to use for this project. However, after a few goof-ups, the aluminum guide worked well and we were able to cut all the subfloor pieces and most of the cuts were straight.  We should have only needed 5 sheets of the subfloor; however, we cut our first one a couple of weeks ago when we discovered that not only our porch divider was in the wrong spot but that there may be a mistake in the plans (more on that later).  Anyway, we messed up the first one and had to buy an extra sheet.  Due to a few bad cuts, we thought we were going to need a 7th board; however, we were able to use some leftover cuts to fill in the remainder of the floor.

I was very disappointed last Thursday when I finally opened up one of our boxes of wool insulation.  I had previously been following several tiny house blogs that had all used the wool insulation from Oregon Shepherd and I was able to see the pictures of their insulation.  I had also thoroughly checked out the Oregon Shepherd website before ordering our insulation.  In all the pictures that I had seen, the wool was all natural colored wool.  However, when I had opened up one of our boxes, it contained dyed wool too, something I was not expecting (I admit I am a bit picky).  My disappointment came from the fact that it simply wasn’t the natural look I was wanting.  I had an image in my head regarding what the wool would look like and it was anything but that.  I was pleased to find that the second box we opened was all the natural color, but color or no color, we’re still excited to use wool for our insulation.

After getting all the subfloor sheets cut to size, we filled the cavities with the wool and glued and screwed the subfloor in place.  It was a late night for us, we didn’t finish up until 9:30 pm and still had to make the 1/2 hour drive home and get ready for work the next day.  This was a big milestone for us though.  We started framing in the floor a month and a half ago and it feels really good to complete this phase of the project.

Categories: Floor, Framing, Insulation | 4 Comments

We Make Mistakes…So You Don’t Have To.

June 17, 2012 – Last weekend we began to cut our subfloor when we started to get the feeling that we had made a mistake. Upon further investigation today, it turns out that we made more than one mistake.

Mistake #1 – Our trailer wheel wells are a different size than the trailer featured in our plans. Our plans tell us that the “floor framing may need to be altered to accommodate location of wheel wells”.  In the process of kinda following the plans and kinda not (because the dimensions on the plans did not work with our trailer), we put the boards that divide the front porch area and the entrance to the house in the wrong spot. In the plans, the divider area looked centered between the porch and entry way, so that’s where we put it. Well, it turns out that the divider area goes where the port side wall ends and the door jamb begins. Oops!  No worries, we just used a grinder to cut the corner braces that were glued and nailed into place with ring-shank nails; and a sawzall to cut trough the ring-shank nails that held the boards in from the ends. After that, we cut new boards (luckily we had some scrap that was long enough) and put them in the correct location.

Mistake #2 – Again, because we had to modify our floor framing plans to accommodate our different sized wheel wells, we failed to understand the importance of placing floor joists 16 inches on center (something the plans don’t mention).   We framed our floor in three sections and we evenly spaced the floor joists within each section. It wasn’t until we were getting ready to lay the subfloor that we realized why such details are important.  It turns out, that if you place your boards 12, 16, or 24 inches on center, when you lay down a 4′ x 8′ sheet of subfloor it lands nicely on a floor joist and can be nailed down properly.  Oops again!  We have three options to correct the situation:

Option #1 – Place extra boards in the floor frame in the correct locations.

Option #2 – Move existing boards to the correct location.

Option #3 – Cut the subfloor so that it lands on an existing board.

We’re leaning toward option #3.

I’ll shortly be adding my brother Chris to my speed dial, as he has been invaluable to our building project.  He has taken numerous phone calls and Skype sessions to help walk us through details and remedy our goof ups. After the last phone call today when I told him how frustrating of a day it had been, he kindly told us that this will be one of many frustrating days and that any mistakes we make can be fixed.  I had been starting to fear that at the end of this project we would wind up with a house unfit to live in, but as long as Chris keeps answering his phone, I think we’ll be okay.

Categories: Floor, Framing | 5 Comments

The HemLoft | A Secret Treehouse, Hiding in the Woods


The HemLoft | A Secret Treehouse, Hiding in the Woods.

Categories: Tiny House Living | Leave a comment

Aluminum Flashing Complete

July 9, 2012 – We decided to install the aluminum sheathing this weekend after all. We spoke with our welder and he said we would be fine to sheath the floor and put it back on the trailer as long as we prop it up a bit for the welding phase. We had previously purchased a 50′ roll of 24″ wide aluminum sheathing for the underside of the floor; however, after doing some quick mental math, I decided that wouldn’t quite be enough. We stopped by ProBuild this morning and picked up another roll of aluminum sheathing, this time a 16″ x 50′ roll and 5 sheets of 3/4 inch subfloor material.

At the urging of our off-site project manager, we installed a vapor barrier on the underside of the floor to keep the floor a bit warmer.  It was pretty easy, we just rolled it out, stapled it in place, and trimmed the edges.  This was followed by the aluminum sheathing. We used construction adhesive along the outside edges where the aluminum sheathing came in contact with the floor frame and some sort of sealant by Geocel to seal the seams between the sheets of aluminum. We put in staples all along the edge of the floor very tightly spaced to keep all critters out. I probably got a little carried away with the spacing of the staples, but not as carried away as Pete and Jeff.  We only needed to staple along the edges and let the sealant do it’s job between the sheets of aluminum; however, Pete and Jeff felt the need to not only staple along all the floor boards but also to tape the seams with duct tape.  This almost meant a trip to the hardware store, however, Jeff had several partial rolls lying around the house. The job was almost finished when the second roll of duct tape ran out, but have no fear, Jeff managed to find a roll of blue and white polka-dotted duct tape. Nothing like a little piece of flair for the tiny house, even if it is on the underside and will never be seen again.

Between Jeff, Cindy, Pete and I, we managed to get the floor back onto the trailer.  At this point, we started working on the subfloor and cutting pieces to size; however, we quickly realized that our brain power was spent and it was time to call it a day.

Next up: Welding


Categories: Floor | 4 Comments

New Construction Site – Here We Come

June 8, 2012 – At the end of July, our lease is up and our landlord will be moving back into her home. We didn’t want to get too far along on the tiny house knowing that we’d have to relocate so we packed up the tools and hitched up the house. Speaking of tools, Jay Shafer – the creator of the Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, claims only 14 tools are needed to build a tiny house. While we thought we were going to have to borrow tools from everyone we know, it turned out that between us and my mom we had all 14 (we did borrow a nail gun from a co-worker). A big thank you goes out to my mom for letting us raid her basement for all things useful to the project. Thanks mom!

Once we got the trailer hitched to the truck we realized we had a small problem. The trailer came with drop down supports at the back of the trailer. When we first brought the trailer home, we dropped the supports and built the floor. It wasn’t until today that we realized not only would the supports not come out, but that we also could not put them back in the upright position because the floor was now in the way. We discussed grabbing the grinder and cutting them off, but for some reason instead we decided to drive the trailer up to a small hill in the yard so that the supports would fall out. To make a long story short, it all worked out in the end, but really we should have just cut the darn things off. At one point the trailer and the truck were wedged between the barn and a spruce tree and no amount of going forward or backwards was helping the situation.  While one of the supports did come out, the other one was still on and being driven into the ground as Pete tried to maneuver the trailer.  Like I said, it all worked out in the end.

Our new construction site is in the driveway of our friends Jeff & Cindy Noble. Jeff and Cindy were kind enough to let us move the project to their house and we are so very grateful for their hospitality. Thanks Jeff & Cindy!  We’ll see how they react when we ask to live there permanently!  🙂

We had hoped to be super productive this weekend. We anticipated getting the welding done and the floor sheathed with the aluminum; however the welding supplies that we thought would be in stock were not and we are having to order materials. We did manage to get the VERY heavy floor off the trailer and stored in the garage. Just in time too! As soon as we got the floor off the rain came down.



Categories: Floor, Trailer, Welding | 10 Comments

Farm Tour – Rock River Farm

May 27, 2012 – Every summer our local food co-op organizes tours of the small farms in our area; today we took a tour of Rock River Farm and Rock River Perennial Garden & Greenhouse in Chatham.

Our hope after completing the tiny house is to find a cheap or free place to park it while we save up to buy land to start our own small organic farm. The opportunity to visit working farms and see what we hope to be doing soon is very inspiring and today’s tour was a real treat.

Categories: Farm Tours, Farmer's Market, Marquette Food Co-op | 2 Comments

6 Ideas for Sensible Homes — YES! Magazine

Ella from littleyellowdoor is featured in this month’s YES! Magazine. Way to go Ella!

6 Ideas for Sensible Homes — YES! Magazine.

Categories: Tiny House Living | 1 Comment

Floor Framing Complete

May 26, 2012 – After a quick run into town to exchange some lumber and hit the farmer’s market, we finished framing in the floor of the tiny house.  We had been going back and forth on whether to build the floor in one section or three sections.  The plans call for the floor to be built in one piece; however, we knew the two of us wouldn’t be able to pull it off the trailer without quite a few extra hands. In the end, we decided on building the floor in one section and are now hoping that we can find some folks to help us pull the floor off so we can aluminum sheath the underside and get the welding done. We’ll then need help again to put the floor back on.  It’s slow, but progress is being made!

Categories: Farmer's Market, Floor, Framing | 10 Comments

Create a free website or blog at