September 4, 2012 – It’s been a full month since our last post and I am very happy to announce that all the walls for the tiny house are framed in! Unless you count the small triangular sections at each loft end, we haven’t started on those yet. But the main walls to the house are not only framed, they are mostly sheathed as well. We still have the back wall and 1/2 the front wall to sheath.
This has been a major accomplishment for us and it’s exciting to see the tiny house really coming along. For the most part it has been a fairly painless process. We did run into some issues along the way, mainly making sure walls were square. The most frustrating portion of the wall framing happened this past weekend on our final wall. The wall was built and when we measured from corner to corner, the wall was square. However, when we laid out our first sheet of plywood we could not get it to fit squarely. We could get the proper overhang all the way around, except in one area where we were 1/2″ off. Unfortunately too, we had already put down the construction adhesive. We fought with the sheet of plywood for a while, only to admit defeat and had to scrape up all the construction adhesive. We measured the wall from end to end and top to bottom all the way across. We did have a 3/16″ discrepancy when measuring the length along the top of the wall and the length along the bottom of the wall. This was a tricky one to figure out too, because we had to modify the plans to accommodate our wheel wells. In the end we fixed the discrepancy in length and still could not get the plywood to sit properly. All our measurements were right on and we still were square when measuring corner to corner. However, when we put an actual square into the corners of the walls one was always a little off. In the end, we decided to keep the sheets of plywood at 8′ lengths and sheath the whole wall. Afterwards, we snapped a chalk line and cut the plywood leaving the appropriate overhang. The sheets went on the wall just as they should have, landing right on the center of our studs. All we can figure is that the beginning of the wall must have been bowed or something. It was a rather frustrating day trying to figure this out and we put in many phone calls to all our resources looking for advice. A big thanks goes out to Chris, Kirk, and Pete’s dad, Sid for helping us figure it all out.
On the front wall the plans for the tiny house called for using Parallam beams and posts. The posts were 5.25″ x 5.25″ and were quite heavy. To join the posts to the 5.25″ x 3.5″ beams, we needed to cut a sort of stair-stepped notch to join them. This was rather difficult as not only were these very heavy, they were also too big for our tools. We had to use the table saw, chop saw, and then a hand saw to make all the necessary cuts. We were a little confused at our plans, because none of the other tiny house blogs we have followed used these laminated beams; however, we found out after the fact, that the Tumbleweed plans are now certified by a structural engineer. They may be overkill, but if two elephants decide to sit on our front wall, we’ll be covered.
On another exciting note, we ordered our windows! This was a long drawn out process and every time we thought we were ready to order them, we were faced with more decisions. This was also a scary step, because the windows will be the most expensive part of this whole project. We went with the recommended Jeld-Wen aluminum clad exterior/pine interior awning style windows. We chose to stick with the awning style, even though they are more expensive than single or double-hung, because the house will not have much of a roof overhang and we will still be able to have the windows open if it’s raining. We also went with the mesa red exterior that you see in many of the Fencl pictures on the Tumbleweed website.
Our roof and skylight were ordered and are being stored at ProBuild until we are ready to install them. We were originally planning on going with the plain galvanized metal roofing; however, after some encouragement from others we decided to choose a color. We chose Hawaiian blue. This too was a scary decision. Fortunately, we were able to get small samples of the roof color, the window color and thanks to my co-worker Brian, whose house and garage are sided in the same cedar siding we’ll be using, we were able to get a sample of the siding to compare all three colors together. We think it will look quite nice.
This weekend we will finish sheathing the remaining wall and start framing in the loft ends. We will also start cutting out the notch for our rafters and pre-install the joist hangers on the ridge beam. Our goal at this point is to have the walls up and house wrap on, roof up, and windows in by the end of September. Our tasks always take a little longer to complete than we think and at this point we’ve learned not to hold our breath. However, we would like to have the tiny house up and weather proof before first snowfall, which has been known to happen as early as October.