Dormers

A Productive Vacation

Pete and I had every day last week to work on the tiny house; typically we only work two days every weekend.  While we didn’t accomplish everything we had wanted to, we got a lot of little details taken care of and are that much closer to having the exterior complete.  My mom also spent the week with us and she got busy staining boards and sealing the door when she wasn’t working her own job.

Here is what we managed to accomplish:

We installed the Denver gable trim on the back of the house, but still need to trim it at the top; we installed the soffit boards at the front of the house along with the Denver gable trim; we installed the soffit boards on the dormers; we installed the end wall trim under each of the dormer windows; we installed one 10′ 6″ section of ridge cap over the 12:12 pitched portion of the roof; we framed in the dormer windows, storage loft window, and finished framing the window opposite the porch window (we still need to frame in the porch window but we were waiting for the door to be installed first); we installed sidewall trim on one side of each dormer along with the fascia boards and Denver gable trim; we put up more corner trim in preparation for siding; we stained the porch ceiling; we sided the back of the house; and had the door installed.

We brought the door over to the tiny house for the first time since we picked it up from the door people.  My mom was going to start sealing the door and before she got there we decided to put the door in place and see how it looked.  The company that made our door did a fantastic job; however, they apparently didn’t pay too close attention to our rough opening size because the door/frame was a half-inch taller than our opening and it just barely fit from side to side.  We figured our only option was to sawzall the door header.  We borrowed our friend Eric’s sawzall and Pete went to work taking out an extra inch.  We then proceeded to put the door in place and start leveling it.  After messing around for about half an hour, we decided installing a door was beyond our skill level and had my mom call for help.  She called our long-time family friend John who runs his own carpentry business, JW Ferguson Contracting here in Marquette.  John showed up just before dark as Pete and I were still putting siding up on the back of the house.  We watched John quickly go to work and while he said we could continue doing what we were doing, we wanted to see how a door is supposed to be installed.  We had watched a few YouTube videos, as usual, but quickly admitted defeat.  While we watched John work, we realized we were on the right track to start out, but he knew the order of how to go about screwing and shimming and in no time the door was installed.  When I asked him how much we owed him, he said one hug!  Apparently that’s only his rate for long-time family friends; he has after all known me since I was a baby!  Thanks John for showing up in the evening after a busy day and installing our door!

We had really wanted to get the roof completed this week, but realized we still needed to order a few trim pieces and that would take a week to come in.  We also had to get more trim boards and since we cleaned ProBuild out of their stock of 5/4 cedar we were going to have to wait a few days for that to come in as well.  In another couple of weeks we should be able to declare the exterior complete.

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Categories: Door, Dormers, Fascia, Framing, Porch Ceiling, Roofing, Soffits, Trim, Windows | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Since the Last Post

We’ve been slowly plugging away at the tiny house making small accomplishments almost every weekend.  I’m on annual leave next week and Pete has been laid off early due to the government shutdown so we’re hoping to get the exterior completed on the tiny house.

Since the last post, we’ve continued putting metal up on the roof and as of yesterday, have all the metal sheets installed.  All that’s left for the roof is the ridge cap, end wall trim in front of the dormers, sidewall trim along the sides of the dormers, and the Denver gable trim along the edges of the roof.  We’ve had to stair-step the metal roof panels in places due to things not being perfectly square and we discovered how much harder it is to keep the panels square when you cut a huge section out to go around a skylight.  So the roof is not perfect, but like I probably mentioned in the last post, it will keep the elements outside where they belong.

We installed all the windows in a day and a half.  Putting in the windows has been by far the easiest part of this building project.  We decided that if we have to find new careers, we could be professional window installers.  We did have a close call with one of the windows though.  The instructional video that we watched said to make the windows level horizontally and put a couple nails in.  Then it said to check the level vertically and prior to nailing in around the rest of the window, open the window and make sure it opens as it should.  So we did this on all our windows, sometimes forgetting to open them before nailing on a couple, but we didn’t run into any problems.  On the final window, one of the big ones in the dormer; we did exactly as the instructional video said.  Well, we’re just lucky that I was sitting on scaffolding and not balancing on a ladder!  After putting in our two nails at the bottom and making sure we were level on the sides, Pete started to open the window. When the window was open most of the way, the window proceeded to fall out of the opening!  I was able to stop it from falling all the way out while Pete was pulling it back from the inside so all ended well but it definitely got our hearts beating a little faster.

We also put the trim around most of the windows, got the fascia up along the sides of the house and at the front and back of the house, and put soffits in along the side of the house and at the back of the house.  We also have the fascia installed in front of the dormers because we had to do that before we could put the drip edge on and the rest of the metal panels on the dormer section of the roof.

Our local Menard’s is having a lumber sale, so we took advantage and picked up the bulk of our beveled cedar siding at the lowest price you can buy it in town.  We spent over an hour at the store opening up each package and picking out the best boards.  After going through everything they had in stock, we wound up with forty-one twelve-foot boards.  We’ll probably have to get a few more but this is a good start.

Once we put up all the roof trim pieces, we’ll get the last few windows framed in, finish framing in the corners, and start putting up siding.  We’ve talked my mom into coming and staying with us next week; she’s very good at staining boards! 🙂 Here’s to a productive vacation!

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Categories: Dormers, Fascia, Gable Walls, Roofing, Skylight, Soffits, Windows | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

We Almost Have a Roof!

The blog has definitely taken a back seat lately. Between working full-time jobs, milking a cow daily, taking violin lessons, making cheese and yogurt to use up all that milk, and building a house on the weekends we are spent!

Since the last post we: finished putting the sheathing on the roof, framed in the side walls of the dormers and sheathed those, put housewrap up on the gable ends and dormers, put ice and water shield over the entire roof, framed the roof in 1×4’s, stained the cedar fascia boards (thanks mom), put in the skylight, took out the skylight because we did it wrong, put up the cedar fascia boards along the sides of the house, installed the drip edge, re-installed the skylight properly this time, put up metal roofing on one side of the house, and started putting up the metal roofing on the other side of the house.

I usually like to be a little more detailed in my posts, but all of the above has been done over the course of the past month and a half and now I can’t remember the details. If you would like any specific information, just ask! 🙂

I will say we have encountered problems here and there and the phrase “we have no business building a house” was said through a bout of tears; I was however, able to calm Pete down. Okay, it was me that was crying and now I can’t remember what we screwed up that started it, but either way, this house is being built by amateurs and if you look close enough you will be able to tell. We had to stair-step the metal roofing in parts to keep it going in the right direction (after a phone call to my brother, he told us not to worry about it – that metal roofs rarely go on the way they’re supposed to), and we definitely forgot about the importance of being square when we built the dormers. But, it’s a strong and sturdy house and in the end I’m the only one who’s going to notice all the little goof ups. If you’re wondering how we screwed up on the skylight, no we did not install it upside down. We attached it to the roof decking, forgetting that we were framing in the roof with 1×4’s and that the skylight also needed to be set up on 1×4’s. Pete was able to use a dremel to grind off the heads of the nails and then used a nail set to pounds the nails in further. After that we were able to lift the skylight off. Now that I think about it, it was the skylight mess up that brought on the tears. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve cried over the house though, so I think I’m doing pretty good.

Categories: Dormers, Framing, Gable Walls, Roofing, Skylight | 5 Comments

Work Continues on the Dormers

May 25, 2013 – My mom was in town for a few days to visit and pick up a friend from the airport; which worked out great for us as she was a big help today (thanks mom). My mom used to be quite the woodworker and builder tackling roofing projects and building cabinets and other furniture items for the home. Growing up, whenever I asked my mom for something she would say, “oh honey, we can make that”. It was annoying at the time because I didn’t get what I wanted and more times than not, we didn’t make it. But it did teach me that you don’t always have to buy what you want, sometimes you can tackle it yourself. Hmmm, a tiny house comes to mind.

We got back to work putting up the other dormer wall and putting up the rafters. Like I mentioned before, the dormers were not in our building plans and we were making it up as we went along. We consulted YouTube, other tiny house blogs, and builder friends, and hoped for the best. One thing we had to figure out was the angle to cut the rafters that would sit on the dormer walls. When you know the pitch of your roof, it’s easy to figure out the angle you need to cut. However, when you don’t know what the pitch is, it’s a little more complicated. Of course there is always math to help you figure it out. Using the Pythagorean theorem and taking the Sin, Cosine, etc. will eventually give you the number you need. At one time I spent a while figuring this all out, but of course didn’t keep my notes and rather than give myself a headache again, we decided to go with the trial and error method. After a few cuts, we settled in on an eight degree angle for the portion of the rafter that attaches to the ridge beam. Knowing this, I was able to find a calculator online that informed me we had a 1.68/12 pitch roof. Definitely not very steep, but it should shed rain and gives us maximum head room in the loft. In the winter we might have to rake the snow off the dormer roof section, but it’s such a small section of roof that it will probably be just fine.

While Pete and I measured and cut the rafters, my mom chiseled out the wall sheathing that was in the way of the rafters. By then we had all the rafters ready to be nailed/screwed in place. The rafters that flank the dormer walls are doubled up with 1/2 inch plywood in between. This gives us extra strength in addition to making it easier to frame in the side walls. By quitting time (6pm cow milking time) we had the dormers up and all rafters in place.

It’s amazing how much more we accomplished with a pair of extra hands! Pete said my mom should come over every weekend. 🙂

Categories: Dormers, Rafters, Roofing | Tags: | 2 Comments

Dormer Walls Going Up

May 19, 2013 – We started putting up the dormer walls today. Because this was not part of our original plan, we first had to tear down the rafters that were already in place. Every time we take apart a piece of the house it makes me that much more confident that this tiny house will travel well; it is difficult to take it apart.

Once the existing rafters were removed we made a few new rafters that were two 2×4’s thick with 1/2 inch plywood as a spacer; this is what will hold the side walls of the dormers. We only got one of the dormer walls in place with the doubled up rafters on either side of it before we called it a day; we had a late start as usual and stormy weather was approaching.

It feels good to be back to work on the tiny house. We had gone through a period where we lost confidence in our building abilities, but once we had hammers in hand the confidence returned and we will be living in our self built tiny house in no time…more likely a year from now, but who’s keeping track.

Categories: Dormers, Rafters | 2 Comments

Starting on Loft Dormers

March 10, 2013 – We had a reprieve from winter weather for a few days and that prompted Pete to remove the giant tarp from the tiny house. We came up with a plan for the loft dormers that we decided to add and started drawing up plans. The Tumbleweed Fencl plans that we are using to build the tiny house does not have dormers, so we’re making this up as we go. It’s been quite a few weeks, so many of the details now escape me, but we came up with some dimensions that we hope will work and framed in the walls. We had to re-do a couple of things, as we did not make the header long enough on the ends for the rafters to sit. We won’t really know if it will work until we attempt to put it all together; wish us luck!

As I type, it is snowing outside (today is April 19th)! It seems as though winter is never going to end.

Categories: Dormers, Framing | Leave a comment

Winter Lull

January 21, 2013 – Happy New Year folks! It’s a good thing that “do a better job keeping up with the blog” was not one of my resolutions. Nothing has happened on the tiny house since my last post other than being covered by a giant tarp, twice.

Pete and I had the good fortune to be able to take a trip to Costa Rica after Thanksgiving for my brother’s wedding. The trip was partially funded by my dad and step-mom, so thankfully we did not have to completely drain the tiny house fund, thanks dad and Ruthanne! Pete was already downstate, so I called up Jeff to get some help covering the tiny house with the tarp before heading out of town. I thought we did a decent job securing the tarp, but when we got back from our trip, the giant tarp was lying on the ground. Luckily we still had the 6 mil poly and another tarp covering the roof; so the house was still protected. We had hopes of being able to work on the house during the winter; at the very least of getting the dormers figured out and the roof completed, but we also wanted the house protected from the elements. Especially the housewrap, as apparently the manufacturer recommends having the house sided within 90 days of putting on the housewrap. Since we knew that wasn’t going to happen, we figured at least covering the sides of the house with a tarp would be good enough. Unfortunately, it was kind of an all or nothing deal. The tarp is such a monster that it catches the wind pretty easily and needed to be tied down very securely. In doing so, it made it not worth trying to remove it to work on from time to time; so the tiny house will sit until spring.

So far, we’ve had another very mild winter. This is the third year in a row that we haven’t seen much snow. We got a few inches over the weekend and our temperatures dropped quite a bit, but we’ve only had to shovel once…and by we, I mean Pete. Although we enjoy outdoor winter activities, it would also be nice to have spring come early and get back to work on the tiny house.

We stopped in at the Modern Woodsmith a couple of weeks ago to take a peek at our door and drop off the door knob and deadbolt. I got a call today that it’s ready to pick up. It turned out so nice and we can’t wait to install it. It still needs to be sealed, which we will probably wait until spring to do.

In the meantime, we have been trying to pare down our belongings in anticipation of living in such a small space. We’ve started in the closet and have a bag of clothes ready to go to Goodwill as well as a few other odds and ends. Since not much work will be done on the house for a little while, I’ll do my best to come up with tiny house topics to write about. If you have any ideas, send them my way.

Categories: Door, Dormers, Roofing, Tiny House Living | Tags: | 11 Comments

Slightly More Accomplished

November 3, 2012 – While every little bit adds up to an eventual tiny house, sometimes it seems like we work all day and accomplish very little. This was one of those days. We finished framing the second (storage loft side) of the gable walls and got the sheathing up as well. That’s it. That’s all we did.

On another note, we have decided to make some changes to the plans. I must first preface this by saying that I’m obsessed with all things tiny house! I’m constantly searching for new blogs, staring at google images of tiny houses, and searching for new you tube videos. It’s a dangerous habit because I find myself saying, “ooh, look at that, we should have done that”. I finally told myself that I could not compare our tiny house with anyone else’s because I would always be second guessing things. I assured myself that our tiny house would be adorable and we are going to love it. Well, then I saw a picture of the Protohaus. We have seen other tiny houses that made use of dormers, but we never felt compelled to do that with our tiny house. However, when we saw the pictures of the Protohaus, we gave it some serious thought and in the end decided it would be worth the extra effort and money to modify our plans.

Since the beginning, we’ve been trying to imagine how we are going to use our space. Are we going to use the loft as a hangout space or just a sleeping place? Because this place is going to be sooo small, it makes sense that we would want to take advantage of the loft as a secondary lounge space and dormers will make it that much roomier. It will mean not having a roof on as soon as we had hoped. There will probably be several feet of snow on the ground before we officially have a roof, and it will also mean ripping out a few of the rafters we worked so hard to put up. Stay tuned!

Categories: Dormers, Framing, Gable Walls, Rafters | 11 Comments

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