There are several different ways to build a house, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. The most common approach is called ‘stick-built’, which refers to the 2x dimensional lumber used to construct a wall. Stick-built walls, which are comprised of the dimensional lumber, sheathing, and insulation, are normally assembled at the location of the structure being built. An alternative approach to building residential and light commercial structures are called SIPs (or what are sometimes referred to as tiny house SIP panels).

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Part of a roof and insulation

Not getting a chance to install the metal roof on the house had been bothering me so I took a day off from vacation last week to drive back to my dad’s and work on it. I also convinced my brother to drive out there as well to give me a hand. I was really hoping to at least get all the panels up (but not all the trim pieces). Unfortunately my metal roof supplier wasn’t done causing me misery and forgot to include the butyl tape used to seal wherever metal meets. So my dad made yet another hour and a half trip out to them to pick up the missing supplies. I also forgot to get Mother Nature’s buy-in on my plan and it started to rain around 2pm. We worked through most of it but when all was said in done we had about 60 percent of the roof complete.

Tiny House Metal Roofing

If you recall from my first build I had some issues installing the roof because of the way I designed it. Before releasing my plans for sale I redesigned the roof after consulting my dad and applying the knowledge I had gained from that first experience. This was the first chance I had to try out my changes and although we haven’t completed it, things are working out much better and I don’t expect any of the issues from before.

On Thursday last week the insulation installers also showed up and sprayed the interior. I was supposed to get 3” on the ceiling and 2” on the walls. My dad said watching them spray it was pretty interesting. He said that it expanded so quickly that it would take someone with considerable skill and experience to control with any precision the thickness of the foam. To my benefit, my install didn’t have that skill. After they were finished the areas between the rafters in the ceiling were completely filled (3-1/2”) and between 2” and 3” of the foam was in the wall cavities. He said the only place that it appeared slightly thin was in the areas where the studs were closer than 5”. There are only a few of these and he will add a little of our own Hilti foam to make up for it.

Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Finally, I spoke to my dad yesterday and he said he has the windows mostly installed and has been working on the interior wood. I’ll have some pictures soon.

Tiny House 2 – Day 10

This morning I awoke to a terribly upset stomach. I either had some type of bug or food poisoning. So while I still managed to be out at the tiny house for half the day, I wasn’t that much help while I was there. We did manage to mostly complete the drain plumbing which was a little tricky since you have to navigate the various parts of the floor and metal supports of the trailer. I shot a video but since it was rather short I thought I would combine it with a video of other parts of the plumbing tomorrow.

I also met with the second insulation guy today. He gave we a quote that was much more in line with what I  was expecting: $1080. If I were to do it myself with 2” foam it would cost about $650. So given the benefits of the closed cell spray in (very good seal, high r-value, added rigidity to the trailer) I think I will have them do it.

I also spoke to my brother this morning about helping out with the roof and he thought he would be able to make in out on Friday. So I am pretty confident that that will get completed before I leave.

Hopefully I feel better in the morning.

Tiny House 2 – Day 8

No progress today worthy of a picture or video.

This morning we drove to Port Orange Florida to get a quote for the metal roofing. We didn’t hear back from them today but when I called at 5 they said they expected to have a price for me in the morning. Either way they said we should be able to pick it up on Thursday, which means we should be able to get that done before I leave (especially if my brother drives over to help).

I also called several companies about spray foam insulation. I have one company coming out in the morning and another on Wednesday. After talking to one he indicated that I may be looking at around $500 for closed cell spray foam for the house. If that turns out to be true, that will be significantly less than what I was anticipating (and cheaper than DIY). But I’ won’t get my hopes up until they see the job and I get an official quote. They also indicated that that could be completed on Friday, just enough time to complete the electrical and plumbing.

Other than that I met up with Alex Pino from who drove all the way up from Naples Fl. to check out the house. He unfortunately got his car stuck in the dirt road just outside my dad’s driveway so we spent a little bit of time trying to get him unstuck. I saw him take some pictures of it and quite a bit of video of my tiny house so be sure to check out his site for that.

Finally, for those of you who have expressed an interest in seeing the tiny house, I plan on having an open house once I return to Deland after we have our second child. I plan on coming back in no more than 3-4 months.

Thanks to everyone for following along.

Tiny House 2 – Day 2

Today we completed the subfloor. On my first tiny house I used 2” foam in the floor (as well as in the walls). Since there is no plumbing or wiring in the floor I decided to increase that a little . I originally requested 3” foam but Home Depot doesn’t carry that in stock so I just added an extra piece of 3/4”. In Georgia they only carry the pink foam and here they only had the white foam. I’m pretty sure they both have the same r-value as far their insulating properties are concerned but I will say the white stuff is much messy to work with. It looks like it snowed around the house.

We also managed to stand up a few walls before being rained out again around 4:30 pm.

Tiny Living Wall Framing

During the rain we decided to jump into my dad’s pool to cool off a little (it got up to 102 degrees today so we needed it). I was in the pool for a few minutes before my dad came out in what appeared to be a stark white wetsuit. After my eyes had a few minutes to adjust I realized that what I was seeing was his skin that has not seen the sun in what I would guess has been 40 years. If I close my eyes even know I can still see his outline ;)

Day 2

Insulating your tiny house

There are three different types of insulation I considered for my tiny house;

Spray foam – I thought this might be the best choice since it has a high R value and there would be no leaks (since it is sprayed in to all the nooks and crannies). The reason I ultimately decided against it is because this is not a DIY solution and thus likely much more expensive.

Fiberglass – I’ve worked with fiberglass before and it is fairly inexpensive and very easy to install. The problem is it doesn’t have the highest R value (~ 3.4 per inch).

Styrofoam Boards supplemented with spray foam – This is a little more expensive than fiberglass (I’m not sure exactly what the comparison is) but has a much higher R value of 5 per inch. This was my choice because I thought it was the next best thing to pure spray foam and it was something I could do myself.

After working with the Styrofoam boards I think my decision might have been flawed, and in hindsight would have chosen differently. The first and most important reason is that while the R value of the Styrofoam is much higher per inch, the boards that I am using are 2 inches thick, thus giving me an effective R value of 10. If I were to use fiberglass, I would fill the entire wall cavity and thus have an effective R value of 12. Couple that with the ease/speed of installation (the boards are a huge pain and mess to work with) and the lower cost I think fiberglass would be the way to go for warmer climates (my TH is headed to Florida). For colder climates I think I would spring for the spray foam insulation.

This is something that needs to be done right the first time since it isn’t easy to change out. I would love to hear any opinions.

Fun fact: While researching R values I read that 1 inch of insulation is equivalent to 30 inches of concrete!

UPDATE: I have since worked with the styrofoam more and experimented with different cutting tools (circular and hand saw) and no longer find it as difficult to work with. I also got a better tool (Hilti) to inject the foam into the cracks. In addition, if I had used 3″ foam my R value concerns would be alleviated as well.

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