Moisture is one of a builder’s biggest concerns. Water can damage wood, ruin structural integrity and even cause toxic mold which can lead to severe health problems. The good news is with weather and vapor barriers acting as your mold prevention, you will be well on your way to a safe, happy, dry environment. Although these two terms are sometimes confused and used in place of one another, here are the details on the differences and how they work.*

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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 7

Happy Fathers Day!

In the morning I told my Dad that as his Fathers Day gift I would only make him work 6 hours today. I know what you are thinking: But Dan, you have a schedule and a tiny house to build, now is not the time for generosity ;) Don’t worry, we ended up working until 5:30 anyways. We did take a little break in the afternoon to once again take a dip in the pool to cool off.

Check out the video for where we stand:

Day 7

I ordered the windows before I left Georgia but they take at least 3 weeks before they can be delivered (after I will be gone). Without windows we are prevented from doing too much more that will be really noticeable (siding, internal siding, etc.) beside the roof. So going forward it will likely appear that our progress will have slowed. But as I’ve pointed out before, the devil is in the details.

Tiny House 2 – Day 1

I drove down from Atlanta this morning and got to my Dad’s house in Deland FL around noon. My dad had picked up the trailer last week but the supplies from Home Depot still hadn’t arrived. So while we waited for the delivery we took that time to level the trailer. This task was a lot easier this time around since we started on mostly level ground. The last house was built in my driveway which has a pretty steep angle which made leveling a little difficult.

No sooner did we finish than Home Depot showed up with our delivery. My dad lives on a dirt road so it was interesting getting everything back to where we needed it. It will be even more interesting getting it out.

We then removed every other board from the trailer and added the aluminum flashing layer (to protect the under side of the subfloor). Finally, before getting rained out we started to construct the framing subfloor.

Tiny Living Subfloor

The aluminum looks pretty messed up in the picture but it was just trying to roll back up.

The wheel wells on this trailer are in a different location from the last 20 foot trailer I purchased. That is one of the advantages of having the SketchUp model to the house and not just the plans. I can make adjustments on the fly.

Of note, when we ordered the supplies, I didn’t specify the type of wood for the studs. The pro desk at home depot selected southern yellow pine (SYP) for me. This type of wood is very common in home construction because it is inexpensive and very strong. However, it also warps easily. This won’t be an issue once the home is complete but could prove troublesome if we take too long to get the sheathing on (which we won’t). Next time I will specify SPF (spruce/pine/fir) though.

(UPDATE: We ended up taking back about 30% of the studs because they were so warped and switched them out for SPF)

More updates tomorrow.

Full Throttle

It was only a few weeks ago that I decided to build another tiny house and things are moving very quickly.

I’m planning on beginning construction Monday in Deland (far from my home owners association). When I originally mentioned the idea of building a new house to my dad, he suggested that I build it on his property down in Florida. His reasoning was that he has all the room and tools down there and he could also give me a hand (my dad used to build homes for a living). Initially I didn’t think that would be possible since my wife Beth is 8 months pregnant with our second child. However, when I mentioned it to her she was surprisingly all for it. At first I thought it was a trap but she assured me she just thought it would be nice for me to spend time with my dad ;) Did I mention she is a saint? I’ll be down there for 2 weeks and plan to post frequently during this time so stay tuned.

The Idea

My plan for this house is to put it up for sale once it’s complete. I’m interested in seeing if there is enough demand for these to make this a full or part-time job. I would also like to put a tiny house on some property in North Georgia for my family to vacation at. If this house doesn’t sell then this will be it (It’s a win win :) Finally, I also like the idea of having actually built a house for which I am going to sell the plans for in order to fully document and validate them (plus I really enjoy building tiny houses).

The Plans

When I first started looking at tiny houses I loved the idea of a sleeping loft. I think it is an excellent use of the limited space available. However, since my first tiny house was designed for my mother, I knew I couldn’t include a sleeping loft since she wouldn’t be able to easily climb a ladder every day (you should see her climb regular stairs ;) So for this house I am adding a sleeping loft and moving the door to the rear (as well of some other minor changes). As I mentioned above, I will eventually make these plans available as well (at which time my first plans will return to their original price of $250)

Purchases So Far

I ordered the trailer from a manufacturer in Florida so that I wouldn’t have to drive it down with me. The cost, $2700, was just a little bit more than what I could get it for up here. The company that I got the trailer from for my first house had increased their price from $2300 to $2600 in just the last couple years. The turnaround time for the trailer was just over a week.

Since this house will be similar to my first house I used a slightly modified version of its parts list to get quotes from Home Depot and Lowes. As with my experience with the first house, Home Depot turned out to be quite a bit cheaper. The initial order came in at $5500. That doesn’t include everything but enough to keep me busy for a while.

I also placed a separate order for the windows. This was quite an ordeal and caused me a decent amount of stress. Since there aren’t standard window sizes between manufactures I needed to have the windows selected before I could complete the plans (which I am still in the process of doing). This sounds simpler that it actually is. On the first house I didn’t put that much thought into this decision and ended up buying white vinyl windows. Afterwards I had some regrets when I felt white windows locked me down to certain siding paint colors. Despite this I ended up really liking the appearance of the first house when it was complete. On this house however I wanted something other than white, which automatically bumped me up to a higher grade window. The other issue was finding a window series that includes some of the smaller windows that I needed. Finally, at an expense twice that of those used in the original house, I ended up selecting Jeld-Wen Wood Clad windows for $3000 (ouch!). This house design has more windows and these are really high quality so the additional cost isn’t just for the color  (it’s what I’m telling myself to feel better).

It’s been an expensive couple weeks!

Using the information from my first build (specifically the sketchUp model and materials list), I’m at the same point in two weeks that previously took me three months.

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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