tiny house mistakes - title

Let’s be honest here: we are all human and we all make mistakes. And knowing that, you can prepare yourself for some of them, and there are others that you are just going to have to learn as you go. But in the interest of hoping we can all share knowledge and prevent a few of the biggest mistakes from happening, here are the five biggest tiny house mistakes that you will encounter while building.

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Every time we attend an event with one of our tiny houses, we are constantly asked about the height. Our house is 13’5” high, just one inch below the legal limit set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The response is normally, “WOW! How do you drive with that in tow?” Here are some of the things to think about when it comes to tiny house height.

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Tiny Living videos

I finally got a chance to put together the videos from my trip to Florida. As usual they are out of focus, shaky, and filled with me repeating myself. But hopefully there is something in there that someone will find useful.

This first video I shot half way through the trip and I talk mainly about the interior siding and something I might consider doing differently concerning the electrical if I had planned to hook this house up to solar power.

And the last video I shot right before I left Florida.

The Countdown

I sent a letter to my HOA letting them know that the trailer will be removed no later than Jan 15th. I think it will be road ready before then but I wanted to give myself a little buffer. This is past the date they told me to get out but not by much so I’m hoping they will let it slide (what’s a few days between friends).

My brother and step-father are driving up on Tuesday. My step father doesn’t have any construction experience but it will be good to have an extra set of hands. They’ll get in late so we won’t be able to start work until Wednesday. The weather is pretty frigid here (especially for a Florida/SoCal boy) with snow expected on Thursday and high winds on Friday. Makes me wish I’d taken more days off when I was working in a t-shirt. (Click here to start the music before reading on) Oh, how I miss those warm beautiful days. No time pressure, no HOA, just me, the sun, a ladder, and a 12 foot drop. Ok, maybe not all the memories are great.

Thanks to everyone for their support, especially Michael of TinyHouseDesign.com and Kent of TinyHouseBlog.com for getting the word out. There are a few offers on the table for temporary storage of my TH but I’m going to wait until after the weekend to evaluate the situation.

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Awwww Snap!

Well, what do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news? The bad news is the home owners association has caught on to my little project and is not too happy. The good news is… oh wait, it’s all bad news. The 30 X 2 days that I thought I would get to move this thing turns out to be 10 days and my tiny house is in no shape to move.

HOA Notice

My options as I see it are:

Option #1: Try to move the house to the back yard.
This option sucks because: I have a 10′ gate but the ground is unlevel so I don’t think it will make it through. I would probably have to take down a section of my fence. But if the neighbor who turned me in did so because of the construction noise they may just find a new rule that I am violating and all will be for not. This option would also require releveling the trailer.

Option #2: Move it someplace close by where it might be able to make the trip and I can finish it there.
This option sucks because: No such place exists that I can think of.

Option #3: Try to get the house road ready in 10 days and move it to Florida for completion.
This option sucks because: 10 days (make that 9 now) is not a long time. This will require me to take off yet more time, most likely at no pay (I’m not sure how much my company will let me go into the negative). Also, I won’t get to do the open house that I was looking forward to.

I’m not sure what prompted someone to complain after all this time. I would have thought it was going to happen in the beginning or not at all. I can’t be too mad though I guess.

Happy New Year!!!

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All Wrapped Up

Took Monday off and did a little more work. Unfortunately I had forgotten that I had a dentist appointment at 4pm so I had to cut the work day a little short.

I finished up the sheathing of the dormers. The sides of the dormers required some fancy cuts (notched triangle with no right angles) which had me perplexed for a few minutes. But once I figured out a technique the job went really quick.

I also fixed the warped sheathing by making a few expansion cuts (that’s what I’m calling them) about half way into the plywood and then screwing into a 2 X 4 support placed between the studs. This worked really well!

Warped Wall Sheathing

Warped Wall Sheathing Fixed

I then wrapped the house in (appropriately named) house wrap. I didn’t cut the windows out hoping that this will stop some additional rain water from entering until I install the windows. Hopefully we don’t get too much wind.

Finally, I added back the overhang (from cutting off the rafter tails a little while back) on one section of the wall. My solution only works because my overhang is so small. I designed a small one to maximize the interior space since the trailer has a maximum width. This solution eliminates the need for the rafter blocking (which I had already done) and notching the rafters (except for the one on the very end, pictured below, where there is no sheathing).

Rafters

Sheathing the roof and installing the windows is next. Much beyond that I will need an additional materials order (primarily metal roofing and siding). For that I will need to wait for my funds to replenish.

Tiny House Wrap

Not a gust of wind all day except when I was just about to tie off the first corner of the perfectly positioned tarps, or should I say, Kites.

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13.81 Inches

That’s how much rain Atlanta has received since the beginning of October. About the same amount as Seattle (8.85 in.) and Portland Oregon (5.41 in.) COMBINED. I used to enjoy the rain. It meant lazy Sundays and sleeping in. But with home ownership rain has taken on a more stressful feel. My ‘big’ home has some minor roof leaks that no matter how many times I think they’re fixed they always seem to return. Now I’ve thrown in this tiny house construction with all of it’s exposed wood and my stress level is even higher. For those of you reading this thinking I am overreacting a little, here is a picture of a sheet of plywood I made the mistake of leaving out in the rain for a few hours.

Warped Wood

Before the latest batch of rains came this last week I purchased two additional tarps, for a total of 4 (18 ft. X 12 ft.). Even that wasn’t enough to cover the entire structure, but my main goal  was to cover the roof and unsheathed walls to protect the floor. On Wednesday, when the rain was at it’s peak, I came home from work to find that a corner of one of the tarps had been blown free allowing rain to enter through the roof. My tiny house had a swimming pool! I re-secured the tarp and swept out the water, once again cursing the entire time (I must say, my vocabulary certainly has expanded since beginning this project ;)

Tiny House Tarped

On Saturday I took off the side tarps and rolled back the roof tarps. The floor looked good however there where some serious bulges along one of the longer walls that I will need to correct before installing the house wrap.

I was able to install sheathing on all of the walls sans one dormer. It is supposed to rain (surprise surprise) on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week so I am going to see about taking Monday off to try to get the house wrap up. Once that’s done I think I will feel a lot better since that will protect the walls and the tarps do a good job of covering the roof (assuming they don’t blow off).

Tiny House Sheathed

Tiny Retirement House Sheathed

If the rain doesn’t start to let up soon I am going look into adding pontoons.

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