So my trailer is ordered and should be ready by the end of August. I am looking at the next steps to begin building my tiny house. I find this task exciting and rather daunting at the same time. I have spent the past year dreaming, researching and building my tiny house in my head and it feels really close. There are still some important questions that I need answers to regarding ventilation, insulation and water/plumbing. On Monday, I met with a friend who is a carpenter to look over the plans that I bought.
The evening did not completely turn out as expected – I had hoped that he would be able to help me a fair amount with my build, unfortunately he has quite a few commitments throughout the fall and may be able to come by and help from time to time, he won’t be able to commit to a specific timeline and doesn’t want to make promises that he can’t keep. In the end, this will force me to take the lead in the build in my home, which was the original plan. I will be able to contact him for advice, and then will have to implement that advice on my own.
As for the plans, he had some wonderful insight and also was able to point me in the right direction for the next steps on my build. This is his first exposure to tiny houses, and brings a great deal of experience to the table with regards to building a traditional house. He also questions things in a way that I very much appreciate. I am not a carpenter, and will follow the directions given to me by those that I trust as experts, I don’t know which aspects of the design that I have bought to question. Having someone ask those questions can be challenging, but it also forces me to get the answers.
Here are a couple of questions raised during our conversation include:
- Why frame the subfloor when the trailer bed offers has enough strength to support the house? The answer is inches, which is to say, though a bit of a pain, framing the subfloor allows the house to have a slightly larger footprint and in a tiny house, every inch matters. If you were to lay down flashing, 1/2″ plywood, several inches of rigid polyfoam insulation and then 3/4″ plywood and create essentially an insulation sandwich over top of the trailer’s welded frame onto which you build your house, the house would be several inches shorter on each side.
- Why are the studs 24″ on centre and not 16″ on centre? According to Tiny House Design and Construction Guide by Dan Louche, a tiny house does not need to be built at 16 on centre and can be built 24 on centre (wall studs are 24 inches apart, on centre refers to measure from the centre of one stud to the next), without loosing any structural integrity.
I happened upon the answers to his questions quite haphazardly. I love when the answers to your questions jump out at you without you having to look too hard.
As for the next steps of my journey, I have calculated the square footage of interior and exterior siding that I will need so that I can go and select choose my siding. I am leaning towards burnt cedar for the exterior siding and I am still not sure what my interior siding will be. My carpenter friend recommended a local saw mill to check out for siding and suggested that I bring my plans along as the owner of the sawmill is extremely helpful and may have some good insight for me. The sawmill can also supply my roofing and ridge beam, if I choose to go with them.
Once I have chosen and ordered my siding, I can calculate the wall thickness of my house and order my doors and windows. It seems as though most doors and windows in Québec are made to order, so there aren’t really any stock sizes anymore. My plans have a comprehensive materials list, which includes the windows, which is really lovely. I am changing the plans enough that I have to recalculate the materials list, at least I have a place to start. One of the things I am changing is my door placement and the size of my door. I do not like the idea of having a door that is narrow. I don’t want to have to negotiate my way through the door every time I am carrying anything into or out of the house. It just doesn’t seem particularly practical and the romance of having a beautiful little door on your tiny house will lose its charm quickly. My door will be 6″ shorter than a standard door, which may make bringing large items like a mattress difficult and will probably mess with the mind of anyone over 5’6″. Luckily I am only 5’5″.