Tag Archives: heat

Flooring Part I

This weekend we were only able to build on Sunday, so the electrical will wait  and as the hook up at the house isn’t done yet, it doesn’t affect much.  Saturday, I was able to spend some time getting ready for Sunday, I cleaned the tiny house, vacuumed the sawdust off the floors, walls, windows, etc.  to get the floor ready to install the tiling.    I am using Nuheat Infloor Heating Mats.  They were the mat that was recommended to me and here are some of the reasons I am really glad I bought them, most in-floor heating systems require a layer of levelling cement, the Nuheat mats only require a layer of thinset under the mats, which saves on weight.  These mats also come in 120 or 240 volts, I chose the 120 volts because I wasn’t sure at the time that I ordered them if my electrical would be able to handle 240 volts.  I ordered 3 mats, one for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for the great room.  The mats in the bathroom and the kitchen do not go under the cabinets, the tub or the toilet.

After I finished cleaning, I laid out the mats to map out the path for the wires that run from the mats to the thermostats.  The bathroom mat was pretty straightforward, the 10′ wire had more than enough room to travel from the mat to the wall and then up to the box where the thermostat will be installed.  The Nuheat  thermostat can take up to 15 amps worth of mats each. I bought two thermostats, one for the bathroom and then planned on having both the kitchen and the great room mats on the second thermostat.  When I laid out the kitchen and the great room mat I was stumped.  The wire from the kitchen mat didn’t reach the thermostat.  When we roughed in the electrical, we set up a circuit for an extra thermostat.  Before we put up the interior siding, I chose to put the thermostat in the box further away from the kitchen, so Stefan ran a rope from that box to the floor so that the wires from the mats could run behind the paneling.  In retrospect, we should have done the same for the other box, but we did not, because I knew I only wanted to have one thermostat for the kitchen and great room.  The wires from both mats reach the box that doesn’t have the rope going to it.  So expect a post with details of how we run the wires to that box.

Sunday morning we started by laying out the uncoupling membrane, which allows the house to shift without the tiles or grout cracking, cutting it to fit the tiny house.  Once it was laid out, we carefully put away the membrane, the last piece to be installed went back in the box first and the first piece to be installed went in last.  Then we laid out the in floor heating mats and marked the location on the mat for the floor heat sensor.  Next, we put a thin layer of thinset down where the mats are going to lie.  The mats were laid down and then another layer of thinset for the uncoupling membrane.  Once the uncoupling membrane was down, more thinset to file the grid on the uncoupling membrane (see pictures below).  The thinset is curing (which should take about 24 hours) and next week the tile gets installed.

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Interior Siding and Trim

There is siding on lofts , the great room and the kitchen.  There is just a bit of siding left to do in the kitchen along the wall that divides the kitchen and the bathroom (that wall hasn’t been built yet).  The windows in the loft have their trim and the long dormer edges are trimmed.  All is good and right in the world.  I am possibly a month away from living in my tiny house.  A month!

Saturday, we finished off the siding on the dormers in the bedroom loft and then started on the small bit of 12/12 ceiling at the end of main loft.  Once again I was manning the nail gun and Stefan was on the saw.  It was really satisfying to cover up the insulation and watch the purple disappear.  That satisfaction was only trumped by seeing the windows trimmed.

I discovered this week that I missed a pretty important detail when I ordered my siding.   A lot of tiny houses use ¼” siding to cut down on weight.  I missed that detail and just ordered siding.  My siding is ¾”, which means it’s easier to install, is more solid and three times as heavy.   It’s not the most comfortable of realizations I have had over the course of this build and it impacts a great deal.  Now I just have to weigh one of the pieces of siding and start doing some math before I can choose the flooring I will install, which after a recent decision, choosing flooring has become a bit tricky.

Here’s a bit about that decision: while roughing in the electrical, I decided to add in-floor heating.  I contacted a tiny houser in Vermont who has been wintering in their tiny house with straw bales stacked around the base of their trailer and he wished he had installed in-floor heating.  So I went for it.  I have my in-floor heat mats and 2 thermostats.  I am hoping to install ceramic tile floor – a heavy choice, but a choice that lets the in-floor heating radiate into the room.  Wood insulates , so in-floor heating will heat up the floor, but that heat won’t radiate much into the room.

So choices have to be made and wood has to be weighed.

Fun fact:  in carpentry, a beveled edge is called a chamfer.  I learned that this weekend.

An Unexpected Break Ending in a Purple Haze

My tiny house has been getting a lot of wonderful attention over the past couple of weeks. It has been truly wonderful to have people coming out and visiting  the construction site and getting the opportunity to geek out about tiny houses with them.  I have also been contacted by a freelance journalist and found a Tiny House Movement group online.  Very exciting times, and it’s a good thing too as I have not been able to move forward with the construction of my tiny house much over the past 3 weeks as I have been waiting for a plumber to rough in my propane lines before getting the house insulated.

Two days ago, I was finally able to book the insulation!  They are insulating as I write.  Apparently insulating Tiny Refuge will take 2-3 hours, in theory.

Lessons learned over the past three weeks:  propane is one of the few codes here in Québec when it comes to how to build an RV.  That code dictates that propane tanks be 10′ from any source of ignition and 3′ away from any opening into the house.  So we had to move the electrical inlet and one of the exterior plugs.  The exterior plug was easy to move.  The electrical inlet proved to be far more challenging when one of the screws, that secures the 6 gauge wire that runs from the inlet to the electrical panel, broke.  A trip to the hardware store proved only somewhat helpful, the right width of screw with the right threading was in the store attached to a stove plug outlet, unfortunately, the screw was too long.  Time was spent grinding the screw down.  While we attempted to reinstall the electrical inlet, another screw snapped in half.  So we called it a day.  I contacted the manufacturer, Marinco and they were amazing.  They replaced the whole inlet and sent it off to me, it arrived within a week and we were able to install the new electrical inlet without any issues.

While waiting for the electrical inlet to arrive, I contacted my neighbour, a plumber who had agreed to do my plumbing, about roughing in the propane.  Unfortunately, he isn’t certified to do propane.  He recommended a friend, who does a fair amount of propane installations, residential and commercial, and I contacted him.  Long story short it took three weeks to discover that the propane should actually be done after the insulation and be installed under the trailer.  That came to light Tuesday, and right now the interior of my tiny house is getting sprayed in WALLTITE closed cell spray foam insulation, which happens to be purple. Walltite is considered an ecological choice for spray foam, it’s plastic based (recycled plastic) and is also low in VOCs after the first hour of installation.  Installers have to be certified by the manufacturer and take a course in order to be allowed to install it.  From what I have read, the effectiveness of spray foam insulation  depends a fair amount on how well it is installed.

I have gone with spray foam insulation because it packs one of the best R-values per inch.  Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) have an amazing R-value, R29 per ½”, but if they are perforated in any way they lose their R-value completely.  They are also not readily available.  If I were building a house on a foundation, without size restrictions, I would still build tiny, but my walls would be thicker so that I could get a good R-value with something like wool insulation.  Unfortunately, to heat my house throughout the winter in this climate an R-value of R13 or R18 will take a more resources.  As a wood stove is a bit touchy in Montreal, I am heating with propane, which isn’t the most sustainable choice,  and as such, I want to use as little propane as I can.

A view of the whole wall ready for spray foam.  You can also see the box built around the wheel well.  The big blue tarp is covering/protecting the interior siding that have to be stored inside the tiny house.
A view of the whole wall ready for spray foam. You can also see the box built around the wheel well. The big blue tarp is covering/protecting the interior siding that have to be stored inside the tiny house.
Electrical roughed in, ready for spray foam
Electrical roughed in, ready for spray foam.
Main loft electrical rough in.  I chose to light the loft with two lights at the end of the loft and there will be 2 outlets on either side of both windows.
Main loft electrical rough in. I chose to light the loft with two lights at the end of the loft and there will be 2 outlets on either side of both windows.
The bunch of wires on the lower right of the photo are all ready to go to the panel which will go into the wall dividing the bathroom from the kitchen - the only interior wall in the house.  The grey tube in the top right of the photo is the housing for the HRV unit.  The tube will be cut down to size later on.
The bunch of wires on the lower right of the photo are all ready to go to the panel which will go into the wall dividing the bathroom from the kitchen – the only interior wall in the house. The grey tube in the top right of the photo is the housing for the HRV unit. The tube will be cut down to size later on.
The grey box on the lower right of the photo is the new location for the electrical inlet.  The conduit will make it easier to make any modifications to that inlet down the road if needed.
The grey box on the lower right of the photo is the new location for the electrical inlet. The conduit will make it easier to make any modifications to that inlet down the road if needed.
A close up of some of the wiring roughed in and ready for spray foam.
A close up of some of the wiring roughed in and ready for spray foam.

 

 

 

 

 

Wood stoves and Montreal

The past couple of weeks have been rather quiet on the tiny house front.  My tiny house plans have not been completely left alone, I have made the order for my siding, rented a truck to go pick up my trailer (next weekend), contacted the provincial vehicle registration authority (the SAAQ – we are very fond of acronyms in Québec) and spend a good amount of time thinking about my heat source.  I have been debating whether or not I want to use a wood stove with the Kimberly stove being a front-runner, or a propane heater such as the Dickinson Marine Heater.  The Kimberley stove is efficient, doesn’t take up much space compared to other wood stoves, and is an expensive option.  The Dickinson doesn’t need to be babysat, has an even smaller footprint and when I went to the Tumbleweed workshop in Boston, we toured a tiny house that had wintered in New Hampshire and the feedback was that the Dickinson had not heated the house sufficiently for the climate.  So the Kimberley has been winning out, the cost seems worth it, I want to be able to live in my house year round.

This week, it was reported in the news that the City of Montreal is in the process of creating a bylaw to ban wood stoves in the city limits by 2020.  Fantastic.  I am building my tiny house in a demerged city on the Island of Montreal, so in this doesn’t affect me at present, but it could in the future.  Fun!