Interior Wall Boards – Part II, Installation

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You know those dreams you have where you’re slogging through some sort of hypothetical mud and can’t seem to get anywhere? That’s how the past few months have gone for us.

This is mainly due to both of us working all the time, and that makes it so that our schedules rarely line up to where we can both work on the house. This has been especially difficult since we’ve been working on installing the walls, which really is a two person job. We’re lucky if we can get in one day a week where we can actually make some progress.

Anyway, I hope that helps explain why our blog posts have been so rare the past few months. We know we’re getting closer to the finish line, but man has it been slow. Especially compared to the first few months we worked on the house when we were able to get the structural walls up in about a month. Let it be known to all people who wish to build a tiny house, your finish work will take a long time and will require a lot of patience! Just keep at it!

So as we mentioned in our previous post, we finally finished creating all the boards for the interior walls. Next came installing them. This went rather smoothly – the main challenge was working around outlets, light-switches, and windows.. especially when we had to deal with all three on one board. Three cheers for jigsaws!

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In the loft on the right side.

We started with the right long wall that extends into the kitchen. We started at the floor (keeping it in the gap we had left for such occasion when we installed and stained our floors). we worked our way up until the lofts and roof began. Drew had the fun job of installing smaller pieces between each of the rafters. We think it turned out well.

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A crappy picture lighting-wise, but at least you can see the board layout. It looks a lot better in person.
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We painted the heads of our screws to match the wood. Now our panels are removable in case we ever need to get behind them to fix something. Also, this window edge will be refined and covered with trim.

 

Behind each board we would install our wool insulation (remember this?) We had to retrieve our random bags and boxes of wool from all over the shop, hidden away after the subfloor disaster. Installing the wool went well – as long as we avoided the nails sticking through the plywood. Ouch.

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So much wool. Wool everywhere.

Predictably, we then worked on the left long wall. We stopped where the bathroom starts, because we needed to use a special waterproofing system for the walls there. From there we were free to work on the nook area and the back wall. We managed to get this far over the course of a few weeks.

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Yet another crappy picture, but this shows you the left wall up to where the bathroom and closet start.
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The wheel well will be covered with a piece of our wall plywood and framed with trim.

Next, it was time for playing with ladders! Our favorite. We began installing our gable roof ceiling panels, which was tricky for many reasons. For one, we have all our finished boards in a giant stack in the center of the house. It is a tiny house after all, meaning there’s not much space to maneuver around a giant stack of wood. So aside from needing to move ladders around the pile, we needed to have a box of wool high enough that we could reach it to install while standing on the ladder, and we had the awkward angle of the roof to contend with. We’re essentially installing the panels upside down. Somehow we managed to do one whole side of the roof. At the top near the ridge beam we had to be clever about installing the wool. We only had a small space in which to get it in there, so it did rain wool in our house as we tried to fit it in the small crack. Overall it turned out well.

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Working our way up the ceiling.
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Working up over the storage loft.

We only did one half of the ceiling because we’re waiting for our new woodstove! We need to know where the exhaust pipe will exit through the ceiling before we can work on the other side of the roof. In other news, we ordered our cute little woodstove! More on that in another post.

 

Onward to the dormer walls. Again, working around the windows was tricky, but thankfully we actually had something to sit on while working. The half circle window in the dormers actually went more smoothly than we thought it would. We cut a piece to fit the length, cut the outlet holes, and then traced the outline of the window on the back and cut it with a jigsaw. Voila.

 

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The cheek walls (the triangular walls created between the dormer and gable roofs) were a little more tricky too, but we employed the same technique we used with the half circle dormer window and traced each board to fit. All these rough edges will be covered with trim, which helps.

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We also finished the dormer ceiling! We may not have dealt with ladders, but we still had fight gravity.

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We had to install wedges in order to create the curve in the ceiling to go over the ridge beam.
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Our finished dormer ceiling! (Sans trim.)

So that’s as far as we are now! Making progress, slowly but surely. And now winter’s here. At least our house will be insulated for it. Onward!

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Loft Framing and Flooring

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Looking into our future kitchen, underneath the sleeping loft. The bathroom will be on the left (out of frame). The green showing through the windows is the bottom tarp we have covering our currently roofless house.

I just wanted to give a quick update on the house – we’ve finished our storage and sleeping lofts, floors and all!  It was nice to finally be able to do a little bit of design work instead of just focusing on structural components. We used cedar loft beams that created the ceiling for the bottom floor. Underneath our sleeping loft is the bathroom on the left side and the kitchen on the right. I’m finding myself really preferring knotty wood – it has such interesting textures and patterns that I never really took the time to appreciate before. Drew, with Z’s help, installed the flooring boards (white pine) on top of the lofts while I cut them to size. He used a pin nailer, which allowed him to hide the nails in the grooves of each of the tongue and groove boards, so the nails won’t be visible from the top. After we were finished, we sat out under the stars for a while on our new loft.

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Underneath the sleeping loft, looking toward the front door and storage loft.

Working on the house has been an interesting experience for me personally. Fifteen-hour workdays are becoming the norm for us. Because of this, I don’t get to rest as much as I need to. I’m becoming more in tune with what my body needs in order to function at its best. I’m learning I need to rest more. I need to lift with my knees even when I think it’s easier to lift with my back. I need to wear my face mask while working around sawdust, even when it’s burning hot outside. When in doubt, I should wear my ear protection while walking through the shop, because chances are someone is going to use a loud saw while I’m in there. I need to wear my eye protection, even if Drew is nailing on the other side of the house (flying nails happen, I’ve seen it). I now know I need to use knee-pads or a foam pad when working on a hard floor, or my knees will ache the next day. I know I need to carry the ladder from the inside, or it will bump against my shins and create bruises. I need to sleep right when I get home and stay off the Internet, or I’ll be up all night and unable to concentrate the next day.  I need to remember to stay sharp around power tools and not take short-cuts. To pay attention when I’m sawing, no matter how easy the piece is. I need to remember to drink more water.

And most of all, I need to be more okay with delays. I need to remember that I am not a machine, and that exhaustion is not a trophy. I need to remember I’m human, and that it’s okay to take a day off, or to do something that isn’t related to the tiny house. In fact, it’s needed, otherwise I’ll burn myself out more than I already have. I still have yet to take a complete day off from tiny house work. I feel like I’m losing time. Somehow, I’m always losing time.

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I have a habit of pushing myself harder than I should in order to complete a project. This house has been a test on slowing myself down. So far, it’s been a difficult process. Currently construction has lulled to a halt. We’re trying to figure out how to change the framing plans for the roof, since our trailer is wider than the one referenced in the plans. This creates all kinds of problems, especially since this will influence the angles of the roof beams. It’s been a challenge to try and drudge up all that old high school trigonometry. (If only I knew I’d be using it later to build a house – I probably would have paid more attention, or at least held on to my notes.)

I guess I should welcome this time as a break – spend more time sitting in the loft rather than trying to calculate it. I know we’ll get there eventually. I think I’ll relax more once this house is in the dry (as in we don’t need to cover it with a tarp and bail water off the roof at 10pm during horrible thunderstorms anymore [true story]). Hopefully then I can slow down and enjoy the process, rather than always racing to finish it.