200 Hours of Construction
200 hours, wow! How time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like a few days ago that I posted a recap of the first 100 hours of construction. In reality, it was three months ago, and this tiny house project just passed the 200 hours milestone. Regardless, everything is progressing at a steady pace. Each moment is exciting and continues to be a learning experience.
Continuing the Journey
After the first 100 hours, the plan was to finish the exterior, then tackle electricity, propane, and plumbing. However, the weather started to change sooner then anticipated. It began to rain more frequently, the days were getting shorter, and the temperatures colder. It was clear that finishing the outside would have to wait until spring.
Luckily the weather held out long enough to finish the window trim since it was only a quarter of the way complete. The days are short now, and the sun sets at 5 PM. This certainly limits the amount of time to work outside. Electricity would be helpful to continue working into the evening hours.
However, there are a few things to finish before electrical work can begin. The first task was framing the fenders with 2″ x 3″ lumber. The fender framing allows for a hefty layer of insulation to prevent cold air from seeping into the tiny house through the thin metal fenders. Also, using 2″ x 3″ framing gives just a little more extra space.
After the completion of the fender framing, threaded rods were installed to provide additional structural stability when it’s time to move the tiny house. Each corner of the tiny house has a rod. They go through the flange of the trailer all the way up through the loft floor framing.
Although the rain prevents outside progress, it does help in other ways. The heavy rains showed that the tiny house had a minor leak. The leak was around the exterior on top of the fenders. I forgot to put caulking around them. Once caulking was added, the tiny house was tight and it no longer leaked. Now, it’s time for electricity!
The goal is to build an off-grid tiny house. However, I don’t have adequate electrical usage estimates to size a home solar system correctly. Therefore, the entire electrical system will be completed in three phases. So far, only phase 1 is complete.
One room at a time, the lights began to come alive. The electrical load splits between four different circuit breakers. At the moment, the electricity relies on the grid. However once phase 2 is complete, everything will be in place to start measuring watt-hours to help design a proper home solar system.
At this point, the outside weather is dark and cold. The tiny propane heater constantly runs to keep up with the outside temperatures. It’s time to insulate the walls and keep in the precious heat as the cold weather arrives in Maine.
After the insulation, it was time to erect the bathroom and loft (privacy) walls. The bathroom wall is not a load-bearing wall. These kind of walls are sometimes referred to as curtain walls. The loft wall does provide additional support from the loft floor to the roof. However, the loft wall does not extended to the floor.
The interior walls remain mostly open. However, the interior tongue and groove walls will be installed when there is no need for additional wires, pipes, or inlets. Likely, the walls in the kitchen area will remain open the longest since plumbing and propane are still on the to-do list.
Vapor Barrier and Closing the Walls
Since the completion of the insulation, I’ve been anxious to see some inside finish work. However, I don’t want to be to hasty. After some planning on how the heating and cooling unit would be installed, it was safe to finish some of the loft’s interior walls.
From the beginning, I’ve planned to add a vapor barrier over the insulation. Then, the interior tongue and groove wall over the vapor barrier. The vapor barrier edges are taped together using shipping tape, and care is taken to create as few pieces as possible. It’s fairly easy since this is an 8′ x 20′ (~2.4 M x ~6.1 M) tiny house.
Tongue and Groove will be used on all interior walls. As construction passes the 200 hours milestone, only one wall and part of the ceiling are complete.
It’s a small taste of what the overall look will be, and it looks fantastic! The white paper on the floor represents where the bed and side tables will go. They were helpful to make sure both lights and switches are installed in the proper place.
After 200 hours, the exterior remains largely the same as it did in October with the exception of window trim and the electrical inlet. Although the temperatures are much colder, insulating and a propane heater work great to keep the interior warm while work continues.
Now that winter is in full swing, the exterior work will wait until the weather is warmer. However, the focus is inside and there is plenty to do between now and spring. A lot of hard work has gone into the tiny house, and I look forward to what the next 100 hours will bring.