A Response To A Thought-Provoking Post

Over at a Laptop And A Rifle,  there is a very interesting post about the death/avoidance of adulthood.  I was inspired to write a response that is practically a treatise, and thought I’d post it here as well.  It sums up much of why I’m on this journey.  The link is to his post:

http://laptopandarifle.com/2014/10/14/thoughts-on-the-death-or-avoidance-of-adulthood/#comment-3521

And here is my response:

Fascinating. I have often thought of how I’m not “grown-up”, even though I’m in my late 40’s. I think I straddle the two generations ~ the one that valued stability and family over all else, and the one that values freedom of action and thought, even while battling a system that nearly guarantees financial failure. It’s an interesting view.

Unlike you, my childhood taught me to think for myself, but at the same time to fear non-conformity. To quite an extent, I raised myself (latchkey kid) in a time when that was rare. I suppose our parent’s desire/need to take care of us financially in an economic down-turn was the breaking point for the next generation ~ we grew up watching them struggle, both parents often working while we stayed home alone, seeing the difficulty and sadness of that life.

I am building a Tiny Home on a trailer to tow to my own property in the wilderness, miles from even the tiniest township. I know this decision scares my 25 year old son, but also impresses him with the idea of choice. There is a purpose right there. I want to live lightly on my property, therefor leading by example. It don’t plan to do much more than care for my 20 acres ~ thinning out stands of trees that were planted for lumber then neglected, for example, to allow them to grow more healthy. There is another purpose.

I too would love to meet someone compatible and live with love in my life, but so far I haven’t met anyone who can both cope with my mental health disorder and live the type of life I desire. Even one of those stipulations is hard enough! Instead, I plan on inviting someone to live on my property in their own little home. This is to continue learning how to be comfortable with other people and to have support and help when needed (and give it, of course). That’s yet another purpose.

Maybe I don’t live like a typical “adult”, but I think my life plans are worthwhile and meaningful, which is a good definition of acting mature.

Parker

Wow, Oliver’s Nest Is Looking Like A House!

Well, the building felt is going up, and it’s doing a bang-up job hiding the ugly sheathing.  Makes me quite happy.  I have to dig out my stapler/brad nailer thingy to finish off the edges.  I’m going to tape all the seams and cover the nails for extra water protection.  Once again I’m unable to do a “best practice” job, because no way can one person hold the roll, unwind it, keep it from crumpling or ripping, and nail it straight alone!  But with shorter pieces, well layered, I (hope) think the felt will do it’s job and shed water.

Here’s what things look like tonight ~

First the excess wood was trimmed off the bottom all the way around.

First the excess wood was trimmed off the bottom all the way around.

I don’t think I ever explained what the huge opening over the wheels on the south side is for.  Originally it was to access the water tank salvaged from the trailer (it’s tucked under Oliver’s Nest for safekeeping), but I’ve changed my mind and now the solar stuff like batteries will be housed there.  Access to them will be from outside through this space.

The paper has handy lines on it which help tremendously with keeping the paper straight.

The paper has handy lines on it which help tremendously with keeping the paper straight.

I’m not sure how to handle the window and door areas, so left them nailed but not taped.  For now, getting the paper up and nailed securely is my goal.  I don’t care if there are loose ends flapping in the openings.  They will get figured out.

Another view of the mound of wool.  It's almost dry!!!!

Another view of the mound of wool. It’s almost dry!!!!

I think I’ll be able to replace the sub-floor within the next few days.  I can’t wait to be able to walk and dream inside again!  This seems uanreal to me…that I’m actually BUILDING MY OWN HOME!!!!

The Drama Is Over ~ The Sheathing Is Up.

The last bit of sheathing on the northern side only took four hours to put on.  I felt so much relief to have it finished!     I think this last bit looks pretty good.  Had to sit down and drink a blueberry beer to celebrate.

 

Sheathing up all around!

Sheathing up all around!

Look at that sad and lonely little window.  It’s the only window on the north side because I’m trying for passive solar, but it is so plain on this side!  I’m worried about making the exterior look good.

The floor is now totally ripped up to allow all the pooled up moisture to evaporate.  I know what mistake I made ~ I shouldn’t have layered the rigid insulation over the wool.  It kept the water that leaked in from the exposed edges from having a way to dry.  I should have known to trust the wool ~ after all, it’s ability to drain and dry and stay great is well known.

So it’s all out now, and there is an immense pile of mostly dry, fluffy wool that has taken over Oliver’s Nest.  It looks like a herd of sheep exploded in there ~ in fact, there is more insulation than floor now.  I think all the fluffing has expanded it greatly.  I wonder if I was supposed to fluff if this much before I put it in?  That would explain why there didn’t seem to be enough wool left for the rest of the house…I just put way too much into the floor.   I’ll have to start stuffing stud spaces where no wiring or plumbing will go to handle the overflow.

2014-07-30 13.09.02

Mid-excavation. The wool hasn’t expanded to it’s full potential yet..

I took the day off today to rest my knee again.  It was really hurting by the end of the day Thursday, I’m not sure why.  It feels better now, here at 1:45 am, so it looks like I’ll be able to get started on hanging the felt paper.  I’ve read how-tos online and watched videos, so hopefully this will go smoothly.  It is recommended that you have two people work on putting up the wrap so it will be tight and secure, but with my house being so small, it might be OK.  We’ll see.

Plywood Sheathing Almost Complete

Once again I change my plans.  I’m free to do so as no-one else is inconvenienced by it. :)

I was going to skip hanging the building felt paper altogether.  I forgot, though, what my favorite website Building Science has to say:

“The drainage plane in this assembly is the building paper or building wrap. The air barrier can be any of the following: the interior gypsum board, the exterior stucco rendering, the exterior sheathing or the exterior building wrap.”

Since Oliver’s Nest will live in a very cold climate, the air barrier should be to the inside and  latex-painted barn board attached to thin plywood will serve that function.

(Quote and pictures copied from from  http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-106-understanding-vapor-barriers)

Figure_12_Frame_Stucco_Vap

In Oliver’s Nest, substitute ceder siding and metal roof panels for the painted stucco with paper bond break.  They act similarly.  Then the thin rigid foam panels, which were going to serve as the drain field.  But the author recommends building paper (ah-ha!) as the drain field.  Then, plywood sheathing and the wool inside the wood stud cavity.  On the interior of the wall will be a very thin layer of plywood and latex-painted wood boards (fastened to the thin plywood), which act like the “Kraft facing on a fiberglass batt or a “smart vapor barrier membrane” combined with the latex-painted gypsum board.  I researched and it’s a very fine substitute. The big change is that my drain field *was* going to be the water-impermeable rigid foam panels, instead of the more water-permeable building felt.  This change allows a much easier exit for water vapor inside the wall assembly.  It’s important.  I’m glad I caught it.

As the rigid foam panels I have are very thin at a quarter inch, my walls are more like the above than the below illustration:

Figure_13_Frame_Ext_Rigid

If I were able to use much thicker foam insulation, I would go with the above design, but I’m limited by house width and (mostly) financial constraints.  If I had the funds, I’d go wide.  After all, the roof is almost 10 feet across.  In fact, now I’m wondering whether to use the foam panels at all, as they won’t provide a thermal break as much as the drain field does, rendering them pretty much unhelpful.  They are a process I think I can safely skip.  Very nice.  I have a future project on my property that they were originally intended for anyway.

I went ahead and finished with the plywood sheathing across the South side.  It ended up looking like this:

Yeah, there are wider gaps...I know.

Yeah, there are wide gaps…I know.

Ugly but functional.  Now just the upper part of the North side and I can go forward with the building felt.  I had a couple rolls from the Restore that got wet in a sideways rain storm, so went back and got a couple more for $5 each.  Not happy that the originals got ruined, but so it goes when you don’t have an indoor space to build and store supplies.  I’d recommend one.
Based on my past performance, it’ll take a couple to three days to finish getting up the plywood.  I have no idea how long hanging the building felt will take. Hopefully not more than a couple days.  We’ll see!

Oh! And the wool?  It’s drying so fast that I’m fluffing a couple times a day instead of every couple days, so the whole process is going super quick.  It’s looking like I won’t need the dehumidifier.  Unless it starts raining again before I get this baby weather-tight.  My poor knee.

Taking a break

My knee kneeds (hee) some time to heal, so now that the roof is mostly on, I’m going to stop working for a little while.  My doctor had told me to stay off of it for a couple months and knit or something, but I just couldn’t til now.  Weather and building a house trumps comfort sometimes.  It’s apparent in the photos how the edges are still loose ~ I have a fascia idea I want to try still before it all gets affixed.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

A LOT of my rabbits got free from a hidden burrow of their pen.  They like to come down and hang out with me.  Please ignore the drying laundry, LOL. Seriously, this is long-term camping these days, complete with wee beasties at my door.

2014-07-16 19.08.09

What’s up?

 

I got the underlayment cut out on half the interior and made some interesting observations.  First off, it definitely looks like a more recent water incursion (thank goodness).  I’m sure that it got wet this past spring after I took off the tarp ~ I should have waited for drier weather.  It’s hard to know in these parts when that’ll happen, though.  The tarp I had over the floor didn’t cut it, and leaked around the edges (I’m guessing).

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The house appears to have settle slightly to one end and more slightly to one side.  The great part about that is the water settled there, too.  Well, mostly.  The puddle was there, but higher parts were damp to quite wet.  I cut down through the layers to the insulation, and removed some sections of it to dry and to allow the structure to dry.  I just stir the wool up every couple days to help it.  The wood is all ok, even the parts that were somewhat underwater.  It’s drying out well.

Because of an oddity to my joist design, most of them weren’t even wet.  I used a sort of box idea to hold the wool and built it 6 inches deep.  To allow a thermal break, I only hung 2x4s for the joists, leaving a space between the bottom of them and the floor of the box.  This worked well except in the middle of the house, where I didn’t get them fastened in tightly and securely enough (springy floor!).  I haven’t decided whether to wait until everything is dry to fix that or if I should just go ahead and pull that part out now and redo it.  It will hasten the drying if I do it now, perhaps.

The rigid insulation is holding up well, even wet.  It’s drying too.

2014-07-17 15.53.10

Rigid foam board under the wool revealed to allow it to dry.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

2014-07-17 16.50.50

Wool is wet and still fluffy! The space below the floor joist is visible in this picture, too.

2014-07-17 16.51.04

The brown is just sawdust from cutting the plywood. On the left is a joist and rigid foam boards underneath.

 

The wool is the most interesting part.  One of the many reasons I choose to use it was due to it’s high insulating value even when wet.  It is still fluffy and thick and has no mold or weird smell.  It’s wet as a sponge in parts though, and I might need rent a commercial size dehumidifier to completely get it all dry, after the house is closed up.  I think I’ll do that even if it all “looks dry”….just to be safe.

So the floor is all torn up, but is fixable.  I admit to being scared to cut into it, afraid of what I’d find.  It’ll just take time and a bit of work, and nothing terribly complicated.  It’ll be nice to have a solid floor everywhere. :)

While that all is drying, I’ll finish hanging the wall sheathing, and then hang the rigid foam insulation on the outside of that.  It’s super light, so that part should go quickly.  I have some rigid foam glue that I’ll use at the corners of the building, and I’ll nail it up all over with these special nails with plastic washer-things I got at the ReStore.  I do not intend to use building paper as originally planned, as I want the entire wall assembly to be able to breathe to the outside.  Instead, I’ll just have the plywood sheathing, then the rigid foam boards, then some blocking for a rain screen effect, then the siding.  To allow wetness out at the bottom of the wall assembly there will be a small gap around the entire house, which I’m thinking to cover with a wire mesh.  The last thing I want is mice or other critters to get up in there!  I found a big roll of wire mesh at the ReStore the other day, enough for the whole house and only $10.  I’ll have to figure out a way to securely attach it to both the inner, foam and plywood section and the outer, sheathing section without it showing.

After all that, I guess the next part is weather-sealing the door and window openings, then installing them.  After that the house will be officially “dried in” and that’s when I’ll rent the dehumidifier to finish the floor.  The weather should hold reasonably well through the end of September (fingers crossed), which gives me a little time….I just want to get my knee to a less pained state and hopefully get it healed enough.  Living alone on a mountain will be challenging enough without being lame, LOL.

OK, off to play some Civ 5 or something!

Halfway There!

After working on this roof, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really not that hard to work with EPDM.  You have to use the proper materials and pay attention to detail, and preferably work with another person (I’ll say why in a minute) to get to a good result.  If you want a low-slope roof and fear water intrusion, it’s a good choice.  It is very tolerant of temperature extremes.  It’s flexible and of course that’s a great quality in a moving home.  It should last for years – up to 50 in some installations!  That’s one of the reasons why you’ll find it in commercial buildings – they don’t want to be replacing the roof every few years.  It’s easy to repair if it gets a tear for some reason (generally due to improper installation, from what I’ve read).  It works for green roofs, walkable decks, ballast (gravel) applications and fully adhered – like mine is, and on any slope, even super steep ones.

So why do you want a helper?  It worried me to see that in every installation instruction I found, two people were shown working together, and I hoped I’d be able to do it well by myself.  Now that I’ve got it half done, I know why!  First off, the stuff is heavy at 2 pounds per square foot.  Due to it being floppy, it feels heavier.  Of course, I have the strength of a baby bird these days….  It’s easier to keep all wrinkles, creases and bubbles out with two people working at either edge, and those are the bane of rubber.  Well, those and inadequate sealing at the edges.  Adhering goes MUCH faster with two people, as you can do half the roof at a time, keeping the total time spent under 3 hours.  Alone, it took me 6 hours to get half the roof done yesterday.  You have to put glue on both the roof decking and on the EPDM, then wait for it to “flash off” (get to a nearly dry state), before carefully stretching the rubber and laying it down perfectly smooth and then smooshing it down very firmly with a push broom.  Flashing off takes up to an hour.  Since I can only handle a small section at a time, you see how it takes lots more time doing it alone.

It’s fun though!  I’m having a blast messing with the glue – for some reason it’s like playing to me :).  I get to work and stop (and read) to wait for the glue to be ready, work and stop, work and stop – and I don’t feel lazy because taking periodic breaks are a required part of the process!

 

EPDM rolled out to relax before gluing it down

EPDM rolled out to relax before gluing it down

Glue applied to the roof deck and back of EPDM, waiting to be dry enough to adhere together

Glue applied to the roof deck and back of EPDM, waiting to be dry enough to adhere together

The glue goes on like thick paint.  Please ignore the photo-bombing hair...!

The glue goes on like thick paint. Please ignore the photo-bombing hair…!

I Buckle And Ask For Help (again).

It’s taken quite a bit longer than anticipated, but my roof is nearly finished!  An old boyfriend came to my aid and helped me haul the super-heavy roll of EPDM up the 14 feet or so to the roof top late Sunday.  I’ve been hassling with that stuff for days, and with help it took less than 10 minutes.  Thank you, Ray, hope you enjoy the wine!
Per instructions, I’d already smoothed out the roof decking and sanded down all the edges.  Before rolling out the rubber, I swept thoroughly and double-checked for sharp slivers.  Thankfully, I was able to keep the wood clean during it’s construction, so I didn’t need to wash it down.  Rolling out the EPDM was easy, and straightening it out was too.  A sprinkle of rain started right after the rubber was laid out, which was great timing, phew!

End of EPDM roll hangs off the end of Oliver's Nest

End of EPDM roll hangs off the hitch end of Oliver’s Nest and over the new sheathing

The rubber needs to sit and relax for at least an hour after positioning it, and it’s had a day now to do so.  The glue-down will be done today.  I got side-tracked yesterday at the local ReStore, and bought a bunch of stuff!  They had a big roll of 12 gauge electrical wire for $30 (woot!), enough in theory for my needs.  They had a huge amount of really pretty pine trim at .25 cents a foot.  I bought about 175 feet, which I hope will be enough…I want to use it throughout Oliver’s Nest for continuity.  There is still enough left at the store for another whole Tiny House!  There was a bunch of other good stuff, too.
While stewing over how to lift the roofing up, I put up more sheathing.  Both ends are done, as well as part of the south side.  I wish I could use full sheets of plywood, but they are just too heavy.  Instead, I’m using smaller pieces and getting it done.  It’s not the best practice, but it’s the one available to me.  I’m good with it.  I’ve decided to bolt the sections of pre-built studs together to make the frame stronger, since the plywood won’t be doing the job.  I still have to put more bolts through to the trailer frame.  I just don’t feel confident in the attachment as it stands – I don’t think it currently is strong enough.

Unfinished pine molding/trim which needs some cleaning up

Unfinished pine molding/trim which needs some cleaning up

Tetris-styled sheathing

Tetris-styled sheathing

Tail-end sheathing with edge of EPDM peaking over the new sheathing

Tail-end sheathing with edge of EPDM peaking over the new sheathing

I’ve also revisited the floor underlayment, which was the first thing I put together.  It got soaked through last spring, unfortunately, plus the middle has always been sort of “springy”.   I know that’s not right!  So to fix the water issue I drilled a ton of holes through to the wool insulation from the top, and a few, smaller holes to the wool from the bottom.  To solve the bouncy floor problem, I’ve started cutting out the plywood to see what I did wrong with the joists.  It’s giving the dampness another avenue out so that’s a good side benefit.  I haven’t finished taking up the plywood yet, so still don’t know why the floor isn’t solid there. It was interesting to note the wool is still fluffy and full, even wet.  Awesome!

1/2 inch holes drilled into the underlayment

1/2 inch holes drilled into the underlayment

Big day today!  The sun just peeked out and I’ll be going up to glue soon…eeeek!  Very excited and nervous!