Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Here are some of the shots from last weekend. Fun time getting the windows in. I gave a good description of the process of how I put the windows in last weeks post so I won't re-hash it but feel confident the windows won't leak.

I was very pleased with the application of the FlexWrap. It was easy to install and I think it is going to do it's job well.

We installed the right side windows Saturday morning. and while they were a little bit more of a struggle, they are in and looking good.

Sunday morning we did breakfast at the Bread Peddler then were headed over to pick up the external siding. I had an appointment set up to go pick the wood up. I had sourced the wood off Craigslist for 6 inch tongue and groove Cedar @ .40 a foot. This is a good price and after talking to  Al I was excited to go get the wood. 9:30 am sharp I called him and his wife picked up the phone and guess what, Al was not available and they were going to be gone all day, NO WOOD. Dang, this was a very unfortunate change in plan. Well with one step back, we needed to get back to the project and try to salvage the day. Our goal is to get the roof set to install so that is what we did. Since our barn roof is lower then the peak of the Mini Mobile Cottage I need to stage all the components of the roof and wait for a nice weekend to pull her out and get busy. So we put a template on the floor and started to cut out the pieces.
Once we had the lay out completed we cut out some gussets and built a complete structure and put it out on the tongue on an 8 foot 2x4 with 1/2 inch sheeting on the end to replicate the top plate of the mini mobile cottage. I now have a real good feel for what the roof will look like and the size it will be.

We will fasten these to the top plate with Simpson Strong Ties. Once they are in place and the roof sheathing is on and we have the house sealed, I can then insulate. Next weekend should be finishing the rest of the roof rafters and some siding if Al decides to actually want to sell something.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Progress You Can't See

Well I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I left my camera in Olympia and have no photo's to show this week. Maybe that is a good thing as I can just describe the great progress we made. The goal for the weekend was to get the plugs in and move to the shower and getting it blocked in. Well plans change, no plugs, no shower blocking.

I got focused on finishing the wire pulling and had some finish work to tuck in the wire running from one side of the trailer to the other side across the loft supports. I added a couple of more brackets and once we have the loft in place I will box in the wire runs. I acquired two fans, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen. Most of the folks I talk with are concerned that since I am using closed cell foam for insulation it will be like a thermos bottle inside and really needs good ventilation. These will be installed later in the process but I have the wiring in place for them both so I should be good to go. I also have a peak fans for cooling that runs off of DC for when I choose to be off grid.

So with 95% of the wiring done and the last part is how it exits the trailer or gets into it depending on your point of view. Those discussions will take place next weekend and the few remaining wires (Solar, DC Battery) will be installed. Stet took the time to go over every internal seam in the sheathing and placed blocking over them. They were all screwed and glued.

We finished the entire front end of the trailer. It is sheathed with 3/8 CDX on the inside and sealed for water protection (shower). We insulated the space with Rmax rigid foam with a R factor of 18. We then Tyveked the entire external wall in a single sheet of Tyvek. It was actually a pretty simple process and it worked really well. We tacked it lightly and then cut a modified "Y" in each window opening. I had watched many You Tube video's to get an idea of what I wanted to do to seal up windows. I finally decided to follow Matt Risinger and his example of how to Install A Window. This was the best one of all the one's I watched and I watched a lot, I have never installed a window before. I took some cool photo's of this event, there in my camera in Olympia so you are going to have to wait a week to see them. Matt has some great stuff on his blog Green Building Video Blog.

I now have two windows installed and they took about 40 minutes each. We will do two more Saturday morning and will be leaving the front window to the last as it is the only door we have into the trailer until we pull it out.

Art Ray of Art Ray Plumbing & Repair stopped by on Sunday afternoon and put in all the Black Pipe for the propane. All the pipe to the inside components is 1/2 inch and the run to the front of the trailer is 3/4 inch so I should have no volume issues. I have a pipe coming up between the Hot Water Heater and the Stove and I have under the trailer a run from there back to the Propane Dickinson Fireplace. I am pretty comfortable having this done professionally. It would have taken me a full weekend or two to do it and he did in two hours. Cost was well within budget, thanks Art!

I did have a visitor, Lynn and Lady came by to check out the progress. It was a good weekend, looks like I am in the market for siding, now that sounds fun.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On The Way To Powering Up

Well it took a day and half but I have all the wire (well almost) pulled for the Mini Mobile Cottage. In my goal to show the good, the bad, and the ugly this post meets that criteria. It took 300 ft of wire to get all the electrical plan in place. Yes it is a 24 foot long cottage with no wiring in a quarter of it. Yikes. I made two adjustments mid-stream in the process moving locations or wiring runs due to a better placement or more logical wire run when actually looking spacing of  the 2x4 risers that are not part of the "mind concept" drawing I made.
I ended up changing the door end of the trailer on the placement of the light and the outside plug. I was going to put just a plug on the outside that was switched just inside the door. The light was going to be mounted to the removable deck/porch. I decided to mount the light on the end of the cottage. The plug will be moved to the lower left hand corner with an outdoor plug set so that I can have a outside plug on this end of the house. I put in some loft supports to run wire across the span. I have just pooled the wire at the location of the electrical room and will start "putting everything in it place" next weekend.
While some of this looks pretty ugly at this point, it is beautiful to me. I have all the AC, 90% of the DC and all the HDMI and Cable run. I will start on the plug units as well next weekend. I am running 6 stereo speakers all internally wired. I have yet to wire the solar so that is part of the next weekend plan as well. We have been having a lot of discussions around ventilation. I have one large fan up in the peak, I have been told I want one for the bathroom and potentially one by the stove. My eagerness to stream line the ventilation process has been dampened by the fact that I am using closed cell foam for insulation and it will be like a thermos bottle inside this structure. Ventilation is critical and I will discuss more of this in a future post but I think my single fan strategy is not going to fly.
I have labeled each wire at both ends and feel that I can come back next weekend and actually understand what I did and more importantly why I did it. The next two weekends are going to be consumed with technical operations. We painted the shower area and it should be installed over the next two weekends and that includes the water fixtures.
Good water sealant and some ventilation will help me never deal with mold in my Mini Mobile Cottage.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Before Covering Up The Studs

On of the major challenges of a building is going back two years after the fact and trying to figure out where the studs and wires are. As I get ready to put in the insulation and then cover the wall I wanted to make sure I had a record of the studs. I both took pictures of each wall but we created a diagram of the where each stud is from the wall. I went 8 foot section by 8 foot section recording it in pictures
I used excel for the diagram of the wall sections. I know all my wire runs are between 20 and 25inches in each wall and move up or down depending on where the outlet or switch is. Hopefully this forward thinking helps down the road.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Electrical Plan

I created a drawing of each wall and posted them on the inside cottage walls. I then created a punch list for each string of plugs or lights. As I moved to the actual wall I had to make changes due to the real place of Windows or Double Studs that provide a barrier that I did not want to go through. Besides my experience, I am using Black & Decker Complete Guide To Wiring. This has been a great resource for me to make sure I am on track. While I understand the basic concepts of electricity and have done a fair amount of boat AC wiring projects this Mini Cottage needs to be done right. I did not have a concept of the right levels for plugs, switches and the like. This book has been an answer those questions and more.
From here I took a markers and started to draw out each of the plug strings. I used a different color for DC and Speakers. I am trying to keep my wire runs in the wall at the same height's all around the trailer. I stationed all the plug boxes first, drew the paths and then used a jig to mark where I should drill the hole as it has to be inset from the wall at least an inch and a quarter.
I have about 80% of the holes drilled and should have the rest done early next Saturday. Then I start pulling wire. I am using standard 12/3 NM for all of the AC electrical. I am using 10/3 for the DC. It went faster then I thought to lay it all out, I am sure pulling the wire and getting into and out of the boxes is going to be fun.

We had two other projects going this weekend, we rolled the trailer forward and sheathed the end of the trailer that was tight up against the wall. That end of the cottage is ready for the door. I went down to see Makenzie at Stayton Wood Windows who I had custom build me a door and a window. Wow, you won't believe this door, pretty cool and it is far, far heavier then I expected. It will rock but you won't get a chance to see if for a while as I don't plan on putting it in till the very last of the project.
We also wanted to put in the shower so we need to frame it in. The wall section in this corner needed to be insulated and then sheathed. When we have that completed we will then drill the drainage hole for the shower plumbing. This also should be wrapped up by next weekend only needing to add the water plumbing. I am going to search Craigslist and see if I can come up with a glass shower door. A new one is running about $275 and I have no desire to pay that. It will be interesting to see what I can come up with.
You can see Stet has been cutting the insulation board with a hand saw. It is really pretty easy to cut it to size and get it to fit pretty tight. I have not been foaming it in because it is so snug. We used a 2 inch piece thick piece and then a 1 inch piece and that is pretty good at filling the space. It is hard to tell from this picture but I am using Rmax board insulation for this corner. I am going to spray the rest of the trailer with Foam It Green - closed cell foam insulation. The Rmax gives me an insulation value of R-18. The spray closed cell foam will give me an insulation value of R-21. Look for a good explanation of what it is like to spray foam a mini mobile cottage in about 5 weeks when we get some warmer weather and I have put the roof on.