24 x 24 Northern Wisconsin Cabin

Started by Toyotaboy, March 16, 2012, 09:21:56 PM

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The model building code requires that openings in stairs and rails be small enough that a 4" ball cannot pass through, that's between treads, pickets, etc. Additionally any stair that is enclosed underneath (think understair closet) must have at least 1/2" drywall on the underside to protect it from fire in that closet. They are usually pretty tight on "means of egress" and rightfully so, this is the way out in an emergency. 

We had an inspection yesterday and I made a request for a non code stair to a technically non habitable loft in the very peak of the house. He tried, we read the IRC and the IBC looking for a way and if I had pushed hard he probably would have caved, but I agree with the code here. There is an exemption in an I3 commercial building to a mezzanine but in those occupancies everyone is awake. We all know that at some point there will be children camping out up there. I can put in a pull down set for inspection, what happens after that would be none of our affair.  He's also open to us submitting design for the pull down, that opens up a whole lot of possibilities.  I've prepared the clients for a 5' dia spiral that passes and is safer. The key here was that the space above is too low and small to be habitable which frees him somewhat.

Now for the bomb, and I'm not sure that I agree with the interpretation but here was his take as we talked through it. With the change from the '06 to the '09 code they deemed any attic that meets the height and area requirements of a habitable attic must have a compliant stair. I countered that then people would start using that attic for much more than 20 psf storage. He said that we would need to design the attic floor as a 30 psf floor now as well. After he left my mind kept going round... do we now need to meet insulation, light and ventilation requirements as well... I can see a can of worms here that carries down into the basement as well  :-\. I suspect his gears were churning as he left as well. This inspector is a former builder and has said he really enjoys visiting us because we do get to work on neat stuff and he tries to let us do those things. At the same time I respect the tough job he has to do and try very hard to meet him as close to his job requirements as I can. Anyway, just some stair stuff while it was fresh in my mind.


Holy Cow!  The attic thing sounds like it could be a real mess, Yikes!

I need to talk to the inspector about the wire change he wants from the generator hook up. We ran number 10 wire to the panel for  30 amps on the generator hook up.. He wants me to change it to a 4 wire 100 amp service. The 4 wire is really expensive. If we or anyone else would bring service from the grid they would have to put in a meter socket and pole and run it into the panel. I don't see how they would try to run it thru the generator hook up. So I plan to rebuttal his request to change the generator 30 amp hook up.

We also have to change the dining circuit outlets to be on their own circuit with a 20amp fuse. That's by code and we somehow missed it.


mabey they would agree if you ran it through a three position manual switch box where the center position is open air, gen in up position and future electrical service in down position


That might be an idea but I don't know if that would meet code or not. I'll have to ask my bro who is the electrician.

Thanks CjAl..!


when i hauled mobile mri scanners in wi the older hospitals were all set up like that. the new scanners have an auto transfer built into the trailer so its not needed anymore. so i know it was cide at one time


Looking good :)  Maybe with the new administration the DNR will back off ;)  I hear the EPA is getting a hair cut so who knows ;) :D


Well I haven't posted in a very long time. Life just gets plain crazy sometimes. The other reason is that while we were building we were broken into. That made me really shy to post anything.

Anyway, when the break in happened they hit 5 cabins on our road that were seasonal places. My neighbor had been up to his place( he had been broken into, one of the 5) and called me and asked if I had left my front door open. At that time the door was on but we had not installed the storm doors.  I had told him no. That was on a friday and one of my cousin's was on his way up. So he got there and met the sheriff.

So they had taken a cheap video game from one of my neighbors, Stole a nudy poster off the wall and took booze from another place. Stole a sledge hammer from another one and that is what they used on my front door. They tried to kick it in first but then used the sledge. All I lost was a case of water. I had ladders and a whole bunch of romex laying there and they didn't touch it.

Cops figure it was kids, one with a driver's license. Could have been worse but that was one expensive case of water. New dead bolt, new handle and lot's of work on the inside door jam.


Cops a got a good footprint off the door but that was about it. The sheriff have been very vigilant since then. One of my neighbors who had a seasonal across the road from me, has now moved up there full time. He told me that there is alot of meth in the area now. So I'm pretty cautious now about everything. Which really sucks because I thought I would be away from all that in the north woods. Funny how I was more wary about the wolves, now that has changed.

I think now that the neighbor across the road is full time, I think there is a less likely chance of a break in.

I will be posting more in a few days.


I'm trying to continue where I left off of the build last. I tell you that it is making me organize everything which is good.

Well, the inspector had came in right before the insulation and said I had to install some bracing in the all four corners of the building. I had to put in a couple of braces between the studs high and low. for 2-3 runs on each wall. He said they were for twisting. If the building twisted in high winds. I've never seen this before or heard of it. Has anyone heard of this? I asked him if there was a certain number or spacing between them or how many? He said no, just send him the pics to prove it was done. Then I could start insulation. So we put a half a dozen in each corner.

Randomly spaced.

Just to the right of the window spaced high and low.

You can also see the  yellow #10 wire he made us run in the outlets in the "dinning room". He said #10 was required for outlets for code. Something about using a slower cooker all day and the heat generated?


This is my stove. I  really didn't know what I was buying from my neighbor but I knew it would work and would be plenty big enough. Roy was 80, sitting in his driveway across the street from me. He always sat out in front of his garage during the summer having a beer. This time I notice the stove at the edge of the door next to him. So I walked over and talked with him as I always did. Then I asked him what was with the stove. He told me the insurance company made him take it out of his 3 season room or they were going to drop his insurance ( this was 10 years ago). I asked him what he wanted for it. I said $150, he said too much! He said $75. I said I would be right back with the cash. I then built the wood dolly with the wheels two days later and my son helped me get it on the dolly and I pushed it across the street into my garage. I then pushed it into the back of the garage and covered it with a tarp and stuff (you always have stuff in your garage) I didn't tell my wife about it for 5 years!

It's a Nordic brand Erik model. Turns out it's a great stove. It has a blower motor on the front too which hangs below the handles on the front. I love the glass doors when we have a fire in it. One of the inside safety glass panes shattered last year. 9x14 size I think. Special order, $45!  Yikes!!!


I had decided that I wanted a log railing on the stairs. One of our Amish friends did side work in his shop. So he came and measured and made me one.
I think we paid him $200 for it with the install.




You can see the rustic log over the entryway into the kitchen in this shot.


I can't seem to find the insulation install on the walls d*. I do have the install of the roof vents and insulation. I did the install on a ladder  in the cathedral ceiling area myself.Installing the 4ft vents and then the 4 ft batts. I was by myself so I figure I was up and down that ladder 200 times that day to get it all done.

The electrical box on the collar tie is for a ceiling fan to circulate the warm air.





Next was the plastic vapor barrier then we could start the ceiling.



Thanks Rys. I did a little bit of rustic wood. The big log over the kitchen, the collar ties and the railing. The rest will be drywall.


Any other option besides photobucket? I've had issues the last two days trying to load stuff.



My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


After getting the insulation and and vapor barrier on the ceiling we started the drywall. Spent a couple of weekends with the guys getting it hung and mudded. Then the crappy part was the sanding and sanding and sanding! I hated it. I thought it would never end. Doing the gable end that wasn't the loft end was fun

Mudding the kitchen area

You can see the railing and the log in rustic log in this pic. I also left the loft boards long over the rustic log for a little shelf to put some things on.

Drywall calculations.

First floor bedroom. You can see where we have the electric panel.

Shot from the loft. Frontroom area. Door is on the upper left. you can see the special red tape on the vapor barrier on the ceiling. Stuff was $15 a roll.
What a load of crap that was. Required by the inspector.

Loft view

Gable end. Long climb with drywall. You can also see the electric vent fan and the passive vent.
Idea was to use the electric fan to suck the hot summer air off and out of the building with the windows on the first floor open. To create circulation.
Passive vent was for the same thing but when we turn the gennie off at night. We have a passive vent in the loft. We have also used the elecrtric fan to take some of the heat out of the loft when we have the woodburner cranked up too much.  ::) Some of the guys complained that they had to sleep in their underwear it was too hot. (Not a sight you want to see.)


Looking fantastic.  Have you considered a ceiling fan above the main room for circulating the warm air?  I'm thinking about how to move that hot air down from the loft and into the rest of the house.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


My buddy has a whole house fan in his cabin and it's great at sucking all of that hot air out at night.


Quote from: ChugiakTinkerer on March 17, 2017, 10:00:56 AM
Looking fantastic.  Have you considered a ceiling fan above the main room for circulating the warm air?  I'm thinking about how to move that hot air down from the loft and into the rest of the house.

I actually have an electric box on the collar tie in the main room for the ceiling fan. Probably will put it on a two foot drop.


Once we finished the drywall we started on the ceiling. I went with a tongue and groove 8 inch wide board. One side is just wide and smooth the other looks like carsiding 4 inch. I'm not sure if that is the correct terminology. So the peak in the living room area is about 22ft from the floor. So we brought in the 30 ladder and a set of cheap scaffolding to get us to the very top. The wood length was 12 footers i think. we left them long and staggered them. Use nail guns to put them in place. Took a bit of a crew to get everything set up and in place to get things going.

we stretched the ladder from the loft to the scaffolding.

This is the loft end.

I didn't want the ceiling stained dark. So all we did was poly the wood all before installing it. My cousin had built his place and polyed everything after the install. He said it was a mess with everything dripping down. I took his recommendation and was so glad I did.

The one thing I do not like about the interior design was the ridge beam post at the top of the stairs (6x6). Then when we installed the collar ties we ended up with sort of a cross. It's up out of the way but looks a little weird. Neither I nor the architect thought about it till we were too late. Just one of those things.

Just a little sway in that ladder!  :o

Working around the chimney box.


Been there and done that.  I had to get a little creative in that I did it solo.  Of course I had some scaffolding bucks and walk boards which made it a little easier.  I tried hard to get the matching elevation on both sides to end up at the peak but it never did.  So to compensate I cut a 2-3" wide strip and beveled the edges matching my slope which dressed the peak intersection.  The natural on mine would have looked strange given my 100+ aged logs so I went with a semi-transparent stain ( Cape Code Grey) to tone it down some and finished with 2-3 coats of polycrylic.  Pre-finish is the only way to go on this aspect.

On the post you can get creative. Cover it with some of the T&G to dress it up a little from the pressure treated finish. 

The collar ties were hard to get trimmed out.  The best that I have found is to work both ways from them to the outside.  You can just keep tweaking until you have a good fit and then go either direction from the squared end out.  If you try to work from the outside in it is difficult to get the correct cut (profile) and then make it work with the T&G.  Another little trick I learned that if you did it this way the just cut the bottom portion of the groove off and it will just lay in against the tounge of the preceeding piece. and not have to be fitted.  No one would ever know the difference as the face will not show it.

Yep I doubt that the ladders manufacturers considered the load weight in that particular configuration.   [shocked]  Hopefully it worked without failure


Love the look of the rustic collar ties & wood ceiling with the Sheetrock. I think it gives a nice balance. 


Thanks Rys. I didn't want too much wood. We plan to do a hardwood floor so I wanted to balance it out with the drywall. I wanted the rustic wood just to be accents.

Redoverfarm: we tried to fit it tight around the collar ties but have planned to do some sort of a mounding the collar ties but not sure what yet. It will need something, that is for sure. I will have to snap a pic to show how it ended up.


After We got the ceiling in we decided it was time to get the composter in. I went with the big Sunmar ac/dc unit with the blower and heater. The DNR would not let me have an outhouse due to wetland issues. But the county would give me a permit. The DNR guy said, no, no digging in a wetland. I cant have a water source
( well) because state code states if you have a water source you have to have septic and the DNR (damn near russia) won't let me dig for a holding tank. So I got approved for the composter.

Now I will be honest. I did not think the bathroom through completely. We were still building when all  the DNR stuff happened. So when it came time to install the composter I was limited as to which direction and where to place it so the vent stack would work. Sunmar states that you should not have more than 2- 45 degree angles and no horizontal runs at all in the vent stack. Well to run the stack up the gable wall outside, I ended up with a 2-45 and a 90 degree angle. But I also have a vent fan. One that can run on a battery or the electric one when I have the jennie running.

You can just see the edge of the power box on the wall on the left. That's where the unit plugs into.

The black tube is the waste tube. The gray one is the vent tube. I don't have the other tube hooked up with the blower in these pics. But it is hooked up now. You can see where I had to go through two I joists and then the outer wall. I have an 18 inch horizontal run. Not the best. Otherwise I would have had the vent stack coming through the bathroom floor right next to the commode and then to the outer wall (really stupid looking).

To the outer wall.

This is where the vent stack exits. I have a plate covering it until I got the rest of the vent pipe up mounted up the gable end.
We have been having venting issues. We have had odor issues even when running the electric vent fan. Mostly in the winter when no composting is taking place and the wood burner is running. I am getting a rather good up draft from the waste tube. I think it's because the stove is drawing the air. I need to solve this issue. It got pretty stinking by the end of hunting season this last November. I am open to any suggestions.

I thought maybe a fresh air vent on the hearth for the stove from the bottom of my crawl space. Would that help? I'm looking for ideas. Please advise.

I looked through Mountain Don's build. I saw that he had made a collection pit for his compost because he had issues of it not composting in the winter months.
It would have to be camouflaged. Or my other thought is to use two steel barrel for compost. Let is sit for 6 months before emptying it and then start some in the other barrel. I have been using the compost around my trees I have planted.

When I empty the composter I wear rubber gloves and a dust face mask. It's not too bad. What I need to do is get the Humanuare book that is out on the market. I don't know much about pathogens and toxicity of human waste.

The commode in the bathroom.