CountryPlans Design/Build Forum

General => Owner-Builder Projects => Topic started by: mfarrell on November 29, 2006, 09:25:58 AM

Title: A Little House
Post by: mfarrell on November 29, 2006, 09:25:58 AM
Hey All,
This is my first post to the forum, but I thought people here might be interested in the little project I've got going - I'm building a green/natural and quite experimental little house to live in.  

If you'd like to check it out, I'm posting photos and descriptions of the construction process online at:  alittlehouse.blogspot.com (http://alittlehouse.blogspot.com/)

Enjoy!
-Matt

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi56.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fg166%2Fjraabe%2Flh-2.jpg&hash=8528036f165bb68b81b495d7a6115c08)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi56.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fg166%2Fjraabe%2Flh-1.jpg&hash=cd009f4274acc96237f7e5a309333d58)

(PS - I copied a couple of images to Photobucket so they post here. JR)
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: tibadoe on November 29, 2006, 02:04:13 PM
That's cool!!!
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn-k on November 29, 2006, 08:00:10 PM
Welcome Matt, not welcome mat.   :-/  I mean we roll out the welcome mat for all new members. :)

Great little project there and I hope you don't mind but I edited your link so even Sassy could figure out how to get there.  She's a bit computer challenged but is getting better. :)
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: jraabe on November 30, 2006, 06:50:34 AM
Matt:

Interesting project and good use of SketchUp (http://sketchup.google.com/). I'm sure you have explored the tiny house ideas the forum came up with during the 200sf design contest (http://www.countryplans.com/contest.html). You are limited to 125sf so 75sf of "extra fat" have to be cut out of those 200sf mini-mansions!  :D
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Sassy on November 30, 2006, 08:13:18 AM
I'm quite impressed with your plans & what you've done so far!  Not too many persons at 22 y/o are thinking, planning & actually doing what you are doing...  really enjoyed browsing through your blog once Glenn showed this "computer challenged" woman that I needed to put the link in the address bar (although MB25ACRES mentioned it)... I'm just so used to Googling & that's where I kept putting the address & Google couldn't find it  :-/

(and to think that in the last position I was in at the hospital, administration sent me to a couple computer "camps" for a week at a time so that I could teach the others about the new programs... I was more computer literate than most of those I worked with   :D )
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: mfarrell on December 10, 2006, 11:10:27 PM
Thanks for all the positive replys.  I just posted a bunch of new photos of the progress on my site.  Lets see if I can get the link right this time: http://alittlehouse.blogspot.com

Yeah, I did take a look at the 200sf design contest, and the main difference between my little place and the contest designs is that mine is 80sf smaller (120sf limit), but I also don't have kitchen/bathroom in it, so overall I'd imagine it will be about similar in terms of feel and cozyness, which for one person is just about right.

Again, thanks everyone for checking it out.

-Matt
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Amanda_931 on December 11, 2006, 03:23:02 PM
Hmm. Dimples instead of barbed wire?

(between earthbag courses)
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: mfarrell on December 11, 2006, 05:37:21 PM
Yeah, I read about it online somewhere, and figured I'd give it a try.  I wouldn't do it for a larger structure or one with more earthbags, but since I'm only running 2 courses of earthbags and  every 2.5 feet I have a beefy #4 rebar stake through both courses, the rubble, and into the ground, I figured the barb wire was superfluous, and that I could afford to experiment.

-Matt
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Amanda_931 on December 12, 2006, 04:45:06 PM
Probably right on both counts.

Just wondered if everyone had changed their minds about barbed wire or equivalent.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: mfarrell on December 31, 2006, 06:03:34 PM
Ahoy,
Just thought I would post another message to say that I have recently put up a bunch more photos and descriptions of my little house project online.  Check them out at alittlehouse.blogspot.com

Thanks for everyone's interest!
-Matt
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: youngins on December 31, 2006, 07:05:54 PM
Hello,

Been following your building blog.

The steel you used in the foundation to ward off termites - would it rust?

You indicated that you needed the building to be portable.  How did you achieve this?

What are the dimensions of the structure?

Thanks
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn-k on December 31, 2006, 08:01:04 PM
I read something about sand traps for termites - anybody familiar with them?
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Amanda_931 on January 01, 2007, 05:45:07 AM
I'd never heard of it.  Found it mentioned here.  "Not approved for use" doesn't tell us much.  Anything from "you're dreaming" to "it would be a pain to train the poison-minded exterminators to do this":

http://insects.tamu.edu/extension/bulletins/l-1785.html

Quote
Sand barriers are an alternative to chemicals. In some parts of the world, sand with certain size particles (1/16 inch) is used to physically block termite entry into structures. It is not approved for use in Texas. The technology requires considerable knowledge on the part of the applicator, and is generally unsuitable for use outdoors around the base of a foundation unless the sand barrier can be held in place.

The cutest--and least toxic--way to be repel termites is an "ant moat."  

There's a--very--brief mention here:

http://www.howtogetridofstuff.com/pest-control/how-to-get-rid-of-ants/  

But IIRC what someone posted to a probably no longer on a server list years go went something like--keep renewing a sugar solution around your house--possibly sand would be good.  This attracts ants, who in turn see the termites as rivals (but the're not other ants!) and fight them off.  She was an architect, but had mostly been working in New England, where termites are not the problem they are here.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn-k on January 01, 2007, 06:58:51 AM
I'd much rather have a house full of ants than a house full of termites.  :-? :)
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Matt Farrell on January 01, 2007, 09:21:10 AM
Yeah, termites are definitely a bummer.  I have heard of sand barriers.  As far as I understand the reason they work is that the termites can't build tunnels through the sand because the tunnels will collapse, and thus they won't be able to get through the sand to your house.  As far as specifics of putting a sand barrier in, however, I'm clueless.

The metal I am using is galvanized, so it should resist rust.  Also, it really shouldn't be getting that wet once the building is finished.

To answer youngins' other questions - I wouldn't really call the building portable; its more that its easily dissasembleable.  I did this by making the walls in sections that are screwed together, and then using screws pretty much everywhere else (to attach rafters, siding, etc.).  I think you could probably take the whole thing apart pretty easily if you had a week and a good screw gun.  Also, you wouldn't damage any of the structure (except the foundation, which is permanent) by taking it apart - so in that sense you could probably take all the pieces and go reassemble it elsewhere on a new foundation, although reassembling it would take quite some time and effort.

Finally, the building is 10 feet by 12 feet.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: MountainDon on January 01, 2007, 09:37:03 PM
Quote
I did this by making the walls in sections that are screwed together, and then using screws pretty much everywhere else (to attach rafters, siding, etc.).  

The use of screws caught my eye... Maybe one of the members more well versed in construction can comment on this... I'm assuming we're talking about those bright shiny zinc plated deck type screws... is there a potential problem with them snapping under shear loads? I know when I'm tearing down something that was assembled with these screws they are easy to snap, whereas a common nail will bend. Or maybe if there are enough screws the loads are spread out enough to be okay.

I have built a number of structures meant to be disassembled if needed and have used bolts or lag screws to join members/panels.

One other personal observation... it always seems the screws went in a lot easier than they are to remove after they've been in place a year or so.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 01, 2007, 09:47:54 PM
Screws can be a problem -- I've had wet wood shrink and pop the screws in half, and some uses of screws are not allowed by the building inspectors due to this problem.

I use them quite a bit myself but am aware of the problems they have.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Matt Farrell on January 01, 2007, 10:00:50 PM
Yeah, I too have had trouble with screws in the past, but I don't think that it will be a big problem in this structure.  First off, the individual sections are all nailed together with 16d galvanized nails.  Then, I used enough screws to attach the sections that I don't think there will be shearing problems.  Finally, all my wood is salvage, which generally means it is old (somewhere between 20 and 110 years old) so it is quite dry.  I've personally only seen shrinkage problems with new wood, especially the low quality stuff you can get at Home Desperate.  Plus, the square drive screws drive much better, both in and out, as compared to regular phillips.

-Matt

PS. Working with 110-year-old 2x6 is pretty crazy.  Its actually 2.25 x 6.25, with hard, tight, and straight grain.  They just don't make wood like they used to.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 01, 2007, 10:04:19 PM
I have 1931 bridge timbers - creosote treated - straighter and better than anything you will find today at Home Despot. :)
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: youngins on January 02, 2007, 05:52:34 AM
So, if you have to buy lumber retail, what are the decent buys ?
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 02, 2007, 05:56:57 AM
Buying retail you are stuck with about anything you can find.  One dealer may be better than another but they are all stuck buying from younger trees which are not as good as the old growth.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Amanda_931 on January 02, 2007, 07:29:37 AM
People here can sometimes buy from any of several local sawmills.   Not all of them saw on spec.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: bartholomew on January 02, 2007, 11:44:58 AM
I guess it depends on where you are. Here the Home Depot stores have nice straight and mostly knot-free lumber.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: MountainDon on January 02, 2007, 12:25:50 PM
Here in NM I have 2 HD to choose from (about equidistant) and a Lowe's a block away from one of them. Lumber quality is usually quite decent, tho' if the pile has been picked over it's sometimes hard to find a truly usable length until they bring down a new stack.

My bigest complaint is that it's more difficult today, than it was 10 years ago and longer back, to find good larger beams and timbers. There used to be a really good selection of locally, or regionally, owned lumberyards here (and everywhere else) that did most often have what I wanted. I miss those places. Of course it's not just the big box retailers fault; those big trees are harder to cut down these days, even they can be found. But if I really need an 8 x 8 or whatever big timber I can get it, just have to go farther away, into the lower rent industrial area, places never open in the evening or on a weekend, and pay more to boot.

On the plus side if you're looking for say, a new kitchen faucet, the HD's and Lowe's have more than you can shake a stick at. 'Course that complicates my life when DW can't decide what she wants (because of the too many to choose from). Don't really know if we're better off or not today.
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: Matt Farrell on January 03, 2007, 08:02:31 AM
Yeah, I used to think that lumber quality at HD was decent, but now that I've tried using salvaged lumber, I'll find it hard to go back.  Even when you can get new lumber that is straight and fairly knot free, take one look at the grain and see how loose it is in comparison to older stuff and you'll realize the difference.

My unwillingness to go back to new lumber may be in part because there is a whole lumber yard that carries only salvage lumber just a 10 minute drive from where I am (driftwoodsalvage.com), so getting salvage lumber is really easy.  If I lived somewhere where there wasn't a salvage lumber yard it might be easier to justify using new lumber...
Title: Re: A Little House
Post by: MountainDon on January 03, 2007, 01:06:00 PM
You're a lucky guy Matt to have a good salvage yard so close. Nothing very great here except for sinks, fixtures, that sort of thing. :(
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