Author Topic: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin  (Read 796 times)

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Offline Nate R

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20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« on: September 16, 2020, 06:02:23 AM »
I wanted to chronicle the build of my cabin. I’ve decided not to spend a ton of time writing the justification and philosophical stance behind every decision up front, but I’m sure some things will come up! Feel free to ask questions, I’m happy to answer anything. Trying to be very up front about my costs, too.

Design generals:

20x30 footprint on a concrete slab. About 100 SF of this will be covered porch. No loft, but scissors trusses for a cathedral ceiling. (6/12 outside, 3/12 inside.) 2 foot overhangs. Separated bedroom. Off-Grid (for now?) with wood stove for heat as well as a propane heater of some sort. No indoor plumbing, outhouse is already permitted and doing well.

Location: NE WI, family owns a larger plot of land a 5 minute walk away. 4 Acres of planted red pine, about 60 years old. Climate Zone 6, nearly zone 7.

Timeline so far:
Late 2015: Bought land (2 acre parcel), bought camper, had it set in small driveway on land from previous tree thinning.

2016: Firepit put in, got permit for and built outhouse/privy. (see post here: )    Bought 2nd 2 acre parcel (next door) to make 4 acres total.

2017: Red pines were logged/thinned (well overdue!). Also cleared a spot for a cabin, and used the proceeds to buy a shed.

2018: Not much new that year.

2019: Got my plans and building permit. Site was prepped, and foundation poured. Driveway graveled. Property endured a windstorm as well, heaviest in 40-50 years in the direct area. Lost a few trees, have a couple bent ones.

2020: Plan to  build and sheathe walls, put up roof trusses and roof sheathing, and add shingles. Other than that, install a door, and get window package delivered. Not sure what else I’ll get done this year.

2021?: After finishing more projects at home, hoping to complete the exterior. (Window and door installs, siding, trim, soffits/fascia, gutters, skylights and wood stove chimney…propane heater too?)

Here's a few floorplan images. (Floorplanner.com has been great!)







Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2020, 03:11:18 AM »
Late 2015: Bought a Jayco Camper and pulled a few hundred saplings in a driveway opening left from previous logging...and got the camper set there.










Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2020, 08:24:58 AM »
In 2016, we built our continously ventilated outhouse.
(Thread here:URL )

We also got a fire pit installed.









Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2020, 08:48:24 AM »
In early 2017, I hired an independent forester after some advice from our local DNR forester. Our red pines were overdue for a thinning. The forester marked trees for cutting and put the job out for bid to loggers.

They cut 440+ trees (out of 1100+!) on our 4 acres, getting 101 cords of wood for both paper and lumber out. This also opened up a spot to put a shed, longer driveway, and the cabin.

Based on the mill it went to, some of our trees may have ended up as lumber at Menards.  :)









Offline MountainDon

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2020, 12:14:22 PM »
Good to see thinning being done. By western drought climate conditions and change there are still too many trees. That does vary with the local conditions.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2020, 08:27:11 AM »
Good to see thinning being done. By western drought climate conditions and change there are still too many trees. That does vary with the local conditions.

Yes, there are other plots that were once part of this red pine planting that have never been thinned in 60+ years....  :o

Yeah, probably too many trees for those objectives, I understand. Not been a huge concern in NE WI (yet)...Our objective is mostly aesthetic, and to help maximize the health /longevity of the trees.




A bit of an eye chart, but we were outside of the recommended range for red pine stocking. We were at over 300 trees an acre, around 200 SF/arcre of trunk area, and an average diameter of 10.8 inches.
 We brought it down to about 175 trees/acre, with the average diameter left in the high 11s, and about 130 SF of trunk per acre. So we took out something like 40% of the trees, and about 35% of the total biomass.  Should be another 20-30 years before we're outside that chart again if we do nothing from here.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2020, 09:53:14 AM »
Our mountains are dry compared to other places further north in the west and much drier than the east.  The aim is for about 75 basal sq ft per acre. Virtually everything is well over that except for the thousands of acres that have burned in the past  6 to 10 years and the areas that have been thinned. We have a fair amount of thinning going on near us, with some of the timber being used for beams, some for pallets and a lot being made into pellets for pellet stoves. A lot of slash to be disposed of though. But it is very nice to be able to see through the trees and see hills, etc where before all you had was a wall of green and brown/gray.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2020, 05:34:00 PM »
Our mountains are dry compared to other places further north in the west and much drier than the east.  The aim is for about 75 basal sq ft per acre.

75 is pretty sparse! Leaves lots of room for understory growth, and lots of time before the canopy closes back in.

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2020, 05:36:51 PM »
In June 2019, we had someone finish site prep work and extend our gravel driveway. They dug up a couple stumps, and added some sand to bring grade up (cabin site was a bit of a low spot.)
Then we had another contractor come in and form and pour our slab foundation. Monolithic slab with thickened edges, about 10-12" thick on the outer foot, and 4" thick in the middle. There's poly and R10 foam underneath the slab, R10 up the sides, and R10 extending horizontally out a foot on each side under the dirt. 

They were supposed to thermally break the covered porch portion, but there was a plan mix-up, and that didn't happen. There were then concerns about cutting the rebar and separating the 2 portions entirely, so a compromise was made with the help of our inspector and an engineer that used to work for the state.   
We had saw cuts made about 2" deep and 1 1/2 to 2" wide that will be filled with spray foam. A mild thermal break, but still keeps the rebar intact.










Future main window view (planning to move the snow fence we use as a dog enclosure in the future)


Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2020, 08:13:51 AM »
OK, that’s a bit of history, nearly caught up to the present now.

    I worked on other house projects at home this year, which was the plan pre-covid. Finally got enough done to put the house on pause, and get the cabin shell up (phase 1.)  Got most everything ordered from a nearby Menards.

9/12: Wife and I came up to the property to do a couple things. Wanted to get the side insulation foam trimmed to be more even with the slab in spots, and get some protection on the foam. (XPS needs UV protection. After 1 year, I could see where some of it was degrading at the surface.) I also wanted to take delivery of the sill plates and start working on those. It ended up raining all day Saturday, and we did our best to work through it. We got the foam exposed by digging the dirt away, trimmed, and replaced a couple pieces with new foam that had been damaged in the last year.





Then we started trying to install our foam protection. We chose Nudo’s Groundbreaker product. It’s basically a 50 foot roll of FRP. We trimmed pieces shorter to fit our exposed foam with a cordless circular saw with a finer carbide tooth blade. Seemed to work OK that way. Getting the Groundbreaker installed was a GIANT pain. I could not find an FRP adhesive that was OK for outdoor use AND would not melt XPS foam. The liquid nails version was water based, and implied it would not stay cured outside. The PL300 foamboard adhesive in a caulk tube was my original plan, but found it said to NOT use on 2 non-porous surfaces. So now we’re left with mechanical fastening. OK, fine, Nudo sells 3” plastic rivets to use for this. I had a Hilti Roto-hammer drill to use. But, the rivets had a heck of a time expanding properly. In the fine print at the END of the instructions, Nudo talks about using a .257” drill bit instead of ¼” in concrete……I was trying to hog the holes out as it was, and that wasn’t working. I didn’t readily find an SDS bit in any of the oddball sizing they talked about. And the rivets apparently aren’t UV treated/stable?

We struggled through as best we could to get the rivets in place. Broke the Nudo in one spot trying to tap rivets in.
I would NOT recommend this stuff after using it for this application, and I won’t use it again. It’s too hard to install nicely/properly over foam, it gets wavy when it expands in heat, the rivets are terrible, and the corner trims don’t have a good way to be attached! AND the rivets and trims are a MUCH lighter gray, and are both NOT UV stable, but the FRP material is. Sillyness.

If I were to do it over again, I would’ve special ordered (6 week+ lead time) 2” XPS panels from Styro Industries that are pre-coated with some of their stucco-like material. Not an ideal option either, but I’ve worked with that before, and would much rather use that vs the Nudo.   I’ve heard of aluminum flashing being used for this too, but also often ends up wavy, and/or dented. We got no work done on the sill plates that weekend like I’d hoped. Ah well, I was able to come up the next weekend.





Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2020, 05:58:21 AM »
9/19: Came up the night before after work and got some things moved around in the hour before it got dark. Got down to 34 at night, chilly! Had a campfire in the evening, and ended up lighting another Saturday morning to warm up a bit!  Saturday, spent the day laying out sill plates on the slab, squaring things up, and then drilling anchor bolt holes in the concrete and the sill plates. I hit rebar a few times and had to move some holes a bit to avoid it. I also drilled the hole for and installed the post base for the beam in the corner.  This was all tricky work…..I had to make sure I had measurements right to  overhang the foundation insulation some with the sill plates, but also make sure I nailed the truss span exactly enough. Since our sheathing will extend up to the truss slightly, there’s not much wiggle room there! I installed the sill bolts temporarily, made sure it all matched up OK. Then added corner pieces to the Nudo Groundbreaker since I had an appropriate glue on hand now, and then cleaned up the slab itself. Since the sill plates are a bit like OSB, I don’t want to subject them to unnecessary water. I labeled them all, pulled the bolts and put them away for now.










9/20: As extra protection for the sill plates where they overhang the insulation foam, I wanted to add some thin flashing tape around the outside of the plate. I used the 3M 8067 flashing tape, 4” width. It’s maybe a bit of paranoia on my part to do this, but I don’t’ think it could hurt. I did not want the sill seal hanging down over the foam and creating a weird gap for bugs and debris to get into. So flashing tape will protect the plate where it’s hanging off the slab, and standard sill seal will be in place on the concrete portion.  I’ll probably caulk the sill plate to slab joint at the inside of the wall.
Anyway, got that done Sunday morning, and did the annual outhouse cleaning. Vacuuming spiderwebs, wiping things down, etc. Packed up and headed home.






Offline GaryT

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2020, 08:50:28 AM »
OK, I'll bite:  why didn't you use PT 2X? for your sill plates?   If you explained, I apologize, just can't find it.  Seems like anything even remotely "like OSB" would be the last thing a person would use as a sill plate.   
Gary

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2020, 11:54:17 AM »
OK, I'll bite:  why didn't you use PT 2X? for your sill plates?   If you explained, I apologize, just can't find it.  Seems like anything even remotely "like OSB" would be the last thing a person would use as a sill plate.   
Gary

Ahh, I think I forgot to explain!

Because I can't get ANY PT 2x6 or 2x8s right now. Covid, the lumber import pauses, some mills paused, and then the surge of people doing projects has depleted the supply. The LP SolidGuard sill product is borate treated all the way through for fungus and insects, but from what I understand, I think it would still get puffy under repeated wetting, at least at the sawn joints. This was the only alternative I could find to PT that was available/in stock.  I suspect once it's dried in, it'll be fine as a sill plate in this environment. Sand soil drains/dries quickly, and I plan to use PT sheathing on the bottom foot or so. That and 2 foot overhangs (plus gutters, too), I'm hoping will keep the sills dry enough for the rest of my lifetime.

Offline NathanS

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2020, 09:30:21 AM »
Nice looking foundation. Saving cost with frost protected shallow foundation, and so so much better than piers.

I was wondering if the sills were a supply issue. Around here we are lucky to have the Amish sawmills. Tamarack/Larch are quite rot resistant. White oak or black locust some other options.. you may be too far north for those though. Just something to keep in mind when you need more exterior grade materials for deck posts/boards.


I think a lot of supply chains are stressed right now. Machinery dealers can't keep anything in stock because we're all trying to get our own excavating equipment now too. I waited 3 months for a backhoe attachment for my tractor in anticipation of doing a garage next year.  Never been so happy to write such a big check...

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2020, 02:47:43 PM »
9/25: Delivery showed up a bit early and went smoothly. Delivery guy did a good job, only a few inches to spare in a couple spots. Got the sill plates in plates, and new foam under the porch area sill plates done. Then got the first wall mostly framed.





See the bottom of the post for youtube links of timelapse videos from 2 days of framing work.

9/26: Had 4 of us working this weekend. Had rain much of the day Saturday, but still were able to get 2 ½ walls framed and up.

9/27: Finished framing the long wall and got another wall up. Then we found the gable end walls did NOT line up with the end truss……I had chosen to use math when framing instead of removing the trusses from their strapping and laying one down to use as a template….that was the wrong move. Had to fix the walls in place by removing the top plates and cutting some of the studs. We were able  to get the porch post and LVL beam in place before my help had to leave, and fix the first gable end wall.

Timelapse vids from those 2 days:







Offline MountainDon

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2020, 04:44:51 PM »
Cool timelapses

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline jsahara24

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2020, 08:46:06 AM »
Nice......Framing is enjoyable, once I get to the drywall I start to get frustrated!

Offline pmichelsen

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2020, 10:19:51 AM »
Then we found the gable end walls did NOT line up with the end truss……I had chosen to use math when framing instead of removing the trusses from their strapping and laying one down to use as a template….that was the wrong move. Had to fix the walls in place by removing the top plates and cutting some of the studs.

Don't worry, if you're like me this will just be the first of many little slips  :) Important thing is to not let it get to you, they happen, you've just gotta learn from them and move on. Looks like good progress so far.

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2020, 01:42:11 PM »
Don't worry, if you're like me this will just be the first of many little slips  :) Important thing is to not let it get to you, they happen, you've just gotta learn from them and move on. Looks like good progress so far.

Thanks! Definitely been trying to keep to the mantra: "I'm building a cabin, not furniture.." It doesn't have to go together perfectly, just pretty well.  d*

Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2020, 01:44:08 PM »
9/28: Forecast called for 0.10" of rain over 2 hours. Was really 0.77" of rain over 8 hours......Ugh.   That day was just me and my wife, my other help went back to their own lives. We were able to get the 2nd gable wall fixed, and then put more roof sheathing on.





Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2020, 01:53:46 PM »
9/29: Finally, a day with no real rain, just a few sprinkles!  Working alone, though. Was able to finish up attaching the rest of the lower sheathing pieces, put on the top plates, and start installing trusses! Was a relief to see them fit OK, as the foundation size screw-up, and our desired overhang ended up with some oddball one-off truss sizing. 


Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2020, 06:15:41 AM »
9/30: Finished putting up the trusses. No small task to do alone! Nearly 24 foot long, 6+ feet tall, and about 75 lbs each. Used MiTek “Stabilizers” for spacing and holding them in place on top, and used Timberlok 6” screws for the truss to top plate connection. Truss specs call for max of 155 lbs of uplift each, and these screws are rated for 410 lbs pull through in a SPF top plate.






Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2020, 02:39:57 PM »
10/1: To make things faster, I paid the truss manuf to make ladder sets for the overhangs for me. I think it was worth the $150 or so I paid over the cost of raw materials.

So on 10/1, got those ladder sets installed, cut some and shimmed some rafter tails, and installed subfascia. I also added a "subfascia" to the rakes, as the overhang was a tad shorter than I'd ordered.




Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2020, 01:56:11 PM »
10/2: Got a good portion of the roof sheathing on. The warped plywood panels made it tough to get them into place! A challenge I didn't anticipate when I was forced to go with plywood vs OSB. I struggled a bit with warped sheets on both the sheathing and the roofing.




Offline Nate R

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Re: 20x30 in NE Wisconsin
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2020, 11:22:52 AM »
10/3 and 10/4: My wife came back up for the weekend. This was the last of my 10 days straight being able to work on the cabin.

We were able to finish the roof sheathing. and get the final 2 walls framed and mostly sheathed. Buttoned things up for the week. Happy with the progress made in 10 days, much of it alone, and not ONE trip to the home center required in that time! :)






 

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