Tag Archives: home

Insulation

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Close-up of insulation on walls.

Scott’s been working pretty steadily the last couple of weeks (thanks to a few relatively quiet days) on the insulation.

He’s using construction adhesive to attach the insulation to the walls. On the walls, this has been working great. He just leans a beam or 2x against the panel to hold it in place while it sets, and they set pretty quickly.


Unfortunately, the panels on the ceiling are taking a little longer to set. To hold those in place, he built several Ts. It’s still working well, just taking a little longer.

The large pieces went in quickly. It’s all the small spaces left that have to be measured and custom that are a little slower going, but I’m told it’s not too big of a deal.

If we were doing this again, and could know in advance, one could put up studs spaced exactly to fit one panel of insulation between each, eliminating cuts except for around electrical outlets.

A note on the outlets: You may notice they’re close to the floor. 18 inches up is code, but you can have them lower if you install GFCI outlets. (I’m no code expert, check your local regulations, yada yada yada.)

Plans for the next week include: finishing the insulation, cutting a hole for the HVAC unit/installing it, and starting on plumbing installation.

A few more pics. Click for a larger image.

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Bedroom ceiling. The small hole is for the dedicated bedroom air conditioner.

The intersection between the kitchen area, bathroom, and bedroom.

The intersection between the kitchen area, bathroom, and bedroom.

We’re covering the walls with cedar board, which I’m going to whitewash. It’s going to be gorgeous! Here’s a link to what I’m thinking: Whitewashing Plank Walls

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Insulation

Last week, we found closed-cell insulation panels on Craigslist. So, off we went on an hour drive. We bought 1000sf of two-inch foam and 1000sf of four-inch foam–for the low price of $1,000 total! The two-inch foam has an R-value of 16. The minimum required by code in our area is 13, so we’re ahead of the game. The ceiling, of course, should have more insulation, and I think we’re about 3-4 R-levels higher than the minimum.

We’re better-than-required kind of folks. Ha.

We’re installing it by gluing it directly to the metal walls between the framing studs. Apparently it functions as a moisture barrier if used by itself, which is good. Scott is going to put in a couple of solid days on it this weekend, so I’ll post some pics when progress is made.

Here’s a pic of all the foam in our trailer:

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Yeah. It’s a lot.

And, for fun, here’s one of the pile as we were picking it up. Yes, I stayed in the truck and let the dudes load it.

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We are leaving the sections that still need windows installed un-insulated. After the insulation is put in, and we get the funds for windows, Scott will cut out the metal where the windows will go, frame and install them, then finish insulating those areas.

Next comes plumbing, installing cabinets/appliances/shower, and then we can MOVE IN! We’re ready, so we’re going to do all the finish work (painting, putting up covering over the insulation, etc) once we move in.

Framing

Our friends joined us again on Saturday to help us get ahead on the house. Marlow was a contractor for a long time, and the ever-awesome Kat is always game for helping.

I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, and it was throbbing pretty badly, so I got to sit (sort of–I was all excited and kept hopping up to look at things) and photo-document. I can’t thank our friends enough for all their help. Guys, you know when you’re ready to build, we are there!

Initially, we were wondering if there wasn’t a way to get away with not framing every wall, but the reality is, it’s good building practice because it works. Framing gives you something to run electric on, adds little cubbies for the insulation, and gives you a way to attach whatever finish (drywall, paneling, etc) you want. Plus, you need studs to have something easy to hang pictures from!

Note: We didn’t finish the bathroom or the kitchen. Hubs is finishing those as I type. Pictures to come.

We did not do studs the standard 18 inches apart. The reason for this is that our containers are providing all of the structural integrity of the house. The studs in our case are, again, for ease of insulation installation and running electric. We did them every four feet, except in the kitchen–we’re doing those standard so the cabinets will be secure.

In all fairness, it may be hard to tell from these photos–but when you are standing in it, the space feels very large. There are no hallways or wasted space, which helps.

Framing the first wall. Moo Moo is helping.

Framing the first wall. Moo Moo is helping.

A view from the dining area.

A view from the dining area. Those posts in the middle are temporary supports. They will be removed when the support beam is welded in place on the roof.

More of framing the first wall.

More of framing the first wall.

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The door into the bedroom, before it was finished...

The door into the bedroom, before it was finished…

Kat and Marlow cutting some wood.

Kat and Marlow cutting some wood.

Bathroom door to the left, bedroom to the right. The bathroom is framed for a two-foot pocket door, which means you have to allow a four-foot space initially.  The bedroom is a standard door width (32inches, I think). It will have a barn door.

Bathroom door to the left, bedroom to the right. The bathroom is framed for a two-foot pocket door, which means you have to allow a four-foot space initially. The bedroom is a standard door width (32 inches, I think). It will have a barn door.

I now know that framing standard walls is pretty easy–it’s framing for doors that takes a little more time.

There will also be a door from the bathroom to the bedroom. When you walk into the bedroom from the living area, you’ll be looking straight at the closet, so you’ll turn right to go farther into the room.

After getting the walls up, I actually felt like, “Oh, hey, there’s even more room than I thought. There’s even space for a little office zone for me.”

All in all, coming from the person who did no work, this was pretty cool. It was neat seeing how framing is really done. It’s also not super complicated. It seemed kind of like sewing–measure twice, cut once. And keep your body parts out of the nail gun’s way…

The following are just because I can:

Kitty approved.

Kitty approved. 

She got tired.

She got tired.

 

Walls are cut out!

It’s been awhile since I updated you, but don’t worry–you haven’t missed much.

Hubs has been chipping away at cutting out the walls, but between buying a new-to-us truck, prepping to sell our two extra vehicles, Scott needing to work some at his job-job, and some health issues, things have been a little slower than we might prefer.

But, drumroll please:

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The walls are finally all cut out!! You can see at the very end of the first container that there’s still a little wall. That’s the dividing wall between the bathroom and bedroom. The wood beams you see are temporary supports until the cross support beam is welded onto the roof.

We walked around today measuring and planning the electrical. Early this week we’re going to buy the doors/windows so those holes can get cut. Once the doors and windows are input and the single wall framed out, the electric will go in. Next step will be insulation. We’re considering hiring someone for that part to move us forward a bit more.

NEW STUFF

We still have our king-size frame and box springs, but our mattress was ready to be retired when we sold our house. Last week at the auction, Scott-husband purchased this lovely item:

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A brand-new fancy-schmancy gel mattress. Mmm-hmm. I can’t wait to sleep on that thing.

The week before that, he wondered if I would like this:

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When I spazzed out in excitement, he told me he’d already bought it. It’s a lovely crackled-blue and copper that will be great as the bathroom focal point. We weren’t going to put in a tub–and it will decrease our space (though we’ll still have plenty)–but come on. Look at it. We have no choice.

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In other news, I’ve reached a new peace about our timeline. We would have preferred to be finished the the 15th (which is a week from tomorrow). Obviously, that’s not realistic. Don’t get me wrong–I am SO READY for this lovely project to be finished and to be living in the house. However, I’ve decided it’s not worth getting stressed about some self-imposed timeline. We’ll be in by summer. I can live with that. It’ll probably even be significantly before real-summer, and that’s just not so bad.

Part of the delay was Scott’s health last week. Because he was unable to work for a few days, our friends weren’t able to come help as they’d intended. On the upside, they’re coming for a day or two next weekend, which will be a huge help. It’s very possible that all the windows will be put in and the wall framed up after their visit. M. was a contractor for a long time, and his wife, K., has some mad skills as well.

Finally, let me say thank you to Mother Nature. I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve this much beautiful weather in the middle of January, but I’ll take it.

A new friend (?)

I lied. There are not pictures in this post. There really is welding going on, and I hereby promise there will really be photos this weekend.

Scott and I were outside late one night earlier this week (by late, I just mean after dark). He was welding, and I’d come outside to look at his work. I noticed a truck stopped in the road across the street from us and called our dog over to make sure she didn’t get too interested in what the driver was up to.

Well, turns out the driver wanted to talk to us about where we’d gotten our containers, as he’s looking for some. We told him, and of course the conversation meandered over to what we were doing with them–he immediately jumped to housing. We obfuscated, saying they were just storage for now.

We’re not fibbers, but it’s also not something we want to advertise to strangers, despite what this blog may indicate.

I asked if he planned to do a container home, and he said he’d like to, but he’s just looking for some initial storage.

At that point, we admitted we are in fact working on a house. He totally understood, saying it’s not everyone’s business and he would have understood us not telling him.

I sometimes am struck by things I really appreciate about living in the country. One of them is the idea that what you’re doing on your property is your business… Another is that a guy will just stop to chat and end up telling us everything about himself–his name, where he lives (exactly), where his parents live (exactly), and where he works (you guessed it–exactly).

Laundry

You know, I like to consider myself resourceful. Able to take on any challenge. Creative. Capable. Awes–

Um. Anyway. Back to the point.

When we first moved onto our property we had no way to do laundry. We had water, and we had a washer and dryer in storage, but there was no water line (just a water hose from the pressure tank in the well to the camper) and no wiring for electricity. We did have a cinderblock outbuilding which was structurally very solid, but which desperately needed a new roof.

I, being the sweet and slightly delusional wife I am, told Scott, “I can wash our laundry in a bucket. Plenty of people do it. It’s summer, so I can just hang the clothes to dry. You have plenty of other stuff to do without dealing with hooking up a washer and dryer.” I mean, my grandmothers grew up doing laundry by hand. Hard, sure, but just a part of life…right?

Picture this: it’s May, so summer-ish. I have a whole load of regular laundry to wash. I have a bucket. I have an old concrete foundation by the well house that I think will be perfect to set up on. I fill said bucket with water and a little soap, put the clothes in, and agitate for several minutes, then leave them to soak awhile. After a bit more agitation, I dump the water, add fresh, and agitate to remove the soap.

Problems: I am soaking wet within three minutes from a mixture of splashing water on myself and the summer humidity of Arkansas. There are bugs everywhere. There is vegetation everywhere, and I can’t figure out where all these rusty old-fashioned nails on the ground came from (I’ve had a tetanus shot, thank God), and did I mention that I have a bucket of wet clothes I need to hang on a line? Did you know clothes that have not been spun in a washer are heavy? Yeah. Like they weigh down the clothes line to within an inch of the ground, and I’m trying to figure out how to keep the dog from grabbing a pair of my lacy unmentionables and running off. My clothes line, along with my very obvious camper, is also just in sight of the road, so I’m trying to determine where exactly we rank on the redneck scale and whether putting my nicer pieces of clothing on more obvious display increases or decreases our score.

Note to self: Your grandmother may have done this, but folks used to own way fewer articles of clothing. And they were washed less frequently. 

Ring, ring–

“Hey, baby. What’s up?”

“Yeah…about me handwashing our laundry. I just did a load, and I think I was being unrealistic about the chances of that happening often enough to keep us in clean clothes…”

“Oh, I know. I’ve already got the washing machine in the truck. I’ll get it hooked up within a few days.”

Good man, my husband. Smart too.

You live in a what? (Part 2)

Or, why on earth we might decide to live in some old cargo containers.

It wasn’t that we sold our house planning to live in a used cargo container–not at all. We’d planned to build a metal building, half warehouse/half living space. The price was reasonable, and the design was what would work for us.

But then we got to thinking about money. And speed of construction.

Well, mostly we got to thinking of speed. After a year in a camper, desperation starts to kick in.

Me and the hubs had considered cargo container homes before, but dismissed them on the grounds that we needed warehouse space for his business, so we might as well go the metal building route. Plans change though, and we decided to build even his warehouse out of old cargo containers.

After researching seriously, we found that cargo containers are made of thicker metal than metal buildings, are capable of holding over 20,000lbs stacked on top of each one (ie, super tough), and are actually a great size and shape for putting together to make a small home. Ours will be right at 960 square feet, with an open floor plan.

And the cost is very, very low compared to a traditional house. Well, it is if you have a spouse who can do most of the labor, which I do. We will be mortgage-free in 3 years. In these times, that’s a rare and beautiful thing.

So, as of today, we’ve purchased our three containers, and they’re due to be delivered next week.

Join us on the adventure. I’m sure it’ll be a wild ride.