More Framing and Some Electrical Work

I woke up this morning sore and cold because it was 11 degrees outside.  There are only two more days till spring it should not be this cold.  I spent the weekend cleaning, framing, and wiring the bodega.


The loft of the Bodega made a nice place to store stuff that I need to get out of the way.  Unfortunately, it turned into s building material scrap yard and I spent a couple hours relocating things.  I don’t know how roofers sling bundles of shingles around all day…I moved five bundles and felt like I was ready for the old folks home.

I also took the time to sort out tools that would no longer be needed.  Basically every tool I owned was stacked in piles all over the place.  I wish I was one of those people that had a small set of tools that fit in a small box.  Fact is that sometimes you just need the right tool for the job and that means you will have a bunch of tool boxes.  This is especially true when you do everything yourself.  You find that a framing hammer is not great for fine woodworking etc etc.


With junk and tools removed I had a nice clean slate to finish framing the upstairs closets and kitchen cabinets.

The upstairs closets will make use of the small triangle in the eaves of the house.  One trick I am playing is to use the space under the floor as part of the closet.  This gives me 7.5 inches of height at the back of the closet and 3’8″ at the front.  I will be installing some pull out drawers that use the space under your feet.

I had a revelation this weekend.  Climbing up the front of the loft is easy, but getting down is not.  You need to take a leap of faith and swing over the edge to get down.  Its hard to explain, but its not comfortable.  As I finished up the first closet I looked at my ladder poking up thru the floor and decided that I was going to build the access to the loft thru the floor rather than the front.  With the proper sized ladder and hand holds I think it will be more practical.


My decision on the loft ladder led me to make the second closet a bit smaller and leave a small landing area to be used for odds and ends.

Kitchen Cabinets

In my last post I had started the ends of the cabinets and realized that I had a floor issue.  This week I pulled up a section of the floor and installed some shims to bring it to within 1/8 inch of being level.  I took up that 1/8 inch with some small shims under the cabinet frame.  The idea was to split the difference between the floor and cabinet to make it look less noticeable.

I installed some cross members to enclose the bottom and it now looks like a cabinet.  I will have a small issue getting a full size sink to fit.  I think I’m going to be an inch or two narrow for the sink bowl to slide in.  I have some additional members to attach to the front to create the toe area.  Its likely that these members will end up being trimmed with a jigsaw to make the sink fit.





I attached my load center and another panel which will contain the charge controller and pump controller (bottom).  I was able to squeeze in 2 inches of foam behind the panel so it wont end up too cold there.


With that out of the way, I began drilling holes to run wires.  Since I will be using fiberglass I don’t want wires running in the middle of the bay.  I figured that the best way was to drill holes at the very bottom of the bay….WRONG!  Well not wrong but it was a major pain in the ass since there are nails there.  After hitting a couple your drill bit is toast.  I wouldn’t change the way i’m doing it, but in the future I won’t be using three nails in the bottom plate.

I managed to run the circuits in one wall and started on the counter wall.  I’m using 10 gauge wire which is a real bitch especially when its cold.  You just need to be patient and eventually it goes where it supposed to.

Something to note. These single gang crappy plastic boxes do not come with a integral strain relief.  You must add a staple within 8 inches of the box to meet code.  The double gang plastic boxes do have a strain relief that breaks off if you breathe on it (did I say 10 gauge wire is a bitch to work with?).  I suggest that you strip off the insulation before jamming it into the box…seems to be easier and less wear on the box.

Subfloor Installation

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This weekend I completed installation of the subfloor and installed the wall between the shower and laundry cubby.  I also completed the rough framing for the bathroom wall that contains the pocket door.


You don’t want to install plywood or OSB directly on top of a concrete slab.  If you spill something, the moisture won’t get out easily.  If there is any moisture in the slab it will stay there and start a mold farm in extreme conditions.

When I ordered my framing lumber I had them include some 1×6 pressure treated boards that I could attach to the slab floor.  My lumber yard only had 1×6 material, but others carry 1×4 which will save you some money.  Some people will use pressure treated plywood sheets for a subfloor, but I think that’s a bad idea since you eliminate the air space. You want air under there to carry away moisture.

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When you are working with pressure treated lumber it contains a preservative alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ).  This stuff eats metal fasteners that are not coated with something.  Hot dipped galvanized nails, stainless steel, or epoxy coated screws need to be used with pressure treated lumber.

The ramset nails I needed to use (1.5 inch) do not come in a ACQ compatible version.  They do make 2.5 inch coated nails for use with 2X sill plates.  When I tried to use them I could not drive them in far enough with a single shot and they really beat up the concrete when you drive them in more than an inch.  I made the executive decision to use construction adhesive and 1.5 inch uncoated ramset fasteners.  This is not a critical load bearing application and even if the pins dissolve to nothing in 10 years, the adhesive and weight of the floor will keep everything in place.

Shower Partition

The bathroom is 5’3.5″ wide and the shower needs to be at least 30 inches wide when finished.  Plumbing code requires that you have 900 square inches of finished floor in a shower and it needs to fit a 30 inch diameter beach ball (or barrel).  The standard width of a washing machine is 27 inches so the laundry cubby must accommodate that.

I could have framed out a 2×3 wall which would be 4 inches thick when finished.  This would have made my laundry cubby too small for a standard sized washing machine.  The only options were to make the partition thinner or move the bathroom wall by an inch or so.  In tiny home construction inches count so I decided to make the shower partition thinner.  This is a really picky thing but why make my kitchen 2 inches narrower when I don’t have to.

My solution was to use 2 pieces of Advantech OSB flooring glued and screwed together to form a 1.5 inch thick wall.  This wall is fastened on three sides directly to the framing to make it stiff.  The front will be trimmed out with a piece of hardwood glued and screwed to provide even more stiffness.  The finished wall will be 2.5 inches thick (1/4″ Tile -> 1/2″ Cement Board -> 3/4″ OSB -> 3/4″ OSB -> 1/4″ finish plywood).

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Down Under

Under the laundry cubby is a hole that will contain the water tank.  I am using a Wellmate WM-10LP which is 24 inches across and 28 inches tall.  It will hold 34 gallons of water and supply about 10 before the pump begins to run.  The bottom of this hole was still dirt and needed a bit of cement to complete the job.

Before adding cement, I dug a small hole and filled it with a bag of river rocks.  On top of that I added a 4 inch plastic drain.  I have no worry about groundwater coming up, but I would like any water that collects in this hole to drain off so I don’t get alligators living down there.  This drain should be able to handle a small amount of water that may drip off the tank during service or winterization.

With the drain installed, I mixed up a bag of Quickcrete with very little water and formed the concrete pan in a way that forces the water towards the drain.  Turns out that the bottom walls of the slab were not well filled with concrete when the slab was poured.  To make the job look a bit more professional I will mix up a bag of mortar and clean things up just a bit.

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Next Steps

I need to get ready for the plumber.  I will be setting up plywood guides to indicate where I want pipes to be placed.  I will be hanging the hot water heater, shower valve, laundry box, etc.  I will also be starting to frame up the kitchen cabinets and vanity….no off the shelf cabinets for me!

Three More Tasks Complete

The questionnaire

This weekend once again the weather looked to be snowy and wet so I planned for most of my work to be under cover.  During the week I traveled to a nearby Home Depot to pic up a octogan shaped window for the wall above the porch.  I try to monitor the local listings for any building materials that I may need.  This week a guy advertised some composite decking for $1 per foot which is more than 50% off!  It turns out that the guy was located just 3 miles from my building site.

Junk Shopping

When I located the address for the guy with the composite decking, I was shocked to learn that it was not some random dude with some spare decking.  It was an entire salvage yard with all kinds of new building materials.  Much of it was remnants, defects, or surplus from other jobs.  I picked thru several lots of different colors and found a pile of brown decking with enough decent looking pieces.  $200 and two trips later I had 13 pieces of decking 16ft long each on the job site.

Decking Installation

The first step was to cut the decking to length.  I picked 16ft lengths so that there would be no cuts showing on the deck.  Composite decking is actually quite heavy and bows a lot.  I put the saw on the floor and propped up the decking piece with blocks of 2×4’s.  I laid the pieces in place on the deck as I cut them and inspected them for any defects.  Luckily, I only discovered two defects before screwing the pieces down.  One I was able to hide against the wall and the other I was able to use the spare piece that I bought.

Composite decking requires special screws so that you don’t get puckered holes.  I bought two pounds of Grip-Rite fasteners in brown and the T-15 bit needed to drive them in.  The first tier I butted solidly against the front wall of the porch and drove fasteners in four places.  I decided to pre-drill the holes to make the fasteners easier to drive and ensure consistent placement.  The second tier I spaced using some very small (about .030″) finishing nails.  Being under a porch I am not too concerned with water drainage and didn’t want the unsightly gaps that are more appropriate for an outdoor deck.

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With all the decking tacked down, I went back and pre-drilled the remaining faster locations (2 per joist @ 16″ OC).  About 2/3rd complete, I realized that another box of fasteners will be required.  I did manage to get at least one screw in every board.  If you are planning a composite deck project, don’t even think about joist spacing greater than 16″ OC this stuff is pretty flexible, also be sure to inspect for defecte carefully.

Window Installation

Yup, I screwed up big time.  The framed opening for the octagon window was 1 inch too narrow for the window (missed it by that much ||).  I really liked the window and its size, so I decided to hack it up and make it fit.  I cut the inside down by an inch so that it would fit within the foam and overlap on the right and left by 1/2 inch.  I screwed it thru the foam into studs which means that there really is no wood holding this window in place, just four really long screws.   If it were something that got lots of use, it would be an unacceptable installation. This window will require a ladder to open and will probably never be opened so it will be fine.

When it comes time to trim the inside (which will be interesting), I will attach some screws in strategic locations to add more support.  The trim will be a window buck that holds the window from the inside rather than the outside.  When finished you won’t ever know I screwed up until its time for replacement.

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Using the porch roof to work from made the job pretty easy as I could cut and tape my foam sheets right there.  With the outside done, I applied some spray foam to seal around the inside of the window.  The inside looks pretty messy right now, but will clean up nicely when I add trim.

Bathroom Framing

Sunday I worked indoors and began framing my bathroom walls.  Using data from the CAD system, I laid out lines on the floor where the pressure treated studs would go.  I used a pencil and long steel rule for maximum accuracy (chalk lines can walk).  The studs were secured to the concrete with drill and screw fasteners.  I chose not to get fancy with the pipe and cut two separate pieces to get around it.  The concrete next to the pipe is a bit high and it would have been a nightmare to use a single piece and shims.

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I framed out the wall section using very specific data from the CAD system.  This wall will be the framing for built-in kitchen cabinets and medicine chest.  The studs need to be in exact locations so I don’t waste any space inside the cabinets.  The two middle studs will be the medicine cabinet on the bathroom side and the kitchen sink on the other.  The rest of the open space I will divide into upper and lower cabinet sections as the spirit moves me.

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Sub Flooring

I will be installing a 1.5 inch thick sub floor made up of a 3/4 inch thick pressure treated board with 3/4 Advantech OSB laid on top.  The pressure treated planks will be attached with building adhesive and Ramset pins with the Ramguard coating which is compatible with pressure treated lumber.  You can see the test piece I installed in the pic (floor behind Ajax under window), I will be installing pieces like this at 16″ OC on the entire floor….pics as I work on it.

P.S. Ajax is not a big fan of the ramset gun…it took me 5 minutes to get him to pose for that bathroom pic.

blizzard of 2013 Update

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The blizzard of 2013 has come and gone.  Even though we have not had much snow, I’m sick of shoveling and want spring to get started.  During and after the blizzard I managed to get started on the Bodega’s screened porch.

Roof Pitch Issues

The original Bodega plans called for the place to be 24 inches taller than it is.  This would have extended the headroom in the loft.  It also would have made the cathedral ceiling over 17ft tall, with all my insulation on the roof it would have topped out at over 20ft.

Deleting the 24 inches from the design makes the addition of the porch roof challenging since you need enough pitch to allow shingles to work.  The minimum pitch of 2:12 is needed to use shingles at all, and most roofing contractors won’t install shingle on anything less than a 4:12 pitch roof.

With strategic ceiling height selection I have been able to design a roof that will get me just a bit steeper than a 3:12 pitch.  To make sure water goes where it should, I will be using Grace Ice and Water, 2 layers of synthetic underlayment, and solid starter strips on all three edges.  I think it will work just fine.


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My pics this week show the three porch walls.  I will be using siding on the lower 3 feet and custom screens for the windows.  The window and door locations are where they are because I thought it looked nice and no other reason.  I could have made the front windows equal size but wanted large screens on the corners.

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Theres nothing really special about the construction.  The wall sections were framed on the ground, lifted into position, and nailed down to the deck frame.  I used headlok fasteners to attach the side walls to the house framing.

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Whats Next?

This weekend I will be adding a roof and hopefully putting shingles on it too.  If I get that done, I’m going to frame one of the bathroom walls which also happens to be the kitchen wall.  The kitchen wall has my built-in cabinets, so there is a bit of interesting detail there…talk about it in my next post.



Windows and Doors


This weekend I completed the installation of windows and doors on the Bodega.  I even have a front door key for my key chain!

Window Installation

Here is a flashing diagram to give you a rough idea what we need to do:


You will need some self adhesive window flashing material for this job.  I used Grace Vycor in 9, 6, and 4 inch sizes to install my windows.  You will also need a tube of goo to seal behind the window, I like the Lexel product but anything will work.  Some composite shims and a strip of composite (plastic) material 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick by an inch wide is needed to a backstop.

Under normal circumstances water leaks into your window.  This water will collect in the cavity under the window.  You must install a “drain pan” to gather this water and let it drain away and/or evaporate without rotting the wood.

The First part of the “drain pan” is the backer which makes a little dam to prevent water from flowing into the house.  This piece is applied across the width of the rough window sill about 4.5 inches back but will vary depending on the thickness of your window.  On top of the backer you will install a 9 inch piece of vycor window flashing.  You want to form this into a tray that will capture all the water.  You need to pay special attention to the corners as these are difficult to form.  I cut several small strips for my corners, but there are products that allow you to form the pan in one single piece.  There are also PVC molded drain pans available.


Once the drain pan is installed I wrapped 6 inch vycor flashing around each side and the top.  This is not really needed, however I wanted to seal the air gap between the foam insulation and the plywood window boxes.  Also its important to note that the Lexel sealant I use contains solvents which can “eat” rigid foam.  I apply the sealant to the vycor rather than the foam.

When you are ready to install the window you need to insert 2 composite shims on the drain pan to hold the window off the bottom of the window opening.  You also need to apply a thick bead or sealant to the top and sides of the window opening.  DONT EVER apply sealant to the bottom.  You want any water collected in the drain pan to drain out the bottom of the window.  If you seal up the bottom who knows what will be growing in there in six months!

The next step is to place the window unit into the opening.  My windows are very small and were 100% square when installed.  I had to insert a shim or two on a bottom corner to level the unit otherwise they just dropped in and were perfect.  I attached the metal window tabs to the edges of the plywood boxes.  I will install shims on all sides and install trim screws thru the window frame into the window boxes for additional support.  Larger windows may require more robust mounting than mine.  After shimming, I will apply spray foam to the gap between the window box and window unit.  At that point it’s not coming out ever except with a sawsall.




I installed the doors exactly the same as the windows but had to do quite a bit more shimming to make the doors work properly.  The front door is very “sticky” on the bottom as the adjustable wiper seems to just be tight.  The back door works very nicely with just a small amount of resistance on the bottom.  Overall I am 100% not impressed with the doors I bought.  I only paid about $250 per door and maybe its just a case of getting what I paid for.  The doors are flexible and just don’t seem that solid.  I will be sure to install the trim in a manner that makes door replacement easy since I think its likely to happen.


Next steps

I still need to shim and insulate the windows.  There is also a number of odds and ends that need to be taken care of to complete the exterior installation.  Next weekend I will complete these and add floor joists to the front porch so I can begin framing it.

Insulation Nearing Completion

Another weekend of Bodega building is in the books and I have a few things to share.  I have been taking it easy the past weeks to recover from the roofing ordeal.  I went to a couple of gun shows, and to the range to get in some bang therapy.  Now I’m back at it again…just in time for arctic weather ;).

At this point I have three sides insulated with 4 inch foam.  I even installed one window to get my process down.  I’m posting a video tour so you can see the progress in person.  Just ignore my babbling…I just started shooting and thought very little about what I was going to say:


I completed the left side of the house and the upper section of the end which involved quite a bit of cutting.  The straight sections make use of the tongue and groove built into the foam product I am using.  The upper triangle section wound up with a lot of pieces with no tongue and groove.  For these pieces I made them a nice tight fit and applied a liberal amount of foam from the foam gun.  naturally, the seams are taped using Zip tape.

The pro-pak foam I am using has not worked very well in cold temps.  I had to run the heater and heat the cans to make them flow very well.  When warm they work great.


The corners are a bit tricky since you need to get the 8 inch headlok fasteners into studs and there is 4 inches of foam in the way.  I took 1×8 pine boards and made corners (I said 2×8 in the video that is wrong).  I wished I could have found a lesser grade of pine as this stuff cost me an arm and a leg but sometime time is worth more than money.


USing gorilla glue and epoxy coated screws I glued and screwed the boards together.  The corners were then attached using 8 inch headlok fasteners.  You can see from the pics that the headloks are pretty far from the corners.  These corners will allow me to attach the finish corner trim and leave a place to nail siding on.


I will do an entire post with pics on the window install.  I just wanted to do one so I could refine the technique.  There is an error on the one I installed (DO NOT COPY WHAT I DID) you will see that I got carried away with the Vycor flashing and put a piece on the bottom…this is incorrect and I will be removing it.



From my window installing session I learned that its better to have 2 people.  At one point the wind came along and knocked the window out of its opening almost taking out Ajax in the process.  Fortunately for Ajax and the window, neither were injured.  All the shipping hardware came dislodged which made the window a bit more difficult to install.

Wrap Up

This week we’re expected to get bitter cold and snow.  Hopefully the really cold weather will pass by next weekend so I can install the windows.  I’m also going door shopping this week, hope to find something rejected or returned to save some cash.


Exterior Insulation


Been taking a bit of time off to clear my head after getting the roof on.  I’ve just been puttering around with the wall insulation and cleaning up the job site.


Since I have 4 inches of insulation going on the walls, the window installation is a bit tricky.  The openings are framed to be 1.5 inches larger than the required rough opening called for by the window manufacturer.  This 1.5 inches get occupied with a box made from 3/4 plywood that sticks out 4 inches past the window opening.

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You install insulation around this opening and the window will attach over the foam.  I will post pics with the details of the window install since its going to be complicated.  I have selected 24×38 inch windows for my project….a bit small, but they are cheap ($127), energy efficient, and in stock at Lowes.


The doors get a similar treatment as the windows except 3/4 plywood is not strong enough IMO.  So I built a frame from 2x material and attached it using headlock fasteners to the door opening.

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I am not 100% sure how the door and trim will be attached, but its likely that the door will be installed flush with the inside of the wall.  The door frame will be extended to fill the width of the wall cavity.  The storm door will cover the opening on the outside.  I will have nearly 9 inches of space between my storm door and main door….nice for package deliveries I guess.


It is very important to maintain the integrity of the air sealing applied to the walls.  I used a generous amount of Lexel caulking around the window and door boxes.  I also applied the remainder of the Grace Ice and Water that I had left to the outside of each box.  When I ran out of that, I switched over to 6 inch Grace Vycor plus window sealing tape.

I highly recommend the Grace Vycor plus.  It sticks well even in freezing temps and is easier to form compared to the ice and water material.

Working With Foam

Cutting foam sheets can be done with any kind of saw but it makes an awful mess!  Think foam sawdust that sticks to everything and gets everywhere.  I found this knife at Lowes:


Using a straight edge and this knife locked with about 3 inches of the blade sticking out I was able to make nice clean cuts without any mess at all.  There are two models of this knife (large and small).  I found that the small version does a better job since the blade is thinner.  I think the secret to success is the thinnest longest blade you can find.  You will also need some spares as the foam does wear out the edge fairly quick.

Holding the foam in place

Before you start it’s really important to mark the studs so you can screw into them with your strapping.  I mark the tops of each stud with a 2 inch screw from the inside.  Then I go to the outside with a sharpie marker and hammer to mark the spot and hammer the screw back in.
I am applying 2 layers of 2 inch thick foam.  The first layer you can tack in place with 3 inch roofing nails.  Be warned:  the roofing nails will “sweat” since they are on the cold side.  Before you insulate inside, you need to cut them flush and put a dab of foam on them.  If you go nuts with them this will become a lot of work later on.  You only need one nail per sheet…just to hold it in place.

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The second layer you can use a piece of scrap plywood (see triangles in pics) with a 6 inch screw to hold the sheets together.  When you have enough sheets on, tape the seams and screw your strapping on.  I use five 8 inch headlok fasteners per 8ft of strapping.  The building gods recommend every 2 feet for most normal wooded siding (heavier siding needs more).  In case you are wondering, the siding will attach directly to the strapping leaving a 3/4 inch air gap.

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By Sunday afternoon I had the left side and the lower section of the back completed.  I started on the right side, but ran out of vycor plus and called it a day.  Insulation goes pretty fast and i’m hoping to get the right side finished during this week after work.



Finally after several weeks of trying I have shingles on my roof.  As of this morning, I just need to trim the rake edge shingles and remove my roof jacks.


The morning started off a bit wet so I decided to exercise my second amendment right at the gun range with Tim.  I shot a new toy that I recently acquired.  All I can say is that the Israelis know how to make great rifles!

By Saturday afternoon the sun was out and I was able to install about five rows.  This side of the roof we still had my wall crawlers installed which allowed me to stand at roof level to work.  It actually sped things up a bit.  In general, I think that the time spent installing staging pay back in time saved doing the job.  I was too lazy to move it for the other side but I think that was a mistake.



Sunday started out about 20 degrees with some sun.  I got started by cutting up 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 length shingles we would need for each tier.  When cold the best tools I have found to cut shingles are a really sharp knife and tin snips.

The rest of the day was spent installing shingles up to the peak.  We had minor delays when we had to cut shingles to match the plumbing boot and the chimney pipe.  A pair of dividers fitted with a china marker seems to work well for figuring out the cuts around these items.  Tin snips seem to be the best way to cut cold shingles into odd shapes.


By late Sunday night the shingling job was completed less a few detail items.  The next day I applied clear caulking to the chimney boot and storm collar.  I really like Lexel for roof caulking.  I used it on my last cabin and inspected it after 5 years and it was in perfect condition.  It’s really fantastic stuff.


Clean Up

With a big storm bearing down on the northeast I cleaned up the job site and took down all but two roof jacks that the plumber will need to install the vent.  It really is amazing how much trash there is to throw away at this point in my build.  I need to see how the local transfer station works so I can get rid of this stuff.

Sill Trim

The pressure treated sill plate needs to be sealed up as a lot of air can leak past it.  I decided to use foam in a can and extend the Grace ice and water over the slab insulation.  This creates a nice drainage channel for any liquid that might get behind my siding.

I cut 1×3 foot strips and applied them with a heat gun.  Using my foam gun I applied a liberal amount of foam between the slab and bottom of the OSB.



Tip: Cutting rake edge shingles

Typically you install shingles with one end lined up perfectly with the drip edge.  The other end of each tier you allow to overlap the drip edge.  When the job is finished you trim off the excess shingle material.


I used architectural shingles so I was cutting up to 3 layers thick in places and it was cold which made cutting them difficult.  I was also a dumb ass by starting at the peak of the roof and working down.  If you cut from the bottom up the job gets 1000% easier.  It also helps to change utility knife blades often.


Finally Done…just in time too!

Shingles…not so fast!


With an ice/snow/rain storm on the way I wanted to get my roof shingled so I took an extra day off to make that happen.  Unfortunately, the gods hate me and I just couldn’t get it done.

I bought pre-primed 1×6 trim so I would not have to deal with painting in the cold.  My dad and I were able to get it all installed along with some drip edge and some underlayment.  I also was able to complete a 6 foot long roof ladder.  You can see it leaning against the house in this pic:


This roof is a 12 pitch and it’s not really possible to stand on it without some kind of toe boards or roof brackets.  This ladder rests on a roof jack and lets me climb up and work the last 8 feet of roof without installing another set of roof jacks (which is a pain).

The royal pain in the ass job award goes to cutting a hole in the roof for the chimney.  It’s in a awkward location up high near the peak and the ridge beam really gets in the way.  After an hour of dealing with falling sawdust and a lot of cursing I was able to cut thru the inside layer of sheating and two layers of insulation.

Chimney Tips
code requires that the top of your chimney pipe be at least 3 feet from the roof and 2 feet above any structure within 10 feet.  With a tiny house this presents some challenges.

2-10 RULE

On a 12 pitch roof you cannot install the pipe on either of the two outside walls without having a 10ft piece of pipe sticking up which would look ridiculous.

Practically speaking you want to be within two feet of the peak.  On a tiny house having a 4 foot chimney sticking up looks a bit out of scale. That means you need to mount the chimney about 12 inches from the peak.  It will need to stick up three feet.  The flashing boot just barely runs into the ridge vent in this location and it still looks just a bit out of scale.

My original design had the pipe running up the center of the house, but I decided at the last-minute to place it near the front wall about 12 inches off the wall.  The stove I have selected will be spaced about 8 inches from the wall.  If needed I can install two 45 degree sections to offset the pipe about 6 inches.

We got off to a late start because “someone” overslept.  As it turns out it really did not matter.  We shingled the first few tiers, installed a set of roof jacks and shingled up to the point where the chimney would poke thru.

After locating charged batteries, I was able to cut out the hole for the chimney.  A temporary shelf was attached to the wall which supports the pipe while we attached the mounting brackets.

With the mounting brackets attached, I drove in four headlok fasteners to complete the pipe install…..then disaster struck!  When I went to install the flashing boot I discovered that it would not fit around the pipe.

After screwing around with a cutoff wheel and a lot of cursing I decided that a larger boot or smaller pipe mount would be needed.  Instead of finishing the shingles, we ended up driving all over creation to locate one or the other.  As you might imagine that was an impossible task for a Sat night.  No wood stove places were open, Home Depot does not carry class A pipe, and Lowes does not carry a logical selection of class A parts (their merchandiser should be fired for incompetence).

I left Lowes with a package of jam nuts worth $1.19.  Jam nuts are half the width of normal nuts.  My hope was to shave 1/2 inch from the width of the pipe mounting bracket.

Bright and early Sunday morning, I installed my jam nuts only to discover that another part of the bracket was interfering with the boot.  I had to unbolt the pipe spin it 180 degrees and was able to fix that.  Then the threaded part of the main mounting screw was interfering, so I hacked it off with a cut-off wheel.  Then the metal plate attached to the house was interfering, so I hacked parts of it off.  After all that I was able to fit the boot (nearly) flush with the roof.sp_roofsupport

Today I found the supplier of the pipe mount and realized that I installed it upside down.  In the other position the brackets would have been lowered by 1/2 inch which would have solved all my problems.  If there were instructions inside the box, I could have been spared all the trouble….doh!  Overall I’m super happy with this mount as it provides excellent support for the pipe.


With the chimney boot installed we started up again with the shingles.  After about 30 minutes it began snowing and by 90 minutes we had to pack it in for the weekend and tarp the place.  After a brutal weekend of work we only managed to complete 95% of one side :(.

This weekend is looking cold but no rain or snow.  I’m hoping that the roof will be done by Christmas.

Tip of the week
For me to get up to the roof jacks I had been installing a small step to make the transition from ladder to roof less wonky.  After installing shingles the transition was a breeze without the step.  My tip is to install a scrap piece of shingle instead of a step.  Its easier to install and remove than the pieces of wood I was using.

Roof Sheating…Check!


This weekend the Bodega got its final (outside) skin of OSB for the roof.  Once again, the weather gods were not smiling on us.  The entire morning Saturday was a washout and we were only able to get in about 3 hours of work.  Sunday was drier and we got nearly an entire days work on the roof.

Getting It On The Roof

We attached some small blocks of wood on the lower edges of the roof to provide a shelf for the OSB to sit on while it was screwed down.  It was at this point where we learned how square or not so square our roof was.  Overall I would say we were within 1/2 inch of being square.  As a non-professional builder that’s pretty good in my book considering that the ends are mounted on a squishy layer of foam.

The drip edging will hide any gaps between the OSB and trim.  In some cases we cut the OSB to match the squareness of the roof, in others we just left a gap.  It’s not possible to see any imperfections from the ground so I’m not too concerned.  You really can’t even see them on the roof unless you break out a tape.

OSB Sheets Can Be Dangerous!

Earlier I said we used small blocks of wood to make a shelf for the OSB.  That was being a bit generous.  OSB is NOT a very dimensionally stable product.  It swells with moisture so you need to leave gaps between sheets.  It curls up like a potato chip and won’t lay flat until you nail it flat.

The flatness is where the danger part comes from.  Imagine you have a twisty curly sheet perched against a 2×4 block to keep it from sliding down the roof.  You move to one side of the sheet and push it tight against the joists.  The curl in the sheet makes the other end pop up and over the block holding it up.  The sheet then rotates and falls off the roof killing your assistant or dog standing below you!

Tim and I had one incident where the roof jacks stopped the sheet from decapitating him.  Next to falling off the roof, I think attaching curly assed OSB sheeting is on the top of the most dangerous jobs list. When working by myself I used shelves that were six inches tall to make 100% sure the sheet would not fall.  When working with Tim on the ground he would use a 2x6x12 to assist in holding one end of the sheet in place. Ajax was sent off to chase his ball in the woods while we had loose sheets on the roof.

As you can see from the above pic this sheet has a 5 inch curl in it.  After it was screwed down it laid reasonably flat.  OSB is one of those things you might want to pick out yourself to make your life easier.  Thicker sheets are also better at staying flat, We used 7/16 sheets and had to deal with it.

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I have no finished pics this week since we finished after dark and we had to tarp it for the next round of rain showers.  Next weekend we plan to install shingles.  During the week I need to get the location of the chimney and vents established and attach some trim.  I’ll try and get some finished pics after the weather passes.