A Lofty Challenge

The tiny house was starting to come together! We were feeling great… until we realized that we had built the 2nd floor loft too high. With a 13′ 6″ legal road height limit, we would only have about 3′ of headroom in the loft… not really even enough to sit up comfortably.

I was pretty discouraged as I remembered the 8 billion screws we had used when building the loft, thinking we’d have to take everything apart and start over. Then we decided to try unscrewing the crossbeams and lowering the whole loft as a unit. We started by attaching a 2×4 spanning across the studs at the level we wanted the loft to end up at. We also set up the jack from our car on top of a ladder, sandwiched by two scraps of leftover composite decking, to support the loft during the lowering process.

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Then we unscrewed the crossbeams and carefully inched the loft downward. Much gratitude to Jack for lending a hand to help us out!

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Thankfully without anything crazy happening or anyone getting smooshed, we succeeded in lowering the loft floor about 5 1/2,” just high enough to leave Josh with reasonable headroom in the future kitchen and buying us a ton more headroom in the future loft!

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The whole situation really went smoothly, and now we are back on track to start on the roof!

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I have to once again extend a resounding THANK YOU to Julie and Jack for saving our butts and covering our tiny home when our initial plastic wrapping job didn’t hold up to the rain. They went all out spacing boards and plywood sheets on top of the house to keep it dry, as you can see above me in this picture…

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…I’m sure that was no easy feat!!

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We had a bit of snow this week which makes me feel the clock ticking to get this thing weatherproofed before winter really hits. So… next step ROOF!

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Boxing it In

Hi again!

Over the past couple of weekends, the Tiny Platform has become the shell of a Tiny House! It started with cutting and piecing together the sill plates, which would become the bottom of our Walls!

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With the sill plates sized, cut and drilled to perfection, it was soooo awesome seeing them turn into the shell of our future home.

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For this part of the process, Josh and I had a wonderful helper, our good friend Mark. So much gratitude to him for lending a hand and his building expertise!

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The silver things in the photo above are our hurricane hold-downs. We used Simpson Strong-Ties as recommended by our Tumbleweed Trailer plans. These babies will help our walls hold tight to the trailer for dear life and make our home on wheels basically bombproof. They all required a double stud to be built directly next to them. Otherwise we built the walls using the 2×4 sill plates, studs spaced 24″ on center and a double top-plate. When we finished building each wall piece, we checked if it was square and then secured it in place with wood glue, screws and temporary supports.

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The walls going up!

Here’s Josh hard at work installing the hurricane tie-downs:

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Josh also was a rock star and took on the installation of the porch, starting with metal flashing to keep water from getting into the trailer frame.

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Installing the ChoiceDek decking, using screws to space boards evenly.

We chose ChoiceDek composite decking material in Harvest Brown. Composite decking like this is made from a blend of ground up recycled plastic (grocery bags, milk jugs) and sawdust/wood bits. I’m not a big fan of plastics in general… but I am a big fan of recycling and super durable low maintenance products! It’s also supposed to weather nicely within six months or so.

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Putting up the walls made us all feel like Studs! During the process we learned that deck screws are way more pleasant to use than drywall screws, and definitely worth the extra cost (~$30/5 lbs.)!

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Then it was time to get started on the loft!!!!! We started with 2×6 beams spanning across at the top of each stud. We doubled up on the front and middle beams for extra security.

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Then we checked each one to see if it was level.

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We put an enormous number of deck screws into the 1/2″ plywood sheets that would be our second floor!

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View from the top
View from the top!

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THAT was really exciting, to see a second floor! But it also meant our next step was to take the whole project outside before starting on the roof.

It was a tiiiight squeeze getting in the garage in the first place, so I was a little nervous about getting it out again! Luckily Mark maneuvered like a pro and… ta-da!

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I’m having a fantastic time seeing this project come together, and want to thank Josh and Mark for helping me make this dream a reality (and of course our gracious hosts Jack and Julie, again and again!). By building the walls and loft, it feels so much less like a wooden platform and more like a home!

Next step… The Roof!