A Strong Foundation, and a Wall

by Joseph and Sarah

It’s been an eventful month here at our group build site in Sonoma.  As a group, we’ve been building subfloors onto our trailers and starting to frame our walls.   Here’s a little update we wrote for the Tumbleweed Tiny House newsletter, and we added a bonus here:  a short video of our build progress!  Check it out at the end of this post.

I’m sure we’ll get used to it one day, but for now Joseph and I often find ourselves thinking, “This is actually happening! This is our house!”  There is something so special about knowing exactly what is going into every single part of this house–every self-tapping metal screw, piece of plywood, and batt of insulation.

We started by protecting our future houses by screwing pressure-treated 2X6s all around trailer’s outer edge.  It’s not easy to screw through pressure-treated lumber or steel trailers, let alone both.  But we got much better at it as we went around each trailer, eventually settling into the right balance between effort and gentleness to get the screws all the way in without breaking.

Next we put in the subfloors.  Meg and Dan (Team Yellow) and Joe and Breanna (Team Purple) used polystyrene insulation that they cut to fit between their trailer struts.  After Team Red’s (that’s us) woeful experiment with washing wool for insulation we bought batts of recycled denim and fit those in.  We put down construction adhesive, sill sealer, then we attached ¾” plywood.  Yahoo–we have subfloors!

We are doing a traditional “stick build,” so we got going on modifying our plans to fit our salvaged windows, and then cutting sill plates for the whole house.  We then cut the studs for the back wall and nailed them together with our new serious, dangerous tool, a pneumatic nail gun.  Ka-thunk!  We now have a back wall.

Sharing tools, batteries, and hands was such a benefit in this physical process.  Lifting ¾” ply is not easy by yourself, nevermind placing the tongue in the groove and getting it all screwed down.  When we made a mistake on our house, it was satisfying to be able to talk about what happened, and prevent our co-builders from doing the same thing.

The other two couples are building with SIPS (structural insulated panels), which have not yet arrived.  In the meantime, Joe and Bre are researching old-time-y locks with skeleton keys for their front door.  They’re also shopping around for a speak-easy door hatch.

Coming up next, a good old-fashioned SIPS-raising.  Also, torching exterior siding shou-sugi-ban-style (What? You’ll see!) And more walls from us, definitely.

If you’re on Facebook, please check out our Seeds with Wings page – we are trying to post photo updates pretty often.  And below is our fascinating yet concise build update video and pictures.  You can see our first wall!

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