Introduction: Bunkie/Sleep Camp

About: I'm a retired teacher who enjoys building and creating.

A bunkie or sleep camp is typically a building to house extra guests at a cottage. It generally is only a place to sleep and so doesn't have a kitchen, dining room, etc. This build is for a 12 foot by 16 foot bunkie or sleep camp and includes a loft.

Step 1: Set the Foundation

Put stakes at each corner of the building and square them using the 3,4,5 method. For a building this small, you don't need footings and a wall for the foundation. Cottage pads will probably suffice but check the building code for your area. Level the ground where each of the cottage pads are going to go and put a layer of sand down. If the land slopes, either raise or lower the ground for each pad so that the pad plus some multiple of the height of the concrete block will raise you to the same height as the other pads. Put down the pads/concrete blocks down do that the beams will lay across the middle of them and adjust the heights so that the tops are all level with each other.

Step 2: Support Beams and Mouse Screen

Code required three beams for this size of building with the beams being made of two 2 x 8's laminated together. Put them down on the blocks so that the ends and the front and back beam are flush with what will be the edge of the building. Square them using the 3,4,5 method. If you are going to have the bottom open to the air, it is advisable to install mouse screen. Attach the mouse screen to the top of the support beams.

Step 3: Floor Joists

Lay the 16 foot 2 x 6's along the edge of the support beams and nail in the floor joists at 16 inch centres. Square the floor using the 3,4 5 method. Nail each joist to the support beams. Use strapping to support the mouse screen to the bottom of the joists wherever necessary. Staple closed any holes in the mouse screening as mice can squeeze through very small holes.

Step 4: Insulation, Vapour Barrier and Flooring

Use Rockwool insulation as it is more mouse and moisture resistant. Install the insulation and cover the top with vapour barrier, taping any joints. Cover the floor with 5/8 inch tongue and groove plywood, staggering the joints for strength. Screw the flooring down.

Step 5: Walls

Lay out the walls, hammer them together and then lift them into place, one at a time. Plumb the walls and then attach support beams so that they don't move. Once you have all the walls up, put on a top plate, overlapping the joints for extra strength. Put insulation in the corners as you will not be able to get insulation into the corners after the outside sheeting is on.

Step 6: Outside Sheeting

As you start each wall, make sure the walls have stayed plumb. Nail on the outside sheeting one piece at a time. When you have nailed a sheet over a window, drill a hole in each corner of the window from the inside. From the outside, draw a line marking the outline of the window using the drilled holes. Set your circular saw to the depth of the sheeting and cut out the window.

Step 7: Ridge Pole and Rafters

Set up beams to support the ridge pole and put the ridge pole in place. The slope on this roof was 12/12 so all the angles were easy as they were a 45 degree cut. The slope on the roof is this steep to allow more space in the loft. Cut the first rafter at 45 degrees and tack it at the edge of the building. Scribe and cut out the birdsmouth. Use this a a template and cut and install all the rafters. Put in a support board rafter at each end of the building. The top of the support board should be level with the bottom of the other rafters. Cut pieces for the ladder and nail them into place, hanging over the gable ends. This build is going to have metal roofing so make sure the ladder boards are exactly where the strapping is going to be for the metal roofing.

Step 8: Gable Ends and Sub-Facia

Frame in the gable ends and cover them with sheeting. Cut the bottom end of the last rafters on a 45 degree angle and then run a chalk line along each row of rafters. Cut all the rest of the rafters on a 45 degree angle at the chalk line and then nail on the sub-facia. It is a good idea to nail a board temporarily onto the top of some of the rafters so that the top of the sub-facia is even with the top of the rafters. This is especially critical if you are sheeting the roof so that the sub-facia isn't higher than the rest of the roof and pushes the roof sheeting up.

Step 9: Strapping and House Wrap

If you are installing metal roofing, you will need 1 x 4 strapping. Put the first row of strapping down a couple of inches from the peak of the roof so you will be able to screw the metal cap into it. Put a row of strapping every 16 inches all the way to the bottom. Make sure that there is strapping at the bottom by the sub-facia as you will need to screw down the roofing near the bottom edge so that the wind doesn't pull it up.

Staple the house wrap along the bottom edge of one side of the building pulling it tight as you go along. Pull it up and staple all the way to the rafters. Continue along all sides of the building, taping wherever there is a joint.

Step 10: Windows

Put two or three 1/2 inch thick blocks at the bottom of each window frame. When you are installing the windows, make sure the drain holes are down. Put the first window into place and tack it there. Level and plumb the window from the inside using shims. Once it is level and plumb, nail and screw it into place. Continue with the rest of the windows. Tape around all the windows and put drip cap on top. Add J mold to all the sides if the window doesn't come with it. Spray foam insulation around all the windows from the inside.

Step 11: Metal Roofing

Put the metal drip cap along the facia of the sides and gable ends. Unroll enough of the covering fabric to put on the first sheet of roofing. You need to put fabric underneath the metal roofing or the inside of the roofing will "sweat" on your insulation and wet insulation loses its insulation properties. Lay the first piece of roofing so that the edge is around one inch past the drip cap and screw it into place. Screws should be tight enough that the rubber washer is compressed but now squished out. Make sure that this first piece is perfectly placed and there is the same one inch extending along the whole sheet as this sheet sets the pattern for the rest of the roof. Continue with the rest of the roofing. You may have to cut or overlap the last piece on each side. Finally, put on the ridge cap and screw it into place.

Step 12: Outside Door

Install the outside door and put J mold all the way around it if it doesn't come with it. Spray foam insulation in the space between the jam and the stud from the inside.

Step 13: Vinyl Siding

Install the vinyl posts on each exterior corner of the building. Make sure that they extend up past where the soffit will go. The bottom should be even with the bottom of the floor joists.

Install the starter strip along the bottom of the building. Make sure these are all even with the bottom of the floor joists and straight. If the starter strip is crooked, all of the vinyl siding will follow the pattern.

Install the vinyl siding. Do not hammer the nails tight as the vinyl siding will expand and contract in the changing weather and needs to be able to "slide" a little. Continue until the vinyl siding is higher than where the soffit will go.

Step 14: Vents

Nail or screw in vents. Make sure that they extend into the eave so they won't be blocked by the roof insulation.

Step 15: Stairs and Doorstop

Put in the stairs. You can purchase ready made stringers or make them yourself. You can use one 2 x 10 for the tread or two 2 x 6's. Put the doorstop on the outside door. Keep it back slightly on the hinge side so it doesn't bind if the wood expands.

Step 16: Insulation and Vapour Barrier

Put insulation in the walls and ceiling. Make sure to get behind the electrical boxes and in all the cracks.

To install the vapour barrier, start at a corner. Hold the vapour barrier so that it extends a few inches past the top of the wall and then staple all along the top plate. Then adjust it so it lies flat and staple the rest. Caulk and tape the joints and around the electrical boxes (if you're not using the sealing electrical boxes).

Step 17: Soffit and Facia

Build in boxes at the corner of each eave. Screw in vinyl J molding so that it the top of it is parallel with the bottom of the subfacia. Cut the soffit so that it is about 1/4 inch shorter than needed. Nail the first piece on the eave box. Continue to add pieces, sliding them into the groove firmly until you have done both sides and the gable ends, right down to the bottom of the eave box. When you are putting fascia on the box, put side piece on first and then the gable piece. That way, the top is overlapping and rain won't get in. Hint: Fascia is really easy to buckle and then you get waves so slide the fascia underneath the drip cap and make sure the whole piece is exactly where you want it and then go along and nail it without trying to move it at all.

Step 18: Paneling

Whatever you are covering the walls with, install it and paint/mud/stain/etc. it. Keep it an inch off of the floor so if you get moisture in your room, it won't absorb into the wall covering. Paint it before you put on the roofing and the flooring.

Step 19: Ceiling

Add the ceiling covering and paint/varnish/stain it also. In this build, it was tongue and groove pine.

Step 20: Flooring and Baseboard

Install the flooring. I would recommend vinyl laminate click type. In a bunkie, there is usually dirt and water tracked in and so you need something resistant. It is also subject to a wide range in temperatures so it needs to be able to expand. Leave a 1/4 inch space at each wall to allow for movement.

Lay a chalk line for the first row of flooring and follow it exactly. Put 1/4 inch spacers along the wall and lay down the first row. Make sure each board clicks in completely. Cut a piece to start the next row. My boards were 36 inches long so I cut the first piece of the second row 12 inches long and the first piece of the third row 24 inches long so that the joints are staggered. When you put in the second row, use a block and tap the board you are installing into the first row until it is completely in and lays flat. If there is a gap along any joint, it will cause problems throughout the whole floor. Continue until the floor is done. You will have to use a prybar for the last row as you won't have any room to swing a hammer.

Paint the baseboard before you install it if possible. Cut the corners at 45 degrees and install the baseboard. Countersink and fill in the nail holes and touch them up with paint.

Note: This sleep camp replaced a tent trailer so there are elements of the tent trailer that were included here to save on money.

Step 21: Solar Panels (optional)

Install the solar panel(s) on the sunny side of the roof. Run the cord into the building and attach it to a solar charge controller. This keeps the battery(s) from overcharging. Run the cord from the controller to the first battery and connect the batteries in parallel if you have more than one. Connect an invertor to the last battery and run a cord from the invertor to your panel.