From the Ground Up Camp/ Cabin Part 2

Please see part 1 first, as this is a continuation of it.

You will see I refer to both "We" and "I" often. I do this because I do often have help, but do most myself. My friend Darin is here most every day, and a few neighbors have been lifesavers. So, please ignore the grammatical foo pahs!

As you saw in previous steps, I am building entirely on my own, with the end result being a 900 square foot cabin/ home. We placed the first 6x6 in the ground on February 12th, 2019 and hope to be in by fall 2019.

Thus far, I have not wasted one board, although I have cut a couple too long and had to re-cut. I have used a few short ones in other places too! The idea here is to do this job as efficiently as possible keeping cost down so as to do without a mortgage.

Now, on to part 2!

Step 1: Exposed Beam Ceiling and Bead Board

So we built the ends for gables on the floor, as we know the exact dimension to meet bearing wall. The bearing wall is exactly 3 feet higher than the exterior walls, so the pitch is about 2 1/2' in 12. Remember we are building under an existing roof so the pitch does not have to be as steep. It will see very little weather, and almost no sun. We cut the 4x4's to length, mitered one end to 13 degrees to meet the bearing wall and support beam flush and attached all with 5 3" hardened #10 screws 3" long. The outside of the beam is lagged to the outer walls with 7" x 3/8" galvanized lags. as the "box" is solid, the ceiling/roof beams cannot fall unless there is a major structural failure of both the inner connection and the outer wall. We then used exterior grade bead board for our ceiling, and only used clear sealer so as to keep the "camp" feel. We placed it perpendicular to the beams, so the "beading?" ran across. As with any use of panel style boards, we started one full length and then as they would all end screwed at the same beam we cut one in half so that every other one was on a different beam. In other words, first row full length 8', then start second row with a cut to 4' piece and then go full length. The second layer will be 1/2" osb exterior with a reflective aluminum side to reflect heat away from the interior. The aluminum acts as a heat sink and dissipates the heat. Now, no matter what you do, you have a 4x4 sitting on the exterior wall you have a gap. On the inside I want to take my drywall right up to the ceiling, which means I have to have something to attach it to, but the big deal is sealing up the area for weather protection and bugs! Here is where the proper tools for the job are a must. I ripped 2x6's to the same 13 degrees to match the angle of the ceiling boards on my table saw, then cut each board to match the space between the 4x4 beams. The reason we couldn't just cut them all as in a perfect world is because the lumber these days is so far from perfect it is shameful. The 4x4's I purchased were pressure treated, and usually they are so wet you can't lift them, but the ones I bought had actually sat in Home Depot for over 2 months which made them better than most. The problem is twist and warp. You try your best to stick on exactly 24" centers, but plus or minus a little is ok. The tough ones are the twisted. You put the lag in the middle, and as it goes in the top plate it tends to twist one way or the other, sometimes leaving it over 1/4" off center. This isn't noticeable, nor does it affect the fastening of the ceiling and roof panels as you have 3 1/2"s to work with. It does however make it tough to cut fillers. So, we cut them all, and placed them loosely in place.

Step 2: A Tribute to the Right Tool: Kregs

34 cut boards. If you have ever tried to "toe screw" anything, you know that "walking" is an issue. You try to get the board right where you want it, start the screw and as it goes in it pulls the board one way or another. I needed a solution, as the drywall has to attach to something, they need to be flat, and I have a lot to do. Enter this trick tool called "Kregs". This jig is magic. Six screws each, 34 boards, and no way I could get all those screws in without something ruining my mood by going in too far, or twisting...or some other nightmare. Kregs made it simple, and all those boards, screws and all went together in no time. I grabbed the first board, drilled it, handed it to Darin and the process for all 34 boards took less than an hour. All flush, all flat and no stripped screws or cracked boards. It even helped in the corners where you couldn't"t screw in straight. I used 4 2 1/2" deck screws to attach each, and although not in the pictures will put another 2 in from the bottom to secure the walls and beams even more. I can use the Kregs drill bit and depth collar to make them all the same depth and grip.

More caulk. I still had a gap triangle at each beam, so I caulked each beam, and then around the entire perimeter of each board. No bug doors here. Of course the caulk will be covered with dry wall too.

Step 3: Knees Shaking But Gables Have to Go Up!

Well, the "ground work done, my help for the roof beams and ceiling bead board gone, I have to do the ladder work to finish the gables. Uh oh. Here is where measuring correctly and taking your time comes in to play. The gable framework was built on the ground, and each end is a mirror of the other. So, I only had to measure once on one end, write those measurements down and I could cut all of the panels. Saved a lot of shaky knees on the ladder! On the east side, we used "z" channel between the wall t-111 and the gable t-111 so no water can get in the seam. On the west, as it is inside the barn and not exposed we used 50 year caulk to fill the seam and will put a trim board over the seam caulked as well. We can't do that on the east wall as the covered deck roof will be covering the seam.

Step 4: Caulk, Caulk and Paint

This is where I got a lesson. I caulked every seam, every screw hole where I missed a stud, and every place there may be intrusion of anything. I'm ready to paint. I go buy a couple rollers, and 2 minutes after I got home I decide there is no way I can paint this monster with a roller. I ask my friends if any of them have a paint sprayer, and one comes over with a little Wagner that only holds a quart of paint. Nope, I can only make a mess with that, and by all my calculations I will have to fill it somewhere around 14 zillion times. So, I call Home Depot and inquire about renting a commercial sprayer. $100.00 for four hours, $150.00 for a day. I am building 29 miles from the Home Depot, so four hours would give me about enough time actually using it to microwave a hot pocket and drink a Coke before having to clean it and take it back. I look on Craigslist, and there are a few for around 200 bucks, so I decide to just buy one of those knowing I will need one again. The one I decide on is $200.00, I call and the guy seems nice, but he is going to the river with his family so we plan to meet the next day, Monday at 7pm.He texts me and says someone has offered more money. I tell him to be a man, or sell it to the other jackass. He agrees to sell to me. This means I have to drive all the way back in town to get it after my wife gets home from work. We (she and I) decide to have dinner and pick it up. He's late. He can't find the hose or the spray handle. He tries to sell me a better handle, blah, blah, blah. I tell him to shove it. No paint sprayer. Next idea: Pawn shops. I've bought many tools from them, and if you find a good one you win...just wheel and deal a little. I find a what appears to be a good unit at a reasonable price (about 75 bucks under new) and buy it. I'm in! I drive 29 miles, ready to paint and the wind is blowing a little hard so I wait til morning and with plans to accomplish a big step. I mix all of my 15 gallons of paint to a color I like, and pour back and forth so it all is the same and start the generator. I stick the hose in the paint, flip the switch and....nothing. sonofembeach is dead! Now what? I call the pawn shop and they were amazing. "just bring it back, we'll take care of you!" So, next day, 29 miles in to town, I return it and see a badass Milwaukee Airless/ HVLP unit that is crazy nice. I ask what the deal is, and offer them to swap. Cool. We take it out back, plug it in and viola it runs. I'm excited! I swapped to a better badass machine that will do a lot more, and no cost difference! Back I go, I get ready to paint...and notice the damn thing has no tip! What the #%$$%^^^&(&%^^!!!! Back down that 29 mile road to spend SIX DOLLARS AND THIRTY-THREE cents!!! Now I'm painting...I hope. I get it all set up, ready to rock and I'm a painting machine...I get one small wall primed, and hear a weird noise and it seems like I lost pressure. I look around the corner and see more paint flying around the machine than was ever coming out of the gun! Seal blown. Aw hell no. Yup. Takes me 2 hours to clean all that paint off the machine. Now, knowing that pawn shops don't much like returns, nor twice I look on line to see if I can just buy parts for this thing. It must just be an o-ring or something...and I find that the regulator is no longer available! No parts, no painting.

Now I learned long ago that getting upset does very little good when you are wanting a hero, so I call the pawn shop and act like a puppy just caught eating a shoe. They are so nice..."just bring it back, we'll take care of you" is all they said. Amazing. I take it back, and not one to give up say I'll try one more time. We grab a Magnum off the shelf, and once again take it out back, plug it in and it performs flawlessly. Before I leave town I go buy a new tip, because you just don't know. I'm glad I did, because I must have left the other one in the 2nd broken one...wow. Finally I paint. All of it. I dance a little jig, smack myself in the head for being stupid and on we go.

Here's a bit of advice. If you can afford it, go buy a brand new one. You can get a decent one for about $250.00 at Lowes or Home Depot. Once you are done with it, throw it on Marketplace or Craigslist and sell it as a used once machine for $200.00 and smile all the way to the bank. I, however have to give a shout out to Lone Star Pawn in Port Charlotte Florida for being the friendliest, nicest bunch I have dealt with. They went over and above to make me happy and really had no reason to. https://www.facebook.com/loanstarpawnllc/

Step 5: Memorial Day 2019 the First Window?

So it's 8;35 Monday morning, and my wife said yesterday she wants to put in the first window today. We have family and kids coming later for the Memorial Day required barbecue...hot dogs, potato salad and stuff...so here I am drinking coffee waiting for her to get up... Hopefully breakfast in my future. Well, now it's 9:30...guess no breakfast, and not going to be a good day for windows either, so I just read for a while and plan for windows during the week.

As I purchased windows at such a deal, I built the cabin with those measurements in mind. I pre-framed the locations when we built the walls, so once the painting was done I can just cut the holes, square and level the windows and caulk them in. Sounds easy. Problem is I have 4 of the heaviest windows I have ever seen. Hurricane rated, double pane, UV coated and vinyl framed. I also found triangular shaped double panes for the gables as accent windows, which will allow morning sun and late afternoon sunset light. Going to have to wait for help to lift those things in the holes. So, today we'll focus on the smaller ones, or one. I have a small frosted window for the half bath, another slightly larger for the master bath, and a small window for the north wall of the bedroom. I drill holes in each corner of the pre-framed hole through the siding, which gives me a cut line from the outside. I cut the hole with either the skil saw or sawzall and trim to flush with the framework...but that didn't work.The minute I grabbed the saw I knew it was going to be a disaster. The sawzall doesn't cut straight, so no. The skilsaw is just awkward because of the guy holding the grip. Hmmmmm. Once again kudos to the tool gods, and Harbor Freight. They have what I need, so another hundred bucks and Viola! Holes cut right! I bought a saw designed to cut flooring out from under the toe kick of cabinets thus the name "toe kick saw", and it cuts flush to the side. I also bought an oscillating multi tool, which trimed the corners where the round blade doesn't go. Here's where I differed from general construction once again. When you build a structure conventionally, you make the hole for the windows about 1/2" bigger all the way around so you can shim to fit. Well, as I know the floor is FLAT, and the walls were built on the ground and measured with very close tolerances ( I used a jig to cut every board exactly the same length, so I only made my pre- built frame 1/4" too big. So when I test fit the window before caulk and final installation I know it is level and square. Still I check and shim very little (even at 1/8th inch if you don't shim you distort the vinyl frame. I grab the caulk and goo the living H%$#* out of the frame and window. Then, we set the window in place and using a torpedo level I shim the window frame to level and screw through the frame securing it. As you can see in the pictures, the "lip" around the outside of the window is quite small, so by cutting the holes to a closer tolerance my sealing surface is as big as it can be instead of barely useable. I will trim later with a 1x3" trim board painted the same as the interior ceiling beams.

Step 6: To the Roof!

After we put down the bead board on the ceiling beams, we are using a product made of USB boards, with a reflective aluminum coating on the underside. Between these products we have a roof that is 1" thich and sealed with another product called Hydrostop. The USB is held down with exterior deck screws, and then we start on the roof goop. We tape the seams with gorilla tape so the liquid does not seep through to the bead board, then we apply a coat of elastomeric roof coat over the seams. While it is still wet, we roll a fabric that is woven in a multi-directional pattern over it, and with the roller push it into the roof coat, which is absorbed into the cloth. We then roll another coat over the cloth, and cover the entire roof as well. The cloth with the roof coating resembles duct tape when done right, and creates a waterproof membrane. We will apply 3 coats of the elastomeric, which not only is a reflective white color, but has mold resisting properties and a 10 year guaranteed life span. As it is under another roof, I doubt I will ever have to re-coat in my lifetime.

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