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  • Writer's pictureJim Martin

All the bones are in place!

In order to install the final rafters over cantilevered loft section, I needed to frame out the loft and finish the framing on the trapezoidal section over the hitch. Once that was done, the basic shape of the tiny house was finished--All the bones were in place. Really satisfying!

These pictures show both parts of that process. You can see the loft in place, and some of the framing in the trapezoidal bump out.

On the days I'm working by myself I end up with fewer process pictures, so I don't have much to show as the loft was going in and the final joists went into place.

Here are some thoughts on that process:

The loft is framed out with 2x4's16" on center. This may seem scant given that it's roughly 8 feet long and will eventually be supporting two full-grown adults and a couple of minimal pieces of built-in storage. But the finished house will include an interior wall running the width of the house for the bathroom. This wall will support the long run of the loft as you see it above. In the end, there will be no place where the loft will have to span more than 2' without support. This is important to me because all by myself I tip the scales at a scant eighth of a ton. The reason we didn't use 2x6's here, of course, is that the extra two inches of room really matter for head clearance both in the bathroom below and in the loft above. In the end, I will likely be adding some steel bracing to the finished loft.

The trapezoidal bump out will eventually hold our bathroom sink with a window above, and will hide a few utilities and a tiny bit of storage below--which will be accessible from the inside so that the insulated exterior wall won't be compromised. Bolting the base down presented some challenges as the trailer's framing members are 10 inches from top to bottom. I ended up purchasing some 3/8ths threaded rod, cutting it to length and using pre-drilled galvanized metal strips on the top and bottom. It's a makeshift sort of "U bolt" but after I installed two, it cinched down nice and tight.

The other thing we need to talk about is hurricane strapping. Because the house will likely find itself hurtling down the highway at 60mph, wind is a significant consideration--especially when you add to the speed of the house any additional gusts or headwinds. Some thought needs to be put in to special bracing for high winds.

Mostly this means adding metal strapping where the rafters join at the ridge of the roof, and where they attach to the wall.

After all this strapping was done, it was time to finish out all the remaining bits of framing. I had to frame out the gable ends, and finish some framing pieces in the cantilevered section of the loft.

One more thing to call out here: as hard as we've worked to keep the tiny house dry between work days, some of the plywood does get wet each time it rains. Most of it is still in good shape, but it looks like there's one section I'll need to replace. This is a bit of a pain, removing all the screws, pounding the sheet out from the inside to free it from any remaining nails, pulling the nails, cutting a new sheet, reinstalling. Yep a pain.

But this finally puts us in a position to finish the plywood sheathing. And the project finally starts looking like a tiny house! Here's a slideshow of the process:

And this may be the most gratifying photo yet. Here we are, all framed out and with all the sheathing on!

Now it's time to get some plywood on the roof!

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