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  • Writer's pictureJim Martin

The Grunt Work (Part 2)

Updated: Dec 24, 2019

The underbelly of the trailer needs to be protected against rodents and rot. Generally this is done by installing aluminum flashing before any of the wood goes on the trailer. I purchased two 50 foot rolls of the kind of flashing that is used for trim work on houses with aluminum siding. It was enough to install four overlapping strips that would cover the bottom of the trailer inside the frame.

Here's bare trailer before any flashing is installed.

All our kids were home for the weekend, and super eager to help.

In order to make sure we got a good seal against the inside of the trailer frame, I wanted to bend about an inch and a half of the flashing at the edge and essentially make a huge cookie sheet out of the thing.

So, my daughter Clara and I made a bending jig. Here’s a simple video of Charlotte demonstrating how it works. (The end of this video includes the quick fix we installed to solve a problem with the temporary roof. It turned out during the first rainstorm that the roof was working perfectly except for the fact that an odd quirk at the back end was directing all of the water directly down onto the brand new chop saw table!! Charlotte and I fixed that.)

Then we started bending and test-fitting the pieces.

Once we had them cut, we laid down a bead of liquid nails and installed them. (The plywood pictured in photo is just there to support the aluminum as were were working with it. We pulled it out before gluing the aluminum down.) Once the two outside sheets were in position, we wedged some 2x4s in place to press the edges in place as the glue dried.

Then we rolled out this black landscaping underlayment so that we wouldn't have to deal with stuff growing under the tiny house next spring.

Here's Aidan and I making one of the last bends. Then we installed the last two sheets.

Our trailer design calls for ½ inch plywood to go on top of the flashing, then 2x6 joists. So the next job was to cut the plywood ensuring that all the joints lined up over the metal frame members beneath (see top photo). This part was definitely grunt work, cutting and fitting and cutting and fitting. But we got it done, and Charlotte got some practice in with the circular saw and the simple track cutting jig we made for ripping plywood. (Please note, next time Charlotte will be braiding her hair before running any power tools.)

Here's the last couple of 1/2 inch plywood sheets going in. Fitting them snugly together ensured that all the corners of the flashing were held in places while the glue continued to dry. And of course all the plywood joints line up over the metal trailer frame members beneath them.

After this we had fun test-fitting some 2x6 floor joist pieces and imagining how fun it’s going to be when we actually get the sub-floor on! But for now, we covered the whole thing up with a tarp to keep the water out until our next build day.

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