By Alaska Rose
Lifting heavy things is not so good for people although I had been doing it all my life. I guess that last bond beam was the straw that broke the camels back as far as my insides were concerned. So, I spent the end of April in the hospital having surgery to correct a few things. The doctor cleared me to go back to doing my usual stuff by the middle of June so the next day we started my daughter’s house. I started up the backhoe and took it to her building site to prepare the ground. I dug out support holes to bedrock for the large 15” x 24” x 20’ timbers we place on pilings. We filled the holes with gravel and large rocks to make a sturdy pad for each support post. Then we placed the timbers on top using the backhoe. I dug out and placed the septic tank while I had the backhoe running and handy.
We framed in her house and had it ready for the roof by the end of August. As a joke, one person suggested we just add a 3rd floor, since my daughter couldn’t make up her mind exactly how she wanted the rooms as her daughter kept wanting her room bigger and bigger. We looked over what we still had for supplies and added a small 3rd story area that became my daughters’ bedroom/bathroom and walk in closet. The fellow that has the partially build cabin volunteered to roof the house for her in exchange for her hauling his firewood he had cut along the roadway to his house, so we didn’t think of looking for someone else. He had been very negative about my family moving out here, other than my Mom, from the start. Not sure why he volunteered, although he had the kids haul all his cut firewood for him in exchange for his roofing the place. They did their part, even stacking it, although he never acknowledged their work. He fiddled around until late September, then said it was too late to do it, but a neighbor guy showed up and was sitting on the roof waiting to put the metal on, so they finally did, that day. However, he somehow managed to not put in the chimney jack and by the next day we had a foot of snow. So everyone living in the shop got to spend another winter in the shop instead of moving into the house and working on the inside during the winter. I also ended up back at the hospital for repair surgery to the repair surgery done in the Spring. The doctor didn’t realize what my usual work was, I guess.
The garden did pretty good this Summer, also. Alison and I had built another greenhouse, a bit sturdier and in a more protected area from wind than the first one. This one had 2”x4” framework and the top was again the PVC pipe set into drilled holes in a ridgepole and into holes in the top plate of the side walls. It worked very well. Due to my being back in the hospital at the wrong time, I didn’t get it disassembled and the snow wrecked it.
As soon as the weather warmed enough in the Spring, we started work on the inside of my daughters’ house. Insulating with fiberglas batts, then a foil faced foam board thermal break then taping the seams of that and adding a good heavy duty plastic vapor barrier and taping all seams and nail holes. Electrical boxes were caulked around and sealed to keep ice from forming on outside walls from moisture going through in winter. None of us care for sheetrock, and couldn’t afford good paneling, so the houses are paneled in CDX plywood. We lightly sand the surface to smooth it down some and get rid of most of the stamped markings. Then several coats of satin polyurethane gives a nice soft finish. When doing the roof, we use thicker fiberglas batts and the foil faced foam board, and vapor barrier as in the walls, then do the walls and place the vapor barrier over the hanging part from the ceiling. This way no moisture can get up into the ceiling to form ice during the winter. It only takes a pinprick through the vapor barrier to cause ice buildup in the walls and ceiling. In the winter, as you drive in residential areas of town, you can tell homes that have a problem. In cold weather, every wall stud shows on the frost on the outside walls and usually there will be ice dams along the eaves on the roof. The ice dams are from a hot roof and the heat melts the snow on the roof, but as it runs off, it hits the cold once it is past the wall and freezes, building up and backing up under the shingles on the roof to cause damage. Icicles may look cool in pictures, but they are not something you want to see hanging in quantities from your roof.
Even though we have a ridgepole type ceiling and the roof is directly overhead, these roofs are still cold roofs and don’t ice up in winter. Over the rafters, I placed Tyvek to hold the fiberglas batts from fluffing out and touching the roof, then a 1 inch spacer board to hold the Tyvek in place over each rafter, then roughcut nailer boards across the rafters to fasten the sheets of metal roofing to. So the roofing material is over 2 inches from the insulation. In very cold weather, the air circulates through that 2 inch space very well. There is no wasted space in any of these buildings and all materials are utilized to the optimum. The rafters crisscross over the ridge beam and are nailed firmly together over the top and to the ridge beam, also. The fiberglas insulation is over the whole works, so it all makes a very good thermal break and the foil faced foam board makes the thermal break complete. This looks very nice in the finished buildings and helps in even the smaller buildings to feel roomy and not claustrophobic. I think part of so called cabin fever is folks living in a small dark space. The houses built here are light inside and give the appearance of space. Plus going outside a while almost every day helps, also. Nothing like fresh air to clear the cobwebs.