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Building a cabin; sharing an experience

Jimmy Rig

Invenies
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Hey Guys,

I just recently got myself a phone capable of taking discernable pictures and took a few shots of our cabin/small house (24x24') over the last day or so and thought I would share with you guys.

The property is 100% off grid and about 7 km off a highway down a rough dirt road 4x4 access only, and sometimes even the truck will not go.

One year ago I had not even cut a single tree so I am proud of where it has come and am aiming to move my family in by the new year or shortly thereafter! About 80% of the lumber from the foundation to the tip of the roof was milled by myself from tree's taken on the property in order to have a yard! Two birds, one stone.

Lot's left to do but we are definitely getting there!

And this is what has diverted my focus from many interests including alchemy over the last 9 months or so.
IMG-20221023-095605-526.jpg


A link to the gallery:
https://postimg.cc/gallery/FNswypL
 

black

Hermes Trismegistus
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Wishing you all the best for you and your family.

Congrats on your good work.
 

elixirmixer

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Duuuuuude.... Sweeeeeeet
 

Jimmy Rig

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Hi everyone!

I was just looking through my phone and have a few new photos from recent weeks; we are doing our move out in about 2 weeks to the cabin and have been hauling stuff out via sleigh/snowmobile and camping out with the children while doing it;
It's not totally finished but we are getting there bit by bit!

Rylie and Remi love the place and the great outdoors!

(They were happy in these pic's because it was somewhat cold in the cabin still and mom's spaghetti was hot and quite tasty!)

Its been a hectic, somewhat difficult but ultimately worthwhile, fun and endearing experience doing this off-grid build over the last year or so!

Construction on the foundation started in June of last summer due to a late melt.
We are looking forward to our first year living at our locale and have another list of project but this time they are family projects which will be a very nice change of pace for me!

Image Gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/9C1JTBM
 

Kiorionis

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Looks like it'll be a great place! You're pretty far along from the looks of it.
 

Jimmy Rig

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Getting there! we are moving in with it UN-finished due to the good access with the snow. During the spring melt there is at least a 4 week period, perhaps 6 weeks where you cannot drive in period. I am hoping that once we live there, I will have the rest of the finishing work done within the next 3-6 months. One day at a time...

Its 24x24' 10' walls, 12x24' loft (half the cabin) set at 8' above the first floor. The roof is A frame, common rafters with an 8:12 pitch, shingles.

80% of it milled myself on the sawmill with local timber (clearing the yard)
We have a small solar set up (300 watts p/v and 2x 100AH 12v batteries, 30AH charge controller) to run some lights, pump water around and run our 12v fridge in the summer time. (no inversion to AC, wastes too much.)

Propane range with 2x 100lb tanks.
On demand water heater run on bbq tanks 20 lbs.
~ not finished yet, in the cabin, in place but not connected to gas YET.

I am ready to not be constructing!
Would have been done long ago if we had a) road access and b) a bigger budget.
Such a great experience!
Not for everyone though, we have 160 members in our association, I am the only one who actually "did it" thus far.
One other couple has two sea cans they had brought in, besides that no-one else has really built anything significant (yet).

I was called a hermit so many times over the last year due to my tendency to walk by the common gravel pit area to go to work rather than stopping in to socialize.

Maybe this year I can spend more time lollygagging in the wilderness. :)
 

Alkasior

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May 2, 2022
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Hi JR,

I love what you have done, good job.

I also have a plan to make something like this.

Can you give some details please, in how you made the insulation for the walls and floor?

How are you managing the humidity inside?

I also have cold climate many months of the year, so insulation is important.

All the best, and I wish you good health and energy to finish your project.
 

Jimmy Rig

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Hey,

For the floors I did 2 inch foam board;(R-10) sliced into panels using an exacto-knife to fit between the floor joists. I installed this before putting on the plywood floor. This is NOT a warm floor currently as there is still air flow at the seams and the space under the floor is open to the outside air. (post and block foundation). I plan to add some spray foam along all the seams/gaps and also put skirting around the exterior of the cabin between the floor and the ground which will make an air pocket beneath the cabin and minimize air movement. This will help to prevent freeze-thaw and keep the well from freezing.

For the walls I have 16 inch on center framing using 2x4's (milled myself, would have went with 2x6's but our large trees are not as numerous, its easier to find logs suitable for smaller dimensions.) The insulation is standard ian corning pink fiberglass insulation for 2x4 walls, rated at R-13. For the ceiling I have 2x6 rafters, no trusses (common rafter framing) 16 inch on center and have r-20 and r-22 pink fiberglass insulation between the rafters and up against the 1/2 inch plywood roof. All of this interior fiberglass insulation is vapor barrier ed and taped. Now I do not have an attic; and this spring time I noticed on the first hot day after the snow had left the roof that I got a lot of condensation built up behind the vapor barrier up in the ceiling from the peak to the top of the walls. (i did not vent the roof ridge properly last fall.) about two days later I had installed a proper roof vent system on the ridge of the cabin and now the condensation issue is non existant.

Whatever building style you choose make sure that your ceiling/attic is vented in some way or it will cause molding and potentially rot over time. For us, we never noticed the venting issue until it got warm enough outside to heat the shingles and thus the ceiling.

In summary, I will be adding more to the floor, but the walls and ceiling seem pretty good.
With a wood stove pumping heat, its pretty irrelevant but when you go to sleep and the fire goes out that's when the insulation matters.
 

Alkasior

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Thank you JR,

Much appreciate your details, I know how much work it requires to built such a cabin, and I respect you for your work.

In cold climates, insulation is very important ha-ha.

I asked about humidity because I saw all the good wall insulation there, and I was planning to make the same vapor barrier system. Looks like a vent is 100% necessary.

In my grandparents house, they were using a wood stove, so I know this system of heating. When you are awake, it's ok, you can add more wood, but later, when all are sleeping, there's nobody to feed the fire, and it will get colder and colder... a good insualtion helps in this case.

Thank you for your reply, it was very educational for me.

Cheers
 

Jimmy Rig

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About the floor insulation:

There are a lot of options. Usually with foam board they will be laid out over the floor like a sheet so not much cutting necessary 4x8 foot sheets just like plywood. The way I did it was rather unconventional but allowed my to use the plywood floor as our actual walking surface without the need for an additional floating sub-floor above the foam. <---this would have been warmer but quite expensive and we can always lay foam over our floor after the fact; or any other layering product such as laminate, hardwood, carpet, more plywood, whatever. Just need to place around the interior walls like any renovation project.

Spray foam, batting, rock wool, these are some other options. There's probably as many different ways to do it as there are persons doing it haha.
 

Alkasior

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True, there are many ways to do insulation, but your experience is invaluable, as it provides insight on how to approach this in a proven and economical way.

Some also put a wire mesh under the floor wood, to prevent rodents to eat and make their way up your floor.

Some don't use any insulation for the floor construction, but they make like a pocket of air with wood only, and after all is done, they add on the finished floor inside the cabin a layer of wool, carpets...

It all depends on your way of thinking and budget U guess :)