The exterior of the tiny house is finally finished! Let’s take a little trip down memory lane to review all the work it took to get to this point.
Our first priority was getting the house weathered in. Taking tarps off each morning before starting work and the epic struggle to get them back on each evening was putting a significant damper on crew morale. Getting Tyvek on the walls was no problem, but protecting the roof would take a lot more effort.
We measured carefully and placed our custom order for $620 worth of WeatherEdge 29 gauge steel roofing in blue. We went back and forth about the color for a week and then just went for it. I wasn’t sure we made the right choice when it arrived, but now that everything has come together, I think it looks downright adorable. If I do say so myself.
The only challenge we ran into was that some of the edge trim was oversized for our teeny tiny house. We were able to use the ridge cap and drip edge but the gable trim and wall-to-roof trim around the dormers were way too big. Since it was a custom order, we couldn’t return the pieces – which had cost about a quarter of the total for our roofing. We considered writing it off as a loss and picking up some aluminum trim, spray painting it white, and calling it good enough. But since we’d had luck in the past with local machine shops fixing things for us at a reasonable price, I thought it would be worth calling around.
We found a shop just down the road that saved the day. They were able to cut the trim pieces in half and reshape them for us. It would’ve been nice to avoid that extra expense, but with all the other things we had to think about, we’re not beating ourselves up over it.
Next, we tackled the siding. We were trying to decide between fiber cement, cedar, or pine. I did some research and discovered that fiber cement weighs three times as much as wood siding, so that was out. With wood siding, we would need to treat the boards with stain or sealer, and the best practice is to apply sealant to both sides. Since we’d have to do a lot of work with a paint brush either way and I wanted the house to look more like a cottage than a cabin, it made sense to save some money and use beveled pine siding at half the cost of cedar.
Before nailing up the siding we coated both sides with Olympic stain-and-sealer-in-one in Cape Cod Gray. (It took about 5 tries before we found a color we could live with.) Once we leveled the bottom board and cut around the wheel wells, the rest of the siding went up in a flash. Jon made jigs to guide the spacing of the boards so we wouldn’t have to measure each time.
We wanted to add some interest to the peaks and dormers, so we added decorative trim and installed cedar shingles. I love the look of weathered cedar, but am not a big fan of the way it looks new. I’m hoping it won’t be too long before the shingles turn a more appealing silvery-brown.
Finishing the exterior took longer than we expected, partially due to the limitations of building outdoors with winter approaching. Jon ended up finishing a lot of the shingle work on days when it was snowing.
For the last four sections around the dormers, Jon came up with a way to measure and make the cuts without having to climb up and down the ladder quite so many times. He made a pattern for the triangle section he was working on out of OSB, then attached the shingles and cut them to fit the pattern. He then removed the shingles from the OSB, put them in a box, and climbed the ladder to screw them in one-by-one. (We thought it would be smart to attach the shingles with both Liquid Nails and screws, to prevent them from flying off when we take this house on the highway.)
Jon also finished the shed with doors he made out of our leftover beveled siding. With the addition of some hinges and latch hardware, I think it looks pretty fantastic. I guess you could say it’s just a shed, but it’s so much more satisfying knowing it was built using your own (or your husband’s) bare hands and some power tools. I’m so glad we chose to build the house ourselves. In addition to learning new skills, (good for your brain!) every time we look around our house we’ll get to feel the pride of accomplishment in having made something that is uniquely ours. I’m so excited to move in!
And to kick off the interior work, here’s our latest video: