Category Archives: Insulation

A ceiling, door trim and a found porch post…


My ceiling is done! I feel like shouting it, and perhaps I will. My neighbors get that I’m weird. Seriously though, it’s such a thing to look at. The last pieces went up without much of a hitch, and Little Yellow just seems so much more…done. I know she’s not at all, but I feel there’s a lot less to do now. I have a ceiling!

The last run of paneling required the table saw to make them 3″ with the grove-side down. They left a gap at the ridge that ranged from almost nothing to nearly 1/2″ and I was worried that the final pieces wouldn’t cover everything, but I worried needlessly. With 45 degree angles on each side, they worked perfectly and hid all the unevenness.

Goodness I’m glad the overhead insulating is done, it really gets everywhere. Pieces kept falling out as I tried to cover it up yesterday and I came into the big house afterward blinking it out of my eyelashes and looking like a graying, be-chesthaired fellow with a full face 5:00 shadow.

I also finally got some trim around my wee yellow door. Since I’m set on cedar, I tried to use part of the fence boards I put around the bump out windows but they happen to be just a little too short. I left the idea for a while and I’m glad I did because I got the perfect wood for it at the local hardware store. The lovely lumber chaps dug up some old but nice 6″ cedar tongue and groove boards that must have been sitting there for a heck of a time. After a run through the table they were ready to go, and my door is simply and beautifully trimmed.

I took a trampling, sliding trek down a hill with a friend the other day and found a treasure trove of cut up manzanita trees. I don’t know why someone decided to go crackerjacks with a chainsaw on an unoccupied mountainside, but they did. I’m also pretty sure it’s illegal to cut down manzanita…Plies and piles of it, a bit sad really. Buried in a particularly high stack was the only branch of any length and we dug it out, by george.

They’re usually shortish bushy type trees that don’t grow up-the-way with much substance, so this one, being big and tall enough for porch post purposes, is quite the holy grail of branches. I made the drive home feeling rather pleased with the day and a wild, twiggy branch sticking a few good feet out my passenger window. I do love the mountains…


Exterior stained and just about done…


Seeing as I hate painting with the fire of at least a few suns, I would have thought that staining would be an equally unfavourable task. It was actually quite a lot of fun and I went about applying it with a spring in my step…splattering Super Deck all over my shoes (note, that stuff doesn’t give up lightly).

The stain was a little odd to see all at once, but it’s settling into itself beautifully to a very rich, finished looking colour.  If I do say so myself, Little Yellow looks bloody lovely.

I got to insulating the ceiling over the doorway today and decided to cover it with 1/4″ T&G cedar closet liner which nicely resembles the colour of the redwood porch. There’s also wire sticking out for a light that will eventually reside on the redwood 2×4 alongside the porch window.

It hit me as I stepped back to admire the newly paneled/insulated doorway that that’s basically the exterior done. I have a few little detail type things I’d like to do, but all of the really big scary things are pretty much over with. Looking from the big-house window to my little darling outside I feel so freakin’ relieved, it’s not even funny.

All of the small aspects that bothered me or looked strange for so long have been remedied in one way or another and I barely even notice them anymore. When I see it, it looks like a house. When other people see it it looks like a house. So much so, that a passerby the other day thought I was reworking some kind of prefab existing structure. Hell, I can hardly believe that all the scattered projects have amounted to an entire house, however tiny.

I just went back through old pictures from when Little Yellow consisted of a trailer, a 69 Chevy pick up full of lumber and a general feeling of ‘holy shit, you kind of have to make this now’. I’m a bit overwhelmed with all the choices and decisions that that face me on the interior, but I’ve bumbled my way into this, so I’ll just have to bumble my way out again. One piece of wall paneling at a time…

More siding, more wall paneling, more insulation…


My sister and brother in law came up for a few days to help this weekend, just in time for the cold weather’s return. It’s been a while since she’s seen my house so I spent nearly all of the first day excitedly pointing at things and rambling about far distant plans of interior paint colours and kitchen cabinets (while her husband patiently worked on his car) but we did get up some siding onto the front and in by the doorway. She also did a fine job with the saw and cut up some new borders for the bump out windows which I hope to start painting soon.

First, though, we made a redwood border for around the porch overhang and spent a stupid amount of time trying to get it right. We figured we’d make them both at 45 degree angles which should meet up all nice and pretty, right? Well, in my world of carpentry, no. Just as well I’ve given up on the fantasy of a square house.

Interiorally…is that a word? Hmm. Interior wise, I spray foamed the other wheel well and am continuing on with wall paneling and insulation. It’s hard to believe that quite a few sections require only these two things before they are finished! I am just loving this inside work, it’s so gratifying and really makes things seem like you’re getting somewhere 🙂

I have been knocking around the thought of putting up some form of wainscoting in the great room and finally decided to go for it. Lowes sell another kind of 1/4″ pine wall paneling with a bead down the center, so I bought a bunch and put it up vertically to just above the window line.

I’m thinking that whatever moulding I end up using to cover the seam will hang further over the vertical panels so they look a bit shorter. I’d prefer them not to be so high (41″), but where they are now puts each panel at the perfect horizontal 2×4 in the wall framing and I’d rather not have to stick another board in there. Especially as I’m having to put in an extra 2×2 for support in the middle anyway so we don’t get bendy walls. Nobody likes a bendy wall…

Small progress, more spray foam and the evolution of squirrels…


As I appear to have recently contracted the PLAGUE, (and so has my mother) the last week has involved more couch sitting and tea drinking than house building. Not to be stifled, however, I have sniffed and sneezed my way through a few more projects nonetheless.

I got a start on the off-side cedar siding, put some new spray foam in the interior wheel well cavity and fixed a funky sliding mechanism in one of my windows that did more banging and stuttering than sliding.

For the record, the spray foam stuff I used first did not, and really did not go very well. Though it started promisingly enough, within a few days it proceeded to turn crumbly and disintegrated upon the slightest touch.

Luckily, I had two things on my side. 1, I waited to see how the first wheel well panned out before I sprayed the other, and 2, I didn’t move right on and close up the space before the disintegration occurred. To any who may think a brand called DAP might suffice in such a wheel well filling application, please think again.

Round two, aptly called ‘Great Stuff’ has proved to be much better. It is intended for window and door gaps, so it supposedly stays relatively flexible to accommodate expansion and contraction over time. I also bought and applied some fancy kind of caulk for the outside gap between the metal of the wells and the wood of the siding so any water will have to reckon with that before even getting to the spongy foam business.

For something completely different, the squirrels that frequent our porch rail feeder have evidently tired of the easy target and moved on to the so called ‘squirrel proof’ hanging bird feeder that resides just next to it.  During periods of couch sitting, my mother and I bore witness to their monumental evolutionary achievements and generally laughed our asses off. Squirrel proof? Not on this porch, buddy.

Wall paneling, insulation and rainbows…


It’s been fairly lousy weather as of late; the shifty, cloudy type where you can barely feel your fingers and are never sure when it will turn drippy. Not too terribly much work got accomplished this weekend as a result, but we got the off-side ready for cedar siding.

Today the rain came. Rain, then rainbows, then snow, then rain again, but I set up inside my house with the light and many layers on to get some work in. I finally sourced my 1/4″ pine tongue and groove wall paneling last week sitting innocently on shelf at Lowes (after being told by several rather rude chaps at Home Depot that this combination was not possible and didn’t exist) so I’ve been dying to get some up since.

With the electric in, I began on the window bump out for my learning curve since it will most likely be hidden by a bench or somesuch. I worked from the bottom up and insulated as I went, placing my sheep wool into each cavity and thoroughly enjoying myself. I used my dad’s pin nailer to hold the boards onto each 2×4 stud and it did a fine job, leaving perfect little little silver dots where each went in.

This part is brilliant in the visual department, so I spent nearly as much time standing back to stare as I did putting everything together; it’s almost therapeutic in the pattern of it. Who needs a shrink when you can stuff wool into a wall?

Siding and insulating around the wheel wells…


After my roof sitting jaunt, I wasn’t feeling incredibly inclined to do much of anything on Sunday that involved walking or moving, so my dad and I settled with just putting lath and redwood 2x4s on the near side of the house.

Monday I went to the hardware store and picked up some spray foam for the inside cavity around the wheel wells. I really hate the thought of that sort of stuff, but after wracking my brain for an alternative that would keep air, water and varmints out, I gave in and bought some.

It smelled of a sort of spray paint-y, headache inducing yuck, but it filled the largish space so there you go. It also stuck to my hair quite well, not really sure how it got there…

Today I cut and put up more cedar siding while my dad was at work. This meant dealing with the blasted wheel wells yet again, but this time I knew what they were going to throw at me and made my way around jigsaw cutting the boards to fit without frying my brain too much.

It’s just as well I was in no particular rush because it took me the better part of forever to get each one just so. I’m sure if any carpenter saw how many times I repeated my method of holding up a board, taking it back, cutting a hair off and so on they would likely be appalled, but it works for me and as long as it ends well.

The hardest part of today was the fitting, cutting and attaching of the long, 16 foot boards after the wheel wells. They started out as 20ft boards which I had to wrangle out of the stack, wrangle into the garage, cut to what I hoped was right, then wrangle onto the house. There was a lot of wrangling going on out here.

I came up with a nice system of propping a block of wood against one end while I worked on the other, and emerged with siding up to just under the windows and feeling rather pleased with the outcome.

I’m finding carpentry to be very similar to sewing (another craft I bash my way through) but with slightly more rigid fabric. Saws are the scissors, clamps are the pins, drivers or hammers are the needles and screws or nails the thread. Of course, if you suck at sewing, the worst case scenario doesn’t get much worse than sticking yourself in the anywhere with a small pointy object. Carpentry, not so much. Right, there went the fabric/wood tangent…


Weather and walls…


It has been rainy as of late, the warm, summer type with lots of thunder and lightning so my wee house has been under wraps waiting for the sunshine. Today was dry and beautiful but the afternoon air brought an undeniable chill that signifies fall has made its entrance and aims to proceed with its plans, regardless of mine.

My dad and I have been taking the walls in sections and though we have a good few done now, have opted not to attach them to the floor yet so it’s easier to cover. The tarps on the the trailer did their best but some of the water still sank through, stained the ply sub floor and probably got to the sheep wool below; good thing I didn’t use fiberglass…

Today we plowed onwards with the second back side wall and those over the wheel wells. Said wheel wells aren’t exactly the same dimensions on both sides but by some stroke of miracle, the wall seems to work on either one  just fine. I’m fairly sure I can’t tout this to excellent carpentry or previous planning but at this point we’re just happy it’s playing along.

I have also uncovered a silly mistake. I’m not sure how exactly I managed this, but as I realize it, at least a fair amount of the corner braces should have been used to secure the framing to the trailer boards and not just themselves. It would occur to me after I have neatly screwed all the plywood down so tomorrow’s excitement will be unscrewing them, getting more braces (oi), navigating through the insulation, nailing them in and re-screwing the plywood.

I have a delightful little brown bruise on my thumbnail from last week (courtesy of my careless hammer wielding skills) but I shall hope to have become a marvelously masterful hammer-er in this time so I can avoid a repeat performance 😀