Looking for info on building a house

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by d42, Jun 23, 2013.


  1. d42

    d42 Monkey

    I want to build a small house for my family. Does anyone have any experience with building around a 400 sq ft house or know where some good info on completed examples? I see lots of posts of people in progress on stuff and books about building, but I'm hoping for a real world complete example. How much did it cost? How many people could build it? I want to do it mostly myself. How long did it take?

    Thanks.
     
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    The biggest issue in building a House in this country, is the Building and Zoning Codes, that your local .Gov will REQUIRE be adhered to and the Permits REQUIRED to Build it..... Up where I live there are NO Permits or Codes, but down in the FlatLands, that is the FIRST and Major Issue you will face. There are a few threads on here, that show some interesting buildings. One was about that size, made completely out of Old PALLET BOARDS. It isn't just the materials, that make up the shell of the building. It is all the stuff that goes into the Walls, before you close it up, like electrical, plumbing, Insulation, Comm wiring, and such. if you have a woman, there is a necessity for Hot & Cold running Water, and an In-Door Privy.... You might want to look at my Blog Thread, Alaska Wilderness Building for some ideas on how to get started... Yea, it is written for Alaska Wilderness, but you still have to deal with all the issues, expressed there, down in the FlatLands.... .....
     
  3. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    location, location, location.

    Techniques and requirements for your survivability depend on location.

    this is an interesting concept .. and you can build the shell of your home in less than a day.
    Safe T Home
     
  4. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    400 square feet is a very small house for a family. A typical modern hotel room with 2 queen beds is in the ballpark of 250-300 square feet including bath and closets. You probably will want as open of floor plan as possible to reduce footage being wasted on corridor space to get around and to keep it from feeling too tiny and closed in. Maybe even to the extreme of the only walls being for the bath and a few closets (may slow down the family size expanding :-( ) Ditto comment about checking building codes. The county I live in has very few code restrictions but the next county north has boat loads of requirements including a minimum of 1200 square feet for any new construction.

    Don't know the construction materials/methods you have in mind. Concrete with insulated forms is nice for a SHTF shelter but the cost of a pumper will be a little heavy for only 400 sq ft. If you go typical stick (2x4, 2x6) walls consider things that will drive the energy efficiency up. One is on top of the sheathing add a layer of 3/4 inch thick extruded polystyrene with 1x4s nailed flat around the framed window and door openings for a nailing surface. That 3/4 inch makes a big difference because it breaks all the thermal bridges created by the studs to the outside walls. It's like adding 2-3 inches of wall thickness and insulation. Window and door jams need to be 3/4 deeper than typical but Anderson and various firms have lots of thickness options for windows and doors.

    Good luck
    AT
     
  5. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    First. Where do you plan on building?
     
  6. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    VisuTrac likes this.
  7. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    were r u building it n for how many people
     
  8. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

  9. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    BTW, shipping container homes can beat a lot of code requirments. #1. That of "No used homes to be moved in." #2 Must be at least half walled of no burnable material. But be aware that you need a concrete pad and a lot of insulation. I'd do one of I did not live in what I already built.
     
  10. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+ Founding Member

  11. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Insulation of sprayed in foam is space efficent. I used it in the house and will on the Shop when I have more money saved.
     
  12. d42

    d42 Monkey

    This will be in Texas. I can't find anything to indicate there are building codes / permits there - it's in the country. It needs to be big enough for 2 adults and two small kids. I think I will do a loft big enough for two rooms. Then most of the main floor is for living/kitchen/bath. Indoor plumbing is a must. I do want to put a little extra effort into energy efficiency.
     
    HK_User and BTPost like this.
  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Face the roof to have southern exposure, and you could do well with solar panels.
     
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You need to go talk to the County Clerk, at the County Courthouse, to find out about Building and Zoning Codes.... The Clerk will know, and do NOT take anyones word for it.... Ask the Clerk..... ......
     
    Witch Doctor 01 and HK_User like this.
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Also check for covenants, "An agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something." I hear a lot off complaints about deed restrictions and codes. ME? I'm not likely to be neighborly to sombody who buys the place (anyplace, anytime) next to me and then start a FEED LOT OPERATION. And that folks is a real good reson to insure what you are buying and from whom. Each state varies and some covenants/deed restrictions have different renewel or time limits.

    CODES? Well codes are more flexiable than some suggest. In this I mean the codes are there for a reason and do have some adjustment factors if you know what you are doing, and that, for the most part, is to prevent you waking up in the run off from your neighbor's cess pool or worse, your place on fire because he used 14 gauge wire when he should have used 12 gauge and to boot he used a 30 amp breaker. Most areas will let the owner do the work themself if they learn and follow the code. Not a bad deal because this also makes the owner more aware even if they give up and have to have the work hired out. And remember, nothing is covered until the inspector signs off. Inspectors will, let you know if you have screwed up with out doing more than making you do it right, this is my experience. ME? I had the septic done, my way, that with 2 tanks and a y field line. All else I completed and you should have seen the amazement of the inspector when he found all the wiring sized correctly and in proper sized conduit with breakers loaded to only half the requiement. Mice are a real hazard and conduit slows them down a mite.

    It does matter what you know and how to do it. Learn the whys and leave the bitchin' to the angry uninformed.
     
  16. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

  17. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Would go with a used mobile home if only wanting 400 sq. ft. and tight on money--like we all are. Set it up and then build your home at your leisure. Like BT stated---check with your local building code enforcement people. Some are lax but some areas are very stringent and tightly enforced. Best to be on their good side and check first. Most areas still allow owner installs of wiring/plumbing/mech but with professional licensed inspections. Some with only inspectors approval. Find out first before beginning work--then get their name and date of conversation/plans so if they change their codes during the building time you have a "leg to stand on"--not that it will do much good--lol.
     
    kellory likes this.
  18. d42

    d42 Monkey

    A co-worker's friend is doing this.
    Build Your Own House | Indiegogo
    It could be interesting. I have Lamar's ebook on the 14x14ft cabin and I thought about building two of those together. This could be another option. Plus it's also in Texas, even though climate might be a bit different, it's close.

    I like the spray insulation, but when I've looked at the cost, it has been insane compared to standard pink stuff.

    The woman and I talked about a used mobile home. I've lived in a few when I was a kid and they are all over Texas. She is concerned about getting a used one with problems. And when momma ain't happy.... Would be super cheap and fast though.
     
  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    And temporary. Then resale, when you are done with it.
     
  20. d42

    d42 Monkey

    Have any of you bought and sold a mobile home? My concern with it was getting one and not being able to get rid of it. To be worth it, it would have to be cheap. The cheap ones are old and not in great shape. The few family members living on the land would not appreciate it, and probably wouldn't help any of the neighbors like us. It's in an area of older people where not much changes. I could probably get away with a year max before they decide I junked it up.
     
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