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Shelter/cabins/tempory and permanent

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by rsbhunter, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Well, lets see if there is enough interest in this to maybe start a seperate section on the forum....I am looking to build a 600sf cabin with loft...looking at some plans on a web site, but still have a millions ???? I will be building it on cement piers, with cement pads underneath those...curious about depth of footings, gravel depth, etc..... I know different locations/soil types have different requirements, but just the basics is a big help....As this is at 10,000 ft in Colo, i am planning on building a "double" wall that will allow me to have a foot thick insulation capability.....as heat will be harder to get than cooling.... But, just to get the ball rolling, any ideas or suggestions would be REALLY appreciated....rsbhunter
  2. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I did double wall on my house 25 years ago.....good way to go. Now I'd spray soy based foam in rather than fiberglass, but it wasn't around then ( at least locally ).

    Pier/post construction is a good way to go in the south, but in CO, at 10,000', I'd think you'll have to close in the foundation just from a standpoint of temperature, and by the time you do that, you might be money ahead to just pour a continuous foundation and have a full basement/fallout shelter.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    You really don't need a double wall, if you just build the exterior wall correctly for good insulation Properties..... What we do here in Alaska, is build our walls using 2X6 Top and Bottom Plates. Then we use Standard 2X4s on 12" Centers, but alternate them, from from Inside to outside edge of the Plates. this way there is NO Heat Transfer connections between in Inside and Outside sheeting, and then we weave the R25 Glass Insulation between the studs to fill the whole space. Makes an R30+ Wall. Any openings get set on two cutdown 2X3s with a 1/16" gap, between them, that is filled with Canned Foam. This keeps things Structurally sound, but keeps the Inside and Outside Walls Thermally Isolated. In extreme locations we then install a double paned window on the Outside of the Wall and a second, on the Inside Wall. With a Loft, you will then be insulating the underside of the roof Plywood. Again, here, we use the double 2X8 Rafter System, with Offset Rafters, usually again on 12" Centers, as we have significant Snow Loads to consider. Then we use the same R25 Glass woven in between the Rafters, just like the Walls. If it is an extreme location, then 1 1/2" PINK FOAM Board is put on the outside of the Roof Sheeting, and then sandwiched in between the sheeting, and the Steel Roofing with 2" Roofing Screws. Your biggest Heating Loss is ALWAYS thru the roofing. If your not building on a Concrete Pad, (rarely used in Alaska) then we usually insulate the underside of the Building Floor, with Pink Foam Board, in between the Joists, and the over-laid with R12 Glass Insulation stapled to the bottom of the Joists. It is better, and easier to do this BEFORE you put the Floor Sheeting down. Don't ask "Me" how I know this. What you end up with is a Totally Insulated structure, that takes very little to keep warm, no matter how cold it is outside. Oh yea, the Wood Stove used for heating, needs to have it's Firebox Air coming from the Crawlspace under the Flooring, rather than Room Air. this keeps the Outside Air from leaking in thru the walls, due to Negative Pressure created by the Stove pumping the Burning Gases, up the Stove Pipe. Makes the draft for the Stove work a lot better, as well. ..... YMMV....
  4. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    I can second what BTPost says about the stove needing outside air. You can gain almost 10% more effeciency by drawing outside air into the stove for combustion. It keeps the stove from having to suck air in from the inside of the structure (the negative air pressure) and effectively pulling it through the walls. So not only does the stove burn faster and hotter, but doesn't induce the cold air permieation through every crack and crevice. Some stove manufacturers have cold air kits to install for their equipment just for this.
    Cephus, rsbhunter and chelloveck like this.
  5. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Outside air !!!!!!!!!

    See, it's already been worth the price of admission to start this post!!! I honestly NEVER would have thought of the negative pressure situation....As far as a full fondation and basement, that is way above my pay grade(and pay check) My property is 12 miles from the closest town, and probably 41 miles from where i might have concrete delievered..i'm guessing i'd be looking at $10-20 thousand just for excavation work and forms and crew to pour...This is a poor mans cabin....but i appreciate your input, and IF i had the money, i'd sure like to do that. What are the thoughts of a plastic vapor barrier on the bottom of 2x12 floor joists, and then sprayed in foam? I know the kits can be bought, but i read that it is cheaper to have a company do it (spray insulation)...plus on the roof and walls, it makes a draft proof barrier (again, just what i read).Now, if i come across as ignorant, GUILTY!!!!! I did some plumbing for a living for a while,and watched alot of houses being built, even helped my brother in law build his 2 story house, from the foundation up...but there's alot of difference between helping and doing. I'm not daunted by the project, just want to do it right....i also like the offset stud idea with the 12" sills and top plates(hope thats the right words! Thanks, and PLEASE keep the ideas coming, i'm filing this stuff in my brain...rsbhunter
  6. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    energy nosebleed

    BTPost, REALLY good point about the wall studs not touching each other, read the book on cordwood/masonary housing (what i was going to build) and how important it is to have nothing that can conduct the cold outside air into the inner walls....Another point that anyone building in a cold, or ultra cold climate needs to pay attention to...Thanks for bringing that up...rsbhunter
  7. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Concrete block for a cabin is good. You can set your crawl space at any level and could concievebly have 2' of insulation before you hit her roof line.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  8. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    About those peirs

    In very cold areas, like say, the arctic, frost jacking is a very real issue.

    SO, your piers should go well below the frost line. Your local Ag agent should be able to tell you how deep that id.

    To prevent frost jacking, even on well done sonotubes, look at using a bigfoot system for prevention
    (Concrete construction tube footing forms save time, money on house repairs, decks, renovations & new builds) for the tube.

    You can do the tubes one at a time as money permits, sackcrete don't do well with outside storage, so a on-site shed might be your first bit of warm up construction. You can store wood in it later...
    Cephus, rsbhunter and BTPost like this.
  9. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+

    Big Foot

    These are the EXACT things i was hoping to have surface...everyone(almost) knows about sonotubes, but i had never heard about the bigfoots....that might be THE thing to use.....This is getting incredible with the info coming out....amd yes, a shed is a must have...thanks for the tip.....Thanks to all...rsbhunter
  10. trigger1961

    trigger1961 Monkey+

    we built an earthship, walls made of 235x75x15 tires, filled with dirt, stuccoed on inside, facing south, large windows, built into the side of bank and a slab on grade. back filled on all side with earth. An earth bermed home. Started in Taos, NM. By a hippy doctor. check it out. just search earthships. That is if you are interested in alternate building styles
  11. gejoat

    gejoat Monkey+

    2' overhang on roof to shade windows in summer. We live in WV so more and larger windows on the south side for winter sunlight, lower sun in the winter so the overhang doesn't block or shade the windows. Thermal heat, heavy curtains at night to help prevent heat loss as well as 2 or 3 glass windows.
  12. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Consider SIP panels

    Sometimes buying a product is less expensive than the purchase of separate bits and building it yourself.

    Structural insulating panels (SIPS) provide industry leading insulation values and tight joints yielding phenomenal savings throughout the lifetime of the structure. By adding high insulation value polyurethane closed cell foam and wrapping it in a foil vapor barrier we provide you with 4 ft by up to 12 ft modular insulating panels. A 2x4 wall provides and insulation value of R26 @ 50 degrees. A 2x6 wall provides and insulation value of R42 @ 50 degrees. A 2x8 wall provides and insulation value of R52 @ 50 degrees.

    You can find any number of kits or prepac SIP
    panels suitable for cabins or other structures. Cheaper than log cabin kits, better insulation that log s and usually tighter than you can build.

  13. Nadja

    Nadja RIP 3-11-2013 Forum Leader

    You are going to get a lot of ideas on this project from all different views and from all different parts of the country. You need to find out a few things from the county where you are going to build, and determine the depth of the footings. Remember, you walk on your feet, so , the most important thing to keep in mind is the feet of the cabin. If they are not deep enough or substantial enough, you will "limp" . Or, your cabin will pitch and yaw like a boat only in slow motion. In the case of your cabin, if even one of your footings is not really below the frost line, it could heave when winter gets going, raising it above the others and causing your cabin to kati whompas so to speak, blowing out windows and reandering doors useless. Your wife/girlfreind makes a cake in the oven and it comes out lopsided.,,,,,,,, Feet first and most important.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  14. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    I know that this is the important part, what everything else is based on...i'm not sure , but i hope that Alamosa, Co. has a rental place where i can rent a small back hoe, then i can"easily"dig the footers deep enough to go below frostline. If not, then it will have to be plan "B"...although i don't have a plan "B" yet....This is not going to be a large, fancy place, but my goal is of course sturdy, super weathertight, and insulated, and easy to heat in the winter months......i'm still thinking about BTPost's statement about the 2"x8" footers and sill plates with 2x4s offset ...would make for a 8" thick wall, without a major jump in lumber costs...but alot will depend on what the building code stipulates.....I meed to keep costs down as much as possible, paying for this out of mad money...and it ain't much!!!! Did order the solar modules today...so the project is becoming a little more real......plus that it is a 5 hour drive to get there, everything is planned as well as i can....What is everyones feelings about the spray in foam...im thinking 2" (2 $600.00 kits) and 6" fiberglass or cellouse.????? Anyway, thanks for the help and ideas...rsbhunter
  15. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    Finally got a pic of my land to use as an Avatar...also have pics in my photo album..Just in case it helps with suggestions....Thanks, rsbhunter
  16. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    If you elect to use "blanket" insulation between the floor joists staple cheap chicken wire to the bottom of the joists. That way if mice/snakes get in (they will) they will not cause the insulation to fallout. Be aware that if you trap moisture by turning the insulation the wrong way it will rot your home. Moisture barriers go to the inside. A bud built his home using the staggered 2X4 system and triple glazed windows. I use foam quite often instead of putty. Be careful if you use expanding foam--give it room or it will push things around. Keep us posted as your project goes along. We all would be very interested in your progress and building techniques.
    rsbhunter, chelloveck and BTPost like this.
  17. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    I will keep all informed as to progress...it will be slow, like a lot of folks, the money is only as i can save to do stuff...First of course is the piers on footings...The foam (from a little research) is supposed to be great....what i'm guessing is that it stops ALL drafts, and that is what makes it so great.....time will tell....rsbhunter
  18. rsbhunter

    rsbhunter Monkey+


    I have been looking into the building method of walls versus the insulative properties of each...from SIP's to 8" sill and top plate with offset studs, to double walls...alot of people (builders on web sites) believe that you are as well off building a reg 2x4 wall (on 16" ctr) with a hard back foam insulation board on the exterior(then siding) and then 3-1/2" of any of the popular insulations , foam, batting, celluose....Saying that the foam stops the nosebleed from the studs.....It would certainly be the cheapest way for me to go, but is that "the" way to go where it gets below zero alot of times, and wood heat is your heating choice? 2X6" or 2X8" a better option, even figuring on the increased cost? Thanks , rsbhunter
  19. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    One thing you might try if you have the time and inclination is to do a bit of research into arctic structures used in (say) Thule by the USAF. They went to extreme lengths to account for "heat shorts" in wall and floor construction for both relative economy of heating and to prevent disturbing the permafrost. I don't have any links handy, and it was 20 years ago I was there. There has been some new construction in the Antarctic that might be accessible.
    rsbhunter likes this.
  20. zeker

    zeker Monkey+

    your new place sounds just like mine is now. built on piers with bigfoot.. down 5 ft to be below frost. hasnt sagged or rose yet.. I,m in northern ontario canada and -40 is common. 2x6 walls with pink batts. floor insulated with batts and plywood covering underneath. no rodent probs. 12" ins in the ceiling.. roof is 4/12 pitch with aluminum sheeting. snug is us.

    rsbhunter and BTPost like this.
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