Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Low cost all plywood tinyhouse?

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I was just thinking, a house made from all plywood might be relatively cheap and have good utility. All surfaces could be just sanded and lacquered/varnished/painted for appearance durability and waterproofing. Seems like it would be relatively easy and fast to build.

If you later want siding or hardwood flooring or fancy roofing you can just slap that on top afterward when it suits you.

Basically have 2 boxes, an inner box and outer box, made from 1/2 inch plywood, and reinforced with 2 by 4s (possibly diagonally, the thickness of the 2x 4s has to be accounted for so the boxes can fit one inside the other without the walls being too thick, although the bigger the wall gap is the better with regards to soundproofing). All fasteners could be self tapping screws (I wonder if you can get screw guns, like a nail gun but for screws).

Not all the 2x4s have to be on the same side of the box, some inside and some outside if that is helpful, although putting them outside the outer box would maybe not make sense because of the 8.5 foot maximum width it can legally have, putting a 2×4 on the outer side wall would be a poor use of width.

The boxes do not touch each other, they stand by themselves. The outer box withstands the wind loads and the snow loads, provides insulation and one layer of soundproofing. The inner box needs to stand the load of the weigh of stuff in the loft and they both need to be able to handle the G forces (and vibration) involved with highway transport.

The roof of the outer box is just plywood, and when I say box it can be whatever shape of box, not necessarily a flat top roof. The seams between the plywood could be covered with strips of 1/4 inch ply or something and caulked. Then add some roofing membrane underneath for redundancy. Under the roof there should be some space for air to circulate in case any water ever does get in, and then also the ventilation system made to circulate a very small amount of air in there, because it would be pretty much sealed otherwise, as it must be for soundproofing reasons.

Separating it from the trailer and then rent a trailer to attach it to when you needed to move it could be used to reduce costs.

The inner box rests on top of vibration isolation mounts for soundproofing, as mentioned in the post “lighter soundproofing”. There would be outer windows of double glazed units in the outer box and inner windows of single pane glass in the inner box. Seems like the right configuration to deal with the potential for condensation.

Build the floor of the outer box, which has most of the joists, then put the insulation and vapor barrier over it, and add the vibration isolation mounts as mentioned in “lighter soundproofing”. Build the inner box on top of it, including the interior loft, which has no floor joists but is just sheet 3/4 inch plywood.

I have some 3/4 inch ply right here and it seems like it is more than sturdy enough, I really don’t think you need joists if it is only 7′ 11″ or so wide. That adds some free ceiling height because the floor of the loft is thinner, too.

You might want to caulk the seams. Then add the electrical and plumbing stuff. Then add the rest of the insulation and vapor barrier.

Then build the outer box around it. Add windows. Stir. Wait no, no. Concentrate now.

Add interior and doors. The door(s) can be a single sheet of plywood, and you have one inner door in the inner box, then one outer door. Lacquered and with weatherstripping that would be a good way for the soundproofing. A single door is an issue because it causes “bridging”, providing a path for vibration to be conducted from the outer box into the inner box.

Then add counters, cabinets, shelves etc. Cabinet doors, counter tops and stuff could all be plywood.

Then stain and lacquer everything with the right lacquer/finishing stuff, different for the counters, outer walls, floors etc. Then the final fixtures like sink, toilet, lights etc.

It wouldn’t be super pretty, but you’d get the wood grain of the plywood and stuff maybe stain it different colors or something /general distain for cosmetics…

Except that I don’t think the cosmetics are optional if you are in the city because that is largely what people actually make their decisions to like it or not based on, and as a result heavily influences the amount/lack of griping and moaning they will do and therefore the practicality of the tinyhouse in the face of legal or political issues.

Yes they have their priorities backwards, but if it’s true it needs to be worked with, and that is probably a fatal flaw with this at this stage, but the basic idea might be useful as part of a complete design. Unfortunately adding cosmetic crap would really up the cost…

I figure the parts cost sans cosmetics would be roughly something less than $6000 excluding the trailer( of course this is very rough):

Assume it is 20 feet long, 12 high by 8.5 wide

3 long by 3 high = 9 , the other side the same, the front and back 2 by 3 for the front and back, 2 by 3 for the floor and roof, 84 total. each
cabinets and interior walls and stairs/ladder and counters another 6, 1/2 inch @ $ 17 $1530
loft takes 6, 3/4 inch @ $21 each $126

some 2x 4s 50 2x 4s , $120
isolation mounts, $300
windows $140 each 7 of them $980 (hoi)
plus fittings for electricity and water $1000 ?
insulation $300
vapor barrier $100
Ventilation silencer and fan $250
Roofing stuff $50
roofing membrane $150
Polyurethane or better low voc stuff $200 (1 quart covers 125 sq foot and is $11 for polyurethane varnish)
The door(s) are plywood
fasteners, self tapping screws $200

total: $5306.

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Written by gregor

March 31, 2011 at 05:23

Posted in Uncategorized

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