How To Build A Tiny House | Part 2

Thinking about trying to build your own tiny house? Check out this full DIY project where I show you how a couple of us built our very own DIY tiny house!

Things I Used In This DIY Tiny House Project:

In my previous video I covered the building process of a Tiny House up to the point of applying house wrap. Check the description if you’d like to watch the first part and get caught up. In this video I’m picking up right where I left off. 

As I mentioned in the last video, we skinned two walls with siding before standing them up but didn’t skin the other two because we were worried about taking the chance of placing the siding without the walls next to each other, as these two pieces should mate up flush. So we started with attaching siding to these two bare sides. 

If you look at the foundation, you’ll notice that we attached some 2x material temporarily to give us a lip to set the siding on and make attaching it easier and quicker. Also, it’s worth noting that this siding is overhanging the foundation by about an inch and this is so when it rains the water will run off to the ground instead of having access to the bottom plate of the wall. 

We wrapped around to the front and repeated, by first placing the 2x material to the foundation then setting the material in place to be attached. However, you with building experience probably already caught our mistake…..see the windows need to be installed before the siding so that the window flanges are behind the siding. We knew this but simply got caught up working and moving, and forgot. Unfortunately that meant we had to take down the siding we just put up, pound the nails out, then set them aside. 

To install the window we first cut the house wrap. This is similar to the big double door in the previous video but on windows you cut in a capital I, slicing horizontal along the top and bottom then a vertical slice in the middle. You can wrap the side excess around and staple it to the inside of the window framing but then for the top you cut two diagonals from each corner to create a flap. I’ll show you why in just a few seconds. 

Next was to prep the windows. Anne salvaged these windows from somebody throwing them away so we first did a little bit of cleaning then placed a heavy line of Titebond Weather Master Ultimate Sealant along the left, top, and right flange. You want to have a continuous bead here but you want to leave the bottom clean so that if water does find a way in, it has a way to run out. 

We then placed a few wedges on the window sill then being careful not to get sealant all over our hands, we placed the window inside the opening and ontop of the wedges. 

On the inside, Anne centered the window in the frame, then on the outside I leveled it up. Once everything looked as it should, we attached it with a few nails through the flange then used tape to seal off first the left then the right side. Now you can see where that flap we created earlier comes into play, it’s folded down and over the top flange of the window then the tape is applied. This is so if any moisture does get behind the siding, it will be guided to stay on top of the window and house wrap instead of behind it.

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Alrighty, now that we corrected that, we once again applied the siding. We still used the temporary blocks on the foundation to make it easier, but this time we had to cut out for the windows before placing the sheets up. To do this we would grab some measurements, make the majority of the cut using a circular saw, then finish off the corners with a reciprocating saw. 

We would set it in place then tack it with a few nails then while I was finishing the nailing, Anne would be making the cut out for the next sheet. Getting into a system, this step goes quickly, you just want to make sure to pay attention to the tongue and groove orientation as you are making yours cuts so that the sheets line up properly to each other. It’s really easy to get things flipped so just a step you want to take the time to double check things on. 

Moving around to the front we repeated the steps for the house wrap and installing the window but once we got the window to a stage where one person could handle it, we took measurements for the cut outs so Anne could be working on the siding while I finished the window. 

Working in this manner is how we were able to complete so much in just a few short days. Where we would divide up tasks so that as one of us finished up something, the other would be starting/prepping the next thing.

Up next was starting on the roof, as you saw from the finished build the tiny house has a lean to style roof with just a single pitch. To create this, we started building what I know to be called a pony wall. Where we build up a small wall in the front that the rafters will rest on but the backs will rest against the double top plate. We built this pony wall using all the cut offs from framing the building, as all the pieces needed are short little guys. I not only cut the pieces to length but also cut the roof pitch angle on the tops.

Since the rafters will be placed 16 on center, these are also placed on 16 centers. Pulling a tape across the top plate in order to mark their location first, then attaching them with the nailer.

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Once making it to the end and getting all the cripples attached, we placed a single 2×4 across them all and attached it. This will create a solid resting place for the rafters in the next step.

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Next up was to cut all the rafters, which is made from 2×6 material. The backs of the rafters will have a birds mouth cut in so it sit down onto the top plate. This cut is made with a circular saw but then finished off with a reciprocating saw. 

The front of the rafters will have a seat cut but it is also made with a circular saw for the majority of the cuts then finished off with a recip saw.

Anne and I worked out the system where we first made one board to act as the template for the rest. After testing this template we used it to trace the cuts needed onto all the other rafters. We are working with limited space as we only have the door way to utilized as a workbench, so instead of flip flopping around to make all the cuts needed, I would make the long seat cut with my saw, pass the board to her and she make the opposing cut with her saw then finish it off with the recip saw. This allowed us to work quickly but not be in each others way. 

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Now to attach the rafters. To make things go quick we first marked off the 16” layout on the back top plate as well as that pony wall top plate. This way we could get a rafter in place and very quickly see where it needed to be aligned in the front and back then attach it with the nailer. 

You’ll see that instead of relying solely on the back birds mouth cut to line up these rafters, I’m pulling a measurement on each one from the front and using that measurement/mark to line up to the front top plate. I didn’t know if this was really needed, but I can tell you it worked like a champ as when we went to attach the sub facia, it was incredibly straight and in line.

Just a side note: By placing the rafters in line with these cripples, then also in line with the studs of the wall below, it just gives the whole structure a little more integrity.

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We repeated the process all the way down. Another system tip to work quickly is after I got my end stuck, I would pass the nailer to Anne, but while she was working on sticking her end I would be grabbing the next rafter and setting it in place. It’s little things like this that combine into a lot of time saved at the end 

Next up we added a few cripples to both of the side walls then starting attaching the sub facia. We were working with just a single ladder tall enough to get to the roof so we attached a temporary block so Anne could pass up the facia, have something to set it on, and something I could pivot it on, while I aligned it to the rafters and nailed it in place. You can see I’m using my speed square to line it up to the top of the rafters. Anne would push or pull it until it lined up. 

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We repeated the process along the back, and I don’t know if you can see it or not but we left an overhang on both the left and right side because up next we will be making the fly rafters. Which is what creates the roof overhang on the left and right of the building to match the front and back overhang. Anne would cut then pass all these pieces up to be attached. 

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And that my friends is the bones of the roof complete. Now we just need to deck it. 

Since it’s just the two of us, getting the full sheets of OSB up to the roof was a little bit of a challenge but Anne came up with a great way to make it happen. She first laid a sheet on the tractor bucket and attached two feet on either side. We strapped that down to the bucket and used it as a platform with a shelf for the rest of the boards to be loaded onto. We very quickly unloaded then loaded the sheets from the back of the truck.

Yes, we took the time to carve a path wide enough for a truck to get to the job site because we were tired of carrying everything back there. 

Now the bucket could be lifted as high as it could go then Anne just had to rotate one enough for me to grab it then pull it the rest of the way up to the roof. 

Being resourceful is just as good as being strong. 

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Anne isn’t a huge fan of roofs so I did the high work while she stayed on the ground to make all the cuts needed. I would recommend this system instead of making cuts up on the roof because the sawdust creates a very slick surface.

I started off at the back so I could create a walking surface as I worked towards the front. The first sheet was ripped down so that it landed center on a stud then the next sheet could be a full one. On the second row, we made sure to stagger the seams by one stud then continued on the same until the entire roof was decked. 

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With that complete, we then started laying down the roofing paper. We started at the back because when you lay down paper, you want to overlap it so that if waters finds a way in, it won’t be able to get to the decking. 

If you start at the front, the overlapping row will look like this and water running down hill will flow right into this seam. However if you start at the back, it will flow right over the seam.

The paper comes with printed lines on it to indicate where to place the overlap, so we laid down row after row. Using a slap stapler to attach it and pulling it tight so there weren’t any wrinkles in it.

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The last thing we were able to do on the roof, because we were waiting on the roofing material to be delivered was apply the drip edge. This is a quick step as you simply nail it on all four sides, using a pair of tin snips to cut the corners so it can wrap around it. 

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Like I said, we were waiting on the roofing material to show up, so we moved back down to the body of the building to finish it up. First we applied house wrap to the pony wall we built earlier. You can see we left a flap of house wrap on the lower walls, and we made sure to tuck this behind the new layer then staple it at the same time.

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Next we placed Z Flashing down on the lip of the siding before placing on any upper siding. This has a profile where a part will tuck behind the upper siding but then lip over the bottom siding, and this will guide water out and away from this seam instead of it being a potential spot where moisture could get in. 

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After taping the top part of the Z flashing, we filled in the rest of the pony wall with siding. 

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Alright at this point we only had a few more hours to go so the last thing we tackled was all the trim work. Well not all the trim work as we didn’t get to install the soffit so the top trim was left off, but everything else….the corners, the windows, and the bottom trim was cut and attached. And isn’t it funny how much of a difference trim makes on the entire look?

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The last thing we did was install the door. We held off on this as long as possible because the floor of the house was our main work area. After we threw the door in, we also did the little bit of trim work around that to call it complete!

The last thing we did was install the door…which turned into a mini project because apparently I modeled the size of the reclaimed door Anne had wrong. So the opening was about a foot too large. 

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It was a pretty awful feeling, but I will say that at least the hole framed was too big vs too small as too big is a much easier fix. We centered the door then filled in the sides with some extra 2x4s. It’s one beefy door frame. Then to get a really clean line to patch in a piece of siding, we set up a straight line fence and used a circular saw to rip a clean edge on both sides. This allowed us to almost seamlessly extend out the siding and cover up these 2x4s.

And honestly, even though it was embarrassing to make the mistake, it was a simple fix that can’t even be seen now that I’ve seen the building caulked and primed. I’m taking it as a lesson learned –  and I learned to measure twice and to not go into a project thinking you won’t make a mistake. Instead, go into a project with the attitude of any mistake can be worked through. Because it happens to everybody.

Stay tuned for the third part to this tiny house build. Until then, I hope y’all enjoyed this one, I hope you learned something, and I hope you’re building something of your own. See you soon.

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