Jump to content

Housewrap or felt on a movable house?


Recommended Posts

Hi folks!

I'm building a little house on a trailer bed so I can move it around on the highway. It's 8x18'. I hear a lot of conflicting advice about tar paper vs. Tyvek on the walls. I'm going to use cedar or pine board & batten siding with a 1/4" rainwall underneath.

What should I use?!

I need it to be durable, light, and able to withstand road vibration. I'm using wool insulation in the walls and will probably use a plastic vapor barrier on the inside, although if anyone has some other advice on that matter, I'd love to hear that too!

Thanks for your advice!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi folks!

I'm building a little house on a trailer bed so I can move it around on the highway. It's 8x18'. I hear a lot of conflicting advice about tar paper vs. Tyvek on the walls. I'm going to use cedar or pine board & batten siding with a 1/4" rainwall underneath.

What should I use?!

I need it to be durable, light, and able to withstand road vibration. I'm using wool insulation in the walls and will probably use a plastic vapor barrier on the inside, although if anyone has some other advice on that matter, I'd love to hear that too!

Thanks for your advice!

What's 1/4" rainwall? Are you talking about rainscreen construction?

Both of the products that you mention are durable and light. Neither will be affected by road vibration. Both work well enough. I've read your blog, so my advice would be to go with whichever one you can obtain more cheaply.

My impression is that you're buying *way* too much stuff new and at retail prices. Ramp up your scrounging skills. The search for cheap materials does not begin and end with Craig's List. Some advice:

First, make a list of materials that you are seeking. Then, get prices for these materials when obtained the conventional way so you'll know whether or not something is a good deal. Enlist your friends and family - not just first-level F&F either, cast a wide net. Distribute your list to them and ask them to keep an eye out for prospects.

Every day, you should check not only Craig's List, but also the more old-fashioned classified ads in your newspaper. When you go to look at a prospect, bring a suitable vehicle to carry away the goods and bring cash (small bills). Vendors don't like to store objects that you've bought from them, they don't trust checks, and they don't make change. The most important thing to remember with vendors is that they are more interested in getting rid of what they are selling than the money that they're asking for it.

The importance of haggling cannot be overstated. Particularly when dealing with Craig's List vendors, you must never offer the asking price (they will sneer at you behind your back). Become at ease with phrases such as "You're taking the food from the mouths of my children," or "Who do I look like, Rockefeller?" Find something, anything, that is unsatisfactory about the product and use it as a basis for offering a lower price. "Thirty dollars? That toilet is ok, but I don't think that avocado green is coming back. Tell you what, I'll give you ten bucks for it if you help me put it in my car right now." (Hold out a ten dollar bill.) Hint: try this the next time you're in Nordstrom.

Don't be afraid to sell out ethically or morally. The people who sell what you want will invariably be right-wing wackos. Smile and play along. Tell them that you are late to meet them because you were caught up while listening to Rush. Laugh at their Hillary jokes-- "Ho, ho, ho, you are soooo funny, Mr. Wacko. Its a pleasure to be doing business with a fellow Nazi."

Every lumber yard has a "bone yard." This is the place where the orphans go. Special orders that were wrong or never picked up, scratch & dents, discontinued items, etc. The yard managers are usually willing to negotiate on price. Specialty dealers have similar opportunities -roofing, plumbing, electrical, paint - they all have deals if you bother to ask. Make rounds to these stores regularly, bat your eyes at the manager, get to know him, and he may even hold things for you. Often, you find great deals on things that you don't really need. The obvious solution is to buy the great deal and then work it into your plans. (Enlarge the bathroom floor plan to accommodate that bidet that you just got a great deal on.)

Twice a year, in my home town, they have clean-up day. Residents can put anything out on their sidewalks to be collected & taken to the dump. This stuff is free for the taking. Just cruise up and down the streets & load up whatever you want. Doors & windows are common finds.

Commercial construction or renovation sites are great resources. Their dumpsters can be rich sources of reusable building materials. You would be amazed at that access that you will be granted for the price of a box of donuts. In fact, if you get to know the construction super (do the eye-batting thing again) and bring donuts regularly, he might even set stuff aside for you so that you don't actually have to climb into the dumpster.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For a trailer home, I'd not be using conventional stick frame construction techniques; it's bad engineering on every conceivable level.

Yes, you can scrounge the stuff you need to build, maybe even cheaply..........do it if you gotta, and expect the end result to be a be an extremely heavy mess to drag behind your vehicle.

I can imagine many different ways to do this, but am not going to extemporize unless you're interested. Cost basis is going to be entirely different, but still scrounge-able.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi folks!

I'm building a little house on a trailer bed so I can move it around on the highway. It's 8x18'. I hear a lot of conflicting advice about tar paper vs. Tyvek on the walls. I'm going to use cedar or pine board & batten siding with a 1/4" rainwall underneath.

What should I use?!

I need it to be durable, light, and able to withstand road vibration. I'm using wool insulation in the walls and will probably use a plastic vapor barrier on the inside, although if anyone has some other advice on that matter, I'd love to hear that too!

Thanks for your advice!

What's 1/4" rainwall? Are you talking about rainscreen construction?

Both of the products that you mention are durable and light. Neither will be affected by road vibration. Both work well enough. I've read your blog, so my advice would be to go with whichever one you can obtain more cheaply.

My impression is that you're buying *way* too much stuff new and at retail prices. Ramp up your scrounging skills. The search for cheap materials does not begin and end with Craig's List. Some advice:

First, make a list of materials that you are seeking. Then, get prices for these materials when obtained the conventional way so you'll know whether or not something is a good deal. Enlist your friends and family - not just first-level F&F either, cast a wide net. Distribute your list to them and ask them to keep an eye out for prospects.

Every day, you should check not only Craig's List, but also the more old-fashioned classified ads in your newspaper. When you go to look at a prospect, bring a suitable vehicle to carry away the goods and bring cash (small bills). Vendors don't like to store objects that you've bought from them, they don't trust checks, and they don't make change. The most important thing to remember with vendors is that they are more interested in getting rid of what they are selling than the money that they're asking for it.

The importance of haggling cannot be overstated. Particularly when dealing with Craig's List vendors, you must never offer the asking price (they will sneer at you behind your back). Become at ease with phrases such as "You're taking the food from the mouths of my children," or "Who do I look like, Rockefeller?" Find something, anything, that is unsatisfactory about the product and use it as a basis for offering a lower price. "Thirty dollars? That toilet is ok, but I don't think that avocado green is coming back. Tell you what, I'll give you ten bucks for it if you help me put it in my car right now." (Hold out a ten dollar bill.) Hint: try this the next time you're in Nordstrom.

Don't be afraid to sell out ethically or morally. The people who sell what you want will invariably be right-wing wackos. Smile and play along. Tell them that you are late to meet them because you were caught up while listening to Rush. Laugh at their Hillary jokes-- "Ho, ho, ho, you are soooo funny, Mr. Wacko. Its a pleasure to be doing business with a fellow Nazi."

Every lumber yard has a "bone yard." This is the place where the orphans go. Special orders that were wrong or never picked up, scratch & dents, discontinued items, etc. The yard managers are usually willing to negotiate on price. Specialty dealers have similar opportunities -roofing, plumbing, electrical, paint - they all have deals if you bother to ask. Make rounds to these stores regularly, bat your eyes at the manager, get to know him, and he may even hold things for you. Often, you find great deals on things that you don't really need. The obvious solution is to buy the great deal and then work it into your plans. (Enlarge the bathroom floor plan to accommodate that bidet that you just got a great deal on.)

Twice a year, in my home town, they have clean-up day. Residents can put anything out on their sidewalks to be collected & taken to the dump. This stuff is free for the taking. Just cruise up and down the streets & load up whatever you want. Doors & windows are common finds.

Commercial construction or renovation sites are great resources. Their dumpsters can be rich sources of reusable building materials. You would be amazed at that access that you will be granted for the price of a box of donuts. In fact, if you get to know the construction super (do the eye-batting thing again) and bring donuts regularly, he might even set stuff aside for you so that you don't actually have to climb into the dumpster.

Must be a helluva blog. . .

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you very much Jim. You had some good suggestions! It's true I am buying many things new, mostly due to time constraints.... I do scour Craigslist regularly, unfortunately its use in the PA area is quite a bit more limited than out west :( I might look into your other suggestions.... And yes, a rainscreen is what I meant.

Kurt, you might be interested to read the many articles that have been written about tiny stick-built movable houses... they're out of the norm, I know. But very livable, road-worthy, and beautiful. Check www.tumbleweedhouses.com

Jerry, the blog is http://casitabella.wordpress.com if you are so inclined.

Marc, your post was not helpful. But I thank you for reading!

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's going to be parked in a friend's yard most of the time, go ahead and build a mini-frame house. If it is going for extended road trips, buy a camper trailer or a camper van instead.

Housewrap such as Tyvek is expensive and comes only in a big roll. Builder's felt is cheaper and comes in smaller rolls.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Commercial construction or renovation sites are great resources. Their dumpsters can be rich sources of reusable building materials. You would be amazed at that access that you will be granted for the price of a box of donuts. In fact, if you get to know the construction super (do the eye-batting thing again) and bring donuts regularly, he might even set stuff aside for you so that you don't actually have to climb into the dumpster.

What gets tossed at the end of a commercial job is the biggest waste of money and new material you could ever imagine. It should be a crime.

My whole house is rocked in what was saved from being broken and tossed into a dumpster. Two buckets of Rapid coat and a bucket of old school mud, I gave away. Three gallons of a five gallon bucket of primer. I built all of my base cabinet carcasses, drawer boxes, and shelves, from left over 3/4" sheets of P-lam. My patio tables are slabs of marble I saved from a sledge hammer.

I was once offered half of a pallet of durabond that went to the dump and I am still pissed at me for leaving a stack of 5/8" rock behind for lack of a place to store it.

Check out the local Habitat for Humanity places too. Around here, they sell stuff that's been donated, to help pay the rent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The greatest advertisement for what I was attempting to convey (the idea of good design = appropriate technology) is the amount of stick built trailers out there, and all the new gen of hippies that think they've discovered something. Americans, in general, are oblivious to the idea of design, and often make the mistake of thinking good design equates to higher expense......not true.

This comes as a surprise to youngsters, but there was another generation (actually 2 or 3....or 5) that put together stick built trailers and hit the roads. I and all my friends did it, and we did it because there was a previous generation that did it. The only difference is now there's blogs and an internet to add momentum to a bad idea, and make it seem like a revolution.

You don't see the old one's anymore because the results (and humans memories) are frail; you might find some rotting somewhere in northern Michigan on a side road if you look hard.....returning to Earth and the circle goes round........

Go for it, there's no education like experience.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the 70's, they were 'truck houses'.

My wife of 33 yrs and I have camped on a variety of properties in a variety of trailers with additions. That is how we saved up for the first property. We'd get a house started and sell the trailer.

One trailer I bought had been fixed up for off-road use with a mobile home axle and springs. Bad idea. The springs were so stiff, it jarred the poor little walls loose from the floor. I eventually removed half the leaves and made a utility trailer out of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, we had a couple truck houses, stick built on old trailer beds. Had a couple rattle apart from stiff suspension. Another one pretty much blew apart from doing what we built it for....dragging it down highways. Also discovered what happens to a truck tranny not equipped with an oil cooler, or other towing package components. By the time you factor in cost of blown transmissions and lousy mileage, we coulda been living in moderate price motels.

And the mileage......ahhhh, yes.......how were we hippies supposed to know pulling an unnecessarily overweight portable home would cut mileage to about 5-7 mpg?

You're right. The best place for stick built is on dirt. For travel, come up with a better idea.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was only looking for the technical information on house wraps and vapor barriers that I initially listed. I thought this would be a good source of knowledgeable people wanting to share their technical experience of said materials. Apparently I was wrong!

This section of the forum is, after all, listed under "technical"; Not social opinions/critiques. I guess I will keep looking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was only looking for the technical information on house wraps and vapor barriers that I initially listed. I thought this would be a good source of knowledgeable people wanting to share their technical experience of said materials. Apparently I was wrong!

This section of the forum is, after all, listed under "technical"; Not social opinions/critiques. I guess I will keep looking.

Actually, it's a very good source of knowledgeable people who share their experience readily.

Kurt's comments are dead-on accurate and I fully agree with them. On the other hand, I appreciate that sometimes a person has to just follow her heart, even if it involves a certain amount of folly. That's why I think you should spend as little money as possible on this project. It'll be fun, you'll learn a lot, you'll have some good times with it but, in the end, you don't want it to cost more than the experience was worth.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...