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I can either afford land or house, but not both. We are going to have to build ourselves (40 old mom, 16 and 13 yr. old daughters). We built a chicken coop that turned out well, but that the extent of our building skills. How had is a corwood house to built. I'd like a living roof. We need to get something up fast as winter is approaching. I'm looking at land on Friday and if I like it, I'm buying it. I'll have about 5K to work with and unlimited access to free cut wood.
 

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I fear that winter is too close for an inexperienced builder to be successfull. Please do not attempt this until spring, use the time between to get to know about plumbing, electrical systems, window and door installations, all the things needed for a satisfactory place to live. The big box stores give classes that cover these things for free; can you cut a rafter's angle right now? Ever hung a door? Can you split a 110 from a 220 circuit? How do you level four cornors with a line level?

I am not trying to wet down your desires for a home, I am trying to make you aware of what you need to gain in the knowledge areas before proceding. Back in my building days 5K could be wiped away in one shopping trip for materials, that was 30 years back and I was building conventionally then. Get ALL your materials lined up before proceding with this project.
 

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Lady Rider
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Sancraft,

If you get the land can you look around and see if someone will let you make payments on an older RV or mobile home?

I just worry that it is late in the year to be attempting to get 4 walls and a roof up by yourselves, nevermind plumbing, electric, etc.

But, if you could get the 4 walls and a roof up and do without the other for right now, maybe build it as only one or two rooms and do electric and plumbing after you have the basic building up. Use a woodheater, lanterns, etc.

If you are determined to try this here is some info from the book "Mortgage Free! Radical strategies for Home Ownership" by Rob Roy. (you might want to see if your library has this book, he is the cordwood guy) In this book he recommends his earlier book "Complete book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding".

-Pour a foundation (it can just be a ring for the walls the width of the wood you are going to use) on a pad of percolating material, such as coarse sand or gravel.
-Cordwood walls should be a minimum of 16 inches thick in northern climates. He doesn't say what they should be in GA.
-He said that someone advised him to use plenty of lime in the mortar.
-He uses a heavy timber support structure.

This book doesn't give as much info as the other book but, I don't have the other book in my personal library.

I do think that it will be hard. I don't think it will be impossible. I wonder who from this board could go help you for a weekend? I wish that I could.
 

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Yikes! I hate to say anything to discourage you at all . . . I mean, if anyone can do it, I'm guessing it's you.

Still, I have to agree that it's rather late in the year for an inexperienced builder to start building a home, even a very, very small one. I like the idea of spending the winter learning and getting prepared.

Even if you had everything delivered to you from, say, Home Depot, it'd take a fair amount of time to do it without experience. Add to that the fact that you'll be providing your own materials, presumably by cutting down wood, and I think you'll need more time. Waiting through the winter gives you time to scrounge for good deals on items you can't easily provide off the land, like windows and plumbing. It also gives you time to learn what you need to and plan a course of action.

I like the idea of an RV over the winter. If you could find one cheap, that would be great. You wouldn't need much, just something to serve as a roof over your head. http://www.rvtraderonline.com/adsearch.html You can search by type of vehicle, cost and location. I found some really cheap, like $1,200. :)
 

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Look at countryplans.com. They have very simple, do it yourself plans for cabins/cottages 10 x 14 and up. They also have a fairly easy foundation plan. Some people use these plans to build temporary housing while building/planning/ saving for a larger house. I think I read that Cabin Fever did something similar - small cabin w/ few amenities while his larger cabin was being built. Maybe he has some good advice.

Good Luck!
Christine
 

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Big Front Porch advocate
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Sancraft -

I see wooden cabin style storage/garage type buildings for a rent to own, no credit check..... around here. And saw them in other states in my recent travels.
Could one or two of these larger ones be utilized?

Just trying to think sideways.

Also, what about a older, still functional mobile home? One of the repo's or someone in the newspaper needing to move?

AngieM2
 

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Dreams said
If you get the land can you look around and see if someone will let you make payments on an older RV or mobile home?
I think this could be your best strategy. While you may be able to carry off your plan, consider what would happen if something goes wrong. You have children to think about. A cheap trailer would protect you and yours and give you a cushion of time in case your plan isn't feasible. It would also buy you time to learn about your chosen path.
 

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Doggone it, Sancraft. I see you are in Georgia. I wish you were closer, 'cause I'd be able to help you build something. I can't lift real heavy stuff, but, I can still drive a nail. so, I'll pray that someone nearby makes your acquaintance, and offers to give you some much needed muscle power and supplies. Don't give up, girl.......Margo
 

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Remember that you will need sewer and water hookup, and they are not cheap. Neither are well and septic. And, there are building codes to deal with in most counties.

I am not saying this to discourage you, I am merely pointing out another problem for you to solve. As if you did not have enough.
 

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In Most counties a person can build a "lawn shed" generally 10x12 max without any permits or inspections, nothing more than a sharecroppers shack of more than a century ago, and probably not much harder to build than the chicken coop you already attempted.

Building small is easy, everything is similar to larger buildings but easier to handle.

Get to one of the local churches and see if anyone there can help lend a weekend or two to get it up and done.

Dont let anyone discourage you, shelter first, heat next, then water.... one step at a time..... as unsanitary as it sounds I personally know several people who use kitchen garbage bags and a 5 gallon plastic bucket for human waste, just double bag it and haul it to the dumpsters. [dont know if you have dumpsters in your area]

Electric is nice, but a kerosene lantern will get you by for awhile, and while the cheap ones dont work as wel sometimes they are still around $20 plus oil, just watch that they dont get tipped over.

2 of the garden sheds close together can be kinda joined if a permiting problem exists in your county, sleep in one cook in the other. If you have the material build one double high and sleep in the loft but provide for a fire escape.

Again you can get it done, shoot you still at least 30 days to cold weather, maybe more..... and being in the south you might only have to deal with water not snow!.....

May Almighty God Bless you and yours and guide your hands while building.

William
 

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The garden sheds are a good idea. You'll need them anyway for storage, tools, etc, later. You won't have to heat the cooking shed or maybe just use a small heater for the time you are cooking. Whatever you use to heat the sleeping shed, make sure it is vented. A small generator will come in handy for building and could provide electric blankets, lights and a small heater to warm up the sleeping shed in the mornings and electric coffee pot and skillet to make meal prep easier (keep the generator outside so the noise and fumes don't get to you).

Get a camping potty from Walmart (the kind with a removable section that can be emptied elsewhere: you can dig holes and empty it every few days or so). This also comes in handy when there are power outages later. It works best if you don't put the toilet tissue in it, so put the soiled tissue in a garbage bag and dispose of it separately or better yet, start a worm bin with your soiled tissue. They will keep the odor out and provide compost quickly for you.

Also window shop at Walmart, outdoor and camping or Army/Navy stores for cooking and survival items to help make life more comfortable until you build the house. We now use all that stuff for camping and power outages and actually have fond memories of our pioneer life during the years it took to build the house.

Do a search on the archives for solar showers and bathing ideas.

Wait until spring to start the building. Use the winter to familiarize yourself with the lay of your land, where the sun hits and for how long each day, where the rain drains down to and which direction the prevailing breeze is from so you can face your house in the right direction and put your gardens where they will do best. By spring you will have more of a natural feel for the land and can work with it instead of against it. Good luck and keep a journal and keep us posted!
 

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panelconcepts.com

If you need something quickly and don't have time to build, for about $3500.00 you could get a 12X12. You'd still need H2O and an outhouse but you could live w/o electricity and a wood cookstove would work to heat and cook.
 

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MacCurmudgeon
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Building a house is not rocket science but it does take a degree of basic knowledge. As some have mentioned: buy a trailer house, get situated, and then start building as you learn the needed skills.

Later you can re-sell the trailer house.

In most states one can plumb and wire their own home without a license. These can be difficult skills to acquire. Make some friends who can do this type work and trade out labor for labor. The inspectors don't need to know any more than you tell them. People do this all of the time and the inspectors know it, most of them are just people like the rest of us.
 

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Sandra
look at this....

http://conestogas.com/legend.htm

then look at the $0 down and small monthly payments.
Also, further down on the site is on finished as a house. Also, they finance...
and if you own the land, they (and Jim Walters) would finance house for you most likely.

AngieM2
 

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Consider a garage size building made of dry stacked (no mortar) concrete block held together with surface bonding cement (comes in white or gray, but can be colored with concrete dye so it isnt quite so bright and shiney). Quickcrete sells it (available at Lowes, Home Depot, etc)and back few decades they spent bunch time and effort making it acceptable under most building codes. Nothing faster or easier for novice. After dry stacking your concrete block (get everything straight and level), you just skim a thin coat of surface bonding cement on BOTH sides of the wall and you are throuh. You do need to mortar the first course of block to the footings, but as long as you have a level, this isnt rocket science. You dont hear much about it cause professionals dont use it, its a doityourself product. You will still have to build a roof. I've built roof out of green poles (bark even left on) with cheap used corragated sheet steel roofing. Not necessarily pretty but it works if you cant afford dimensional lumber.
 

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Those Conestoga sheds look like a great deal and I would also look into having a two car garage built for you. I bet you could get a 24x24 shell garage built for less than 5 k on a slab. You can then put up interior partitions on your own to make bedrooms and a big living space. You could heat the whole thing with a wood stove. You might have to haul water and use an outhouse or composting toilet for a while but at least you would be warm and cozy. it is late in the year to be building but you could easily build a simple pole structure in a month even if you arent a skilled carpenter. A long narrow shed roof doesnt require any fancy rafter cuts and can give you a bunch of space. It might not be real pretty or fancy but it will be useful space for the future. Send me a PM and I will send you some simple little plans that could be built for less than 5k in a months time. Good luck sancraft. I hope you can get the land. :)
 

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hermit john is correct. This was developed by the federal goverment for low income housing. No building dept would dare turn it down. It's very fast and very cheap.If you need specs it will be supplied by the company making the bonding cement.
 

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The surface bonded concrete block is a good way to go -- it's a strong method of construction, and can be insulated later.

Water can be hauled for now, add plumbing later.

Heat with a wood stove (and cook on it), add electricity later.

Use a sawdust toilet (do web search for complete instructions) and a compost pile for waste disposal.

Kerosene lamps for lighting -- better buy kerosene quick, though, as the price is going up.

Build small, VERY small. Whole families have lived for years in a single ten by twelve room. You can add on later, or use the original house for a chicken house later after you've had time to build a larger house. Build triple bunks for yourself and the girls, with space underneath for boxes for clothes. Cover the walls with shelves for storage. All you really need in the house is the stove, beds, a table and a bench to sit on, and a sink to wash dishes, hair, and clothes. Run the drain outside away from the house, so you don't have to dip the waste water out. In Georgia your winters shouldn't get very cold, so you don't need a huge stove (especially not in a tiny house).

Floor can be packed and sealed earth. Looks nice and is fairly durable.

Windows can usually be found cheap or free. Doors ditto. If you add a big porch you'll have outdoor living space when the weather allows -- and a sleeping porch for next summer.

Have fun. Winter is coming, but in Georgia I would imagine you still have a couple of months where it will be warm enough to build.

Kathleen in Oregon
 
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