Roof and Floor Options

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JAK, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    New Brunswick
    I want to build a small cordwood cabin in a rustic setting. I have up to 8 cords of Eastern Cedar available just by thinning. There is also lots gravel and beach stones on site, and some clay, but very little soil. I don't mind bringing materials in for the roof to allow more materials for other parts, and so forth. It will be about a 20'x20' at most. I would be happy with just R20 roof and R12 walls as it will be a very small place used regularly but not continuosly. It will be overlooking a frozen river to the South, so there will be some solar gain in winter and ventilation in summer through three sets of french doors facing South. I would like to collect rainwater off the roof.

    What are some good roof and floor options for a rustic natural building that can withstand lots of variation in temperature and humidity?

    Climate norms:
  2. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

    Aug 23, 2005
    near Edmonton AB
    Around here the favourite for roofing is metal. (And your link shows you're a Canuck too ... cool!)

    Metal is fire resistant (wildfires are always a risk), the snow slides off it in the winter, and it lasts for nearly ever. Almost all the newer rural houses I see have it, and I have it on my place. Love it. It cracks and snaps when the sun goes down (and it cools off) but when it rains it's not loud or anything cause of the insulation under it. Also if you're going to collect the rainwater off the roof, metal is less likely to sprout moss and such, being smooth.

    As for flooring, if you are doing a slab-on-grade type of thing, you can just use the cement floors and be done with it. Area rugs to soften it up where you'll be working/living and voila, you're finished. :) There are some neat cement dyes you can get now that will make it a pretty colour, too ... and if you put in in-floor heating (depending on weather etc) it works very well with cement. My plumber / heat guy told me that there are coil type arrangements you can get to go under a woodstove that pre-heat the water that goes into the infloor heating .. so if you are doing a slab, running the tubes through it might be a smart idea even if you aren't ready to set up a whole heating system at that point in time. Just a thought.

    I think if the place isn't going to be continuously occupied I'd avoid wood on the floors ... maybe tile? If you're ok to mix and match, the local Habitat for Humanity Restore sells stuff here for very low prices ... just buy up a bunch of tile that all seems to "go together" and lay it down in a pattern that you like ... still not super cheap though. And after doing a bit of tile I've decided that personally, I hate installing it. Dunno why, I just do. Maybe you like it though, in which case, go for it! It's very durable and can be 'ignored' without trouble.

    If you have regular old subfloors (I would imagine that even if you were building up on skids you'd insulate under the floors ... gets too darn cold otherwise), you can just sand them down and paint them for a quick-and-dirty floor covering. Top coat with floor-quality-varathane and you'll be fine for a good while. For really quick, just try exterior deck paint. Some people even put wallpaper over the subfloor, then varathane over it ... I've heard that lasts quite awhile and hey, it's easy to change or do something else later on!

  3. Lynne

    Lynne Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I'll second the metal roof, with gutters and down spout to catch run off. Maybe with a concrete floor you can use the gravel and stones for added effect, dyed concrete looks nice and there is a top coat you can put on to make clean up easier, the name of it just won't come to mind right now. Maybe it is just concrete sealer?
  4. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 10, 2005
    NW Georgia
    A third on the metal roof. In a Northern climate, it might be best to go with a darker color to get some heat absorption during sunny Winter days...if you get any sun. My family has gone "totally metal" as we replace roofs or build new houses. We love them. Best wishes.
  5. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2004

    More expensive, but worth it.