what kind of shelter to build??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by OrganicGuy, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    I would love to hear from you all about what kind of ideas you could give me for building a small house. Eventually I would love to build an Earthship, not enough strength or cash right now. I do have a set of plans for a 10 x 16 micro cabin with sleeping loft. I would like to build something a little larger an better insulated. I have also been interested in underground homes but again have the back problem so it would have to be somewhat simple.
    Thanks
     
  2. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I have a good back, but don't think I could lift much anyway (#120 weakling). I'm really considering the cordwood, or stackwood, homes. I can handle a piece of firewood that is 16" long! Might take time, but it wouldn't be extremely strenuous.
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    a co. that builds for home depot is doing 2 story barn type sheds 16x16 2 nd story big enough for a bedroom 7000 dollors they look pretty nice was over watching them build one the other day
     
  4. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention Home Depot's shed kits. I always eye the big ones, and think that it wouldn't be difficult to finish off the inside as a home, use the loft for a bedroom, replace the big front door with a regular door or even a sliding glass door if you wanted to put a greenhouse on the front of it or just had an eyepopping view. They already have that counter option along the back that could be a one person kitchen with the greatest of ease!

    I haven't given this any thought though, lololol. The size I looked at had payments of $80/month. Very nice.

    hollym
     
  5. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    I have seen a few sheds and small barns at home depot. I havent seen the 7k one (not that I could afford that right now) I did see one in the 2200 range with a loft. I was under the assumption that alot of altering would have to go into the framing due to that its not 16"'s on center?? I dont know much about carpentery yet.
    The other issue is that they have to build on site and I'm 50 miles away from the nearest home depot and thats at the highway another 11 1/2 miles down what can be a muddy road with just a little rain.
    Thanks for the input.
     
  6. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    Do you have access to old copies of the Mother Earth News? They have all kinds of suggestions in them. I know that they have a website, but don't know if it lets you read old copies.

    Another idea from there, that I thought was cool: People had a camper, and built a shelter around it, so that they had a front room.

    But you are talking to the woman who lived in a TENT in Montana for a while, boy it was cold, lol. We did have a 15' camper for cooking and kid sheltering at night.

    Never thought of the 16" on center thing, what is it? Most insulation is in 24" widths isn't it? Been a while since I did any insulation. Or you could use the sheet kind and install it lengthwise.

    hollym
     
  7. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    I've also seen those pole barns that can be built on your property. Pretty reasonable. Maybe 30X40 for under $6K? You should be able to build a house INSIDE of one of those using maybe a corner of it? You'd have the rest of the building for storage, or whatever.

    The construction company puts the pole building up... you could finish it out yourself at your own speed. And camp in it in the meantime.
     
  8. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

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    I've had my eye on those sheds too. It would be easy to insulate, carpet, wire for 12vdc, plumb...
    The loft type can even have the front few feet partitioned off for a mud room/thermal barrier. Of course I'd have to add thermal glass.
    Karen & I have been looking at them as candidates while were excavating for out under-grounder.
    www.countrybarnconstruction.com has some nice ones, but delivery region is limited.
     
  9. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    I would love to be able to build this shelter myself with the help of someone when needed. I must thank you all for your input. I do have an early copy of Mother Earth News, will have to go hunting through some book boxes. I have been thinking of building a hut with used tires pounded with dirt and setting it half way into the ground for heating and cooling help.
    Have a great day
     
  10. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Have you seen Mike Oehler's book, The $50 and Up Underground House Book? I really like his ideas in there. And the other thing I really like is cob. I have a book on strawbale building that I loaned to one of our friends from church, and then our pastor and his wife were out, and talking about how they would like to sell their house in town and build a house about half-way between us and town, so I loaned them my book on building with cob! :p We'll see -- but our soils here are mostly clay (volcanic ash) and bake up hard as a rock, so with some added sand and straw should make good cob.

    Kathleen
     
  11. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

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    I LOVE cob houses! I have Becky Bee's book, and a fantasy cottage on my desktop.

    Organic Guy, I have an old book that is called 'Your Cabin in the Woods' that shows two things that might interest you. One is the two man cabin, which is actually an A-frame design framed with 2X4's. Looks very cheap and easy to build and maybe not so hard on your back? The other is a method of log building where he tacks together a 2X8, and a 2X6 in an ell and then places it on the corner of his dwelling so that you nail through the lumber into the logs to hold them in place instead of notching?

    Don't know about this idea, but what about a modified pit greenhouse idea for a house. You could use the tires for the walls and then pitch an A frame on top? Another idea I saw in MEN one time was people that dug a pit, with a bench all around it and then did a wickiup on top made of poles, old blankets and thatch. Now you might not want to go THAT rough, but the photos of the inside actually looked pretty comfortable.

    I think I've read that book about the $50/up underground house, too, doesn't he dig and then use poles with tar paper and plastic??

    hollym
     
  12. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    the big ones are 16 on centre and insulation is made for that
     
  13. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Building is easy, and a whole bunch cheaper than paying someone else to do it. that said , Have hammer will travel!!!! but i aint cheap labor either.

    Ive built small cabins before already and my brother in law built those little 8x8's for a chain store, got $75 for building each one, did it in a day, they got $500 for them... and made a pile of loot selling them.

    A person can build using 4x4 posts on 4 foot centers, and add cripples at 24 inches for stapling up 24 inch insulation, or 2 cripples at 16 inches it just costs more is all. A person using 4 foot centers can insulate with foam and add the foil with bubble wrap sandwiched in between for reflectivity both ways.

    lofts are nice when you are young and able, but as a person gets older or injured in some way, lofts are harder to access, so think about that when designing your ultimate end place.

    If you are bent on having a loft, then look into having a gambrel roof instead of a gable, which will give you more usable space up top. Harder to build, but worth the end result.

    A person can screw together the whole house since it is small, and that way be able to take out a wall [if planned] and extend the building as money permits, and local taxing officials allow. I would look into using 4x9 shop grade t-111 siding, which allows you to have a slightly taller coverage on your exterior wall, and the cost isnt as bad per sheet as one would think. doing so I would also go with a 4 foot plan instead of a 5 foot plan, ie - 12x 16, 16x 20, instead of 10x16.

    Have ya thought of building a chicken coop to live in for awhile, say 12x20 with a shed type roof, 4x4 posts on 4 foot centers, or 4x6 posts for a 6 inch wall if you need added insulation, the chickens in the future will appreciate the fact you built a better housing unit for them..... or you can use it as a storage building, build your own door and make it 4 foot to make getting things in and out easier too.

    For a foundation, i would use a pier block system, or if dollars are avaialbe pour a slab under the entire build, then add a wood plank floor on top. Pier block offers the advantage of leveling the building floor on a slope without digging with a backhoe or crawler..... ok your back might not handle diiging post holes to set 6x6's in, maybe you can get a relative or friend to help out some weekend.

    Shoot with a few friends, a handsaw, level, power drill and a couple boxes of zinc plated screws, and a keg of beer for afterwards a person could have a shed roof dryed in in a day just about!!!! if the keg wasnt tapped until AFTER the building was done. ok it might ake someone who acrtually knows how to use a handsaw to direct the party.... but you get my drift?

    Like i said, building is the easy part, deciding what to build is the hardest part of starting.

    William
     
  14. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Pounding tires is hard, backbreaking work. I knew someone who started building an earthship pounding tires but finished up using Mike Ohler's method. He never did get around to plastering the tires, but the other part looked great.

    In one of the earthship books (number 3, I think) they show how to build a temporary dwelling. It is half underground and they used strawbales for the above ground part. I think with a little modification it would make a very comfortable home. They claim 5 people in 5 days can build one.
     
  15. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    William thanks for the in-depth info, Kathleen I do have his 50 and up underground book and like it alot, hollym I will have to check into the 'Your Cabin in the Woods' except I will be in the high desert and keep reading how out of place a cabin is that's not near the woods? mtman thanks for the info.
    Thanks to everyone else I have forgotten about. Has anyone looked into Earthships? That is my ultimate goal but seems like it will take a few years. I know with time I will be on track and pointed in the right direction.
    Thanks new friends
    Jason
     
  16. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    Cyngbaeld
    I agree pounding tires is probably more than I can handle right now. There is a "HUT" kinda a one room cabin that you are supossed to be able to build in a week. You are also supossed to be able to expand and make it a full sized Earthship later. I also bought a set of plans from Kevin Meek http://home.pacbell.net/kevnmeek/cabin/ for a small 160 sq. foot micro cabin, kinda looks like a shed. I figured I'd modify it with a so. facing greenhouse and a water catchment sytem w/cistern?? Just depends if I can find a couple of helping hands. Trying to convince my younger brother to come out and help me. I'm supossed to be able to build it for 2K?
    Take care all
     
  17. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago, I built a 20x30 shop, with a 10 ft drop shed on one side. Concrete slab, 2x4 16" oc, 2x4 trusses, 5/8 OSB roof sheathing with 30lb felt and 20 year shingles on a 5 on 12 roof. Two 3x5 windows, one 16' rool-up, and one 36" metal door. 5/8" T-111 outside sheathing. SquareD service, and romex wiring.

    I cut my own logs, and had them sawed, and pounded all the nails myself thereby lowering the cost.

    Cost = $3200.

    Plan ahead, and you can always build something small, and add on later. While I don't think you'll get away quite that cheap, with some ingenuity, and patience, I think you can achieve more than you think.
     
  18. luckypabst

    luckypabst Active Member

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    OrganicGuy,

    What part of CA are you in? I know a fellow out in Owens Valley that's been using shipping containers and has been messing with a small sandbag hut.

    I've been leaning toward trying something similar to you so I'd be most interested in hearing more.

    Chris
     
  19. OrganicGuy

    OrganicGuy Active Member

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    right now I'm 30 miles east of Mojave Ca. My 80 Acres in near St. Johns Arizona. It's all unimproved other than an old trailer and and a Andy Gump style outhouse. Also a cord of cedar, hopefully most of it will still be there when I return in a couple of weeks. Luckily the soon to be X is letting me stay in the guest house for now?
    Somewhere on the net I saw a hut made out of white sandbags, kinda interesting. For now I have to stay under 200 sq. ' so I dont have to pull permits.
    Once again thanks for being here you all are starting to feel like friends and family and I sure could use that. I also want to be there for others.
    Have a great night and God Bless
     
  20. luckypabst

    luckypabst Active Member

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    Cool, you're not terribly far from the guy I'm talking about. If you ever head North on 395, just as you're getting in to Olancha, look to your left and you'll see his little spot mostly occupied by containers and whatever other project he's currently tinkering with.

    I first ran across the sandbag buildings on the web, designed by a fellow down in Hesperia. Worth looking into his work if you ever get down that way. SUPERADOBE!!!

    Adobe might be worth examining too assuming your soil is right. Geodesics interest me but I'd rather stick to using native materials wherever I end up.

    Chris