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Old 03-06-2010, 04:32 AM
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I'm planning to build a cabin this year, and the idea I am going to use is borrowed from a very large shed sold at the local Lowes home improvement store. The one they have has the barn-style roof so the full-sized loft is quite roomy. I'll be using that same design, just enlarged a tad bit more.

The first idea I had was the floor. I've been told that the sprayed-on foam insulation is superior to standard insulation- don't know, I've never used it, but if it is...

I thought about laying out the floor framing on the ground and decking it with treated plywood. Then- FLIP IT OVER to where the treated plywood is on the bottom. At this point, run the drain plumbing, then spray the cavities full of foam insulation (or whatever it's called). Then, deck it as usual.

Next idea I had was the walls. I think I seen the idea somewhere on this site- double studded walls for twice the insulation. Now, if I do it like this and stagger the studs like the post described, could I get away with 2 foot on center studs, especially since the interior walls will be wood rather than drywall (thinking knotty pine)? Seems that this would be more than strong enough for supporting the second floor and roof, since the double and staggered wall studs will actually have a stud every foot.

And finally, the last idea I had was for the loft floor- instead of typical plywood or OSB decking, I was thinking maybe non-tongue & groove planking, with maybe an 1/8 or so gap between each plank. The thinking here is heat rises, and I just want to heat with the wood stove. Do you think this idea will make the loft too hot? Would the open stairwell be enough to heat the loft instead.

The footprint of this cabin will be 16x32, and the stairwell will be at one end.
Old 03-06-2010, 05:45 AM
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Im a carpenter by trade [trim and stairs now] but framed for years. I wouldnt go 2 ft on center for anything unless you use trusses for the roof. 16 inches o.c for floor joists, studs and rafters. As far as the floor insulation goes Id go with a 1/2 inch thick thermo ply [4x8 sheets] and deck over that with 3/4 CDX plywood [TnG] with an eighth inch gap between for expansion. As far as the walls go, I would use 1x6's for studs vs. double 2x4's, and would use 1x10's for floor joists and at least 1x8's for ceiling joists for the load of the 2nd floor. You could draw up the specs and have someone at the courthouse where you pull the permit ok the size and spacings of the conventional framing members beforehand. When a board spans a longer distance it has to be wider in most cases so copying the shed/barns lumber wont pass inspection. To save alot of bottom floor space you could use a pulldown stair like whats in many garages. Warm air rises and should keep the top warmer.
Old 03-06-2010, 06:36 AM
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First: Don't use 1x"anything" for either studs or joists. Thats a DANGEROUS idea. They simply aren't strong enough for adult construction with furnishings larger than a doll-house. The framing alone would be too weak to stand up here for sheathing!
Second: Trapping moisture between floor layers, without adequate ventilation/evaporation is a really BAD & potentially expensive idea.
Third: Go to Lowes/Home Depot/Southerlands and have their 'qualified' people print out a parts summary for one of their kits. Cutting corners on construction isn't cool. Not if you ever intend to live there or trust your familys safety & comfort to it. They have many construction flyers that can be picked up for free.

I'm certain stairmans entry was a typo.
Old 03-06-2010, 06:41 AM
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Yes it was, coffee wasent ready yet To overbuild is usually best, and tie downs will be needed as well.
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:41 AM
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i did the prefab cabin thing myself, it was cheaper to buy it premade than it was to build it. I did all the inside stuff myself. Here is a link to my blog with all the build pics so far http://shadow61.wordpress.com/ .
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:51 AM
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you do not want to set it on the ground. even if the treaded plywood were to last dirt would build up around the sides and start to rot everything. plus the treated will not last near as long as they claim. you do need to get it high enough off the ground so critters will not hide under it and start to eat the wiring and plumbing. you will want to make it as maintance free as possable, i like metel for the roof and you might even consider using it for the sides too.
Old 03-06-2010, 01:42 PM
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I wasn't going to set it right on the ground (left that part out for some reason). I was going to attach 4x6 runners under it, like most sheds do, and sit the whole thing on poured concrete piers that go below the frost line. I was also planning to incorporate a tie down system similar to what they use in the mobile home industry. My goal is to keep it "shed-like" ie- not a permanent structure.

Stairman, the entire second floor/roof/etc is to be a prefab truss- it's a barn style truss with the room already framed into it. It would go up much quicker than framing the loft floor, then the roof, then the room walls. The reason I was asking about the 2 foot on center is because the shed I'm modeling this after has 2 foot oc walls and loft trusses. I guess I was just going by the idea that if it were my SHED, I'd have a lot more weight piled into the loft than what I would if it were my HOME. So you think 2x6 walls 16" oc would be a better idea than the 2 2x4 walls at 2' oc? I was just considering it for max insulation value.

Ulf, there would still be moisture there with the sprayed in foam? If that's the case, I CERTAINLY don't want that! I was just trying to come up with a good floor insulation system that didn't let bugs in.
Old 03-07-2010, 12:05 AM
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Here is the shed I am modeling my cabin after...



The only real changes I'll be making is doing away with the double door on the end, and adding an extra 8 feet in width (along the porch side).

I'm not really understanding the moisture concern in the floor, Ulf. I plan for it to be sitting on the runners, like in the pic. If there is decking on both sides of the floor joists with the void between the joists filled with the spray foam, where is the moisture going to come from?

I'm not doubting you or being argumentative, I'm just trying to learn why this won't work, or why it's a bad idea. I'm pretty good with standard construction techniques, I'm just not sure about some of the alternative methods, like spray foam insulation and double stud construction. I just want it very well insulated.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey-T View Post
I'm planning to build a cabin this year, and the idea I am going to use is borrowed from a very large shed sold at the local Lowes home improvement store. The one they have has the barn-style roof so the full-sized loft is quite roomy. I'll be using that same design, just enlarged a tad bit more.

The first idea I had was the floor. I've been told that the sprayed-on foam insulation is superior to standard insulation- don't know, I've never used it, but if it is...

I thought about laying out the floor framing on the ground and decking it with treated plywood. Then- FLIP IT OVER to where the treated plywood is on the bottom. At this point, run the drain plumbing, then spray the cavities full of foam insulation (or whatever it's called). Then, deck it as usual.

Next idea I had was the walls. I think I seen the idea somewhere on this site- double studded walls for twice the insulation. Now, if I do it like this and stagger the studs like the post described, could I get away with 2 foot on center studs, especially since the interior walls will be wood rather than drywall (thinking knotty pine)? Seems that this would be more than strong enough for supporting the second floor and roof, since the double and staggered wall studs will actually have a stud every foot.

And finally, the last idea I had was for the loft floor- instead of typical plywood or OSB decking, I was thinking maybe non-tongue & groove planking, with maybe an 1/8 or so gap between each plank. The thinking here is heat rises, and I just want to heat with the wood stove. Do you think this idea will make the loft too hot? Would the open stairwell be enough to heat the loft instead.

The footprint of this cabin will be 16x32, and the stairwell will be at one end.
I would go with 2x6 walls and keep your idea about spray foam insulation...It costs alot more but you will save on heating and cooling costs for the better insulation..Also insects like spiders will be prevented from coming in.....For flooring consider using 2 layers of 2 inch thick 4x8 sheets of Polystyrene..A concrete slab over this with Pex tubing for infloor radiant heat..Good luck on your project and keep us posted...
Old 03-07-2010, 03:24 AM
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JOEY-T you don't say what State you are in but i am assuming the way you are talking about insulation that it is real cold...IMO do not build your cabin lifted off the ground..This will only provide for a home for animal critters..Also the cabin being lifted will let cold air circulate under there..Even though you plan on having your floor insulated seal the outer sill plate area so cold air cannot penetrate......
Old 03-07-2010, 03:33 AM
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Another idea you might like...Do you have a sawmill nearby that cuts rough sawn lumber ...You can buy debarked logs to use as verticle posts for your front porch....Also for inside walls 1"x12" rough sawn lumber and 1/2 log wood siding can be used...Your barn cabin is really going to look nice......
Old 03-07-2010, 05:15 AM
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JOEY-T you don't say what State you are in but i am assuming the way you are talking about insulation that it is real cold...IMO do not build your cabin lifted off the ground..This will only provide for a home for animal critters..Also the cabin being lifted will let cold air circulate under there..Even though you plan on having your floor insulated seal the outer sill plate area so cold air cannot penetrate......
and haveing it on the ground it can sink easyer.. and water can get stuck under... then your house will sink just box it off under... so nothing can get in easly.. your house if made out of wood and is on the ground it will rot faster..

What I would do is just get some plywood and some 2x4 do a quick frame job with the walls use the plywood to square it off and then build the roof..

I saw a guys hows that was 4x6 and man it was really small but really nice inside.. never seen a house so well built and thought out.. the portapoty looks bigger when you see the house
Old 03-07-2010, 12:32 PM
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I suggest getting a book that discusses multiple designs with lots of drawing. You'll have a reference you can go back to over and over. As you're reading the book for the 3rd time before bed or at lunch-time slowly the best cabin design for you will surface.

I'm not discouraging getting advice online it just such a big question requiring bigger answers with countless individual needs and details.

The best book I've come across on this subject is "Cabins" by David and Jeani Stiles. This book has brought me a long way in my design. Everything in it is simple, practical and best of all it has great step by step drawings the tell you what you're getting into.

A good website: http://countryplans.com/
Old 03-07-2010, 12:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

The design stipulation is that this has to be built "shed style", meaning moveable. The reason for this is it is going to start being built this spring where I'm living NOW, and later (probably next year) be taken to another location when I'm ready to live out there for good. So, foundations and concrete floors are OUT (believe me, I love the in-concrete radiant heat- I used to install it).

I know that wood sitting on the dirt rots, but this is going to be built just like any other wood yard shed- on runners. The runners will be set on concrete pads. Shouldn't have a problem there. Sure, animals can get under it (like any other shed), but some kind of skirting would fix that... there really won't be anything under there to tear up though.

As far as climate, I don't live where it's extremely cold- just north-central Indiana- but it is very important to me that this thing be extremely easy to heat and be extremely good at retaining that heat. I will be heating with a small wood stove- the plan is to NOT pay for heat, other than the labor involved.

Does anyone have the trade name or whatever for the foam I'm talking about? It is similar to those cans of "Great Stuff" only it is commercially installed in large quantities. The reason I ask is because I think a few of you are not understanding what I'm talking about when I describe the floor idea. Think of it in layers:

5- 3/4" subfloor
4- Floor joist framing
3- Layer of 3/4" treated plywood
2- 4x6 runners
1- Bare ground

As you can see, the floor joists would be covered top AND bottom- the insulation space between the joists is completely enclosed. Now, imagine this space filled completely with the foam. If the floor joists are 2x8, that's 8 inches thick of insulation. 2x10 would be 10 inches, etc. (well, not exactly because of lumber dimensions, but you get the idea).

I guess I'm not seeing the problem- I don't understand how moisture will be a problem, I don't see what a critter is going to hurt or how bugs will be a problem, and even if an arctic windstorm was blowing through the space under it, that's a lot of insulation in the floor! I could probably coat the bottom with something that would make it even more resistant to bug infiltration, like roofing tar or rubberized undercoating too.
Old 03-07-2010, 02:49 PM
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Iycene, tiger foam, froathmate theres also soy based foam. Bunches of foam. Works great but pricey. I'd suggest sealed foam panels for the floor sandwiched between PT plywood then 3/4 inch flooring Look around you can find them on Craigs list sometimes very cheap.

Personally I'd use 2X12's at 16 on center for the floor and 4" of stryrofoam foam panels in between

The roof system you are talking about is called "gambrel" Are you planning on building the trusses yourself or buy them?

I don't see a vapor barrier on your list. Ground moisture is a major concern but a air / flow gap between the ground and your building and a mositure barrier will take care of it if done right.

2X6 walls and roof with Batt insulation will be the cheapest but again there are many other options.

Do not skimp on metal ties.

Metal roof for sure.
Old 03-07-2010, 03:37 PM
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Joey-T, I love your layout. I would use 2x6 for walls and spray foam the floor, walls and ceiling. You will only need a small stove to heat it. If you are going to move it later, you might want to look at larger floor joists to keep it from flexing and popping things loose. The spray foam negates the need for a vapor barrier and, even though it costs more, will totally seal the building. If the shed will be towed to a remote location later, maybe a small balcony can be put on the loft and you will have an instant hunting blind.
Old 03-07-2010, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill View Post
Personally I'd use 2X12's at 16 on center for the floor and 4" of stryrofoam foam panels in between
Was just talking to my buddy about this same thing. He pretty much set me on the 2x12's for the first floor, since there is going to also be the weight of a second story. Do you think I should go that big for the second story floor joists also? As far as the styrofoam panels, are you talking about ones like the thick blue ones they have at the lumber yard? Do I just keep layering them in place to take up the entire void?

Quote:
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The roof system you are talking about is called "gambrel"
Yea, I know. I hesitated using it, because I wasn't sure if everyone would know what I was talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill View Post
I don't see a vapor barrier on your list. Ground moisture is a major concern but a air / flow gap between the ground and your building and a mositure barrier will take care of it if done right.
I've been fighting with this one too. I was thinking of plastic sheeting (Visqueen or equivalent) between the bottom plywood and the rafters, but I didn't know if this would be the right way to do it. Was worried that moisture would somehow get between the plastic and the joists. I'm also planning to coat the bottom of the thing with SOMETHING before I flip it to start building on. Rubberized undercoating or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill View Post
2X6 walls and roof decking with Batt insulation will be the cheapest but again there are many other options.

Metal roof for sure.
I'm starting to lean towards simple 2x6 walls instead of the more exotic ideas. The double staggered wall idea is starting to appear a bit overkill for my climate area. Metal roof is definitely the way I'm going.

A buddy told me today that he knew of a guy tearing down an old barn. Owner id keeping the big timber, but he said I could probably take as much of the siding as I want. I'll be looking into that, and if it is in decent shape, I may have my interior wall surfaces!
Old 03-07-2010, 03:46 PM
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Another idea I've been kicking around is to build it on top of an old mobile home frame. It doesn't take much to shorten those frames, really. If done this way, I can do away with the runners under the shed, and transporting it would be easier.

The down side is it would sit pretty high with the axles and wheels under it, and once moved to the site, would take forever to remove the axles and wheels, then lower it to the ground (no way in heck I'd leave it as high as a mobile home!)
Old 03-07-2010, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by imua-06 View Post
Joey-T, I love your layout. I would use 2x6 for walls and spray foam the floor, walls and ceiling. You will only need a small stove to heat it. If you are going to move it later, you might want to look at larger floor joists to keep it from flexing and popping things loose. The spray foam negates the need for a vapor barrier and, even though it costs more, will totally seal the building. If the shed will be towed to a remote location later, maybe a small balcony can be put on the loft and you will have an instant hunting blind.
I totally agree with an all foam building for all the reasons above. Best case would be to frame, clip, wire, plumb, skin one side then foam everything together. 2X12 floor, 2X6 Walls and ceiling. Pricey by about twice for insulation but everyhting else would be the same.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill
Personally I'd use 2X12's at 16 on center for the floor and 4" of stryrofoam foam panels in between

Was just talking to my buddy about this same thing. He pretty much set me on the 2x12's for the first floor, since there is going to also be the weight of a second story. Do you think I should go that big for the second story floor joists also? As far as the styrofoam panels, are you talking about ones like the thick blue ones they have at the lumber yard? Do I just keep layering them in place to take up the entire void?

That's what we did on the cabin in Tenn. I found a crap load of white styrofoam sheets on craigs list for $5.00 EA 4'X8"X3" here in Florida. We cut them to fit between 2X12's double layered. Works great! CAbin is on the side of a steep hill. Get's mighty windy there but toasty warm.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill
The roof system you are talking about is called "gambrel"

Yea, I know. I hesitated using it, because I wasn't sure if everyone would know what I was talking about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill
I don't see a vapor barrier on your list. Ground moisture is a major concern but a air / flow gap between the ground and your building and a mositure barrier will take care of it if done right.

I've been fighting with this one too. I was thinking of plastic sheeting (Visqueen or equivalent) between the bottom plywood and the rafters, but I didn't know if this would be the right way to do it. Was worried that moisture would somehow get between the plastic and the joists. I'm also planning to coat the bottom of the thing with SOMETHING before I flip it to start building on. Rubberized undercoating or something.

I believe you would put the vapor barrier under everything.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill
2X6 walls and roof decking with Batt insulation will be the cheapest but again there are many other options.

Metal roof for sure.

I'm starting to lean towards simple 2x6 walls instead of the more exotic ideas. The double staggered wall idea is starting to appear a bit overkill for my climate area. Metal roof is definitely the way I'm going.

A buddy told me today that he knew of a guy tearing down an old barn. Owner id keeping the big timber, but he said I could probably take as much of the siding as I want. I'll be looking into that, and if it is in decent shape, I may have my interior wall surfaces!

2X6 with foam would pretty much negate any need for doubling the studs. Trust me that's a lot of insulation Second floor would probaley be 2X6 Also maybe 2X8 have to ask someone about spanning that distance and what's needed. I don't think 16' will be a issue.
Will the bottom be open with no int. walls?




Another idea I've been kicking around is to build it on top of an old mobile home frame. It doesn't take much to shorten those frames, really. If done this way, I can do away with the runners under the shed, and transporting it would be easier.

The down side is it would sit pretty high with the axles and wheels under it, and once moved to the site, would take forever to remove the axles and wheels, then lower it to the ground (no way in heck I'd leave it as high as a mobile home!)

HMMMM this idea intruiges me. It may limit you to width though as a 16' wide frame maybe hard to come buy cheap enough. They are out there though. Cutting it to size would be easy enough. Pulling the axles and lowering it isn't that big of a deal.

Do you own the land you are building on?
Old 03-07-2010, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
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Second floor would probaley be 2X6 Also maybe 2X8 have to ask someone about spanning that distance and what's needed. I don't think 16' will be a issue.
Will the bottom be open with no int. walls?
Yes, the bottom will be open, clear span, except for a small bathroom at the right rear. I'm thinking 2x6 second floor joists may be a bit too "springy." 12's might be overkill, since the only thing up there will be a bed, dresser, desk and the personal items you'd commonly find in a bedroom. I'm wondering if 2x8's will be OK for a 16 foot span, as none of the big-box yards seem to stock 2x10's anymore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill View Post
HMMMM this idea intruiges me. It may limit you to width though as a 16' wide frame maybe hard to come buy cheap enough. They are out there though. Cutting it to size would be easy enough. Pulling the axles and lowering it isn't that big of a deal.
I believe the widths of the actual frame rails is pretty much standard on mobile homes of varying widths. They have triangulated extensions to reach out to the width. Even these extensions don't always reach out to the full width of the mobile home.

I'm currently going through a divorce, so I ended up in a cheaply-bought older mobile home that is 14 feet wide. The frame rails are somewhere between 6 and 8 feet apart, and when I looked at the extensions (which are under every few floor joists), they were about a foot short of reaching the full width. I helped a buddy tear down a 14 foot wide last year, and it's extensions went all the way out, so I guess it depends on the manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider Bill View Post
Do you own the land you are building on?
Well, that's a hard one to answer! As mentioned, I had to find a quick place to live, so I bought a cheap mobile home in a local park. So, I don't own THIS land, but my plan is to build it here, which is why I need to be able to move it. The property where my BOL is, is co-owned by myself and a group of like-minded friends. This is where I plan to move it to (once there, it would be about a 1/4 mile walk to the BOL). There are a variety of reasons why I want to build it and move it, rather than build it on-site, but I won't bore you with the details- lets just say it's more convenient to do it this way.

I eventually want to pack up and move to southern Kentucky, and while the trailer frame idea makes this easily mobile, I think the overall height would prevent me from taking it that far, with overpasses and power lines to negotiate. Might be an impossible task to find a clear route!

Here's another idea I'm kicking around: as you can see by the pic, there is a 6 foot covered porch. I would like to extend that to 8 feet. My plan- regardless of if I use the trailer frame idea on the cabin, is to actually use a trailer frame for the porch. I'd support the roof with posts on all 4 corners, so the whole thing is free-standing when not attached to the cabin. A good friend of mine works at a steel processing plant, and can get me some huge industrial bolts. I figured I could have these bolts sticking out of the Cabin along the floor joist line, and along the upper front wall. Once the cabin is in place, I can pull the "porch assembly" into position and slide it towards the cabin (the porch would have pre-drilled holes in it's joist face and roof line to match up with the bolts sticking out of the cabin). Once in place, I can go through and put all the nuts and washers on. If I ever want to move it again, it all "unbolts."
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