We’ve now been living in the tiny house for 7 months!

This month we’ve been busy, camping, hiking, exploring…we even summitted Mt. St. Helens! We’ve been busy how we want to be busy which has been great. Summer is off to a good start.

As for tiny house living this month? We’ve hit more bumps…but things are gradually getting smoothed out. (Either that or we’re building up an immunity to house stresses.)

Mold 

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This has been a big bump. While continuing to tear apart the closet, we noticed some mold on the frame wood. Extremely concerned we called called for backup and checked with Derin as well as a mold specialist. The consensus was that it’s “lumberyard mold“, not harmful to humans or pets (thankfully), but not ideal to have in one’s home either. It probably got there during the construction process when the framing was up and exposed to moisture/rain. And as long as we can control moisture in the house it (and any other mold) should be prevented from growing. This is where the situation gets complicated.

Our house appears to be double wrapped in plastic. We wouldn’t know this except there’s a missing panel in the closet where the vapor barrier is visible. It looks like there’s two layers of plastic which wouldn’t allow for the “breathing” process of the moisture to move outside and it would also create a space between the two sheets of plastic vulnerable to trapped moisture. From what I’ve learned, it’s controversial whether vapor barriers should be used in house construction especially in the wet Pacific Northwest.

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We learned from the mold specialist that the humidity should be under 55%, so we purchased a digital humidity reader and saw that our level was way too high (60%-70%+). Either we stop breathing, bathing, drying our wool inside, bringing in rain jackets, and cooking…or we find another way to control it. We tried a small dehumidifier but it didn’t help much. Derin has temporarily lent us his larger dehumidifyer which has been working great at keeping the moisture under control. We are also going to look into replacing the bathroom vent as the current one has very low CFM  “Cubic Feet Per Minute” air movement. Maybe we’ll replace it with something like this?

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We may just have to run a dehumidifyer during wetter months to keep the humidity levels down. It’s something we’re not particularly happy about, but since we’re not going to move to the deserts of Arizona any time soon, it’s something we’ll have to deal with. Moisture mediation in a small space in the Pacific Northwest is something to pay attention to when considering tiny house builds…just sayin.

Schrödinger’s Cat

We had concerns about our shower head and plumbing once Derin pointed out that the pipe to the shower head shouldn’t rotate the way it does. We had a contractor check on it and he thinks that it is not screwed in properly and needs to be tightened but may be a non-issue. There’s also concern about the sharkbite fitings (plumbing connections). We’ve decided that “Schrödinger’s cat” lives in our bathroom walls. Our plumbing may be both leaking and not leaking…but until we tear the walls down, or we notice water leaking, or obvious signs of water damage I’m not allowed to worry about what I can’t see. Until then, replacing the shower/tub/walls is staying on the long-term project list. (Hopefully this update won’t follow with a “Quantum leaks” update….hah!)

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The Closet Part IV

So, yeah, there’s the mold. BUT we’ve made some improvements too! We tore out more of the unnecessary frame wood, and replaced it with some nice cedar and oak pieces. It’s still a work in progress, but we think it’s looking better.

The Bathroom Door

Right now we don’t have a bathroom door (don’t tell OSHA). Tomas tossed it and the awful framing that was on there when he fixed the closet. We’ve never liked that door. I’ve since ordered a new one (that we’ll have to trim shorter)…we continue to enjoy making the house more our own. We might turn the old bathroom door into a bench or something.

Help

When we were in the thick of worrying about the mold, and leaks, and moisture and all the things that we can’t see and don’t know are problems, I had the idea to get a home inspection. This way we can have everything officially checked over. I called a couple of places but so far I haven’t found anyone who is willing to take on the job because “how are these homes regulated?”. I feel a little helpless. I realize that traditional trades-people don’t want to take on these jobs because it is a unique building structure and the only way we may be able to get help is through networking, friends, and references. In this case, community really is key.

Registration

We’re STILL waiting for the MCO “Manufacture Certificate of Origin” from the builder. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.

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Bins and Clutter

I got new purple and green bins! I think they look good with our colors and they’re slightly bigger than our others. I also got new gloves, and shoes, and socks, and trekking poles, and…and…and…I’ve noticed the clutter creeping back in. We’ve gotten more lax in our tidying and it’s taking a toll on our comfort level in the house. We still haven’t found the greatest way to organize and it continues to be a challenge that we work on. I’m especially bad at filing away/shredding papers, mail, and receipts. At least we recognize this and the limited space in the house makes it clear when we need to catch up on our cleaning. We’re not minimalists by nature, it definitely takes a conscious effort for us.

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Upcoming Projects

  • The consultant we had check out our plumbing also recommended that we reseal the outdoor caulk along the doors and windows because there are small cracks forming, possibly from the process of moving our house. Water sneaks in these small cracks and causes damage, so we want to be proactive and seal it up during these drier months.

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  • A big looming project is resealing the floors and walls….a big big project. We’re thinking of storing our belongings in the main house garage and camping in the yard while the stain seals…we’ll see how it goes. We need time and extended dry weather. Not to mention learning how to use a sander…
  • We’ve talked about putting up lattice around the house or in front of the wheels and planter boxes around the trailer tongue to make the house look more permanent “house-ish” and less “trailer-ish”.
  • It seems like home ownership is full of never ending upcoming projects….
  • Like adding a twisty slide!

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Upcoming Fun

We’re excited to announce we’re going to be on this year’s Pedalpalooza Tiny Home tour! It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, Tomas and I were on that tour checking out all the cool tiny homes of Portland. We weren’t sure we wanted to be on the tour because of all of our challenges and things that we want to change in the house. But then we realized this is probably a great reason to be on the tour…to tell people our story and if only one person learns from one of our mistakes it’ll be worth it.

We even made a little business card to pass out to the participants!…with some tips we’ve learned along the way. 🙂

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Benjamin

Our kitty continues to be a wonderful tiny house companion. He helps out by being cute, guarding the tiny house, and sitting on paper bags. Even more wonderful this month is that he hasn’t used the indoor litter box once! He’s gone outside to do his business and we are very thankful for that.

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