TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Exterior Building Day 1


I know I’m supposed to feel rested because I got an extra hour of sleep last night, but I promise you I feel anything but refreshed. We got a rather late start yesterday mostly because we were unintentionally out until 11pm after trick-or-treating with R.A.D for the first time when we came upon a wreck on one of the little country FM roads we take to get to my dad’s house. In hindsight I should have turned back around and driven back into town where I could have jumped on the highway and headed south toward the more major thoroughfare leading to our little town of 3,000, but I kept thinking it would clear up just as I made the three-point turn to go back. That was a 75 minute mistake that left us sleeping in until almost 10am on Saturday. C’est la vie!

Since Brandy also has a test due today in his online algebra class and one to study for in microbiology coming Monday, he spent the first few hours yesterday studying while I went and setup the saw horses to stain the beetle kill pine. I found out rather quickly, however, that the $280 worth of Penofin brand “transparent clear” sealer I was suggested to buy was anything but transparent or clear. In the defense of the one who referred me to it, though, he didn’t specify which type of Penofin to buy – merely that they had a really great UV protectant one, and I thought I’d done well with my top-of-the-line selection. Needless to say, there’s still a strong tint to it that made the blue-gray tones turn brown and the natural pine look orange. Honestly, it’s quite lovely, but it’s also not even remotely the look we’re going for.

It’s a lovely shade of “barn wood” now.


I’d bought some simple “clear” Thompson’s Water Seal to coat the underside of the eaves since some of the corners are showing a bit of damage (we just left the roof edges exposed too long before applying the drip edge, and we had a fairly wet summer… go figure), so I decided to take another piece and coat that one to see the difference it made. I should have chosen a piece with roughly the same amount of blue-gray staining for a better comparison, but you’ll still get the general idea.

Even in the shade there’s no denying the Thompson’s is MUCH more clear than the Penofin when comparing the darkness of the blue-gray staining in the wood. Even the knots look orange on the Penofin board.


I grumbled to Brandy about my findings and decided at the very least I could use the Penofin to seal the back and edges of the beetle kill now since that has to be done before installing them anyway. What I’ll need to do now, though, is find an alternative to stain/seal the smooth side after we get the siding installed. Since we’re trying to pull the blue-gray tones out of the wood throughout the house, I’m thinking I’ll get a very lightly blue dyed stain and basically dry brush a little on just to highlight the already present staining in the wood. Then I’ll find a genuinely CLEAR coat to put over that and call it done. In the meantime, though, I have 300sqft of wood to treat on 3 of 4 sides. At least the Penofin is a single coat application and dries WAY faster than the Thompson’s does. I definitely think the product is great; it’s the color that’s the issue.

One of several piles of drying wood. We didn’t worry about dust/leaves/debris since this side won’t show, but it dried so quickly that really wasn’t an issue anyway. Good stuff – wrong color, which this photo doesn’t really express well. Trust me – they’re orange!


My in-laws arrived around 2pm to help us level the trailer and install the rest of the roofing (that was the plan anyway), but both the leveling and the chimney install took up more time than anticipated. My M-I-L helped me stain more wood (I think we completed 4 or 5 bundles) while Brandy and his dad broke out the 4′ level and cinderblocks to provide the stable base we need for the chimney, window, and siding installations at the very least. That took a good bit of time, but oh what a difference it makes in how stable everything feels!

One thing we found out, though, is that the scissor jacks aren’t welded the best on our trailer. The flat piece on top of the jack that welds to the trailer frame is dimensionally larger than the beams of the trailer itself, so the edges of the jacks stick out past the width of the trailer beams on one side while resting flush against the beams on the other side. What that meant for us was that the force of raising the jacks all the way up to get the cinder blocks under the trailer forced a bend in the weld points where the jack edge hangs out past the trailer beam, thereby breaking the welds on one side. They still work, but they are definitely NOT stable anymore and will need to be repaired. The fact that the house isn’t sitting on a completely flat surface likely played a part in this discovery, but regardless – they’re 7500lb jacks that shouldn’t bend like that. Thankfully I’m certain a competent welder can remove them and add a piece of metal to the trailer frame that would provide a wider surface for the jacks to be re-welded to properly. BA from A Bed Over My Head used a welder that’s just a few minutes down the road from us that we’d planned on using to weld our gray water tank on, so I’ll ask him about repairing the jacks, too.

We also had to get a little creative on the chimney install since we discovered (after the hole was already in the roof naturally) that the cathedral ceiling support box wouldn’t stick down nearly far enough into the room to meet the “at least 2″ below the level of the ceiling” rule that a traditional house installation requires. After a couple calls to our Kimberly stove dealer, Vanessa, we dropped the install height down a bit to expose a bit more below the ceiling level and yet still securely fasten the box through the roof opening. I had to measure out and mark the placement of the stove on the inside of the house, and my M-I-L and I tackled that project together. The blue box marks the bare minimum space we need for the install, but we’ll actually make the floor protection area much larger than that when we get to that part. We just needed the markings to plumb the chimney opening. Even though we haven’t bought our stove yet, we wanted to get the chimney in before we finished the roofing rather than having to go back and work around it later like a few other tiny house owners have had to do. This way we can plan the entire interior around the stove rather than trying to stuff it in at the last minute.

Marking the stove placement and translating that to the roof.


Filing the opening and test fitting the cathedral box before a call to our Kimberly dealer to ensure we weren’t screwing it up. lol


Securing the cathedral ceiling box and test fitting the chimney pipe prior to installing the needed roofing tiles and the chimney flashing.


It started getting dark quick (and the battery on the DSLR died long before this, hence the poor photo quality a la iPhone 5c lol), so Brandy and his dad rushed to get the necessary DaVinci Bellaforte shake tiles installed around the chimney opening so they could get the flashing, storm collar, and chimney cap in place for the night. Meanwhile, R.A.D broke out his personal ladder and hammer (and an entirely too-small hoodie my dad scrounged up lol) to help on the front of the house. I won’t deny how awesome it is to see him mimicking his dad and grandfathers with tools, but my favorite part was when he picked up his tiny plastic saw and made the “voooom-pa, voooom-pa” sounds I make when I play “house building” with him. 😉 I have Bill Cosby to that for that sound effect (Bill’s routines were a regular fixture of my childhood family road trips, and the “Noah’s Ark” bit is a personal fave), and I’m happy to pass it on to yet another generation. This boy with be nothing if not handy with a hammer and saw. ❤


Well, I’ve dawdled for an hour now hoping the thermostat would at least climb above 50 degrees, and it looks like I finally got my wish. I’d meant to order some long-leg overalls months ago (I’ve got a pair of shortfalls from the late 90’s I’ve used for projects of all sizes, but I needed leggings under them yesterday), but today I think I’ll have to dig up a pair of real jeans and a coat to work. Once Brandy finishes studying this morning I’ll at least have a helper, but in the meantime I’ll try knocking out more siding since the Penofin requires a minimum of 45 degrees for proper drying. Rain is coming in a couple days, so gotta get a move on!

Enjoy your day, and check back tonight or tomorrow for Day 2 photos. 🙂


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