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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / Complete novice planning for a tiny shack
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greenacarina
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 03:25
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I've got my little slice of the american dream....about 4100 sq feet worth! I am limited to a 200 sq ft "playhouse or shed" before I have to start messing with permits. So, naturally I am thinking 10x20 would fit the bill perfectly.
My needs are simple...I want this to be a simple weekend getaway that's a step up comfort-wise from tent camping. No power or plumbing. Small outhouse using the "bucket method".
As I am noodling up all the general ideas of what I want, now I am starting to come to the specifics of how to build this.
Here are the current questions on my mind-
1.) What kind of foundation? I am thinking skids (railroad ties?) for the sake of simplicity.
2.) With my footprint of 10x20, would I be able to make this tall enough for a full-sized loft? (tall enough to comfortably crawl around/sleep, etc... not more than 5 ft tall)
My concern is making the thing taller than it is wide if it's on skids....don't wanna get too tippy!

Some things to note- I will have to hand-carry all my materials to my building site. My property is essentially rain forest, so things will be wet....a lot.

Thanks!
Chris

Anonymous
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 07:43
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Being in a rain forest I would think about getting my building off the ground for air flow and rotting floor.

johng
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 08:17 - Edited by: johng
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12x16 would be a more stable footprint, plus make better use of sheet goods.
The Tiny Hose Prospector's Cabin might work for you.

PA_Bound
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 08:47
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Gotta' agree with anonymous about the foundation. In a rainforest I would think you would want the cabin higher than what skids or railroad ties would allow. Lot's of air-flow under the cabin is your friend in this case.

neb
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 10:55
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X2 on the air flow. You could put in posts so it is off of ground 2 or 3 feet to et a good air flow. Also the 12X16 is a better plan for the plan you want>

VTweekender
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 12:00 - Edited by: VTweekender
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Oh man, have you ever carried railroad ties? I did when I was younger, oooohhhhh! Next question is what to set the railroad ties on to keep them from moisture as much as possible, you certainly can't carry in 10-12 yards of crushed stone to make a standard drainage bed for skids. I think you will almost have to plan on blisters, digging some piers in, at least in the corners, and have them raise it up 2 or 3 feet, then set the beams for runners on the piers.

Thinking outside the box, maybe you could find 4 trees spaced apart just enough that would make a square, cut them at 3 feet or so and use for corner piers, then you could just block more supports in for span if needed. Maybe have to resize your plans to whatever the 4 trees are spaced, but again outside the box.

greenacarina
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 14:47
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Great ideas all!! Sadly there aren't proper trees to use them accordingly. Good to know that I need more height from the ground than I was anticipating...I will look into doing some concrete tubes, etc...
Initially I was thinking 10x20 just because it's the obvious calculation for my 200 sq ft, but 12x16 could work just fine (and I'm all about not wasting materials!)

So, now....with the idea of doing a 12x16 cabin with a loft, what diameter concrete tubes do I need? And how many? If there's a book or website that tells how to calculate all this, please point the way. (teach a man to fish, and all....)

Thanks everyone!
Chris

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 24 Jun 2012 18:13 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
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I'd use treated skids. Two set in a foot or so from sides. Make them from three layers for laminated 2x8's so they won't warp as much as soid 5x6's. Block them level with 4'' cement block or bigger. Yes, air space is your friend as far as wood rot, but in northern climates , it's nice if a foot of snow will block drafts. A 12x 16 does make more sense. I'm not loving lofts. They get too hot to sleep in, ok for storage though. Here's a 12' x 18' with 6' porch and two lofts.

Owen
outside
outside
rear
rear
front
front


greenacarina
Member
# Posted: 25 Jun 2012 16:11
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I have seen that cabin design before...LOVE the loft over the porch! I would have to shorten it up a bit to stay under my 200 sq ft limit.
I will have to check at my county courthouse...but in most people's experience, does loft space count toward square footage or is it just about the "footprint"?
Also, what are the pros and cons of doing the concrete tubes versus pier blocks set on crushed rock?

Thanks all!
Chris

VTweekender
Member
# Posted: 25 Jun 2012 16:47
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Where I am in VT, I was told by the town any loft space would count as sq. footage.

Borrego
Member
# Posted: 25 Jun 2012 21:41
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Once again, I'm gonna weigh in with my fave, a pole house! Great for your climate...

greenacarina
Member
# Posted: 28 Jun 2012 05:53
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Point me in the direction of this "pole house"
I am open to suggestions!

Thanks!

VTweekender
Member
# Posted: 28 Jun 2012 07:13 - Edited by: VTweekender
Reply 


Same as a pole barn, just google "pole barn design" and you will come up with plenty info. Tall posts are set in the ground and used not only as the footing but the structure supports for walls and roof, all one piece if you will.

Here is poleframe cabin design http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/aben-plans/6013.pdf

Retired
# Posted: 29 Jun 2012 17:04
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On the 12x16 the head room in the upstairs is likely such that you have to be on your knees, you cannot stant up. There is a Kenora I and Kenora II building plans on the internet for like $24. The one is 12x16 and has only enought head room upstairs to be on your knees without hitting your head. The Kenora II allows you to stant up.

They both have no loft but a full upstairs, my building department considers the Kenora I upstairs as uninhabitable and not included in the sq ft age. Where the Kenora II which is is considered inhabitable space. The Kenora II has about 5 ft, 6ft with the roof overhang over the pourch. My building dept said the overhand over the pourch was not calcuable in the sq ft age as the concrete foundation for the Kenora II was 14 x12 ( 6x12 overhang over the pourch -upstairs. I use mine Kenora II as a pump hourse and agricultural building so I did not need a building permit, I put plumbing for a bathroom in it when I built it, 3 years later when checking on if the plumbing permit covered me actually doing the plumbing obove floor grade and they then told me since it had a bathroom I had to buy a Agricultual bldg permit, $30 and they came out and inspected to insure the setback of the bldg was the propler distance from the property line. Another foul up by them as the building is completed on the outside, what am I going to do at that point if the setback was incorrect. Three years ago you would have thought that when they did the rough in of the plumbing before pouring concrete they would have done the checking of the set back and making me buy an agricultural permit at that time. Ag buildings in my are do not require a building permit on any size, unless a bathroom is going into it.

shnnnh
# Posted: 30 Jun 2012 14:48
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Are you really going to have to hand-carry everything? Even a wheelbarrow would seem to make the jobs lot easier.
I'm a novice too, but my thinking is:
For a pole foundation you have to bury the poles at least four feet deep, and they have to be long, say 16 or 20 feet long if you want to bury them deep, elevate the floor, and have space for a loft above. Poles are heavy.
Skids work much better on level sites than sloped ones, and I don't personally know how to achieve a raised floor using a skid foundation. Skids are heavy.
A post and pier foundation will require shallower holes than a pole barn style foundation. You don't mention your location, but the diameter and depth of those holes will vary a lot based on your frost depth and the building authorities in your location. Still, even figuring just a couple of bags of pre-mixed concrete per footing, at 60 lbs per bag that gets old quick!

greenacarina
Member
# Posted: 30 Jun 2012 15:46
Reply 


Well, I should clairfy a bit. My site is fairly level, located on the Washington coast. It's thickly overgrown and I am clearing it very selectively (i.e. not bringing in a bulldozer to clear it)...I want to maintain as much seclusion as I can. So, my hand-carry statement was more aimed at that (having to take things up a foot-path) than hiking things into a remote location. Wheelbarrow will get plenty of use!

Mickael
Member
# Posted: 17 Oct 2016 09:32
Reply 


Here's a site with plans

http://unclejeffrey.com/

But just google playhouse plans or small building plans and you'll come up with a lot of stuff.

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