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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Bought a cabin - renovation questions
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# Posted: 11 Jun 2015 07:25

We have around 30 acres of rural property in WV. I got a job down here about 2 1/2 months ago and have been living there in a small travel trailer. My wife's 4 hours away in OH.

Cabin and 4 acres across the road came up for sale and we bought it. My wife's going to move down at the end of July.

Cabin is about 20x22 (I just got the keys yesterday and still need to measure). Single story. Looks like a 12x20 lean-to roof cabin originally with a 10x20 addition leaning the other way. Addition floor is about 6" below the original.

We are going to live there full-time for the next 3-5 years and I'm going to haul the travel trailer up there tonight. Cabin has electricity but no running water. Has a pit outhouse, but I'll be moving our composting outhouse there too.

Our property across the road has a spring on it that I'm in the process of developing - putting in a more protected spring box, installing a tank, etc. I'll need to haul water periodically across the road and store it at the cabin site.

We don't get a lot of snow, but we get some and can get a periodic dumping and it does get cold in the winter. Summers are hot and humid, although this is on a hill shaded with trees so it shouldn't be too bad. There's a propane wall heater, and some piping for a wood stove. Roof is corrugated metal and is probably uninsulated. Outside is vinyl siding - I don't know what's behind it yet. Interior walls are paneling and the ceiling is chipboard.

The paneling is warping and has evidence of damage from water. My suspicion is that warm air is condensing on the metal roof, running down the sides and then running down the walls. I'm going to start investigating, but I suspect there's no insulation anywhere. I have about six weeks to renovate before my wife moves in, so now's the time to address what I can.

Looking for recommendations on insulating under the roof (assuming I should) and walls. Also on water storage, plumbing, etc. and anything else those of you who are experienced know that I'm overlooking.


# Posted: 11 Jun 2015 07:30

My initial thought is to remove the corrugated roof, cover the top with osb and tar paper, and put the roof back on atop that. Wouldn't be all that expensive and would keep condensate on the outside of the building. Then use traditional fiberglass batts on the underside and cover it in drywall.

Similarly, on the walls, remove the paneling, use FG insulation, and then put up new paneling or drwyall.

On plumbing, I suspect that keeping as much of the drain and feed lines on the interior as possible (rather than going into the crawlspace under the floor) would help with freezing.

Was wondering if I could get some of those IBC containers for water storage. At 250-300 gallons each, they're pretty inexpensive per gallon. Could I build an insulated structure around them and use stock tank heaters to keep them from freezing?

Or could I dig a hole slightly larger than the containers, fill them with water (so they don't collapse) and then pour cement around them, making essentially a plastic-lined cement underground cistern?

# Posted: 28 Jul 2020 18:10 - Edited by: Nobadays

Good on you! Your initial thoughts on renovations might be a plan.... but, probably best to get over there, tear into it some and really assess what you have to work with.

Just about everyone on here will tell you to have a good look at the foundation first. If that isn't in order, not much sense throwing good money after bad.

There can be a lot of great advice on here.... pictures will get a lot more responses, hard to recommend anything unless you can see what you are dealing with.

# Posted: 29 Jul 2020 07:05

If your going to pull off the metal roofing use foam board in the "wrap and strap" method. Sealing up any cracks/air leaks needs to be done very well with metal roofing. I wouldnt use fiberglass for this. If it's in the budget and your plan on keeping this building maybe remove the ceiling and have a spray foam company come in and do the underside of the roof.

If your only useing this cabin as temp living I would do the bare minimum and start on your real home.

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