Framing Our Off Grid Cabin Walls In Just 3 Days!
Here's Day 3 of 3 Framing
Today is the third of three days that it took us to frame the off grid cabin walls.
Hopefully you’ve been following the build up to this point.
If not, you can head on over to day one of our three day framing blitz or go all the way back to when we first started the foundation.
To date we’ve had just over 1 million visitors visit our framing section!
It’s great to know that so many other folks are interested in following the build and perhaps building their own off grid home.
Be sure to share help us get the world out about how amazing it is to build your own off grid home!
Finishing Up Framing The Exterior Walls
Today is day #8 of our overall build and we’ll be finishing up framing the main floor walls, frame the main interior load bearing wall and finish up the exterior sheathing.
All the remaining interior walls will be built after the bathroom amenities are brought in and installed.
Lastly we’ll incorporate some pocket doors for the bathroom and the master bedroom to save some precious space.
Here’s Where We Left Off Yesterday…
We have one end wall framed, the rear wall and half the front wall.
As well, the loft floor-joist is complete and the OSB sub-floor is glued and nailed down.
Here’s a floor plan refresher to get your bearings of where we’re headed.
We covered a complete floor plan overview in our Off Grid Cabin Floor Plan post.
Today we started off by finishing the framing of the East facing end wall.
The sunrise through the two large windows will be incredible!
Don’t forget there’s a “How To: Framing 101” section we posted on our first day of framing.
Finishing Up East Facing Side Wall
The horizontal joists above are only a temporary work platform built in order to access the east facing wall.
This wall is 20 feet tall and could not have been built and stood as one piece by the two of us.
NOTE: This is the only exterior wall that was framed using 2 x 6’s – 16″ O.C. Also note the tripled-up 2 x 6 in the center. This will make up one of the three main support posts for the roof.
The rest of the exterior walls are all 2 x 4 – 16″oc. The reason this one end wall was framed using 2 x 6’s is because this main living room incorporated a cathedral ceiling and there will be no additional horizontal support beams as seen in other cabins.
These horizontal beams are called “collar ties” or “rafter tires” depending where they tie in.
We wanted a completely open design without any load bearing beams obstructing the open concept.
Not that this looks in anyway unappealing but we wanted to save on wood, work and test an new roof truss design that will NOT require these support beams. Stay tuned for that post!
The entire roof load will be carried vertically through the exterior walls and through the 3 main vertical support beams and directly into the foundation blocks.
This is unlike 99% of most roof trusses which actually push the exterior walls OUTWARDS and not actually straight down.
HANDY TOOL: One of the most handy items we had that any build site can’t be without is an aluminum folding work platform.
Once the end and the front walls were framed we sheathed them with 7/16″ 4′ X 8′ OSB.
Finishing Up Front Wall Framing
With both sides and rear wall of the main floor framed and sheathed we have only the front wall to complete.
Here we have three window openings. One in the kitchen and two for the living room which will face the lake.
There’s also the main entrance door opening where we’ll install a front door with a window for even more sun and beautiful views!
We have an upcoming post covering the 11 essential factors of choosing off grid windows and doors.
Plus we did a complete post detailing the How To Install Vinyl Windows and How To Install The Front Door.
At this point with all exterior walls sheathed and secure, we wanted to ensure that the cabin is still level BEFORE we start installing the rafters.
It’s easy to check for level by using just a few nails, some string, and a level.
TIP: Measure from the bottom of the support beams to a point approx 2 feet up the wall and drive in a nail. Repeat on all 4 corners and connect the nails with your string. Align a 4′ level on the top (or bottom) edge the string to check for level.
The reason we don’t put the level directly on the bottom edge of the OSB is that it’s possible the OSB wasn’t cut perfectly straight, it could have swelled with moisture, or it just may not have been nailed on squarely.
If you ever do need to re-level the cabin at any point simply build a quick make-shift lever with a scrap piece of lumber and fulcrum using a few logs.
Here’s one way to do it…
Framing The Interior Main Load Bearing Wall
The main interior wall is comprised of 2 x 4 placed 16″ O.C.
This is the main load bearing wall for the loft.
The wall is placed directly above the center main floor joist center beam.
Building The Center Load Bearing Post
There will be three vertical posts helping support the roof.
This is the center post we’re building here.
The center post we’ve built from tripling up 2 x 6’s with and DAP construction adhesive and nailing it together.
The other two end posts are incorporated into the design of the wall framing itself.
We continue to use 2 x 6’s to build up our vertical post.
We secured the post to the loft floor joist as well.
TOOLS: Another handy tool that we couldn’t be without were bar-clamps.
There were several times these happily took the place of a pair of hands.
We created a wood surround to secure the bottom and prevent the post from shifting.
TIP: You don’t have long before the DAP expanding construction adhesive dries so pre-cut any pieces you may need ahead of time.
The completed vertical support beam.
Wrapping The Cabin Exterior With Tyvek
With the main floor walls sheathed in 7/16′ OSB and the center vertical support beam completed we next needed to wrap the exterior in Tyvek.
We have an excellent house wrap (also called Typar) “How To Video” by one of our favorite handyman Shannon from HouseImprovments.
We got help from the family for this part.
TIP: Before leaving the cabin for the night we made “V” shaped cuts in the Tyvek where the window cut outs are to help keep any potential rain out ( we did put a tarp over the top) but still allow the air to move through the cabin and dry it out. to
View facing East from the loft.
That “wraps up” the main floor framing!
Here’s a panoramic view from the inside…
Tomorrow we begin the main roof rafters.
This will be an in-depth look at how we tackled what most people feel is the most complicated portion of the build.
With our roof rafter technique it’ll be painless but not quick.
We actually spent the majority of our time framing the roof and for good reason.
It’s the roof!
We also decided to install a steel roof on our cabin instead of the typical asphalt shingles used in local home construction here in Nova Scotia.
This will add longevity to the roof and for us improve the over all look of the cabin.
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