Yesterday all the building materials for the cabin (from Home Depot) arrived and were dropped off at the top of the hill.
We had already brought most of the smaller building materials down using our ATV and a small utility trailer so that we could get a head start.
Thankfully the excavator operator who was concurrently building our access road was able to sling down some of the heavier materials for us.
We slung the 3 concrete footings, 36 bags of crusher dust (2,376lbs in total) as a large portion of the lumber.
Home Depot did however slightly dropped the ball.
They forgot to load our steel roof onto the delivery truck which had been stored for us on one of the top shelves inside Home Depot.
The roof was ordered through Home Depot and came shipped from the roofing company in Ontario earlier than expected. Hence why it was waiting at the store for a few days.
They also forgot 36 additional 8″ cinder blocks and the 12 24″ x 24″ concrete pads.
However… they did deliver us 10 1/2″ 4ft X 8ft OSB instead of 10 3/4″ T&G OSB and a good portion of the dimensional lumber is actually longer than we had ordered.
Finally they delivered us 3 extra 10ft 6″ X 6″ pressure treated posts. SCORE!
BUILDERS-TIP: Often times if the length of lumber you ordered isn’t available the store may provide you with longer (never shorter) lumber for for the same price as your quote. They want your business and will often take a hit on the cost of lumber in order to keep you happy and keep your business.
Getting this part right is paramount. We discovered after peeling back the top layer of organic material that the underlying material was stone, very compact dirt and solid grey clay. Probably the best case scenario for the type of area we’re in (close to the water). The excavator was able to level the ground out incredibly well for us and that meant minimal manual leveling for us.
Deciding where to build. This was all about the orientation of the cabin to the lake and sun. Luckily both are perfectly in-line and it was only a matter of rotating the layout to suit our view.
BUILDERS-TIP: If you plan on ever installing roof top solar panels then NOW is the time to advantageously plan the orientation of your cabin. This includes not only the surrounding trees (shading) and the orientation of the cabin to the sun but the actual pitch of your roof as well. A quick tip for the pitch of your solar panels… match your latitude (found using Google Earth) to the pitch of your panels (this is for fixed pitch solar panels like ours, meaning we don’t plan on moving them as the seasons change). For more info check out www.solarpaneltilt.com
The Cabin will be 16ft deep (front to back) and 20ft wide with an additional 8ft deep deck (front to back) and 20ft wide.
We put in simple wooden stakes to mark out the orientation of the cabin and then leveled out the ground with a shovel.
We’ll be using 6 concrete pads with cinder blocks on top as the footing for the foundation beam to rest on.
An invaluable tool we used to help us get the foundation perfectly level quickly was this super cheap string level. I highly recommend you pick one up!
BUILDERS-TIP: When I share the tools we used I will always look online and find you not only the BEST price for the tool but also a HIGH QUALITY and AMAZON RECOMMENDED tool. I’m all about sharing the best of the best with you and even though this line level is LESS than $3… it’s Amazon’s top choice for line levels and ours as well!
Another tool that sped up the building process ten fold every day was this small but mighty laser level. This is Amazon’s top choice for laser level and ours as well. We’ve used different laser levels during the build and this reigns king! This easily reaches from one end of the cabin build to the other even on the brightest days outside.
That level survived being dropped from 30ft, being stepped on and dug out of the mud. It never failed. The battery never died. It’s just plain indestructible.
For a complete list of all the tools we used in the build process you can see our 63 must have off grid tools post.
We used these pieces of lumber and the level to “grade” the ground and finally level it all off with bags of crusher dust.
We will be placing 24″ X 24″ concrete patio slab paver stones on Quikrete All-Purpose-Sand sand and then stacking the cinder blocks on top of that.
Some folks have asked what patio slab stone exactly we used.We used the Shaw Brick 24″ x 24″ Patio Slab Paver you see here.
It might be less than $10 but this Stanley Powerlock 25ft Tape Rule (measuring tape) survived everything we threw at it. We ran it over with the excavator, dropped it from roof top onto the rocks, left it outside in the rain and even dug one out of the ground a year after we “thought” we’d lost it and I still use it today!
Three 10ft 6″ X 6″ pressure treated posts will be supporting the roof over the front deck and that is why we have the three concrete post footings there.
It took a good amount of time to get the foundation perfectly leveled and square but it’s critical to get this part right.
Next time, we’ll will finish up the foundation footings, build the support beams for the floor joists and start the floor joist.
Be sure and share our progress if you feel it worthy of your time.
Here’s a special pin for our Pinterest fans.
See you at the top!