Framing And Using Reclaimed Insulation

I’ve been collecting building materials for literally years.  Some of it I’ve used already in various projects, some have sat there, collecting dust and waiting.  One of my favorite finds was 2 full sheets of 2″ polyisocyanurate for only $8 each.  That’s incredibly cheap for quality insulation, at approx 13 R-value.  And now it has finally found a use. 🙂

First though, some pictures showing the steps I’ve taken so far.

Equivalent to a home's foundation.

Metal frame is the equivalent to a home’s foundation.

Reclaimed metal roofing panels set onto the truck frame.

Reclaimed metal roofing panels set onto the truck frame.

Had to cut around the metal bracing.  Wood is set on special barrier to protect it from metal condensation.

Had to cut the rim joists around the metal bracing. Wood is set on special barrier to protect it from metal condensation.

Used a 4x6 for the rim joist as I needed the thickness to match up with the bolt holes in the truck frame.

Used a 4×6 for the rim joist as I needed the thickness to match up with the bolt holes in the truck frame.  Once I get them installed it will all become clear.

Didn't have quite enough to cover the whole bed, so used 1/4

Didn’t have quite enough polyisocyanurate to cover the whole bed, so used 1/4″ layers of some rigid insulation to fill the gap.

So it looks like the blue insulation isn’t laying level in the last picture.  That is due to the metal panels having ridges which are pushing the pieces of insulation up.  Once the joists are in, the insulation will be perfectly fine.  This type of insulation is rigid, and doesn’t easily get squashed (which loses R-Value).

I’m a real fan of insulating well. This bottom layer of insulation isn’t the only one for the floor.  I’m using 2×6 joists set at 24″ On Center, as I already have a supply of Roxul that sized for that opening.  Roxul, like polyisocyanurate, handles moisture well and isn’t susceptible to bugs.  So these bats will go between the joists, creating another level of insulation.

In the last picture is one joist that I place there just to admire it 🙂  Nothing is bolted, nailed or screwed down yet, as I need to return the bolts I bought and get longer ones…sigh.  I always end up returning something I’ve sized wrong…at least this is an easy fix.

For the mess of metal bracing behind the cab, I believe I’ve figured out a solution.  I got hot and tired so didn’t do it yesterday, but will today as soon as I get back from the hardware store with the proper bolts.  I will take pictures, although it might look wonky.  You asked for the pictures, and you shall have them!

I’ll also show the bolts installed to show the strength of the framing.  This will be a good, strong little space.

These are the holes that are placed every two feet along the edges of the truck bed.

These are the holes that are placed every two feet along the edges of the truck bed.

Thanks for reading my little blog about my little house Oliver’s Nest.  I appreciate it very much!

Peace to you all.

The Drama Is Over ~ The Sheathing Is Up.

The last bit of sheathing on the northern side only took four hours to put on.  I felt so much relief to have it finished!     I think this last bit looks pretty good.  Had to sit down and drink a blueberry beer to celebrate.


Sheathing up all around!

Sheathing up all around!

Look at that sad and lonely little window.  It’s the only window on the north side because I’m trying for passive solar, but it is so plain on this side!  I’m worried about making the exterior look good.

The floor is now totally ripped up to allow all the pooled up moisture to evaporate.  I know what mistake I made ~ I shouldn’t have layered the rigid insulation over the wool.  It kept the water that leaked in from the exposed edges from having a way to dry.  I should have known to trust the wool ~ after all, it’s ability to drain and dry and stay great is well known.

So it’s all out now, and there is an immense pile of mostly dry, fluffy wool that has taken over Oliver’s Nest.  It looks like a herd of sheep exploded in there ~ in fact, there is more insulation than floor now.  I think all the fluffing has expanded it greatly.  I wonder if I was supposed to fluff if this much before I put it in?  That would explain why there didn’t seem to be enough wool left for the rest of the house…I just put way too much into the floor.   I’ll have to start stuffing stud spaces where no wiring or plumbing will go to handle the overflow.

2014-07-30 13.09.02

Mid-excavation. The wool hasn’t expanded to it’s full potential yet..

I took the day off today to rest my knee again.  It was really hurting by the end of the day Thursday, I’m not sure why.  It feels better now, here at 1:45 am, so it looks like I’ll be able to get started on hanging the felt paper.  I’ve read how-tos online and watched videos, so hopefully this will go smoothly.  It is recommended that you have two people work on putting up the wrap so it will be tight and secure, but with my house being so small, it might be OK.  We’ll see.

Plywood Sheathing Almost Complete

Once again I change my plans.  I’m free to do so as no-one else is inconvenienced by it. 🙂

I was going to skip hanging the building felt paper altogether.  I forgot, though, what my favorite website Building Science has to say:

“The drainage plane in this assembly is the building paper or building wrap. The air barrier can be any of the following: the interior gypsum board, the exterior stucco rendering, the exterior sheathing or the exterior building wrap.”

Since Oliver’s Nest will live in a very cold climate, the air barrier should be to the inside and  latex-painted barn board attached to thin plywood will serve that function.

(Quote and pictures copied from from


In Oliver’s Nest, substitute ceder siding and metal roof panels for the painted stucco with paper bond break.  They act similarly.  Then the thin rigid foam panels, which were going to serve as the drain field.  But the author recommends building paper (ah-ha!) as the drain field.  Then, plywood sheathing and the wool inside the wood stud cavity.  On the interior of the wall will be a very thin layer of plywood and latex-painted wood boards (fastened to the thin plywood), which act like the “Kraft facing on a fiberglass batt or a “smart vapor barrier membrane” combined with the latex-painted gypsum board.  I researched and it’s a very fine substitute. The big change is that my drain field *was* going to be the water-impermeable rigid foam panels, instead of the more water-permeable building felt.  This change allows a much easier exit for water vapor inside the wall assembly.  It’s important.  I’m glad I caught it.

As the rigid foam panels I have are very thin at a quarter inch, my walls are more like the above than the below illustration:


If I were able to use much thicker foam insulation, I would go with the above design, but I’m limited by house width and (mostly) financial constraints.  If I had the funds, I’d go wide.  After all, the roof is almost 10 feet across.  In fact, now I’m wondering whether to use the foam panels at all, as they won’t provide a thermal break as much as the drain field does, rendering them pretty much unhelpful.  They are a process I think I can safely skip.  Very nice.  I have a future project on my property that they were originally intended for anyway.

I went ahead and finished with the plywood sheathing across the South side.  It ended up looking like this:

Yeah, there are wider gaps...I know.

Yeah, there are wide gaps…I know.

Ugly but functional.  Now just the upper part of the North side and I can go forward with the building felt.  I had a couple rolls from the Restore that got wet in a sideways rain storm, so went back and got a couple more for $5 each.  Not happy that the originals got ruined, but so it goes when you don’t have an indoor space to build and store supplies.  I’d recommend one.
Based on my past performance, it’ll take a couple to three days to finish getting up the plywood.  I have no idea how long hanging the building felt will take. Hopefully not more than a couple days.  We’ll see!

Oh! And the wool?  It’s drying so fast that I’m fluffing a couple times a day instead of every couple days, so the whole process is going super quick.  It’s looking like I won’t need the dehumidifier.  Unless it starts raining again before I get this baby weather-tight.  My poor knee.