EcoRenovator  

Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Renovations & New Construction
Advanced Search
 


Blog Register 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-23-12, 11:22 AM   #1
MetroMPG
Infrequent noob
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: 1000 Islands region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 398
Thanks: 28
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Default My "10 year project": rebuilding an efficient "tiny" crooked house in Canada

So, I have taken on a giant new project ... in the form of a tiny house.

It needs a ton of work, and my nebulous, non-time-framed goal is to make it far more energy efficient than it is now, on a tight budget.

It's a ~580 square foot beauty - a bank reposession (the previous owner passed away with an outstanding home line of credit).



Some parts of it are even structurally sound! (The real estate ad called it a "true" handyman special. You know they're not joking when they add the "true" adjective.)

It will not be hard to make it more efficient than it is now: the original building is about 100 years old, poorly insulated, leaks air like a sieve and has single pane windows.

It needs to be gutted, which makes it an ideal project for eco-renovation:
  • There's water damage in most of the ceilings - fortunately, the roof was just replaced by the bank before I bought it.
  • There's next to no insulation in the walls & ceiling 2-3 inches of batt fiberglass
  • Air sealing is bad
  • There are no vapour barriers
But the worst thing about my mansion is that it's crooked. The original building (right side of photo, gable end with porch) was built on a concrete pad (no basement/crawlspace), on improperly compacted ground. As a result, it has settled naturally over the decades and is now seriously tilted, listing comically to port and down in the stern by a good 6 inches!

The rear bedroom addition (left side of photo) is on concrete footings down to bedrock, so it's level & square. It's the only part of the house that is level & square.

Three of four friends with lots of building/reno experience have said they would just knock it down and start over. But that's not in the budget. The tilt & crooked issues will be an attempt-to-repair and/or "just live with it" exercise.

Why did I buy such a sparkling gem of engineering? I have little idea what I'm doing, but learning curves are fun. Also, the lot is great and in a nice location, and the price was right (essentially, I paid for the lot - the house was free).

I started this thread now because I just saw that a local environmental group is putting on a presentation next month about passive house design. I'm not pretending I'm going to rebuild this palace to heat it just with love, sunshine and a couple of candles, but I definitely want to make it much better than it is, and ideally better than average.

Since it needs to be gutted anyway, why not?

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Google-streetview-500px.jpg
Views:	1840
Size:	47.1 KB
ID:	2108  
__________________
.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 11:32 AM   #2
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,380
Thanks: 1,025
Thanked 352 Times in 287 Posts
Default

Sounds like fun, can't wait to see what you end up doing with it.
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 11:41 AM   #3
MetroMPG
Infrequent noob
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: 1000 Islands region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 398
Thanks: 28
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Default

Well, at the pace I tend to work, you will get very good at waiting!

I think it will be mostly fun, too. (Though occasionally I find myself questioning my sanity for what I've gotten myself into.)
__________________
.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 12:15 PM   #4
MetroMPG
Infrequent noob
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: 1000 Islands region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 398
Thanks: 28
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Default Floor plans, systems stats





A sign of times past: 5 (five!) kids were raised in this 580 sq. ft. house. The room I call "storage" was probably actually a third bedroom at one point.

I plan to remove the walls of the bedroom in the living room (they were added), and open up the kitchen to the living room as well.

Systems:
  • city water
  • water heat: natural gas, 40 gal tank (I'll be changing this)
  • septic tank & bed
  • heat 1: old school natural gas "wall furnace"/space heater in living room
  • heat 2: I bought a little Vermont Castings catalytic wood stove/fireplace, not yet installed (rated to heat 2x this square footage, and it's their smallest)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	sketchup-export2.jpg
Views:	3149
Size:	68.2 KB
ID:	2110   Click image for larger version

Name:	floor-plan-2011.jpg
Views:	2377
Size:	22.7 KB
ID:	2111  
__________________
.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 12:20 PM   #5
MetroMPG
Infrequent noob
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: 1000 Islands region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 398
Thanks: 28
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Default

The house was built in stages with several add-ons.

I think it originally may have been just a shed/garage for the bigger house next door (just the living room area).

When it was converted to a house, the kitchen was added, then the left bedroom wing, and the rear storage room.
__________________
.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 01:54 PM   #6
Piwoslaw
Super Moderator
 
Piwoslaw's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Posts: 916
Thanks: 167
Thanked 91 Times in 76 Posts
Default

Nice project!

Since you don't want to tear it down and start over (I don't argue with masochists)...

Which side is South? That would help with which windows to reduce the size of or where to locate new ones. In the pic in the first post I can see the shade from the utility pole - if that is south or west, then you could close off that part of the house's "L" shape with a sunroom/greenhouse.
__________________
Ecorenovation - the bottomless piggy bank that tries to tame the energy hog.
Piwoslaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 01:57 PM   #7
MetroMPG
Infrequent noob
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: 1000 Islands region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 398
Thanks: 28
Thanked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Default

I'll update the floor plan image, but the bottom of the image is south east.

The main reason I don't want to tear down/rebuild is it forces me to do everything at once, and spend a lot of money up front (that I don't have). I work too slowly for that; I'd rather pick away at things.

EDIT: floor plan updated with compass rose.

EDIT2: who's the masochist - the knock down/rebuild it guys, or me for considering trying to fix up a crooked/tilted old house?
__________________
.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

  • To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MetroMPG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 03:23 PM   #8
MN Renovator
Less usage=Cheaper bills
 
MN Renovator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 913
Thanks: 41
Thanked 108 Times in 83 Posts
Default

If the house was any bigger I'd say that most people would be way over their head. Considering that the foundation sinking is only part of this non-oversized house then I hope that won't be too big of a challenge. Any plans on how you will try and fix the sinky/tilty issue? I'm interested in your overall plans for overhaul and will patiently watch as things come together. I'm also curious about your future intended floor plan. I was thinking if the porch wasn't that important and if the wall structure could support it to integrate the porch into the house and have a bedroom there. How many bedrooms are you looking to have in the end? It looks like the living room bedroom is 10'x6' or in 3x2 meters. I'll let you plan, I'm sure we'll all find out soon enough.

Of course, with all things, good luck!
MN Renovator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 03:45 PM   #9
TimJFowler
Apprentice EcoRenovator
 
TimJFowler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 184
Thanks: 9
Thanked 12 Times in 11 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
So, I have taken on a giant new project ... in the form of a tiny house....

Some parts of it are even structurally sound! (The real estate ad called it a "true" handyman special. You know they're not joking around when they say "true".)

... Since it needs to be gutted anyway, why not?
Congratulations and Good Luck! If you take your time and do this one project at a time it will be manageable.

I would suggest starting with the foundation (there are companies that specialize in this) and go from there.

FWIW,
Tim
__________________
- DIY Adventures in Applied Sustainability -

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
TimJFowler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-12, 03:52 PM   #10
S-F
You Ain't Me
 
S-F's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northampton MA
Posts: 662
Thanks: 6
Thanked 70 Times in 58 Posts
Default

Congratulations! Were I a bachelor That's exactly the kind of place I'd love to have!

I second the suggestion of starting with the foundation. If later on down the road you decide to do it the house, and all of your hard work, will pop apart. Particularly if you do things like use rigid or spray foam insulation. It will pop right off. There goes $4,000 + worth of petrochemicals that you have to tear down drywall to remove. Oops.

__________________
My project:


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Chipping away on a daily basis.

Quote:
You know you're an ecorenovator if anything worth insulating is worth superinsulating.
Quote:
S-F: "What happens when you slam the door on a really tight house? Do the basement windows blow out?"

Green Building Guru: "You can't slam the door on a really tight house. You have to work to pull it shut."
S-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design