Monthly Archives: August 2014

Water Issues

It’s been raining like crazy the last few days. Two nights ago I discovered every homeowner’s dread: water damage and mold. I began working on it immediately, thinking it was a bathroom caulking issue, but this morning I discovered it wasn’t. Instead, water had gotten between my skirting insulation and my floor and wicked up through the wall. Investigating further, water also somehow got inside another wall and was wicking through there as well.

My house is a portable cabin. The structure was pre built and insulated before I bought it. As it turns out, the builder didn’t apparently use Tyvek or other house wrap, so there isn’t a good water barrier, definitely not enough to resist the recent torrents. It’s survived spring rains fine, but maybe this rain came at a different angle. It survive last fall’s rains, but maybe water got in then, too, and it just wasn’t enough to soak clear through the walls. And maybe the skirting made all the difference, keeping it from drying completely. I skirted it after last fall’s rains.

Whatever happened, I’m now looking at $2000 of new siding and house wrap, as well as other damage repairs. This is much cheaper than it could have been or than it would have been in a big house, but still a huge set back in my long range goals.

And so another few lessons learned: make sure you have proper moisture management, don’t take someone else’s abilities on good faith alone, and move your furniture out from the walls after big rains to ensure none of that water got in.

Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner

I’ve been in my small cabinet a year now. Here are some things I wish I’d known a year ago:
There isn’t much to do at times in the country. There’s less to do when you don’t yet have farm animals, can’t work the ground, and due to extreme weather can’t drive into town.
There is a point at which sleeping during all these times is no longer feasible.
Birds nest in any space off the ground they can squeeze into. Mice do the same with ground level small spaces. Cats, bats, roaches, wasps and ants seem to fill anything that’s left.
Storage space is essential.
All those nifty nooks I’ve seen are nice, but they don’t replace cabinets or closets.
No matter how much I prefer showers, there are times when nothing takes the place of a nice hot bath.
Having an entryway, foyer, or even a storm door saves hours spent chasing flies.
Rain and snow invade spaces around window ACs and heaters. This is very bad for houses.
There are some very good reasons for flashing and gutters. In a house that won’t be moved, install both immediately.
However long you think something will take, for planning purposes double that estimate.
Trim is very difficult to mitre cut.
Always enlist the help of at least one friend.
Expect changes to plans. Since I’d never lived in such a small space, this last year has required me to learn more about myself, to make some drastic lifestyle changes, to rethink what is most important about living small to me.
Be happy for the experience no matter where it leads you.
Realize many of these could be true of any first time home owner… or even of an experienced homeowner. Just on a much larger scale.