Wiring a Tiny House

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We were unable to make use of much in the way of recycled materials for the wiring. I did go to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in search of outlet and switches, but elected to use newer fixtures with safety features.

**Disclaimer** I am not an electrician and am giving no advice (no good advice) on the subject. You probably shouldn’t wire your house by yourself. But for your entertainment…

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I decided to go with 12 gauge wire to cut down on voltage loss and to allow for future upgrades. I was somewhat daunted by this aspect of building before starting, but as I watched a few DIY videos I became more at ease. After completing the electrical work I would say that it was one of the easier jobs thus far.

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I bought a small (6 slot) standard breaker box and drew a diagram of our outlet, switch, fan, smoke detector and light fixture arrangement based on our floor plan. I ended up using 3 circuits, 2 of which are GFCI protected. We have 3-way switches to allow us to control the kitchen lights from both levels, dimming LED recessed lights in the living room, tamper resistant outlets throughout and 2 outdoor outlets.


A few tips:

I feel like the heavy duty plastic boxes are worth the extra money; the cheap ones just seem too flimsy.

The tamper resistant outlets are a good option if you have or plan to have kids.

The good wire strippers are worth the money. Klein makes a set that strips Romex as well as 12/14 AWG wire and cuts the wire with ease.

3-way switches aren’t all that difficult to wire and they will make your life easier in the long run.

GFCI outlets are cheaper than the GFCI breakers and do the same job. We put one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom


Siding a Tiny House with Up-cycled Fencing

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This may not be the easiest way to produce a pretty exterior for your home, but we were set on using recycled material and we’re happy with the results.

We happened to be in the city and with some time to spare we decided to look for lumber we could use for siding. We had not decided whether to use shingles, ship lap or board and batten as we began perusing Craigslist. We somehow came to the idea (I can’t claim that this was an original thought because I truly don’t remember) to find old cedar and/or redwood fencing – a cheap and weather-resilient material.20141028_16465120141103_174134

The fence panels were old and weathered. It was clear that planks and whole panels had been replaced over the years. As I started removing planks from the cross-members, it became evident that not all of the wood was usable. I cut off the splintered and knotty pieces and began screwing the mismatched lumber to the exterior. It all came together much nicer than expected as a mosaic of color unfurled.

What I expected to take 4-5 days took nearly 3 weeks to complete! I took my time ensuring the edges were flush and the trim fit nicely. We ran out of fencing material and settled on corrugated metal for much of the north and east sides of the house. I plan to use muriatic acid to remove the tin coating and let the steel find a nice patina, but that can wait. We will also be placing a clear coat over the siding to protect it from the elements.

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In summation for $180 in lumber, $20 in screws and $80 in corrugated metal we made the exterior nice to look at. We used only a skill saw and cordless drill for this phase of the project and a healthy dose of patience. Now it’s time for wiring…