08 October 2009

ALL THE BAD CHOICES I'VE CHOSEN: Killing the Planet, Killing Myself: Why I'd rather be building with straw and mud, period.

? but the rot...
I used this on the 2"x6" redwood decking that I ripped down to 2" x 3 5/8" to be the base sill plate. The decking was salvaged from someone in Santa Rosa and has places with dry rot. I don't like the decision I made, nevertheless, I do not want the rot to transfer from the redwood to the fir framing the rest of the house. If anyone has any alternative options to the nasty wood preserve, please leave a comment here!

? but the rust...
Another decision I don't like. The paint seems like it will do a superior job at keeping rust from eating away at my foundation, but the stuff is nasty. If anyone has any hot ways to keep rust off steel that are less nasty, please comment here.

? rigid foam insulation
sure, yes, by all means, insulate your house, insulate the heck out of it, depending on the climate you live in, that is probably a good idea. nevertheless, this rigid foam is nasty. i know i've got to get more articulate with these things, i'm just giving a first stab at articulation here. the hanging shiny particulates when you cut this stuff is not good for babies, other humans, plants, soil, water systems and so on.


  1. pretty much speechless but just want you to know that i'm listening, totally, with admiration, perplexity?, and love.
    if you ever feel so inclined i would love to hear more about your imaginings: the hows, whys and wheres your home on wheels might be?

  2. Jenine,
    Hi, just found your blog through the tinyhouseblog. I am enjoying following your adventures. I am reading through your blog, and I hope my reply is not too late to deal with your rust on your trailer. There is a product called Rusteco, at It is supposedly not only great for rust, it can be reused and when it's done you are supposed to be able to pour it into your garden as fertilizer. There is also electrolosis, check youtube and search for electrolosis. I am fixing up an old truck for my daughter, and have treated the rust with POR 15, which I bought at a local auto repair store. It's pretty good, you swipe the rust with a brush and then brush it on. I have used a small can so far spot treating the heck out of that little truck and my jeep, and there's plenty left. It is supposed to be good enough that if you treat a steel part you can beat it with a hammer and it will not flake off, it just bends with the steel. It's the best rust treatment I have used, personally. After you treat the rust you can paint right over the POR 15. Good stuff.

    Good luck on your new home, looks great. I have a tiny home I am renting to downsize my life, and a tiny trailer I got for $500 from a guy at work. What a sweet deal. I may build a small house like yours someday, I am certainly enjoying your blog, your progress, and your philosophy. I notice you have a bit of a different roof than the usual tiny house, it's interesting.

    Take care,
    Lauren Neher

  3. Great Lauren, thanks so much for the info. At best, this blog can offer a place to share info so we can all have a better sense of our options when making decisions. I already used Rustoleum paint, but I will definitely look into POR 15 and Rusteco. I can tell my friends who are trying to make that same decision of how to deal with rust on steel.

    Do you have pictures of your tiny home? I'm curious to see. I made up most of my plans with I was living in a 12' trailer. I didn't like the layout inside, I mean, it was cute and all, but it didn't fit my life. So I set up a kitchen and workshop space outside, then after a few months took measurements and made drawings based on the structures I had patched together since I knew they were the right size for how I lived. I really recommend that. Just carry a tape measure and have a notebook to store dimensions of spaces that feel comfortable. Closet size, desk depth, sink width, that kind of thing.

    Thanks for noticing the roof. Deciding that roofline was one of the biggest choices in this whole thing!

  4. FROM ASA:

    I assume you have it under control, but if not, I believe one non-toxic way to treat them is to drill holes into the wood, and inject a borax solution into the holes (20 Mule Team is the shelf name of one brand, it's just hand soap/cleaning powder). Unfortunately when my mother had a termite infestation in her house, they had spread so much that we had to use the noxious commercial stuff + an exterminator. Just a warning; we found termites to be quite tenacious little buggers. Very much a "tip of the iceberg" situation, as with mice / cockroaches: where you see one, there's more.

    Here's a quick link to a forum where some people are discussing borax toxicity: