Plumbing & Kitchens

Sheila Working on Kitchen Cabinets

Sheila Working on Kitchen Cabinets

April 19, 2015

Sheila and I had a really good day working on the tiny house yesterday. I spent most of the day working on plumbing for the house and Sheila spent most of the day assembling the IKEA cabinetry for the kitchen. It has been a while since we have worked together on the tiny house and I really enjoyed it. It was also nice to work on separate projects so we could go at our own pace, not get in each other’s way, ask the other one for help if needed and still be near each other all day.

I have actually been thinking about and working on the plumbing off and on for quite a while now. First, I figured out and marked exactly where the drains would go for my shower and both of my sinks. Then, I carefully determined where all of the metal struts and rails were on the trailer and ensured that none of my holes would hit metal when I came out the bottom. Finally, I spent some time underneath the trailer trying to figure out how to appropriately route the plumbing out of all the holes so that it would all connect together at the appropriate downward slope (1/4” per feet) and still not hit any of the metal struts under the trailer. It was only after I had finished all of this planning that I felt confident enough to start cutting pipe and holes in my floor.

Cutting Pipe with Miter Saw (maybe not the easiest way, but it worked)

Cutting Pipe with Miter Saw (maybe not the easiest way, but it worked)

Hole for Kitchen Sink Drain

Hole for Kitchen Sink Drain

I started my day yesterday by finalizing my layout for the plumbing and drilling holes for bathroom sink and kitchen sink drains (I had drilled a hole for my shower drain earlier). Then, I spent a number of hours cutting pipe to length and dry fitting it together. I tried to do most of my pipe layout above the floor because it’s a heck of a lot easier to work above the floor than under the trailer. However, I did have to go under the trailer a few times to test things out before making a few adjustments. By about 1:00 PM, I had everything about the way I wanted it and decided to start gluing it together.

Pipe Layed out Above the Floor

Pipe Layed out Above the Floor

I have never glued PVC pipe together before. The glue that you use is a little bit scary looking, but works really well. It comes in a little metal can, is as black as tar and behaves exactly like the oobleck from that Dr. Seuss book. It comes with a little applicator which you use to paint the glue onto both sides of the fitting. You then quickly slide the fitting together, turn it a quarter turn and within a few seconds, it’s completely locked together (hence the need to work quickly).

Gluing Male Side

Gluing Male Side

Gluing Female Side

Gluing Female Side

Putting It All Together

Putting It All Together

I glued together all of the pipes that will go under the house in three separate sections which I plan to join together after installing each section under the house. For obvious reasons, I wanted to minimize the amount of joints but I had to try to glue together while working underneath the trailer.

To make sure that I got all of the joints together in the right orientation I used a pencil to mark a line on both pieces of every single fitting so that when I pulled them apart, added glue and pushed them back together, I could return them to exactly the same orientation, ensuring that all of my geometry would stay the same.

By the time I was done gluing my pieces together, Sheila was nearly done with her cabinets and we decided to take a break. It was about 3:30 PM and Sheila remembered that we could get half-price burgers at Armadillo Willy’s, until 4:00 PM, so that’s where we went. I love the bacon cheeseburger at Armadillo Willy’s, especially when it’s half-price, you have been working hard on construction projects all day and haven’t eaten since 8:00 AM.

Completed Cabinets!

Completed Cabinets!

When we got back to the house, we got to have a little bit of fun. We carried the kitchen cabinets into the tiny house and started arranging them the way they would be in the final kitchen. We propped the kitchen sink and the surface of the two burner stove in place and added a little bit of plywood as a makeshift countertop. Once we were finished, it actually looked surprisingly like a kitchen.

I think putting the kitchen together yesterday was the first time since I started building the house that I could actually envision finishing the tiny house. I could be fooling myself, but it’s starting to seem to me like I don’t actually have all that much left to do. Have to run the PEX water lines, I want to build a little container box for batteries and propane on the tongue of the trailer, we have to install some kind of floor and of course, we need to put up insulation and interior siding. However, I think that’s about it. I know. It’s still a lot. But I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Problems I ran into yesterday:

  • One problem I ran into was discovering that my pipes fit together differently with the glue on them than they did when they were dry. When PVC pipes are dry, they fit almost all the way together, but not quite. When you add glue, they slip together much more easily (for at least a few seconds) and the two pieces end up bottoming out about 1/8 inch closer to each other then during the dry fit, changing the dimensions of your carefully laid out plumbing. Once I realized what was happening, I re-cut a couple of my pipes about a 1/4 inch longer to ensure my geometry in critical places would still work out.
  • The other problem we ran into yesterday was discovering that Ikea shorted us a couple of angle brackets. I really hate that store (that’s a story for another blog entry) and it would take more than a couple of missing brackets to make me go back over there. So instead, we simply took some angle brackets we had left over from the house build, drilled the holes a little bit bigger, marked and drilled some corresponding pilot holes in the cabinets and got everything to come together.

Favorite parts of the day:

  • Spending the day with Sheila
  • Having a burger at Armadillo Willy’s
  • Assembling the kitchen inside the tiny house
Kitchen!!

Kitchen!!

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