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I need temporary shelter

 
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I bought 5 acres with a very old creepy mobile home and a pole barn. The mobile home will go eventually. It needs more work than it is worth. At this point it is how I can insure my property. The pole barn will eventually be my home. It needs some siding to be replaced. Some of the roof leaks. It has a shower, but needs to have a new toilet and sink and water lines. There is electric and no heat.  There is a spot for a kitchen. I'm used to camping and have lived in a van for short time. But I need to sleep somewhere now.  I need my van to move stuff and haul materials.

I'm kind of thinking about putting a metal shed inside the pole barn and insulating over it and at least have a warm spot. I worry about condensation.

The other idea I had was to put a plastic car port in the pole barn and insulate that. It would be quick and cheap.  Condensation?

Anybody got thoughts?
 
pollinator
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I did the plastic tarp carport.  Works great in mild weather.  Too much space in cold weather, added a bed tent to cut down the space to keep warm at night.  Electric mattress pads are wonderful, partners and dogs are better. Any other heat source is worrisome.

 
gardener
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Location: PNW
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How long do you anticipate "temporary" to be? What's the weather like where you are? What will it be like for the duration of your needs? Temperature range? How bug does it need to be? Just something to sleep in or ?
 
miriam hawkins
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Thank you. I mainly need a clean dry place sleep and relax (to store stuff I need every day) hopefully until next fall and winter. I do not need a real large space. I do want some climate control.
 
Posts: 117
Location: East Tennessee
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Buy a cheap dome tent and set it up under the pole barn, it will be dry there, and you can zip it up to keep the bugs out. Plus it can hold some heat and protect you from wind. If its not warm enough you can throw a blanket over it.
 
miriam hawkins
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I should add. I'm in indiana. Usually we get fairly mild weather. This year has been pretty cold. I expect to need some good sized fans in the summer. I thought about fixing up a cargo trailer to park inside but it would cost more and may not be any more climate controlled than a temp structure. There are lots of videos about fixing a cargo trailer for a camper. The trailer could be sold later. A shed could in theory be moved and used. I don't know about a carport - harbor freight has a shed out of tubes and plastic - cheap... Quicker.
I was figuring on a tent over the bed. I like the idea of a heated pad on the bed. I have a half gallon water bottle for very hot water that I put in a quilted bag - I use  it in the van to keep my core warm all night. Hoodie...
 
Posts: 84
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
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Hi,  just how bad is the trailer for short term living. Is it just you or is there anyone else? A photo of the trailer might help.  If the roof leaks put a tarp over it.  Holes in the floor, SOB or plywood. Mold, Spray it and prime it. Wall holes patch em & prime em.  Broken windows, tarp and OSB to close em up. Use a vent-less heater, wipe the windows and put rags on the sills.  Or electric space heater if it's only the bedroom you want to heat. As long as the toilet is connected to the septic tank, use it even if you have to pour buckets of water in the holding tank, or you can use the great outdoors.

You have lots of options.

If it were me and none of the options are good I would get a used 2 room tent. Ebay or Craigs list.  250.00 on ebay for a 14 person tent  2 room cabin tent. Electric heater or propane tent heater is pretty good. Especially in a pole barn which is a great wind break. In all scenarios you are camping.  Just question yourself, how comfortable do you need to be? A cot in a tent, or a bed in a tent? Or the trailer might be the better option for you. I lived in a tent in the winter. Propane heater and cot to stay off cold floor.

Make arrangements with neighbor for showers and water. you might  even became close friends. Use this time to gain peace in your life and have fun and enjoy it. If you don't enjoy life, a complete house will not satisfy you.  
 
Posts: 38
Location: Kitsap County, Washington, USA
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You could do the carport as a general living space, and set up a small dome tent inside of that to sleep in and hunker down in the coldest weather, covering it with whatever you've got that would insulate it (Mylar "space" blankets and/or salvaged bubble wrap weigh almost nothing, and might be a good first layer under blankets, carpet padding, or what-have-you. Maybe put it up on a low platform made from pallets to get you off the floor and out of the coldest drafts.

That way, it would be easy to sleep in a nice, warm space without also having to heat the entire inside of the pole barn, or keep even the space inside the carport, tolerably/safely warm.
 
Posts: 96
Location: Southern Utah
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A small tent would be helpful.  Preferably one without the mesh roof vents.  Then in the winter you can use an electric blanket to keep warm.  Or a small ceramic heater would keep the tent warm too.  In the summer time you could consider one of the portable air conditioning units that roll around and have a vent to push the hot humid air outside of the tent.

https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Instant-Person-Black-14x10-Feet/dp/B00J955FFW/ref=sxin_10_ac_d_pm?ac_md=5-2-QWJvdmUgJDIwMA%3D%3D-ac_d_pm&cv_ct_cx=cold+weather+tent&dchild=1&keywords=cold+weather+tent&pd_rd_i=B00J955FFW&pd_rd_r=3022ef1d-6381-43ae-9afc-99704ccf87dc&pd_rd_w=JijIh&pd_rd_wg=EjFDH&pf_rd_p=b8a3424f-361f-485a-93dc-8cddc4fba0a1&pf_rd_r=KEPXECAAQJ8FXYSF5VD9&psc=1&qid=1613624607&sr=1-3-22d05c05-1231-4126-b7c4-3e7a9c0027d0

This something similar to what I suggest.  Tal enough to stand in because if you are planning  for 8 or 10 months you don't want to me crawling around that long.  Enough room for a table and chair.  You could stretch a sheet or two across a corner to make a smaller area to keep warm, or cool, at night.  Plenty of windows when you need ventilation but a solid roof to hold in the heat in the cold months and to help hold the cool air if you go with a portable AC unit.

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Portable-Air-Conditioner-Remote/dp/B07N6PKKWJ/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=portable+air+conditioner&qid=1613624904&sr=8-8
 
miriam hawkins
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The trailer was built in 1984 and the previous owner was ssssoooooo not handy. The whole place is moldy and as described above. Holes in the floor, leaky roof, holes in the walls, leaky doors broken glass and so on. It is out of the question for me. I can not use it.  The previous owners lived in it and they had health problems.

Has anybody bought used billboards advertised on Craigslist? My trusses are 9 ft apart. Maybe put billboards up there and make walls?
 
R Scott
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The billboard tarps get very stiff in the cold and are pretty dark.  I would use painters drop cloth plastic or cotton. Buy a few ten foot 2x4 to go between the trusses and a staple gun.
 
master steward
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If this were for me, I would get a small tent and a good sleeping bag for really cold weather.  

An electric ten heater like these:

Amazon Link for Tent Heater

Then I would buy some square bales of hay, enough to surround the tent on three sides and a tarp for the roof over the hay bales.

I would be snug as a bug in a rug.
 
miriam hawkins
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Hhhmmmm I wonder if folded clothing or fabric stacked floor to ceiling could insulate? Find some way to make it into bales?
 
miriam hawkins
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 I really don't want to be 'rained on' or have mold growing near me due to condensation. Any tips to prevent condensation? What interior 'structure' would have the least condensation? There is a leaky 'sky light' but I can avoid that. ( It leaks a little in heavy rain. ) I'm sure I can find ways to keep warm. Dry and mold free are important.
 
R Scott
pollinator
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Whatever you do, plan on rodents and how to control them.  Hay bales, bundles of clothing, food, books-they will get everywhere in a barn.  They will get into Rubbermaid, anything you want to keep needs to be in a sealed 5 gallon bucket or better.  55 gallon drums with clamp on lids are the best I found for the money.
 
miriam hawkins
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Yes I'm concerned about rodents and snakes. Skunks.
Rubbermaid totes and barrels don't stack square so would yield no insulation.  I could put rockwool batts over the top of what ever I do and use them elsewhere later.
 
R Scott
pollinator
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I tried insulation over a tent without much success, too many leaks.  Hard sheet insulation works, but $$$. Two layers of plastic with an air gap or blankets hung inside with LOTS of safety pins to seal the joints worked best for us.  The thin painters tarp is cheap and comes in a ton of sizes.

Don't use the cheap blue tarps, the color will get to you eventually.  White or clear.
 
miriam hawkins
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R scott:
I love it!
 
master gardener
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Location: southern Illinois.
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I am not sure how long temporary is.   Also your financials are not clear. The 2 directions I would look at would be a tent or a storage shed. The shed could be insulated and have long term use. Either could be heated with a wood burning sheep herder stove.

I lived in northern MN in an 8x12 tent March through July without problems.  I had a good sized fly stretched over it at a steep angle to shed the snow. We saw temps below zero.
 
miriam hawkins
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I said above that I was hoping to be in something more substantial by late fall or early winter. I lived in northern Wisconsin so I do understand - you are incredible. I also have seen the difference an awning over a tent can be substantial. I once built a couple WWII island front era officers wall tents with raised awnings  over each tent and another awning for the area between. Sides rolled up. Nice. Using an awning over tents makes a huge difference in the summer unless it is a plastic awning. Plastic in summer holds heat in. I had forgotten. I wonder if it makes much difference inside of a barn in the summer?hhhhmmmmm it might if it is air conditioned.
 
gardener
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Rather than buying a carport or shed to put in your barn, I would suggest some sheets of plywood (and some 2x4s if you don't have any on hand) to make a box inside the barn. It doesn't need to be a complete box - some sections could be plastic curtains that can be opened for light and ventilation - but you can get a sturdy enclosure that will be completely reusable when you get to building permanent structures.

The billboard tarps are dark and stiff, but once in place will be very strong. I just got another pair of 14' x 48' on special sale for $70 each including shipping... that is a lot of durable coverage for cheap. Just don't try to make the entire enclosure with black billboard tarps, and you will be fine.
 
master gardener
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i believe. around here setting up a small wooden structure wouldn't require a lot of time or resources. maybe something which is 8' x 16'. It could be built on skids. Making this temporary structure into something which can be used in the future. Maybe it becomes animal housing, guest cabin. From what i have read you need to have a space which you can sleep in. 8' x 16' would have plenty of space for sleeping.


If i had all of the materials on hand it could be assembled in a few weekends/weeks. I would most likely hire an experience carpenter to do the main part and than finish it myself. That is if time were short. There are always other things to do on our property, garden, animals, cars, work. so sometimes having the focus of the carpenter saves stress/time.

Heck build it as a garden shed on skids!
 
miriam hawkins
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Glenn Herbert wrote:Rather than buying a carport or shed to put in your barn, I would suggest some sheets of plywood (and some 2x4s if you don't have any on hand) to make a box inside the barn. It doesn't need to be a complete box - some sections could be plastic curtains that can be opened for light and ventilation - but you can get a sturdy enclosure that will be completely reusable when you get to building permanent structures.

The billboard tarps are dark and stiff, but once in place will be very strong. I just got another pair of 14' x 48' on special sale for $70 each including shipping... that is a lot of durable coverage for cheap. Just don't try to make the entire enclosure with black billboard tarps, and you will be fine.



Two 14 x 48 billboards would more than cover the ceiling but it would be heavy to get up there. Really good price! Yes plywood could most certainly be reused. Even the thin stuff would work. I tend to over think... summer will come eventually and venting it would be a good idea. Yet it needs to be warm in spring and fall.  Big refrigerator box under a couple awnings?
 
gardener
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Miriam Hawkins wrote:

Big refrigerator box under a couple awnings?

The whole time I was reading through these posts, I was thinking - the homeless use cardboard all the time as insulation, so yes - for sleeping a big box could be a great start. At least if it goes moldy or rats pee on it, you can compost it and get another one.

That said, I also really like Jordan Barton's suggestion of building a wooden garden shed on skids. 5 acres is large enough that you're likely to need shelter elsewhere than the barn or house - temporary spot for tools or equipment to keep them dry, and something you can build over the next month that will keep your belongings safe. We have a metal shed that came with the property and it overheats when the sun hits it, gets too cold in the winter, and is prone to condensation. A wooden shed with even a little insulation seems a much better option. The insulation can easily be blankets. An insulated shed isn't common, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea - just that most people don't want to spend the money even though it would be much more useful in the long run.
 
Michael Fundaro
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Anne Miller wrote:If this were for me, I would get a small tent and a good sleeping bag for really cold weather.  

An electric ten heater like these:

Amazon Link for Tent Heater

Then I would buy some square bales of hay, enough to surround the tent on three sides and a tarp for the roof over the hay bales.

I would be snug as a bug in a rug.



Maybe get a few extra bales of hay to raise the tent off the floor.  But some cardboard, or the 4'x8' corrugated plastic election billboards, on top of the hay bales under the tent floor.  If it is a small dome tent you will be able to have a porch to make it easier to crawl inside the tent and you wont have to 'get up' as far when you crawl out of the tent.  Even if you used a large, stand up tent you could still put it on top of hay bales and make a porch to easily step up and down.
 
miriam hawkins
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4x8 plastic election billboards?
 
Posts: 67
Location: 5,000' 35.24N zone 7b Albuquerque, NM
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Imagining the possibilities here is a fun exercise. If it were me, I would not buy anything that I didn't need for my future 5-acre homestead. Which of course reminds me of Leigh Tate's book. Which leads me to look at her master plan. Hmm... I notice that she has a hoop house. Instead of a tent, how about examining your masterplan and seeing if there is something like a hoop house in your future that could double as your temporary shelter? Or if you're planning on insulating your barn in the future, how about spending the money on the insulation now and making that a temporary shelter? If you're going to buy plywood or doors, or siding, or any other material, buy that for your tiny house within a barn and use it for the "dream" purpose later.
 
miriam hawkins
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Amy Gardener wrote:Imagining the possibilities here is a fun exercise. If it were me, I would not buy anything that I didn't need for my future 5-acre homestead. Which of course reminds me of Leigh Tate's book. Which leads me to look at her master plan. Hmm... I notice that she has a hoop house. Instead of a tent, how about examining your masterplan and seeing if there is something like a hoop house in your future that could double as your temporary shelter? Or if you're planning on insulating your barn in the future, how about spending the money on the insulation now and making that a temporary shelter? If you're going to buy plywood or doors, or siding, or any other material, buy that for your tiny house within a barn and use it for the "dream" purpose later.



Yes!!! coming up with ideas had been so good!
I do need a master plan. The plan has been to insulate the barn, thoroughly clean,  put some stain and sealer on the floor, refresh the plumbing and fix part of it into a home. But there are pieces of siding in rough shape. I would like to replace siding, put in a new door or two and a couple windows then insulate the living end of it. If I totally move in or do much to the living area it will be hard to do the insulation and siding. It looks like I'll be getting my old van back and I'm thinking it might be my best solution for a place to live for awhile! I just have to get it to run, drive it there and move in. If necessary it can be parked in one end of the barn to keep me a little warmer. There is a hay field and quite a few walnut trees on the property.  The neighbor keeps a few goats. There is a creek that runs about 1000 feet by the road. Up from the creek and bordering the property is a wooded utility easement. The barn sets in the middle. Just sitting here pondering... I wonder about hiring someone to put all new roof and siding on the barn frame - don't know the cost to buy materials or labor. It's about 48x30. - bigger than my needs. Anyway for now temporary is what I'll do. Thank you for so many ideas and really excellent advice. Baby steps for now.
 
Jay Angler
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miriam hawkins wrote:4x8 plastic election billboards?

I think they're talking about "coroplast". It looks like corrugated cardboard, but is made of plastic.
 
Michael Fundaro
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miriam hawkins wrote:4x8 plastic election billboards?



The big election signs we see over half the year on election years?  Yard signs you see in front of houses are about 2'x2' but on the sides of the roads the politicians put up the big temporary signs, usually they are 4 feet by 8 feet and they are made of a corrugated plastic, think of a big piece of cardboard but made of PVC plastic.  Many times the politicians don't collect them after they lose the election and they can be had for free, just stop and grab them.  The homeless around Las Vegas would make big, complex housing units out of them in the desert.  That plastic lasts a long time and simple wire or zip ties will hold them together.
 
pollinator
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My own 2 cents although I don't recall seeing a square footage of your pole barn mentioned here.  Depending on whether or not the pole barn has a good sized garage/vehicle door, I would hunt around for a used, small camper trailer.  Sometimes you can find them for $2000 - $3000, which may be something you don't wish to spend right now.  But the upside is that it will have many 'homey' amenities and it could be moved into the pole barn or outside depending on the season.  As the living space is up off the ground, you don't have to worry about critters as much and again, it can be towed by the hitch to various locations on the property.   If you can buy one for around that price and keep it in reasonable shape, you typically can resell when finished with it.....lots of hunters like these just for their fall forays so you can often get $1000 back for it.  Good luck!
 
miriam hawkins
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Friends are loaning an old RV. I believe I should check it for mold.
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