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Oehler house being built in the Pacific NW.

 
Megan Munk
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So I am having some difficulty with our polyethylene covering the house. The dimensions for the structure are 14 ft 6 in. by 20 ft. 4 in., and I can only find 6 mil plastic sheeting in 20 x 100 ft rolls, which can't reach over the 20 ft 4 in side. I am hoping not to specical order what I need (25 x 100 would be great) so I am trying to think of other solutions. What do people think of overlapping poly going down the roof and back wall (which is where I need the 25 ft. section.)? Maybe I can figure out some way to seal the seam. But I do live in an area that gets on average 144 inches of rain a year, so this might not be a good idea at all.
Any suggestions would be appreciated too.

Also, for some photos we have a tumblr up. (Scroll down to the middle to see photos from putting up the frame of that building.)
http://milktopia.tumblr.com/
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Location: Philomath, OR
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Hi Megan, Have you considered used billboard vinyl? Used Billboard Vinyl

Billboard vinyl can be glued together using HH-66. HH 66 at Sailrite.com.

One caveat is billboard vinyl won't last in the Sun, but I assume the vinyl will be covered?

I'm not experienced with wofati/oehler houses so take this for what it's worth.
 
Megan Munk
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Hey Dennis,

I am eating up that suggestion. I wouldn't have any difficulty keeping water out with 15-17 mil plastic compared to the 6 mil I was thinking about. And yes, the plastic is covered with earth.
 
Rj Ewing
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Location: Western Oregon
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I'm fairly certain that used billboard vinyl is what paul is planning on using for the wofati's. I'm not sure about sealing in, but it seems to me that if you overlap it enough and there's a slope, you shouldn't need to glue it.
 
Marianne Cicala
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You may want to check out farmtek.com - we use them for high tunnel plastics, impressive variety of plastics and sizes.
Good luck - would love to see progress pics please~
M
 
Megan Munk
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So we are having a bit of a dilemma I wanted to consult y'all about. We are currently trying to do the back wall (I purchased the very used billboards someone recommended earlier) and we are having a serious issue with boards bowing. Whenever we tamp hard the boards come in a lot (they are 1x6 which span between 3 posts which are 10ft 6"apart.)
What would be a good solution to this?
What I am thinking about is either sinking in more posts up against the wall just to help support the boards or (the expensive option which I am not looking to do) buy thicker, wider board for the walls.
 
Marianne Cicala
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You need more support than 3 posts in a 10' span. I also question using 1x6 - that's pretty flimsy material.
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Megan,

About getting the properly sized 6 mil plastic, I bought a 40' x 100' roll at one of the local farm and greenhouse supply stores here in Salt Lake (Steve Regan Company, closest store to PNW is Caldwell ID). They sell black or clear in rolls: 6', 8', 10', 12', 16', 20', 24' or 40' by 100'. I am sure if you keep looking around in your area, you will find a place that sells what you need.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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About post spacing, you could experiment by laying some spare posts on the ground, place some spare boards across them and see how close you need to space the posts to keep the boards from bowing when you put (more than) a comparative load on them.
 
Marianne Cicala
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What I've read the most about (you're way ahead of me as my attempt is still in my head) they use 3' on center, then cross brace with more heavy timber, then skin it. There's a lot of weight and pressure to be held.
please keep us posted & good luck
 
Megan Munk
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So I decided to sink posts every three feet along the length of my walls, which were then notched to the roof beams, and this seemed to work out fine.

Another issue I am trying to decide right now is if I want EPDM Pond Liner or used vinyl billboard for the poly sheet which goes on last on the roof. I am using 16 mil billboard poly for the walls and the first layer on the roof. I am wondering if I really need to blow through a lot of money to get 45 mil pond liner or not. I am checking this stuff out online and my guess is I'll need a 30x25 piece to cover the roof and then cover the slope past the rear wall some, but the price of this stuff scares me.

Does anyone think everything could work out fine just purchasing another layer of the 16 mil billboard poly? I live in an area with 12 feet of rain a year (as already mentioned) so I want to make sure I protect this structure well enough.

---Kevin (Megan's partner)
 
Dennis Lanigan
Posts: 174
Location: Philomath, OR
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Kevin and Megan,

I got discounted pond liner from Nature Perfect Pond Supply in Olympia, WA. They had mis-cuts for sale. I got a 20X20 piece for around $125, if I recall (it was about four years ago).

Nature Perfect Pond Supply (360) 412-0309
 
Megan Munk
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Hey there,

So I have another deep concern that I wanted some suggestions on if people have any. We are currently building the last walls (uphill patio and Hollywood wing [side of the house without dirt which has an a pathway/entrance leading to it at ground level]), the other walls are fully buried (downhill and opposite wall of the Hollywood wing), and the roof has 4 inches of earth insulation with the pond liner sitting on top of it. I was planning on finishing off the roof with 2 feet of soil any day now but the rainy season hit early here. We've had 7 inches of rain this weekend, and while that happened the back wall tamped really hard. So hard the whole structure is out of balance. The back wall is actually pushing the whole structure uphill without any counter pressure to contend it.

So here are some thoughts about how I can save the building:
1. Dig out the back wall and relieve the pressure from the house.
2. Then get a backhoe out there and have it push the structure back to its original position. (If a backhoe can even push the structure.)
3. Install big beams in the uphill patio bracing the roof, so as to act as counter-pressure against the back wall.
4. Maybe install bracing along the weakest posts inside the house to counter-balance the back wall pressure.
5. Fill in the back wall slowly again (I'll throw down a foot of dirt every couple of days when it is raining so the back wall tamps much more slowly this rainy season and hopefully the wall will be less like to focus a bunch of pressure all at once.)

What I've learned I could of done earlier to prevent this:
1. Oehler recommends 2 foot deep sunk posts; and being in sandy soil I sunk them 2' 6 in. I could have sunk them 4 feet being in sandy soil and filling the holes with concrete to help with stability.
2. My roof beams aren't setting as flush as they could have been (girders included) and looking back now I would of made sure the entire frame with all the beams are sitting flush. This would of helped with stabilizing the building so that beams couldn't concentrate pressure on certain points of the timber below it to help push things out of place. (This was just really difficult to do with a chainsaw and chisels when working with huge beams without heavy equipment.)
3. When the back wall is in it is now obvious to me about how vulnerable the structure is with the uphill patio partially dug out. Putting all the dirt on the roof ASAP could have prevented movement of the structure. That back wall, even with all that pressure from dirt and water, would have a much more challenging time pushing a house with 2 foot or more of dirt on top rather then a roof with 4 inches. Adding at least 6 tons of weight on the building might of kept the house from budging.

I hope for the best. But dang, this is pretty bad.
-Kevin
 
Matthew Beckman
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Hey, my name is Matt Beckman. I built Paul's first wofati. I live in the seattle area and have just got back in town. I understand the concern for moisture. Do you mind posting some pictures? This really helps with perspective and would help us give better advice. Thanks!
 
Megan Munk
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Hey there y'all,

Sorry I haven't been around for awhile to update everyone on what is going on. Long-story short, we were able to re-align the house (pretty much). We used chain binders and a come-along to get the house back into place, by using some large trees to pull the weight.



We also braced posts in the house now, to help stabilize it.

Something we are trying to figure out right now, is how we can seal gaps between posts and the framing for the doors/windows/walls. Here are some examples below, that I hope would make our situation clearer:







Basically, the posts are not flush with the framing, and being round posts, there seems to be no easy way to seal the gaps with some type of exterior planking. The only thing we can think of at the moment, is somehow using shingles in a sloppy manner to seal gaps. Any ideas?

Also, I was thinking about doing a cob floor for this building, and after this winter not sure if I will. When the house is finished this winter, a mass rocket heater running, and gravel for the floor, I wonder if the moisture problems will be more non-existent for the ground. Last year, with just a dirt floor above a polyethylene moisture barrier, we had some fungus grow on the floor of the incomplete house. Not really sure if I want to trust a cob floor yet.

Also, I have barely any skill as a carpenter (and more carpentry work just beginning; and it was pretty painful for people to watch me do that type of work last year), does anyone know of somebody who would donate their carpentry magic to this project out here in NW Washington?

Warm Regards,
Kevin
 
George Meljon
Posts: 278
Location: Southern Indiana zone 5b
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I'm not a carpenter, but it seems like you need to measure and cut specifically customized lumber for those gaps. Many hardware stores can cut the sizes you give them. I don't know what the overall final plan looks like, but with any minor gaps won't you be filling in with cob or something similar?
 
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