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Very small silo  RSS feed

 
Mickey Harmon
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Hi all,

I am hoping to get a little input regarding refurbishment of an old silo. I would like to turn it into a small guest house for visiting friends and relatives. The size concerns me, 20 foot high 10 foot diameter and I am wondering if anyone has completed a project like this one. My main question, is it worth it due to the small area. I live on a lake so I would need to get a variance to add more height, which I am willing to do. Any thoughts or ideas? It's OK to tell me if you believe the space is too small to utilize. Thanks Mick
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Seems pretty big to me, big enough for two storeys (living room/kitchenette and sleeping loft). Do you need a permit to add a lean-to wing off the side? For instance if you want space for a bathroom, it would be easier to manage the plumbing in a small wooden structure stuck on the side of the silo.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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that is pretty tiny. but bigger than a lot of NYC apartments.

A shed roof bump out for bathroom and kitchen would make things much simpler.

The other hard part will be windows, that curve is tight enough getting a window to fit will require creativity.

The other thing to worry about is insulation. Not much room to add to the inside.
 
Mickey Harmon
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Thanks Tyler and L. Scott for the supportive responses. We live in Minnesota, so insulation is a must. I've got a permit already for a small addition, and there is water and power already there as well as a chimney so a stove would be a very easy fit. My main concern is fitting in stairs that won't take up all the space. I'd like to avoid ladders if possible. Any ideas?
 
R Scott
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Google image search split stair ships ladder. It is a good compromise between a ladder and a staircase. The downside is you HAVE to start with the same foot every time.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think a room 8 feet across is large enough for a tiny house. So there is definitely room for insulation if the silo is 10 feet in diameter. Narrow stairs can climb up over storage spaces, so a ladder isn't necessary. If I could draw, I would draw a picture of what I envision! Yes, the spaces will be tiny, but, this is a Tiny House!
 
Glenn Herbert
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I built one of those alternate-tread stairs for my library loft. It requires some getting used to, but works great if you get the dimensions right. Mine has 7 1/8"+ rise and 4" run per step (each tread being 8" deep + 1 1/4" nosing and 14 3/8" high), and I have to be mindful or I can bark my knee on the edge of the next step when going up. Another half inch in the run would make all the difference (1" per tread). Unlike a ladder, each step you take is no higher than a regular stair, and you don't have to bend your knees to an extreme.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Many unique circular living spaces have been made from old watchtowers and bastions,  in Europe. Look for those on Google Images. Also search dovecote conversion and silo house.
 
Ben de Leiris
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Since you're starting from scratch anyway, what about adding insulation to the outside? I guess you'd lose the original character of the silo from the outside but it gives you 56% more square footage inside.
 
Glenn Herbert
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Insulation outside would also require a new weatherproof facing, which drastically increases the expense.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I'd go with spray insulation since it will give the most R value per inch of thickness as well as air leak sealing.
On contour stairs that hug the outside wall will take up the least space with out being a ladder or having a ladder effect for going up or down the stairs.

This sounds like a really neat project to me and it will be fun to see completed photos as well as in progress ones.
 
Ben de Leiris
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Glenn, that would depend on a lot of things but I wouldn't automatically say it would drastically increase the expense. What's the silo made of, and what condition is it currently in? It's really just the cost of siding, and if it gets you 50% more space inside, it might be entirely worth it. You either have to finish the inside or the outside, take your pick.
 
Glenn Herbert
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True, without knowing the condition and appearance of the exterior you can't know for sure about the expense. But if the exterior was in poor condition, I would be concerned for the structural integrity of the silo, given their typical construction. I don't think I would like the aesthetics of cheap exterior siding on a silo (or anywhere, really, but especially on a silo )

And you are pretty much guaranteed to have to finish the inside if you don't want to be looking at rough concrete or steel walls...
 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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Brick, stave, or ring silo?
 
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