Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Skirting a Tiny House - Why and How

Two days ago we had a storm front move through Oklahoma that has brought high winds. The trees are being stripped of their golden leaves and acorns make a pitter-pat on the roof as they fall out of the trees. The temperature has dropped and this morning temps are in the low 40's. We are facing our first hard freeze this weekend. Last year we had our first snow at this time, so I am not complaining about just getting rain. 

I have begun layering each morning, adding a long sleeve shirt under my work T-shirts and using a nylon jacket to help block the chilly early morning wind. I will add gloves soon since the steering wheel will be cold first thing. My cats have put on a layer of thick fur and spend more time inside at night. Midnight spends most of his time sleeping up in the loft which traps in heat. I hear him moving around every now and again as he stretches and finds a more comfortable position.

Living in a Tiny House, heating is much easier. My home is insulated well, protected by trees to break the intensity of the wind, and small in square footage. My baseboard heater does a great job and to help warm up a little in the early morning, I turn on the electric fireplace.  In the Shedroom I use a larger Kerosene heater because that space is not yet insulated. Combined with a heated mattress pad, I sleep toasty and comfortable. However, the floor still feels cold. I know heat is being lost by not having skirting around my Tiny House.

On my project list is fashioning some kind of skirting around my Tiny House. I have been kicking around ideas for over a year and have yet to find something I think will be both attractive and durable. Pinterest and Facebook both have shown some great examples and some that aren't so great. There are lots of options when it comes to skirting, so I was truly torn. I considered using hay bails, but they tend to hold and wick moisture, and moisture is no friend of any wooden structure. I have ultimately decided metal skirting will be most durable and give me the most years of service.

So, it is time to drag out the jack and make sure the house is level again. All the rain Oklahoma had over the last year has water settled the building and fine-tuning is in order. After that is done, I am going to frame up the underside similar to how these folks did theirs:

Then I plan to complete the skirting to look something like this:

Step by step instructions for adding skirting to the underside of a Tiny House or mobile can be found on Lenai Lens' website at: 

I will be using corrugated metal material and adding vents to allow moisture to escape. I feel it will look attractive and help limit the amount of cold air that moves under the house. This will keep more heat in and the floors won't be as cold. I am toying with how to add some insulation behind the metal as well. 

At a minimum, skirting must be vented on at least two sides. A good rule of thumb is at least one square foot of open vent area per 150 square foot of floor area. Vents with insect screens, louvers etc reduce the effective open area of the vent by 30-50%. You defininitely want insect screens and louvers on your skirting vents, so be sure to calculate the added 30-50% when determining the number of vents you will need to install in your skirting.

Cold weather means warm drinks, fires in the fireplace (even electric ones), and comfort foods. Gathering of friends and holiday decorations too. Cold winds and snow are best observed from inside a nice warm home. I love this time of year. 

Did you skirt your Tiny House? If so, how did you decide to skirt your building? If not, how do you help keep your home warm? Share with us below!