Finishing the sheetrock

Finished the interior sheet rock today. You don’t see sheet rock being used very much in tiny houses for the obvious reason that people are concerned that it will crack in transit. We shared that concern but after talking to some very experienced tiny house builders including one who actually dropped a tiny house trailer at highway speed, (with no cracking!) it seemed like if sheet rock is done well and the house has good sheer panels, it can survive the strain of tiny house transport. If I were using my tiny house like an RV I might think differently but for the occasional move sheet rock seems to be fine.

Because I’m a stickler for both strength and lightweight, I had originally planned to use 1/4 inch birch ply but after running the numbers we realized that it would cost us an extra $800 and would only save us about 300 pounds.

Sheet rock also has advantages that you might not think about. One of these is the fact that it creates an excellent air barrier, keeping the significant vapor buildup of a tiny house from migrating into the roof cavity and walls, while still being vapor-porous enough to allow ambient moisture to stabilize.

The other thing it has going for it is thermal mass which is just as important as insulation if you’re looking to reduce energy costs. Speaking from experience small structures with 2 x 4 walls and 2 x 6 roofs will experience a significant day to night time temperature flux which messes with your sleep, creates problems with condensation, and makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Of course a small heater solves this problem but I like to design for off grid use because even in a grid tied application you still get those same energy savings.

Finally, sheet rock is easy to paint white, which makes the house feel bigger and lets you get the most light per square foot of window, meaning the windows can be a little smaller leaving more room in the walls for insulation and making the building more efficient. The gain is significant when you consider that windows lose heat at least four times faster than walls!

Thanks to our friends Tom and John for helping out!

– Brian

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