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Thread: Remote Cabin building ideas and experiences needed.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Default Remote Cabin building ideas and experiences needed.

    Folks,
    I am past the dream phase of building a semi-remote (snowmachine, boat access) cabin. I would appreciate your pictures, ideas, lessons learned and/or anything else that you would share. There are many questions:

    Foundation on tundra. I was told to keep frozen thing frozen and warm things warm. Pilings which were supposed to be "the thing" to do a few years ago can "frost jack" or so i heard. I was told to insulate the ground with blueboard and timbers then post and beam it from there. Are gluelams or steel I-beams better or? How high off the ground? Under flooring materials?

    Floor. BCI's or dimensional lumber. 4X8 sheets of T&G OSB?

    Size. I want to be able to have 2 couples and each have a decent sleeping area with some privacy. I am thinking 24X24 or 20 X 28 with a loft.

    Siding. I saw a gorgeous cabin with (believe it or not) stucco. I prefer low maintenance as I prefer to enjoy the outdoors instead of painting etc.... Would stucco be a better bear deterrant? Can it be made to look a bit "rustic"? What about metal?

    Bear deterrants? What building precautions can I take to prevent entrusion? It will be off grid with a battery system. I can use electric fence. Should I worry about window size/location? There are blacks in the area and browns from time to time.

    Any other thoughts on power, skeeters, hot water, privy, roofing or any other pertinent thoughs would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Mike

  2. #2
    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Folks,
    I am past the dream phase of building a semi-remote (snowmachine, boat access) cabin. I would appreciate your pictures, ideas, lessons learned and/or anything else that you would share. There are many questions:

    Foundation on tundra. I was told to keep frozen thing frozen and warm things warm. Pilings which were supposed to be "the thing" to do a few years ago can "frost jack" or so i heard. I was told to insulate the ground with blueboard and timbers then post and beam it from there. Are gluelams or steel I-beams better or? How high off the ground? Under flooring materials?

    Floor. BCI's or dimensional lumber. 4X8 sheets of T&G OSB?

    Size. I want to be able to have 2 couples and each have a decent sleeping area with some privacy. I am thinking 24X24 or 20 X 28 with a loft.

    Siding. I saw a gorgeous cabin with (believe it or not) stucco. I prefer low maintenance as I prefer to enjoy the outdoors instead of painting etc.... Would stucco be a better bear deterrant? Can it be made to look a bit "rustic"? What about metal?

    Bear deterrants? What building precautions can I take to prevent entrusion? It will be off grid with a battery system. I can use electric fence. Should I worry about window size/location? There are blacks in the area and browns from time to time.

    Any other thoughts on power, skeeters, hot water, privy, roofing or any other pertinent thoughs would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Mike
    Man thats alot to awnser! .... I'll put together something for ya, pm me your email addy.

    Curt

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Cool I'll take a stab...

    First off, congratulations on the drive to develop your dream cabin.

    Foundation...I'm still a fan of pilings in these situations. The answer to your question is "yes." Here is where my opinion stands. The ground is going to move no matter what you do. The insulation theory is a correct understanding; however, if you have 2" on each side of you piling, you have a total of 4" that piling could move...a bit counterproductive. The key is to distribute your weight evenly and over engineer this part of the building. If you can get into the permafrost, drive steel posts and create concrete pilings. You will have to hump in a lot of mix for this and may not be feasible. Steel I-beams would be a good bet too.

    I would not suggest gluelams for pilings, but do suggest them for beams. Floor height will depend on the snowfall in your area. Also, the higher you are the less bear intrusion. Flooring is a preference/convenience thing. I prefer to use t&g osb and install either a hardwood floor or knotty pine over that. The OSB is a structure thing, keep it square and sturdy. Whatever you do, be sure to insulate the underside...blueboard nailed on the bottom of your joists with furring strips and fill the joist space with fiber bats.

    Size...bigger is always better until you get to building and buying materials. Loft is good for one couple and a corner room good for another. How cozy do you wanna get??

    Siding...I would never stucco a cabin sitting on the conditions you are describing. The structure WILL MOVE!! Can't stress that enough. I'd be really surprised if the stucco would hold up with those temperature differences and movement. No scientific evidence to back me up, but sounds like a common sense thing to me, my opinion. If you are looking for low maintenance and you are willing to move it in. I suggest using cement-fiber shingles. You can get them to look just like cedar shakes and they hold paint for something like 10 years or so. Heavy, but great product. On one low-budget cabin I built for a guy, we ran rough sawn pine vertical and lapped the joints barn style. Finished it with used motor oil! Made for a great looking cabin and kept rodents and bugs away. The rough sawn soaked up that oil and protected the wood well.

    Roof...without question, I would go with a metal roof. Nuff said.

    Bear deterrents...if it is off the ground high enough, all you have to worry about is the stairs to it and the windows. "Spike boards" are a good way to go, I will see if I can dig up some pictures. Pretty simple; just secure large spikes or rebar to sheets of plywood.

    Power...genset, large-scale batter backup (bulldozer or golf cart setup in parallel) ran through an inverter (from DC to AC), solar panels are good but don't buy the cheap ones they don't last.

    Hot water...depending how "rustic" you are going. A pressurized or gravity flow system run through a coil in woodstove or propane fired burner. Will give you enough for a quick shower. I will try to find pictures of the one I made myself; kind of an "on-demand" system.

    Privy...keep it away from the water supply or rivers/lakes. Make a large window for viewing. Gas lamp is a given.

    Buy lots of beer and invite friends and strangers to give you a hand

    It goes without asking...I'd be glad to help

    -Buck

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Default idea

    Here is what I have come up with for the base foundation. Of course they would have weldments for the actual attach points. Rough drawing only.

    Here is my criteria:

    Easily adjustable.

    Tied together for earthquake and settling. Add in a 16" BCI floor and it should be stiff enough to lift the entire structure and still stay square or have less flex. If one sinks it will be held up by the neighboring posts.

    Insulate the permafrost with blueboard to prevent thaw.


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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Default

    Have you looked at www.alaskaantlerworks.com? They have a nice section about the cabin they built with plenty of pictures.

    www.absak.com has a lot of battery and alternative power supplies as well as tech for power systems in remote areas.

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    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Here is what I have come up with for the base foundation. Of course they would have weldments for the actual attach points. Rough drawing only.

    Here is my criteria:

    Easily adjustable.

    Tied together for earthquake and settling. Add in a 16" BCI floor and it should be stiff enough to lift the entire structure and still stay square or have less flex. If one sinks it will be held up by the neighboring posts.

    Insulate the permafrost with blueboard to prevent thaw.
    Sorry man...I thought you were looking for rustic/remote. I was laying/lying (I still don't have that figured out, you pick) in bed last night thinking "I forgot to tell him to tie it in/together so that if the building shifts or settles in one area, the others will support it." Looks like you got that figured out for yourself.

    Your insulating idea is different than what I had in mind. You will be good with that I think. I would go with more than a 6x6 (especially if you use 8" pipe). Is the 1/4" plate going to be fastened to the treated lumber? And are you going to have adjusters on those cross pipes? How many pilings are you looking at? And how are you figuring on getting this stuff in?

    Looks like you have a good start!

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknRut View Post
    Sorry man...I thought you were looking for rustic/remote. I was laying/lying (I still don't have that figured out, you pick) in bed last night thinking "I forgot to tell him to tie it in/together so that if the building shifts or settles in one area, the others will support it." Looks like you got that figured out for yourself.

    Your insulating idea is different than what I had in mind. You will be good with that I think. I would go with more than a 6x6 (especially if you use 8" pipe). Is the 1/4" plate going to be fastened to the treated lumber? And are you going to have adjusters on those cross pipes? How many pilings are you looking at? And how are you figuring on getting this stuff in?

    Looks like you have a good start!
    The blueboard comes in 24" widths. I figure that a 24" pad should be fine. I am doing the math to see how many posts it will take for 28'. Alot depends on the beams and the width.

    Here is a better picture of the ground work.



    The 1/4 plate would have a treated lag in each corner.

    I am debating on the cross bracing. If I level, recheck, level, then weld them in what problems would I have? The thought of making that many adjustable cross bars pains me. I have the tools though. It would save half a day if I had the cross braces prebuilt though. Just put them on and adjust. I figure that 1" pipe would be plenty. I would have to weld brackets on the pipe.

    I have seen too many cabins with little or no crossbracing. Some are quite high off the ground too. Kind of scary in earthquake country.

    I am working on the logistics of getting it in. I have a couple ideas and some awesome advice from a friend. Working on load lists etc.....

    Thanks for the questions!
    Mike

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Where are you building that you are going to run into permafrost??
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Suggested we have a sub-forum for cabin building and whatnot in the proposed new forums section. Nothing yet. Maybe the mods could create one and this could be the first thread... *nudge, nudge* AKmud, Brian M, etc...

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default New thread

    I second that motion

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    Member sheep man's Avatar
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    Now thats a thought.......

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Sounds good, but that is a job for Brian. I don't have the power to do changes like that .
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    With the price of fuel going up. Land prices are going up. The available recreation time going down. It seems like a cabin is a wise investment.

    If I can go up in a fuel effecient vehicle instead of a 3/4 ton truck with a camper I can save over half of the fuel. I can carry a propane tank, some boat fuel, a cooler of food, clean clothes, bedding and my dogs in a small pickup or SUV. Unfortunately, I believe that the fuel prices this summer will be even steeper than last. A 25% increase in fuel can drastically impact the ability to drive 400 miles per weekend.

    Drawback - Loss of the freedom to move around. That is why I have looked for a place with alot to offer. This can be minimized by having friends with cabins in other areas. A little friendly time sharing/bartering may prevent burnout of a certain area.

  14. #14
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    Where are you building that you are going to run into permafrost??
    Glennallen area. Nuff said.

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    Sounds good, but that is a job for Brian. I don't have the power to do changes like that .
    Don't hold back on us, we know mods have superpowers like that. Guess I'll revamp the message: *nudge, nudge* Brian M./Webmaster and yes, it does seem at least half a dozen people or so have expressed interest in this at least once and I'm sure it'll draw others.

  16. #16
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Mike

    The new picture provides great clarification for me. I think you have a great setup there. The only thing I might consider doing is to find a way to tie all of those planks together (at least the individual layers, not sure on both tiers yet)). Drilling and rebar is an idea, but seems to be a little too much work. maybe some 3/4 inch treated ply glued and shot/screwed???

    I will ponder the crossbracing a little longer. The reason I am concerned is because I just put some work into a cabin that is shifting because there was no bracing. Now, had it been tied together in the first place, this probably would not have happend. I guess I would say that if you are tying off in the x and y plane, you should be good to go ahead and weld them stationary (provided you have done the correct math and have accurate drawings to get all pilings in place).

    You are talking about some serious weight here. Will you have enough room to get a track machine to the site?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt_ak View Post
    Guess I'll revamp the message: *nudge, nudge* Brian M./Webmaster and yes, it does seem at least half a dozen people or so have expressed interest in this at least once and I'm sure it'll draw others.
    Huh? Did someone say my name?

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Huh? Did someone say my name?
    Dont make me poke you with the stick again!! It would be appreciated though...to get the sub-category...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    Sounds good, but that is a job for Brian. I don't have the power to do changes like that .
    Passing the buck.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknRut View Post
    The new picture provides great clarification for me. I think you have a great setup there. The only thing I might consider doing is to find a way to tie all of those planks together (at least the individual layers, not sure on both tiers yet)). Drilling and rebar is an idea, but seems to be a little too much work. maybe some 3/4 inch treated ply glued and shot/screwed???

    I will ponder the crossbracing a little longer. The reason I am concerned is because I just put some work into a cabin that is shifting because there was no bracing. Now, had it been tied together in the first place, this probably would not have happend. I guess I would say that if you are tying off in the x and y plane, you should be good to go ahead and weld them stationary (provided you have done the correct math and have accurate drawings to get all pilings in place).

    You are talking about some serious weight here. Will you have enough room to get a track machine to the site?
    I am still working the bracing. I just don't like the lumber posts and 2X crossbracing.

    I am actually thinking about getting a tracked skid steer with forks and just run it in. 3-4 Trips @ 10 MPH. I could even pull a trailer. Take a bucket in case the snow needs moved a bit. Work great for unloading the truck also.

    I have assured that you can take this much weight in with a snowmachine pulling a sled. One guy took in a 24 X 24 log cabin with his sled.

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