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Thread: Sanity Check - Building a Cabin behind near Anchor Point

  1. #1

    Default Sanity Check - Building a Cabin behind near Anchor Point

    I am just about ready to start on my cabin about 8 miles in from Anchor Point. Price is a factor so I will be doing most of the work myself.

    Wanted to get a sanity check on my cabin

    The cabin size I have landed on is 32' x 16'
    - 2x6 walls
    - r21 in the walls
    - r31 in the ceiling (truss pitched metal roof)
    - 2x10s for the floor joists
    - 6x6 for beams (x3)
    - foundation will be 18 sonotubes arranged 6x3 spacing 64" apart on the long side - 1/2" rebar in tube as called for by sonoco
    - sonotubes with foot will go down 4' and will be 12" diameter (cement mix'd on site)
    - Tyvec (of course)
    - Plastic on interior walls for vapor barrier
    - Floor will have 1" foam sandwiched between 2 pieces of OSB (with framing)
    - Heat will wood stove with triple wall'd chimney
    - 3 large windows with the best e rating I can afford
    - 1 sliding door
    - 1 regular door

    Any comments or suggestions would greatly be appreciated. I have seen cement slabs (floating) and piers sunk in the ground using treated wood and even cement footers that sit on top of the ground but all of those scare me. Not saying they do not work but just don't have experience with them and do not want to make a mistake on the foundation. Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2


    Just clear enough space so the next wildfire does not eat your cabin.
    "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

  3. #3


    First the 32 x 16 is a odd lay out. First it will make it hard to heat unless the stove is in the middle. In place of the 2x10 floor joist I would go with TGI , a lot less work because of weight for one thing, the other is no warping. Is the 1" of foam all of the insulation that you are going to have in the floor? Where you are using the 6x6 beams I think that 4 x12 would give you better support with less deflection than 6 x6 . I would think that a 8" sonotubes would be plenty big with the fact that you will have 18 ea. Good Luck

  4. #4


    Sound advice - thank you

  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Kodiak, Ak


    Foundation choice sounds really good to me, pilings work well, and the sonotube deal is excellent

    You're lookin' pretty sane to me, with all the rest of it,
    Have fun, building your own cabin should turn out to be one of the greatest experiences you have in AK

    hope it all goes well for ya, take pics and keep us updated
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  6. #6


    Thank you, I really appreciate your time.

    Be safe out there

  7. #7


    Thanks for the input. The stove will be in the middle, I am a little concerned about the movement of air to heat the entire place. I will check in to the TGI.

    I am trying to find a suitable insulation material for the floor so any suggestions is appreciated.

    The 4 x 12 is a good idea, I will change the plan. 8" tubes would not break my heart, that has a huge impact on the amount of concrete so I will definitely look in to that.

    Thanks for your time and input, I appreciate it.

  8. #8


    I think that you would be happier in a lot of ways if your size was a little closer to square. That way you would have your heat and the central meeting point in the center.I have found that you spend a lot more time gathering in a area like a living room than in the bedrooms .Usualy in a cabin most people have the kitchen close to this living area ,close to the food and the cool ones.

  9. #9


    Yeah, I have been going back and forth on that. I want something that falls on 8' boundaries to minimize wasted material but wanted something not square. Your points about heating and gathering areas are good so I will have to re-evaluate the layout.


  10. #10



    I can think of some advantages of a stretched rectangle. The truss/rafter spans are shorter. This makes it a little easier to build single handed. With your design, just have one end be for storage/sleeping areas, and the other end be for kitchen/living.

    I like foam board for floor insulation so the squirrels donít put pink garlands of spun fiberglass in all your trees.

    I have a 16x20 cabin with a wood stove about 4 feet from the back wall, and 16 from the front wall. I have had no problem with the interior of the cabin farthest from the stove being cold.

    The ideal chimney installation would be as close to the roof ridge as possible. The stove will draft best if as much of the exhaust stack is in the interior of the cabin as possible. Straight up with no bends is ideal, both for better drafting, and for simpler cleaning. Use black stove pipe inside the cabin until you approach the ceiling. Then transition to chimney sections to penetrate the ceiling and roof. Using black stove pipe inside will let you extract more heat from the rising exhaust.

    Also, placing the chimney near the ridge means less hazard to the chimney from snow shedding off your roof. Secure the chimney with struts connected to the roof for a storm-proof trouble-free installation.

    Good luck with your cabin project!

  11. #11


    I'll throw in my 2 cents as well. I agree with the advantages that rifleman posted on the rectangular shape -- the next cabin I build will be 20x32 with a loft on either end. I have a friend with a 16x32-ish cabin that is heated nicely with a blaze king.

    I think your 18 sonotubes is way overkill. If you're digging 18 holes, you might as well dig one big hole and make a real foundation. I like to build with fewer members, but make them larger. It is less work and makes things easier to level out if you have any settling or frost jacking issues. If the soil is good, six sonotubes, 12" diameter with bigfoot footings would work like a champ. Set the sonotubes in about 2 feet from all edges...basically you would have two rows of three tubes with 14 feet between the tubes and 12 feet between each row. Overhang the beams 2' in each direction and overhang the joists 2' past the beams. I just poured some bigfoot footings and I suspended some rebar in the footing part, then took a straight section and bent a "J" into it. This worked pretty slick.

    For the floor insulation, I like to put the joists on top of a cheap layer of 1/2" plywood, fiberglass insulation and 3/4" subfloor. A good rule of thumb is to have as much insulation in the floor as the roof has.

    Take this all with a grain of salt...I'm not a builder, i just wish I was! Good luck! Sounds like a fun project! Be sure to post some pictures as you progress!


  12. #12


    Had not thought of the black stove pipe, will have to check in to that - thank you!

  13. #13


    Thank you, I have been trying to figure out the sonotubes and the info is all over the board. I would love to have the 16x32 layout so I will likely go with that. I am thinking 8 sonotubes with the bigfoot is the way to go but I need to do some more checking. I like 8 way more than 18....


  14. #14
    Member power drifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Down wind of 2 Glaciers


    If it was mine I would go more than 8 but less than 18. I like covered porches. Most people don't think it all the way out and than end up later with weird roof lines on the porch. I like to hand frame the roofs 12/12 pitch rather than truss so as to use it as loft space.Loft space carried over the porch works well. I like foam in the floor but what ever you use it needs to keep mice out of it. They like foam.
    Here is something to think about. You want to build 16x32 that is 512 sq ft. with 96 LF of walls. If you build 24x24 that gives you 576 sq ft with the same 96 LF of walls. That's 64 sq ft more inside for the same amount of walls. Can anyone explain this?


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