Tips on building a Summer Cabin
I’m building a cabin thats going to be used from late May until early October (in Canada). Its going to be approx. 500 sq ft with electrical and plumbing. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated. I’m unsure if I should use drywall. I have heard mixed opinions on this. The type of plumbing I think I’m going to use is Pex. Good idea? Are there any common building practises for residential homes that would be major no-no’s for a seasonal cabin? What type of windows would be best suited to this type of building? I’m leaning towards fiberglass as I hear it has similar expansion and contraction rates as glass.
Thanks for the help,
Here are some links to companies that offer cabin kits. They have lots of construction pictures, and may give you some good ideas for building your cabin:
Backwoods Post and Beam uses a panelized wall system which incorporates rigid insulation, over a roughsawn hemlock post and beam frame. We were (and still are) considering one of their kits for a cabin in Maine.
i like to plumb a cabin with copper.the reason is i can make sure it all slopes to one point so that i can turn a valve and it's all drained and ready for winter,with no blow out needed. pex you would have to work to make sure you had no dips anywhere. larry
hand me the chainsaw, i need to trim the casing just a hair.
i don't think pex will burst from freezing.... around here if you did it in copper... you wouldn't have to worry about it burst'n... they'd steal it out of the walls before joints cooled from the install
One thing about Pex is that it tolerates freezing better than other supply piping.
Fun, fun, fun! I love seasonal cabins.
What area of the country is this going to be in? Snow country? Desert?
Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.
Some simple thoughts, most from lessons learned the hard way:)
Design the bathroom so it shares a common wall with the kitchen and keep all your plumbing on that one wall with easy access to drain everything. Don't bury any pipes in the walls.
Our cabin had pvc piping when we bought it and it works well. Rigid enough to stay fairly straight and easy to work with. (small hack saw, piece of emery cloth and pvc cement and cleaner)
Elevate your shower stall so that even that trap is inside the cabin. No traps or pipes outside other than main sewer pipe and water supply. This makes it easier to extend your season.
Consider keeping designs simple and void of wintering-over places for rodents.
Think about snow loads on the roof.
Good insulation will pay off in the summer and, should you decide to use it winters, even better.
If you plan to put it on posts, a simple rectangle design will be easiest to jack and keep level.
Elevate building enough so you can easily move around below it. Sooner or later you'll be glad you did.
Pex is good for freeze resistance, still keep it all in tight and set it on pitch boards so you can assure that it will drain. In Canada you need to think about Porcupines getting up under the house and gnawing on things so go ahead and set it on posts but skirt it well with hardi panel or steel roofing to keep the critters out. Depending on where you are in Canada you might want to set up some easy to operate bear shutters. We stayed in a grizzley area and the shutters were so tedious to operate we ended up leaving them shut most of the time. What's the point of staying in a beautiful place if you can't look out the windows. Black bears are not such a worry as the Grizzleys in terms of poking their heads in while you are out hiking to see if there's any left-overs from breakfast. I'd stick with cheap wooden windows (I.G.) and a good wood stove.