Charleston Tiny House

Deconstruct to reconstruct.

An Overcoat for the Elephant


Hey Ya’ll,

It’s been a while.  A lot of things have been going on here in Charleston. I have a new job over at CCR Engineering apprenticing as a prototype engineer and  have been working there full time helping them catch up on a project so the tinyhouse has taken a back burner. But a lot has happened since the last update. Let’s catch up!

This is what the house looked like for a while. I spent most of the summer installing and testing the systems in the house. Over 700 feet of wire, 26 circuits and a ton of plumbing later I was ready to move to the next stage.IMG_0339Keeping in the theme of building the best house I can build, I really wanted to put in high-quality insulation. Originally, I found some 2″ sheets of poly-iso insulation board that was overage from a large building project. I got a great deal on it, but in the end felt that it wasn’t the best choice. Due to the sheer amount of stuff in the walls, cutting the board and fitting it around the wires would have been an endless task with lots of gaps and cracks to fill. After some more research and a bit of saving, I contacted Affordable Sprayfoam of the Carolinas, a company that sprays in poly-iso insulation.

 Spray in insulation has a lot of advantages. Besides the rapid installation and the high insulation rating, the big selling points are that as it expands it fills all the little cracks and voids in the wall to make your house really airtight and also that when it hardens it becomes quite rigid and actually adds strength to your house. The main down side is that when it expands, it encases all of the wires and pipes in the walls and you’ll have to dig out the foam if you ever need to work on something, so I spent one final day testing the systems in the house and making sure everything was just right.

The team from Affordable Sprayfoam arrived early the day of installation and after about 45 minutes of prep, they were ready to get to work.

IMG_1245IMG_1219 After taping all the windows and outlets up, they started applying the two part mixture that expanded into the foam that filled the walls.  The process for installing  closed cell spray foam is pretty straight forward. The two chemicals are mixed and heated and they sprayed into the walls. When it mixes with air, the chemicals expand and foam up. It is the thousands of tiny pockets of air trapped in the foam bubbles that provide the insulative quality. The initial process does produce some off-gassing and isn’t as environmentally friendly as some other options. However, over the life of the house, it will conserve the most resources with its tight seal and high R-value.

IMG_1258We were able to put a Contour camera in the house during the installation and made a time lapse video:

Thanks so much to the wonderful team that came out for this job. They were really friendly and shared a lot about how the process worked.

IMG_1244After they were done, the house had a bit of a strange smell and felt like it was full of clouds.



IMG_1283A few days later, I spent a night in the house to get an idea of how efficient the new insulation was. I was able to heat the whole house with just a small space heater when it was about 30 degrees outside.IMG_1318Please pardon my mess.:)IMG_1320_2There is still so much left to the story of the Golden Elephant. I have been working on the interior walls and and a few other special touches in my spare time. I have also been on the hunt for reclaimed wall coatings that have the feel I am looking for. I have been talking to Reclaimed Design Works about some of their beautiful Beetlekill pine for the walls.

I would also like to take a few moments to introduce my new sponsor, Flexfire LEDs. Their LEDs make for beautiful (and highly efficient!) lighting and I am pleased to have their help and high quality products. I recently made these porch lights for the house out of some LED strips they sent me and it was a nice touch to turn them on during my first night in an insulated house.IMG_1316Well, that’s where the story is for now. I have been updating my instagram feed with my progress of the interior. It’s coming along slowly. I have made a real effort to pay for the house without going into debt. It makes the project a bit slow to manifest, but when it’s done, I will be free.

Be well,



  1. How much did it cost you for the spraying of insulation?

  2. How long will the outgassing take to get to zero?

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