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Our Silo House (Part 2)

Hey Followers!

It's Briana bringing you part 2 of "Our Silo House" story! I am so happy you have, once again, made it over to my little corner of the internet and are here reading my blog.

Last time, in part 1 of Our Silo House, we left off with the completion of constructing the final silo after the foundation was poured. If you were not able to read Part 1, please visit our blog or click photo to the right and read "Our Silo House (Part 1)" to catch up.

I am going to be honest, after we got the foundation poured and the actual silo reconstructed to its former glory, I was nervous. Nervous about time, nervous about money, and nervous about the stress and the process. At the beginning of the project, my family and I knew we wanted to put as much "sweat equity" into the project as possible. What I wasn't realistic about was the time. As if I didn't (and my family didn't) already have busy enough schedules as it was, lets add building a house into the equation, planning a wedding, growing a tiny human, studying and working on completing my Master's, oh and my full-time job.

The cows I think enjoyed the new addition to the farm!

After we built the silo, and took a short break from the project, the next steps in the building process was the framing of what I call the "internal foundation" of the house. While we had constructed the actual bin, we needed internal structure outside of just the metal silo walls. I contacted my contractor for the project to start with this phase of the project because this step, in my opinion, was the most vital to the structure of the home (in addition, of course to the foundation.) The framing that is in the house is "free-standing." What I mean by that is, the actual framing is no where attached to the actual bin. The engineer and CID approved that the house be built with the idea of an "internal" structure being built inside the "outer" structure.

Since the beginning of the project, I knew for the end result I wanted smooth, round walls and this was going to pose a challenge in making sure the framing was done to result in that end result. My contractor did a superb job in completing the framing for the project and my father and I assisted in cutting the plywood that the studs would be sitting on to achieve the round smooth walls. Let me tell you, we cut and we cut and WE CUT! It saved my contractor time and me money by doing some of the labor and "man hours" cutting these round curves. (I think I can still feel the vibration of the jig saw in my wrists and the feel the wood particles in my eyes).

Once my contractor completed the bottom framing, he then constructed the loft and then framed the roof. Once again, I had a vision, I wanted the inside of the home to keep the shape of the silo. My original vision also incorporated being able to have exposed beams on the ceiling and under the loft. There is only one room in the home, being the restroom. We wanted an "open concept" because the house is almost considered a "tiny" house. While the framing was being completed on the inside, my family and I began the process of cutting out, framing and installing windows.

Well, this posed to be quite difficult. Putting square, flat windows into a round building took some brainstorming. I suppose I could have ordered custom rounded windows, but that would have also costed a substantial amount of cash. So, we made flat windows work in a round structure. We had to order special metal bent to the exact curvature of the bin in order to get a tight seal on the windows. I owe a huge shout out to my father for building each frame with my husband and I helping along the way, installing each of the windows into the frames and then installing them into the silo. (When he was done with all 9 windows, he did a happy dance!)

The next steps in the building process was to insulate and put the tongue and groove on the ceiling. But, before we proceeded, partial electrical and plumbing work had to be done. We sub-contracted an electrician and a plumber to complete the work. As contracting work goes, everything has a process and must be done in the proper order.

Going back to the idea of sweat equity and trying to keep the project on budget, my husband and father applied the spray foam insulation. We had contacted several companies that were professionals at applying the spray foam product, however received quotes from businesses of over $9,500. I immediately got online and learned that there is no special license to be able to apply the spray foam and ordered the material from Maine.

With ordering the material and doing the labor ourselves I was able to save approximately $3500 (which would certainly come in handy later down the line). The plans called for spray foam and Batt insulation. The spray foam would act as a vapor barrier since the silo structure was metal and would have "sweating" or condensation occur over a period of time especially in the New Mexico climate. The Batt insulation was installed over the spray foam insulation and achieved/exceeded the R-Value called for in the plans. Let's just say our silo house is over-kill in the insulation department. We have stayed nice and warm in the winter and a little heat source goes a long way!

In the last above pictures, you can see how we cut and installed each individual piece of tongue and groove as pictured above. Let's say this was a very time consuming, frustrating process in the build (and a test of my marriage with my husband). If you want to test a new, fresh marriage I advise people to build a house. There were 768 total pieces cut and installed. It was important to stay consistent with alignment going around the roof and as we went higher the pieces got smaller and the area to get in and install got even smaller.

While we worked on finishing the ceiling, once again the plumber and electrician had to come in and do the next steps of work in order for us to complete and enclose the ceiling. Once the final piece of tongue and groove was installed, we blew attic insulation to fill the entire cavity that was between the wood and the original silo roof. Now we were left with a hole in the center, which I had the perfect idea for! We had a metal artist design my husband's drawing and cut metal art to fit in the metal ring that was part of the roofs structure. This insert is able to be taken out if we need to ever access that space. I ordered a LED Bluetooth light strip from Amazon and installed it which changes colors and goes to the beat of music from an app on our phones. (One of my favorite features in the house)!

Oh, hey! It's my baby! She was the supervisor and manager of the project since the day she was born. We couldn't leave her out of the blog post! Don't all three of them look tired in that picture? I sure do love them! Emiliana has been a part of building "her" house literally since day one almost and I think she has enjoyed it for the most part! <3

Stayed tuned for Part 3 of this Blog Series coming next week!

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