Pretty in Pink


Pretty in pink is how the lady is. We are moving out of one pink house and into another. In the case of the farm house, it is only pink on two sides. Lloyd, the previous owner, had used pink siding, perhaps because it was inexpensive. Red, one of our neighbors down in the valley tells us that his granddaughter was always enthralled with our house because it was her favorite color. Hope, who also currently likes pink, has been telling me the same.

The tiny cottage is pink, but that is just foam insulation and thus a temporary blushing of the lady’s under slip. Soon we will wrap her in typar, to cut infiltration and protect the pink board foam insulation. Then later she’ll put on her coat of stone and blend back into the mountain landscape. Then she’ll be more demure.

Today’s big projects were that we finished all of the exterior wall insulation and removed the outside scaffolding in preparation for doing the roof and final wrap. Finally we can see the shape of the cottage without all that lumber in the way!


This shot from behind shows the second layer of pink board going on. It is purposefully positioned to protect joints in the first layer. As we add the second layer we foam the first layer’s joints. The expanding can of foam acts as an adhesive with the timbers and rock holding the foam sheets in place until the space invader foam is hardened. The photo above shows the cottage before removing the exterior scaffolding. The thermal mass of the 100,000 lbs of masonry thus ends up inside the insulating blanket of 4″ to 8″ of pink foam depending on the side.


The last thing we did today was remove the trusses inside the attic that held up the wire form work for casting the concrete roof. That was rather exciting! I had everyone leave the building as I dropped the truss ribs. I had set it so that I could remove the screws and the trusses would drop like a house of cards. The one problem was I had to be inside to do that. I engineered it carefully but it was rather exciting to actually do – and very loud. Each spoke of the wheel of the truss forms fell in succession to the interior scaffold decking just as I had envisioned and the roof held!

I left the central ridge beam up as we don’t need to take it down yet and I still need to walk on the roof to put on the roof insulation. In the photo above Will is beginning the process of passing the boards down to the first floor. Some are too long and they will be used as more decking while we pour the kids’ loft and attic spaces. Then when we disassemble the lower structure we’ll be able to get those long pieces of lumber out.

Outdoors: 39°F/25°F Sunny
Farm House: 55°F/50°F
Tiny Cottage: 53°F/47°F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Pretty in Pink

  1. Bernard H says:

    Nice I look forard to seeeing the done house. Were thinking of building to and for the same reason. This old house is to much upkeep and costs. Some thing small would be better to.

  2. David B. says:

    I’ll be building a concrete block garage, and eventually a house and I am trying to decide how to cover the foam on the outside. I know with your house you currently have a parge of concrete, and eventually stone. I’d like to do stone as well, but I don’t know how to connect it structurally to the concrete block through 4″ of foam. Do you leave some rebar sticking through (thermal bridge…) or some other method?

    Thank you!

    • First we need a good found foundation for both. In our case we’re sitting on ledge or bedrock. If one has a foundation that extends out to the edge of where the stone wall will go and then as it comes in steps up for the house that will unify it all and help prevent cracking.

      There are ties that you can put in to span the insulation between the two walls. Conventionally these are straps of steel, often used to tie brick or other masonry to a building. With a good foundation like above one could do the tie with the stone frames of the windows. Ties, of any type, will lower the insulation value of the wall to some degree since they sacrifice insulation value for tensile strength. I also do have a few pieces of rebar that are for the purpose of dying the existing building to the future expansion. Interestingly, the thermal bridging is not nearly as great as I had anticipated from doing the math. That’s good news.

      My plan for adding the stone wall later is that we’ll build a snow wall a bit outside the existing parged wall and then pour concrete in the space between. There will also be reinforcement, probably basalt.

      If you are in our climate, or colder, I would suggest going with 6″ or even 8″ of foam. We have 4″ in some areas and 6″ in other areas. When we add the outer stone wall I plan to add more insulation.

      Due note that we core filled and steel reinforced the concrete block walls. I would not build a hollow core wall fore fears of failure of the wall. In the butcher shop virtually all of the walls are poured into forms. I prefer the poured now that we’ve mastered the techniques. The advantage of the concrete block is one does not need a pump truck which is really necessary for doing the poured building.

      • David B. says:

        Great! Thank you for the response. In our planned area (Southern Wisconsin) it will need to be a poured foundation as we don’t have bedrock nearly as close to the surface. I imagine it would be the same way to build as if one was building a stick building and putting brick as the facade.

        I’ve aAlways planned to fill the cores of the concrete block, I want the strength and the thermal mass. I’ve gone back and forth on which way to go (block or poured walls) and since I plan to only be building the one building I’m not sure it is worth the extra material to build all the forms, plus… this will be a slow process as I have time to build.

        I do plan on pouring a reinforced ring around the top that will tie it all together. I hope to do a catenary vault for the roof (ferrocement) but we’ll have to see if I could ever get it approved, otherwise it would be a steel roof.

        I need to build a doghouse this summer :)

        • The advantage of the block is it is simpler and easier to get up. If just doing one building then block makes a lot of sense.

          The advantage of the poured is it is stronger and easier to embed the plumbing, electric and such in the walls. Then you have the forms to reuse on another project. We’re storing a lot of forms simply on the exterior of the butcher shop until we need them for the next project.

          I really like a reinforcing rod ring at the base, below window height and at the top of the walls. This bond beam makes the building a lot stronger.

          If catenary won’t get approved see about barrel vault which is taller and stronger. Also easier to form. Simpler math.

          I like to make a big overhang on the roof to drip and the footer to support the outer wall.

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