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Mobile Hermitage – Construction

Effective LivingMobile Hermitage

The Mobile Hermitage was constructed with commercial and residential-grade materials for low or zero maintenance such as the metal roof, cedar siding, and steel foundation frame trailer.

In the initial phase of construction, framing for the walls is put in place prior to applying plywood to the exterior surface.

The walls of the Mobile Hermitage are constructed using solid 2×4 wood reinforced with glue and screws rather than nails.

Shown at left is Gregory Johnson, Director of ResourcesForLife.com, using a drill to fasten the walls together with screws.

The walls are assembled using screws and glue rather than nails. Unlike a typical camper, RV, motor home, camping trailer, or mobile home, the construction of the Mobile Hermitage is very solid and the insulation makes it economical for year-round habitation.

The heating system is completely run by LP gas and needs no electricity. So, it is an excellent home for remote locations or for use in areas where electrical service may be interrupted. The more costly and high-end “5th Wheel” camper trailers are designed with the intention of having them connected to electrical service. So, they typically use a forced air furnace for heating (which is dry).

After the framing in place, and plywood has been applied to form the exterior walls, reinforcing metal braces are installed for additional strength and stability (see photo to right).

In the next phase, insulation will be installed in the open spaces between the 2×4 studs. Solid pink insulation, such as Owens Corning PINK Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation, is probably the easiest insulation to work with. Using spray foam insulation to fill in the gaps around the pink foam insulation boards will make it possible to create an almost airtight structure. In this way, fresh airflow through the home is better controlled. Using man-made chemical-based insulation has some drawbacks since it is not natural. However, the insulating efficiency gained and energy savings may offset the negative aspects of using a non-natural insulator. The interior walls of choice can be installed once the insulation is in place.

In the photo to the left, the second floor is being installed. The ceiling of the main room is the floor for the second level. It consists of 2×4 or 2×6 joists/studs with plywood laid down on top.

The outside walls of the home can be covered with plastic or some kind of waterproofing (such as Tyvek) to use as a housewrap. Then the outside surface coating of the house can be installed. With the Mobile Hermitage, solid cedar siding was used for the outside surface of the home. This helps prevent mold and repels bugs.

Below, the completed home can be seen (Click here for interior photos of the home). Because the interior of the home includes numerous compartments, these offer additional insulation from outdoor noises and extreme temperatures. Because of the airtight construction of the home, it is important to use cross ventilation to maintain fresh airflow. A window at the head of the sleeping loft is used as an intake window for fresh air that is exhausted a the other end of the home on the main level.

Credits. Jay Shafer of TumbleweedHouses.com was instrumental in the design and construction of the Mobile Hermitage. He put in the majority of labor in building the home, with only about 60 hours of labor being provided by Gregory Johnson.

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Categorized as Housing

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com