Building Walls – A Non-Political Post About Our Tiny Walls

December 23, 2016

Don’t worry- no politicking here! Just fun building updates!

The exterior walls were up and filled with the plumbing tubes, electrical wires, and spray foam, so it was time to close them up! One of the most exciting parts of building the house so far came when we started putting up the inside walls. I never would have expected to be so thrilled about this, but the further we got on this project, the more excited I got. As each wall panel went up, the house changed from a complete construction zone to a decent looking building. Not being able to see the bones and insulation of the house really was a nice change.

We probably dragged this out way longer than it needed to take, but sometimes we just don’t feel like working! And, now that everything needs to look nice, Eric really feels the pressure from me to get it right. So, I can’t really blame him when he says he needs a vacation from the house (and his bossy wife…hey wait, that’s me.) But we finally got it done!

Before we could get started on the actual labor, we needed to figure out what we would use for our inside walls. Traditional houses use drywall, but that isn’t a good option for tiny houses on wheels. Drywall can crack, break, and crumble quite easily. Any movement like driving down a highway could cause significant damage to your walls, and the risk just isn’t worth it. Plus, drywall is really heavy, and we are trying to keep the house as light as possible. Another option that is used by a lot of tiny housers is some type of bead board paneling. There’s not really anything wrong with this option, but it comes down to personal preference. I really don’t like that look, so it got nixed.

We settled on 1/4 inch plywood. This is light and cheap, plus it has a super smooth side ready to paint once it was up. No rough walls allowed! We bought about 22 sheets of plywood, and headed back to get started on the walls and ceiling. The first thing to do was to get the ceiling up and secured. I wish people could have seen us holding these big panels over our heads while trying to screw them in. It was a truly a pathetic display of my shoulder strength. (Let’s just say that for the ceiling over the loft, I ended up flipped upside down using my legs to hold up the boards. Hey, whatever works!) The boards finally got up, and we had a ceiling!

Resting our shoulders from putting up the ceiling.

Once the plywood was up, we had to go back a smooth out the seams and the holes from the screws. We made this process harder on ourselves than necessary, but we’re learning as we go. We used drywall mud to fill in all the seams and smooth them out. After slathering the mud over the seams, we had to go back and sand down the mud to smooth it out. The idea is that the mud should be super smooth and blend into the rest of the wall or ceiling, just like in a traditional house. Sanding the ceiling is not an easy task, plus the dust it creates gets EVERYWHERE!!!! Luckily during this time, my mom came to visit, so we put her to work for us!

Putting the seam tape up and then mudding over it.

Mudding the seams and holes from the screws.

All the mud was up so it was time to sand it smooth.

Sanding is hard on the shoulders and incredibly dirty!

Ok, I’ll make mom do it for me.

Good work, mom!

The dust was no joke!

I guess I’ll take a shower tonight.

So happy my mom got to visit and help us on the house!

After the ceiling was mudded, we moved on to the walls, and there was a lot of measuring and cutting the boards to fit. But we had one tool that made part of the process MUCH easier: the roto-zip! I’ve talked about this bad boy before. And while the noise it makes sounds like a thousand screaming banshees tunneling into your head, the tool is a gift from God. We could put the plywood up without worrying about measuring and cutting out holes for the windows, and come back later with this little miracle worker and cut out perfect window holes. It saved us tons of time not having to worry about measuring and cutting to get the window holes right. Anything that saves us time and headaches is a welcome gift! (Also, how many times can I say window holes?) Once the walls were attached, it was time to go back and mud and sand everything down to be smooth.

Real walls!

The Roto-Zip. Seriously, wear ear protection or sacrifice your hearing.

So easy cutting out the holes in the walls for our windows!


Taa-daaa! A perfect window cut-out.

More walls!

It was important to mark where the electricity and plumbing is located inside of the walls with our squiggly lines, so when we build the stairs and kitchen, we don’t screw into any wires or tubing.

The walls are mudded and smooth!

The chaos that is our work site.

Eric hated the whole mudding process because it was long and tedious, and to make matters worse, the mud didn’t work exactly how we had hoped. (Again, we’re still learning things.) Because this isn’t a traditional house and we used plywood panels instead of drywall, the mud didn’t hold as strong as we were hoping. As the weather changed the mud barely fractured at the seams. It wasn’t the worse thing in the world, but it was disappointing to see after spending a ton of time mudding, sanding, and smoothing everything out. So, we had to go back and put a clear caulk sealer over all the mud. That seemed to hold everything in place and we haven’t seen any problems since then. Next time we know to seal the seams differently, and save ourselves a ton of time.

With the panels up, it was time to paint. I painted the ceiling first (again, torture on my shoulders) and got enough white paint in my hair that it looked like I aged into an old lady over night. Then we moved on to painting the walls. Unfortunately, when I painted the first coat onto the loft walls, I realized my “light grey” paint actually looked like a dusty baby blue. No offense to anyone who likes that color, but it’s a big thumbs down for me. Eric thought I was throwing a fit over nothing, but I couldn’t get over how blue the walls looked. This was not what I had envisioned!!! So, it was back to Lowes for a new paint sample. Finally, I found Filtered Shade and it’s perfect. I repainted the loft walls, and then moved onto the rest of the house.

White ceilings!

The loft in Filtered Grey

In a picture, it’s hard to see the difference, but the right tray IS DUSTY BABY BLUE. I don’t care what Eric says!!!

Working our way around the house

Lookin’ good!

Don’t mind Eric’s floating head. He moved while I took this panorama.

During this time, we also smoothed, sanded, and painted the loft ceiling in the kitchen and the storage loft in the living room. We smoothed out any knots in the wood beams and plywood with mud. After sanding everything down to be super smooth, we painted everything white to match the ceiling. I had originally planned for us to stain the underside of the lofts, but after experiencing the horrible torture of staining the outside trim, those plans were quickly modified. The white actually brightens everything up under the loft anyway, so the change worked out great.

Filling in some of the knots on the underside of the loft


After! So bright and light and cheery!

Now, all of the walls and ceilings are painted and looking so sharp. We still need a few touch ups and another coat in the bathroom area, but for the most part, our walls and ceilings are good to go! The next post will be about putting a light in our closet storage space. We never could find what we wanted, so built our own! I’m hoping to have quite a few updates written and posted over the holidays, so come back soon!

1 Comment

  • Reply Shelly December 23, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    So exciting. The house is really coming together!

  • Leave a Reply