Thursday, September 29, 2022

Houseboat build, pg22...

 We had to make a trip up to Kerr Lake today, to better tie the pontoon boat up at the marina, let the top down, and get it secured prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ian. Once completed, we stopped at Lowe's for some countersink screws, and headed back to the houseboat project. Debbie got the exterior trim painted, we finished plugging a few screw holes in the outer skin of the houseboat, and drilled / installed about 175 screws into the plywood flooring. By this time it was dark, and I brought in some lighting to allow working on the inside after dark. Once lit, lots of caulking was applied all around the perimeter of the interior. Now that's finished, it's time to start on the electrical and plumbing stub-downs. 


In the photos above you can see the exterior trim that Debbie got painted, today. It's the wide band that goes around the area where the house joins to the pontoon platform. 

Here you can see the blue cross-wise chalk box markings on the floor. This helped me drill holse into the aluminum floor joists to solidly secure the plywood flooring to the metal skin and metal beams below.

Houseboat build, pg21...

 Houseboat weight, to date... I've been keeping track of the entire project, weighing ever piece as the boat was built. I'm not as concerned as I was originally, now that we have over 14,000 pounds of flotation, but I'm still watching the overall weight closely. I don't want the total weight to exceed 50% of the total flotation, but I don't think we're gonna be anywhere close to that. Here's the data so far...

Current Houseboat weight
- Current Houseboat Chassis weight (lightened) = 800 lbs
- 2x4 Metal Tracks (48ft), wall bottom = 26.4 lbs
- Side wall tracks 11502 = 7.2 lbs
- Front Wall tracks = 5.6 lbs
- Front and rear treated track support (2x4 cut, 8.5lbs ea) = 34 lbs
- Wall horiz mid-beams = 16.4 lbs
- 2x4 Metal Tracks, Wall top (48ft) = 26.4 lbs
- 17pcs Trex 5' @ 10.2lbs = 181.9 lbs
- 26 metal 2x4x34.5" rafters = 39 lbs
- 20 lbs of marine epoxy = 20 lbs
- 36 metal 2x4x5' = 90 lbs
- 2 gable assys = 21.2 lbs
- 4 roof beams 16' long = 36.8 lbs
- Exterior wall sheeting, 48' = 106.5 lbs
- 12 side rafters @ 22.5" ea = 9.9 lbs
- 48' rain drip, wall top = 13.2 lbs
- Sheet metal for floor = 72 lbs
- Flat bar for float mouting = 38 lbs
- 7 psc floats, 39 lbs ea = 273 lbs
- Roof panel, 2w = 27.2 lbs
- Roof panel, 3w = 43.2 lbs
- Roof front and rear trim = 4.8 lbs
- Door Jam = 14.5 lbs
- Threshhold = 3.6 lbs
- Door = 50.4 lbs
- Metal Studs for corners, 10 pcs @ 2.5 lbs ea = 25 lbs
- 7pcs brickmold @ 3.8 lbs ea = 26.6 lbs
- 16' stud track for windows = 8.8 lbs
- 3ea Windows @ 14.6 lbs ea = 43.8 lbs
- Latex sand = 9.6 lbs / gal
- Rear Deck frame, treated timbers, 2 pcs 8.4 lbs ea = 16.8 lbs
- Rear deck Trex, 17 pcs 4.1 lbs ea = 69.7 lbs
- 4 sheets of 1/2" b-c plywood for flooring @ 48.61 lbs ea = 194.44 lbs
***Total-to-date*** = 2355.94 lbs

So far, so good....

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Houseboat build, pg20...

 Yay, the flooring is in!! I got enough of the 2" blue core from my buddy Mark, to fill the flooring structure below the metal skin. Once all of the floats were in, I cut and laid in the blue foam insulation, and sealed around that.

This blue insulation totally filled in the structure above the floats, and was sealed in with spray foam from those little aerosol cans. Made for a nice, tight, seal.

Here, you can see as I laid down a skin of .032" aluminum sheet all along the entire flooring. This was screwed to the metal floor structure.

Metal skin in place, boy...that looks nice!! I've been cut so much by this stuff, I'm glad to finally have it in place and away from me!

Beginning to lay down a layer of b-c 1/2" plywood. This stupid photo is turned up on it's side, for some reason...

The plywood flooring is now down and mostly screwed in place. I still have to finish putting the screws in. We have a nice vinyl flooring to put on top of this, but that'll come later. I have a lot of caulking to do, as well as get the plumbing and electrical stubbed in, before I can foam fill the outer walls...

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Houseboat build, pg19...

 The last float, the rear deck, and exterior trim... Yay!! Wow, mounting those 7 flotation devices was a bigger job and more time consuming than I expected, but they're now finished. The additional floats turned out very nice, and made for a clean installation. I got the rear deck framed out with treated timber, installed synthetic deck boards (Trex), and got most of the exterior trim panels modified and installed. Here's a few pics... 

Rearmost float installed, treated timber ripped to 2.5" and installed, and ready for decking. This will provide the support for the generator, heat pump outdoor unit, and LP tanks. A hand rail will be installed around the edge of this.

A photo as seen looking towards the front of the boat from behind. You can see the bottom of the 7 flotation units, they mount about 5" higher than the main pontoons, providing additional stability. 

In this photo you can see the aluminum mounting bars that support the batch of floats, as they exit the structure and are secured to the rear deck framework.

This is the batch of Trex for the rear deck, all trimmed to length and ready to install. This worked out nicely, it was the parts left over from building the front patio. 

Here's a couple of pics of the rear deck with the Trex installed. A small engine mount will ultimately be installed off the rear edge of the deck assembly. The engine will only be used to move the houseboat around in the marina from time to time.

A pic from the front of the houseboat. The frontmost float can be seen in this photo. I plan to fabricate an aluminum plow to mount just ahead of it.

This photo is of the rear deck, just after the fasteners were all installed, the bits cleaned away from countersinking the screws, and it was time for a break. 

Here, I'm testing the trim fitment after a few mods. I'm able to use some of the original perimeter trim from the old 1990 Lowe Sunbird pontoon boat. 

The 3 pics above show the side trim repaired and fitted, including the mounting blocks that had to be installed to reattach the trim panels. This will be painted "in place" to match the pontoons. 

I need about 4.5' more of this aluminum side trim to complete dressing around the rear deck. This is gonna look pretty good, once painted!

A final photo, just before dark, of the Houseboat with the side trim panels installed. That really cleaned up the look, nicely!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Houseboat build, pg18...

 It seems the flotation work will never be finished :-) . We now have all of the floats installed, save 1 in the very back. Here's a few pics...


This is a photo as seen looking towards the rear of the boat, from below, showing the line of flotation devices installed along it's length. 

A photo of the front of the houseboat with the frontmost float installed. They come out almost flush with the front of the patio. 

A photo as looking forward from the rear of the boat. You can see the timbers we used on the trailer to slide those floats into position and ready for lifting to the frame. 

The end of another day, and things are looking pretty good! The patio awning has arrived, and Debbie is preparing the front porch posts, now.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Houseboat build, pg17...

 Today, we started hanging the additional flotation devices, now that the support bars are in place. These are kinda tough to install, only because of them being awkward in size. We got a few hung, and made provisions for the dark water tank between float #3 and #4. Here's a few pics....


This photo is from behind, as we move one of the 3' x 4' x 17" flotation devices into position for installation. You can see the 3" wide aluminum bars protruding from behind. These will eventually be attached to the framework for the rear deck. 

Here, one of the floats is resting on the wooden runners we put on the trailer, to allow is to slide them along the length of the boat for installtion . 

This is the "dark water" tank for the boat. Essentially, it's the boat's septic tank. It'll get installed between floats #3 & #4, and has provision for being pumped out by the marina. 

More floats being installed, above. You can see the sheets of wax paper that the boat is sitting on, on the trailer. We didn't want the fresh eboxy paint to glue the boat to the trailer :-)


These photos got out of order, but the two pics above are shots of the area where the floats will be installed, taken from above and below the mounting bars.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Houseboat build, pg16...

 Additional Flotation... Since the beginning of this project, we had planned to add additional flotation. The two pontoons could support around 7300 lbs, including the weight of the pontoons, chassis, etc. We didn't know what the house section would weight, so we purchased additional flotation devices to add along the center of the boat. These new floats will support 1023 lbs each, and we planned to add. This bring the total flotation to over 14,000 lbs! As the project progressed, we discovered the total weight will end up around 4000 lbs, so we'll have WAY more than enough for a safe houseboat. In the pics below, you'll see the 7 black floats and the support beams that are being installed now. Hopefully I'll have that finished by tomorrow, and can move on to getting the flooring installed. Here's the photos...


The above photos shows the 3" wide aluminum flat bar I'm installing length-wise under the boat hull. These are attached to the hull at 48 points, to adequately distribute the mounting weight across the entire structure. When the boat is in the water, the new center floats contact the water after the main pontoons immerse 5", providing more roll stability. The lift support is also distributed along the length of the boat using this series of 3 beams. You can kinda see them in the above pics. The floats, below, will bolt to these flat bars at a total of 56 points along the length of the boat.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Houseboat build, pg15...

 Port side window and paint... The port window was a bit easier, now that I'm learning more about how to frame for them. It's now installed, along with all of the interior corner posts, and the port side sheathing / covering. Since we built this structure from scratch, using metal from two other building kits, none of the holes lined up. As a result, there are lots of self-tapping screws in the outer skin and framework. Debbie decided to paint the building with a good coat of paint, to provide sealing for the screws and give the building a uniform color. The result was GREAT, all of those "silver" screws disappeared into the sand-colored finish and the house really looks nice. Here's a few pics...

Debbie found a new front door mat that she liked for our new Tiny-Houseboat build. Really gives it a bit more feel of home!