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CAMOMAN

BUILDING A BIG ICE HOUSE

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CAMOMAN

IN THE NEAR FUTURE, I WILL BE STARTING TO BUILD OUR NEXT ICE HOUSE. I HAVE A 2000 TRAVEL TRAILER THAT WAS DEMOLISHED BY A TREE, BUT WILL BE USING THE FLOOR, FRAME AND ALL OF THE MECHANICALS FOR THE ICE HOUSE. IT IS 8X22 OR SO. I AM PLANNING TO PUT SKIDS ON IT RATHER THAN WHEELS. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR US REGARDING THE BASIC CONSTRUCTION, MATERIALS OR ANYTHING?
THANKS.

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Ole1855

One of the best suggestions I can offer is, make the floor a sandwich contruction. I did this in my house and after it get's warmed up, you can walk around in your socks. I started with 1/2" marine plywood then I put down 1" of very dense styrofoam insulation and the put down 3/8" plywood and finished with a short loop carpet. Make sure you don't use rubber/foam backed carpet it never dries out.

Ole

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Guest

I have the same type of floor and it's worked great for over 20 years

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Guest

Use green treat or marine wood in the floor. Building the floor to last is the most important thing. You might think about using, as your moisture barrier, that foil covered bubble plastic. It can make your 2x4 walls insulate like 2x6 walls without the weight. You can use steel 2x4s here and there to cut down weight also. Use green treat 2x4s for the base plate for your walls. Those new round plastic hole covers would would be a nice addition too. If you can make your runners out of 3x5" (or whatever size) steel tube stock. You can thaw your frozen-in runners by sticking a LP gas weed burner in one end and heat them up untill you are free.

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CAMOMAN

I had planned to go with a sandwich floor. I wonder if I should take the existing floor off of there first as i doubt the 3/4" plywood that is on there is treated. Do you think it would matter if I left the bottom layer and used treated on the top layer?
Regarding skids, figured on using tube steel and welding it to the bottom of the existing frame.
What about walls? Will 2x3 walls be enough or should we go with 2x4? Will likely put a loft in it as well. How high should the walls be and would you go with a pitched roof or barn style?

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Guest

Most places take houses with steel skids. I have white oak. Last a long time but not as long as steel. Steel is actually lighter than oak runners. if you use oak make your mounting so they can easily be replaced in the future. Could be 15 years but you will be glad you did. I also have a 2 story house. you need to make it so you can seal off the rooms and have windows to control the temp. They should also be big enough to escape from if there is a fire. Go with opening skylights. You can lay and watch the stars and control the temp. I would go with the barn style roof. Its the most room/weight efficent design. It can get very warm upstairs. If you want to use a large mattress up stairs you may have to put it in place before you finish putting on the siding. I want to build a new house and thats how I would do it based on all the things I have learned with having a house on Mille Lacs since 1976. Opp's I just dated my self. You have a lot of time to think about things sitting in the fish house.

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Nordern

The "Sandwich Style" floor is the only way to go. I have an 8 X 20 built on a steel frame and used 2X4 walls with home built roof trusses. R13 insulation in the walls with a poly wrap and it stays toasty. In addition I would recommend using as many and as large of windows as possible. Everyone that has ever been in my shack has commented on how light and open it feels. I also ran all of the gas line OUTSIDE the shack under the eaves. This leaves very few fittings and chances for leaks inside the shack.

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CAMOMAN

We are out of Brandts, so no problem with steel skids. Thats a good idea to heat them up to get it loose. Will have to remember that.
I want to make sure this house is built well, but not overbuilt, so that is why I am wondering what others have used in the large houses for walls. And also, should I replace the existing floor with treated?

Thanks for all the help!

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CAMOMAN

Thanks for the info guys. Still wondering what others have used for the walls in their larger houses. Do you recommend 2x3 or 2x4 walls? And also wondering what I should do with the existing floor of the trailer?

Any additional advise would be appreciated.

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metro 1

I have built quite a few big houses and there is allot of good information so far. I have never insulated the floor in any of them ,not that its a bad idea but I want the heat go keep my holes open. here are a few other things I would do.
1. have the house able to be pulled from either end
2.run all gas out side at eves (all ready suggested)
3. frame with metal and add sway bracing (metal straps run diagonally at the corners) the sheeting will hold it ridged. Or with vinyl or aluminum siding the inside paneling will also do the trick.
4. think about where the LP tanks will be and how they will be mounted
5. raise the door up a couple of inches so when you open the door the rug doesn't get rolled up
6 think about how you will block the house up and with what.we have put receiver holes for a car jack from the older style that went under the bumper.
7. make it so the whole house can be removed from the frame. You never know what will happen.
8. build it in the spring when there is no RUSH to get on the ice remember your buds will be checking out your work real close.
metro

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Guest

I used the metal 2x3's that you can pick up at menards, home depot...the only thing I didn't like is where ever I put a bunk or other items that would have a load on them I had to go buy wood 2x3's because the metal just can't hold the screws with any amount of weight put on it. I also used tin siding and although it looks nice I would go with vinyl in a heartbeat if I had it to do over.

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CAMOMAN

chiro, I thought the metal studs were not weight-bearing, so I kinda thought I would go wood and was just debating 2x3 or 2x4. Why is it that you would go vinyl and not tin. Did you also tin the roof?

Thanks for all the suggestions metro1! Those are some really good tips.

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bmg

just my observation, but wouldn't vinyl siding be a bit brittle in the cold weather? seems evident as many houses I see w/ vinyl are hacked up on the outside. I would think the vinyl would crack & break when bumped around when the house is moved.

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Guest

BMG makes a valid point but, you have to remember the vinyls they are producing these days are night and day diff from what they had just 10 years ago. They are not nearly as brittle in the cold as you think, in fact I have help my Dad the contractor put this stuff up in upper 20's temps with no problems. The tin is just so **** heavy and cutting it sucks, yes, I tried several methods to cut it.
No, the metal studs are not weight bearing but, at the time I thought I could figure a way around that and the answer was putting wood studs where they were going to be supporting something. Also, I wish I would have made the floor sandwich style...oh well another summer project that I actually want to do! grin.gif

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CAMOMAN

What does it run to have one of these larger houses brought up to ML? And who does it? I would guess it will be built in the cities or just south of the cities.

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Guest

Camoman, first of all you should not worry about making the house too heavy if you are going to leave it at Mille Lacs. They pull it on and off the lake for you, all you do is tell them where you want it. Definetly make the bottom of the house heavy duty. Use steel tubing or pipe for your runners. Use all green treated wood for the floor. Don't use any steel studs in the walls, there is no reason to skimp on the heavy duty stuff if your not going to move it yourself. Use 2x4's also, you'll be happy you did. You can get a r-11 or r-13 insulation into 2x4's. The vinyl siding is a good idea but doesn't hold up on houses being pulled across the lake. The joints on the siding catch on every snow drift you cross and rip it right off the wall. To make the exterior last use the 5/8" thick pine or cedar grooved 4x8 sheets.

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CAMOMAN

Thanks Dirt. We were actually planning to use steel siding and just run it sideways so we dont have to put perlings on the studs. Also figured on using steel for the roof too. It is not purchased yet, so our mind could change.
Also, over a few beers up on the ice this weekend, everyone we talked to told us to make it with retractable wheels rather than skids. I just am a bit leary of the weight factor on 2 wheels and dont really want to have 4 retractables on there. We also discussed just leaving the 2 solid axles on the house as it is and just bank it a little higher. Thoughts on this issue?

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Guest

If I did mine again I would forgo the retractable wheels. My attitude is if it is staying on mille lacs and it is too **** big to run it up to Winnie, UR, etc...for a hot bite then the wheels are a waste of time and money. If you leave it on solid axles then you end up a foot off the ice like in a rental. That stinks in my opinion due to the fact you have all that distance to pull the fish up through, lost lots of fish that way! Just my 2c!

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CAMOMAN

Good point with the distance issue. The only thing is that it will likely stay in one spot all year if it has skids on it. Dont think your basic 1/2 ton pickup is gonna move a house that big on skids.

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CAMOMAN

I agree that moving around a house that big is a pain in the butt. I know that I would be charged for moving it more than one time, and being the cheapskate I am, I dont like that idea. Like you Dino, I would like to be able to move this house at least a couple times to follow fish deeper. That is why i am contemplating the wheel issue for being able to pull it with the pickup. Even with 4 wheel drive, I can see some issues with getting that much weight moving. I think it is going to be hard to have the best of both worlds.

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Guest

I have seen the houses on the retractable wheels and was wondering if there is a way to get a hold of some plans on how to construct one.I would like to build one and just looking for ideas on how they work

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rmh2o

Camoman there is a guy in onamia his name is berny seamers not sure if spelling is correct but he has a custom built trailer for hauling fish houses and hauls most of them around Mille Lacs he will haul them anywhere you want if you cant find him in the phone book ask any of the resorts on Mille Lacs and they can probably give you his phone number

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