Anyone has built a House boat here?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Reef DOCG, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Location: Atlantic Highlands

    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    Hello I am new to the forum and I would like to introduce myself. My name is Domenic I am a chef of 38 years and I recently got an itch to want to delve in a house boat project. Before you ask, Yes, I'm crazy....
    Here are my ideas
    I would rather find a piece of land on a river or lake to place my floating home.
    I was thinking of a floating platform lets say 32x56 with a structure (home) of 24x32 Leaving some room for a deck up front, sides for walking around and some room in the back. From what I have seen this seems to be a bit large for mooring at a marina. Aside from all the laws and regulations. I still didn't get there yet but I know it should be priority.

    I do have good experience with construction as I do many side jobs to make an extra buck. But as I research on these floating platforms, there are so many ways people have gone about it and all claim their way is the best! Well I don't want the best, I want the most reliable or safest.

    *I have heard and read about the cedar logs, but they will take in water after so long. How long? IDK. Some claim 80 years and their house is still floating.
    *I have heard and read about cement filled with foam but this is way to expensive for me and it looks like its not an easy DIY project.
    * Also heard about the empty blue drums. many say they leak after some time, many say they can easily fall apart, many say if connected well its the most bang for your buck.
    *Pantoons have been around but to find something of that size would be super costly.
    * Bare polystyrene some say it will decay from no protection so that's out of the question.
    * And I also heard about EPS Permafloats. Deepest I found was 36". But I continued to read on other ways to float a home many said a 5' deep was the best to go with but 3' would be fine. And it went on with all the calculations of headroom, dead load and live load. which was not to heard to understand. 40% dead-load and leave 60% for live-load.
    So here is a few more questions.
    I wanted to build a cement slab over the floats, but the calculations took up much of the dead-load.
    PT wood would still decompose after so many years and may still rot if not treated properly.
    And lastly I was on a website looking at galvanized trusses. Has anyone here or does anyone here have had any experience with these?
    Maybe lay a wood deck over the trusses so they are not in constant contact with the water. I still haven;t figures out water for the home. Would it be more wise to add a septic tank per say and another for fresh water?
    Also what about electricity? Do most depend on land connection? or off grid? Like solar panels. I was thinking of wiring the entire house for 12v this way it would be less costly and for efficient. also easy to do nowadays with LED.
    There is so much more I want to ask But this has gotten long enough to turn off everyone from reading. Sorry about that, but I am excited as well as Concerned not to make major mistakes. any help would be much appreciated.
    Thank you all in advance and hope to hear some suggestions. Please don't throw tomatoes at me. lol
    I love learning and love building. And It would be My home for life....hopefully a nice and peaceful one.
    Domenic.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    You shouldn't be attempting to design a floating home or a boat, without considerably more understanding about what's involved, than you've currently shown. This isn't an insult, but a direct observation, based on your concerns and questions/observations.

    There are lots of plans for houseboats and floating structures and you be well advised to get some. You have lots of choices to the concerns you have, each with good and bad things to consider about them. The hydrodynamics, engineering and generating solutions to common issues expected in a design like this requires a fair bit of expertise, so do some research into floating homes and houseboats, as the usually solutions to the more common issues have already been addressed.

    Additionally, it's a whole lot cheaper to rebuild a previously loved, but neglected houseboat, than it is to build a new one. All the issues are already addressed and you can be innovative about upgrades or improvements, as you go. It's also a lot faster to redo a used boat, then build a new one.

    There's no such thing as "most reliable or safest" building method for a floating home or houseboat. If you are in New Jersey, there are some state considerations you'll need to contend with and this would be the first thing you should look into, as it can make or break your dream. If not NJ, then wherever you are should be researched, as many places don't permit long term or fixed mooring, houseboats, floating homes, etc.

    The bottom line, self designing doesn't seem something you're currently capable of doing, in spite of the BS you might have seen online. Now, it is probable you could build something, with a set of plans, but do you have time and budget for this, compaired to just repairing and upgrading an existing houseboat, that might just need a little love to be good again.
     
  3. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Location: Atlantic Highlands

    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    PAR, First I would like to thank you for your direct approach in your response. Believe me I take no offense. This is why I joined here. And this is why I am doing research. I am well aware that I need more research done.
    I must say I do like your suggestion on an old house boat to redo. That would give me means to shape it into more of what I would like to have. In any event I would still like to learn more as it will and always come into good use. There's not much on floating home construction online. Most want to just show what they have or sell. I would prefer a more in depth knowledge of how it works. Perhaps if you or anyone else reading this would provide some links that can be very constructive and informational.
    Again thank you for your honest thoughts.
     
  4. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    Reef,

    It's basically yacht design at very low speeds and depending on the location minimal weather ability. There is a huge body of knowledge out there, but I don't think you are going to find much specific to floating homes. They are just a subset of boat design.

    I would second Par's suggestion. Buying a used houseboat would be far cheaper than trying to build and far faster.
     
  5. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    You might have a look thru a few subject threads on this forum dealing with houseboats,...use the search function.

    Here are a few interesting postings I made on some ones I found in Thailand
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/retirement-houseboat-floating-home-23987-11.html#post679692

    There are some construction photos and floation photos on this page as well:

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/retirement-houseboat-floating-home-23987-12.html


    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/retirement-houseboat-floating-home-23987-13.html


    ....floating cottage on a pond
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-design/retirement-houseboat-floating-home-23987-2.html#post420954

    Enjoy the dream
     
  6. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    I do like that idea. And looking into it.
     
  7. Reef DOCG
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    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    Thank you for the links. I will go through them.
     
  8. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

  9. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    Hhhmm. Not sure how to take that comment...
    I'm sure you guys hear about a lot of dreams, but some had to come true. After all, all of you started with a dream, and look at where you are now. Not all could have been born with a silver spoon. Because silver spoons don't have dreams they have money. ;)
     
  10. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    One of the things that crossed my mind is you can also go the conversion route. Buying a self powered barge then building a house on top of it. There is a company here in Louisiana that does this, primarily for use as fishing camps.

    Or buying a used deck barge, adding your own propulsion (cheap outboard) and building on top.

    Either way you wind up with a lot of the structure done quickly, and a good foundation for everything else.
     
  11. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    I actually tried to look at purchasing a barge, but all I found was 400k and up. Do you have a link to the Louisiana place?
    Also are there any benefits to having the float motorized vs.not? I know that having it motorized you can move it yourself, I guess I was wondering by having it motorized is it easier to have it registered or something like that?
     
  12. brian eiland
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

  13. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    You can find used 55' barges for $40k or so. Just google 'self powered barge for sale'. Or converted self powered barge.

    These are generally commercial sites for commercial boats. The converted barges are actually going for prett cheap with all the oil and gas industry layoffs in Louisiana. But moving them to you could take quite a while. These are not really intended for long trips.
     
  14. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Location: Atlantic Highlands

    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    Wow that was a neat build. I like the fact that he used steel all the way. Pretty interesting. The stell floats though, got me thinking about rust. I see he was painting with probably anti rust paint but how really does that help? I wonder if encasing the steel pontoons in fiberglass would be a better choice?
    Thank you for the thread, I'm trying to go through it all and pick up more info. So you might hear from me again...
     

  15. Reef DOCG
    Joined: May 2016
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    Location: Atlantic Highlands

    Reef DOCG Junior Member

    Thank you I will try that.
     
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