The Trailer : Tiny House

14 Mar

Yesterday we bought a trailer! It is a 32′ gooseneck. The trailer is quite a bit longer than what we anticipated buying. It is also longer than 98% of the Tiny Homes we’ve seen on trailers. But with a family of three, I’m looking forward to the extra space. Check out the pics below.

Also, I didn’t know where to mention this, but the Building Trades Instructor at the Tech College I work for has agreed to help build our house as a class project! Sa-weet! That is going to be a huge help and I’m honored and thankful for the help and advice they will provide. The trailer is currently parked on campus waiting to become a home.

Front of Trailer
Side of Trailer
Rear Side of Trailer
Rear of Trailer
Abby and Elliot on Deck
Front Area
Box Under the Gooseneck

I am currently building a Tiny House. I will be updating the blog with the project as it moves along.  Check out my post on Feb 24th to get the scoop. If you’d like more frequent updates, follow me on Twitter.

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20 Responses to “The Trailer : Tiny House”

  1. Jeff April 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    Don’t get me wrong, this is a very cool project, but wouldn’t it be more economical, as well as more environmentally responsible to strip down and restore an actual existing mobile home? Do people who do these Tiny Houses ever go that route? I’ve heard of turning full 50’+ shipping containers into housing… Most older mobile homes have issues with roofs, windows and siding, but the trailer frames generally hold up. And, if they’re stick-built, you could probably reuse a lot of the studs and floor boards. Maybe even the wiring and plumbing. You’d still end up with a mostly-new Tiny House with curb appeal that would be almost unrecognizable as the mobile home it once was, with the added economic and sustainability benefits of reusing an otherwise untenable (yet functional) structure.

    • Petey Boy April 13, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Yes it would be economical… and we did look into it. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of used mobile homes for sale. The other downside for us is that mobile homes generally are 10 feet wide which requires special permits and gear to move. This house we can move with a midsize truck.

      • Jeff April 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

        How are utilities set up? Similar to RV use? Are there holding tanks and all that? AC and DC power for battery and solar options? Or is the sky pretty much the limit?

        And how do you zone one of these things? Are there building codes that have to be followed? Is it considered a mobile home or semi-permanent structure? Do you just park it on the wheels and front jack or are there stands for longer installations?

        It’s a very intriguing and very cool concept, for sure.

        • Petey Boy April 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

          The sky is basically the limit. Most Tiny Houses don’t want to be like RVs… and ours is no different. The idea is that it is a normal house using normal house construction, but just smaller. So, we are wiring it like a normal house… no 12 volt lines. That being said, I would like to have the option to be off the grid at some point, so I am making room for a battery bank and solar supplies. I know it seems silly, but I’ll use an inverter at that time.

          One of the advantages and reasons some people build Tiny is because once you are on wheels, there are no more housing codes. We are going to try to follow most of the common sense ones (with wiring and so forth). But things like stair requirements, we aren’t going to be so strict on.

          • Jeff April 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

            I just keep thinking of weird little practical questions.

            Homeowners insurance? Is it possible? Is it dependent on where you park it and what that property covers?

            As far as RV similarities, I just meant in regards to portability and modularity, not for aesthetics or practicality. Is there a similar approach for connecting and disconnecting from on-site services? Is there a method for keeping things self-run for when on-site services are unavailable? Specifically:

            Well and septic? Is it set up to be pretty much hose-fed for ease of use? Is there a reservoir of some type? Water heater? Holding tank for *ahem* “used” water? Or just an outpipe for on-site solutions?

            Can you just plug one of these homes in like a mobile home or RV? 110? 220?

          • Petey Boy April 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

            No worries about the questions. Everybody has the same questions. Including us! Gotta cover all you bases.

            As of right now, Insurance companies don’t know how to cover Tiny Houses. There is RV insurance and Home insurance, but nothing for in between. It is possible that the property you are one might cover it. From what I’ve read, one would simple work it out with their insurer to come up with something they both can agree on. Also, there are some Tiny Houses that are not built on trailers… think cabins but not cabins. If it is on foundation, it can be covered like normal.

            Yes… sorry… our water is going to be very similar to RVs. For us specifically, we will have a fresh water tank and a grey water tank. We are going to use a composting toilet, so that negates the need for a black water solution. Also, the emptying of grey water is much less stringent than blackwater. We can basically empty it anywhere. So, that is another plus. As for water hear, we will have an LP tankless water heater.

            We will have standard RV hookups for fresh water and electrical. 220v to the breaker box.

          • Petey Boy May 15, 2012 at 10:59 am #

            Our agent saw our article in the Fond du Lac paper and called us up. He thinks they’d cover it like an RV.

          • Karen February 17, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

            Be careful about not using some of the basic RV standards such s holding tanks. If you are ever in a tight spot for a place to put it, most campgrounds will not accept tiny houses without black and gray waste holding tanks.

  2. Jeff April 17, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Very cool and very quick progress! I have another round of queries.

    Are there any specific steps to take in construction/materials to make it more travel-worthy? (Keeping windows from breaking/drywall from cracking during bumps in the road and whatnot)

    And to clarify my earlier parking question, for long-term stays, is there a solution beyond just relying on the front stands and the tires? Do you have to be kind of picky on a site or can you pretty much go anywhere? This kind of house would seem to have a very different and relatively rapid kind of settling to worry about.

    Heating and cooling?

    • Petey Boy May 15, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Sorry I haven’t responded sooner. We aren’t doing anything real specific to make it road worthy. We are avoiding drywall to help keep the weight down as well as helping to avoid cracks and things of that nature. As for the windows we just hope they hold up. We don’t plan on actually moving it a whole bunch. It is basically like small earthquake that is happening for an extended period of time… like tremor level. It isn’t really going to be shaking the house a ton. You figure semi-trucks drive pre-fabs all around the country all the time.

      We don’t have a long term parking solution. Our plan was just to use the tires and jacks. We bought extra jacks for the back to help level the whole thing out. You have to be on fairly level ground as it is somewhat top heavy. Yeah, I’m interested to see how it settles.

      We will be heating with a propane heater and cooling with windows and fans.

  3. Graham August 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    How much do you think it will weigh in the end? How much is the trailer ratted for? How much do you expect to spend on it in the end?

    • Petey Boy September 7, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      The Trailer is rated for 12,000 lbs. We don’t know exactly how much it will weigh in the end, but it is going to be fairly close.

  4. Mark September 17, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    I have hunted and hunted for a trailer similiar to the one you acquired, could you please tell me where you found that trailer and the price you acquired it for? All the trailers I have found have the drop down ramp in the back.
    P.S. Your progress looks awesome!

    • Petey Boy October 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      We got lucky. We had searched and searched on craigslist and were actually considering buying a new one… then this one popped up on craigslist. It was right above what we were looking to spend (and bigger than we were looking for), but we liked it so much we bought it. It was $4000.

      • Joseph November 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

        Without having to be too detailed but also not too vague, how did you attach the sub floor to the actual trailer frame. Acquiring a trailer and building a tiny home has had me obsessed lately and I don’t want to start purchasing things and then trying to figure out if it works. Love the pics

        • Petey Boy November 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

          We used Large bolts/screws that attached directly to the flooring and floor joists.

      • Sara March 17, 2014 at 1:44 am #

        Do you know what brand and model # it is?

        • Petey Boy March 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

          The brand is a Loadmax, but I’m not sure of the model.

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