A solid foundation…on wheels

June 1, 2015

Remember when I said we prayed that the measurements we sent to the trailer manufacturer were correct? Well, it can be a long 4-6 weeks of prayer, my friend. But it all pays off! We picked up this beauty the last day of April from Scooterbilt Manufacturing in Rogersville, MO.

trailer

 

At this point, I should probably mention how when I saw the trailer I began panicking. It’s big for a trailer, but very small for a house! It was scary and exciting and crazy all at the same time. Eric was super excited, though, so that made me feel a little bit better. Emphasis on “little.” Getting the trailer to the house made the whole thing feel real, and it was the first physical step in our journey. That part was exciting until I remembered, “Oh yeah. That’s my new home.” Just kidding, I was excited, just with a healthy dose of nervousness thrown in, too!

Our trailer is 22ft long by 7.5ft wide. The frame is made of 2×4 beams welded together. We have two drop axels with the trailer bed extended out past the wheels without wheel wells. We had steel rods welded 1.5ft from every corner, which will be used to bolt the walls of the house to the trailer. You can see there is metal flashing welded to the underneath side of the trailer frame which will hold the insulation for the floor. All of these details were pretty important and here’s why:

  • The drop axels (with brakes) give us an additional 4 inches of head room. Road regulations means the tiny house can only be 13.5 ft tall. Because Eric and I are already on the tall side, we need to capitalize on every inch we can find to keep from banging our heads on the bedroom loft.
  • The metal flashing on the bottom allows for the empty space of the trailer to be filled with insulation and the subfloor be attached directly to the trailer. Without the flashing, the insulation and subfloor would sit on top of the trailer using up another 4 inches of vertical space. By adding the flashing to the under side of the trailer and using drop axels we already gained about 8 inches of head space.
  • We have the 4 wheels set inside the width of the trailer bed without wheel wells. Road regulations only allow for a maximum width of 8.5ft. Because we want the house to be as wide as possible, it’s better to build over the wheels instead of moving the walls inside the wheels (which would only allow the width to be 6ft instead of 7.5ft). By extending the trailer out, we can build the walls as wide as possible and still account for wall width and roof overhang to keep within our 8.5ft limit.
  • We had steal rods welded about 1.5 ft out from every corner of the trailer. This will allow us to bolt the walls directly onto the trailer. This makes it a little tricky later on, but it’s necessary for any tiny home that will be moved. At first, we were going to have the manufacturer not weld on one of the rods where we were planning to put the door, but fortunately we forgot to mention this to him. I say fortunately because we ended up changing our design and the door moved to a different place, meaning then we wouldn’t be able to secure the wall where that rod was missing. My advice is to have the trailer made in a way that you can change your mind about the structural design once you see it. (Remember all those plans and drawings? Time to start over when you see the actual trailer.)

All in all, getting the trailer was exciting and it was nice to actually see something come from all our planning. Below are some more pictures of the trailer so knock yourself out!

tiny house trailer

 

extended trailer bed

rod welds

brake system

trailer hitch

3 Comments

  • Reply Got My Mind on My Money & My Money on My Mind – the EM & EM tiny house March 18, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    […] Right off the bat, we knew the trailer was going to be our biggest, single-item purchase. The trailer is the foundation of the house, and neither Eric or I were willing to risk anything going wrong. We splurged by having our trailer customized to our exact specifications. There are definitely cheaper ways to get a trailer for a tiny house, but we wanted certain features so we decided to pay for them. You can remind yourself about our trailer in this post. […]

  • Reply Hal Brown August 7, 2016 at 6:23 AM

    Have enjoyed reading your blog I’m thinking about building a tiny house for a friend. I’m like you think the trailer the most important item for a tiny house build. I live in Cary, NC and will have a coustom trailer build and interested in trailer spec. and cost.

    • Reply emar2012 November 8, 2016 at 12:13 AM

      Hi Hal! Thanks for reading the blog. Our trailer is 8′ wide by 22′ long, and it cost us about $4000. Adding the extra metal flashing on the bottom of the trailer added quite a bit to the cost. Because those large metal sheets had to be spot welded in so many places, the price really jumped up, but we felt (and still do feel) that the cost was worth it. Good luck on your build! – Emily

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