I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
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Tiny house trailer conundrum  RSS feed

 
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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I am embarking on an adventure to build [and live in full time] a Tiny House. The house is going to be on a trailer and be as sustainable as you can make a portable structure. I have a few things that I can't decide though and I would like your input. I am limited only on my budget and my imagination.

With that in mind, do you think I should start with a cargo trailer and convert the inside, or do you think I should buy a cheap trailer and tear it down to the frame and rebuild?


More specifically I am deciding between a $3000 24' enclosed cargo trailer or a $1500 28' travel trailer.

The outside is not what matters, the inside is what matters, and the sooner I can "move in" the better.

I was more leaning towards the cargo trailer because I could put up insulation and interior walls and build the rest as I can afford it/have the time. The benefit is that I can move in tomorrow. The downside is that I have a 7' ceiling height [not great because I still need to insulate the roof and floor] I can't really build up unless I reinforce the structure below, but then again I might as well tear it down and build it from scratch, so its 3k for a trailer base at that point. The other option is not to build up and make do with the single floor available, which isnt completely out of the question.

It's not all bad, 24' means that all of my measurements work out, [evenly divisible by 8] the axles can hold 3k lbs more weight [and it doesn't include "the weight of a wood framed house" because the trailer is already framed.]

With the TT I would have to tear it down to the floor, dispose of all that waste [or sell it, repurpose it, what have you], then build a box, insulate it, and move in. I can't work on the house if I live in it in it's travel trailer state, it is dreadfully inefficient.

On the up side, by building a box from scratch, I could have my 12 foot ceilings which would make the space feel bigger, give me more storage, and make it easier to build in the long run because all of my plans include 12 foot ceilings [13'5" from the ground]

I guess the real question is, for the remaining $1500 that I would use on the cargo trailer, would it be feasible to build a 28'x12'x8' 224 square foot framed and covered box?
 
Posts: 3363
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
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Been down the thought process with my son. We decided the best choice is a wood-floored flatbed trailer--a used car hauler trailer. They are built strong, fairly easy to insulate under the deck, and can be had for around a grand if you look (for a 16-20 footer, a 28 would be more). There is a reason they are what most tiny houses are built on.

Starting with an RV does have legal advantages, depending on the state you are in. You get different property taxes, allowed into different areas, out of some DOT requirements, etc. But the frames and axles are usually not up to the task you are asking of them.

 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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BLAST! That isn't making my decision easy. The trailer needs to be a minimum of 24 feet [8x8 bedroom, 16x8 masterkey [living room, work area, kitchen, and bathroom]

28 feet would give me 4 extra feet in the living room, or two and two in either room. Although if the trailer isn't up for the task it would totally be a bummer.

I dont think I could go any bigger than 28 feet unless I had a workshop inside too, in that case, a 40x8 shipping container would make a great host. However then I lose portability unless I also buy a semi [which would be awesome, but I can't afford it] and a flatbed trailer. [way expensive] I could have it shipped by rail or truck to wherever my new destination is and I could plop it down on a plot, but then I run up more costs.

This house is going to be ASAP [As Sustainable As Practical] so the plot doesn't need electricity, or plumbing, as long as it has access to sun.

Another note: I could see myself moving every four years or so for my job, so in the next 20 years I will probably move 5 times

Also could I run into more problems with city ordinances/code violations because of my unique living situation [its not on a trailer, but its not a manufactured home, its not an rv, and its not a house by standard definition, so how do I get taxed?]

On an eco scale, shipping containers are as green as it gets, steel is infinitely recyclable and can be readily modified and adapted. They are stackable 10 high, can be shipped readily, and are available everywhere.

I couldn't go up, but I can get a high side with 9' ceilings, the 40' length will more than make up for the lost upstairs space, I can have a workshop/garage if I want to, or convert it into a bedroom with maybe a half bath for another person living with me [eco-roomie?]

This is why I can't make up my mind on what I want. One little thing and I have another coin to toss.

So: shipping container, cargo trailer, rv, or car hauler?

 
Posts: 117
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Nathan,Hello
Your dilemma is something I went through.
I ended up spending more money on a custom built flat deck for my tiny trailer house. ( I'm not mechanically inclined and knew I wanted a stable foundation) It is 8 feet wide the entire length but I had to go with 20 feet long as no room in the spot where I'm building it for anything longer.
The ceiling on mine rises to 10 feet in the middle across the width. So the gables are along the side not the ends. No loft.
I appreciate the openess of it (it's not finished yet inside but will remain feeling like a large space because of the height and windows) Also no interior partition walls,just a folding screen.
All the best with your decisions and your new home.
Kate
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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I drew up and rendered this picture of what I would do in a 40 foot shipping container, at $3500 delivered Im thinking this is my best bet. I am going to start small by doing an 8'x16' efficiency with an 8'x24' garage/shop area and building out as money allows.
Model-128-inside-a-40-foot-shipping-container.png
[Thumbnail for Model-128-inside-a-40-foot-shipping-container.png]
 
Nathan Wrzesinski
Posts: 79
Location: Austin Texas
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I spent the better part of last night figuring out how things were going to fit and came up with this:

a 1-2 bedroom house built inside a 45' High cube Shipping container.

If I only need one bedroom I can make what would be the second bedroom into a workshop and keep my EV in there to keep it from getting roasted in the Texas sun.

Big-45.JPG
[Thumbnail for Big-45.JPG]
Big-45-1br.JPG
[Thumbnail for Big-45-1br.JPG]
Big-45-1br-plus-EV.jpg
[Thumbnail for Big-45-1br-plus-EV.jpg]
 
R Scott
Posts: 3363
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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They are a good deal if there is a port near you. But if you are going to be getting that big, look at old refrigerated semi trailers. They can be had for that price or less (w/o a working fridge), and already insulated.

Look into the shipping costs, though, for the future. Moving it cross country in the future could get really pricey really fast. And you will be reliant on paying someone else to get it done.

I like your layout. Don't forget space for mechanicals (ventilation, water, etc.) and think about window placement.

I would weld in window frames and frame the cut-outs to be hinged awnings. Lock them down for storms or travel, prop them up as awnings on adjustable rods to match the season and location.

Also think about murphy beds or winched into the ceiling like toy hauler RV's. That way the bedroom can be an office or the garage can still be a guest bedroom.

 
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