When you want the best tiny house trailer use an ARTISAN trailer. Designed to exceed Park Model code.
A Tiny House Trailer needs to meet several criteria:
▪ It should be as light as possible to allow more weight on/in the structure and still remain within its GVW.
▪ It must be strong enough to support the loads imposed on it by your structure and the things you put into it (i.e. appliances, furniture, etc.). These loads should be calculated for a static state when your home is set up with the stabilizer jacks in use, as well as for the dynamic loads imposed on it during transport when you hit a bump, go around a corner or stop quickly.
▪ It should have a power braking system necessary to stop it safely when it is fully loaded.
▪ It must provide a solid foundation for the tiny house floor system.
▪ A tiny house trailer should be designed to properly integrate a system for attaching the floor and the walls to it without rotting out. Any vintage trailer rebuilder will tell you about the rotted floor in old trailers.
Tiny House Trailer DESIGN CRITERIA
Everyone wants the floor of their tiny houes trailer and home to be as low as possible for two mains reasons:
- It simply makes it easier to get in and out of your home with less steps.
- The lower the floor is, the more space you have at your disposal before running into the upper height limit.There are a couple of ways to accomplish this:
- Built-In: The floor system is built in between the trailer main frame. This is very common.
- Built-On: The structure is built directly on top of the trailer frame and dropped axles are used to lower the floor.
In my opinion, the Built-On system is advantageous for several reasons, including:
▪ It allows for full insulation out to the edge (where Built-In usually stops between the main frame rails).
▪ The trailer cross members become the floor joists so no additional lumber or steel is needed.
▪ It’s easier to build and is the best application for using Structural Insulated Panels.
And it costs about the same when you factor out the additional framing. The floor might be about an inch higher, but all in all I still recommend it for the insulation gain.
Every tiny house trailer manufacturer thinks their system for building is the best, otherwise they would be doing it another way. They are trailer manufacturers, however, and not homebuilders. They may not have a holistic or system’s approach to the whole endeavor. And it’s pretty much a given that they have not taken any green building or building science classes.
Tiny House Trailer LOADS
Now let’s think about the load on a tiny house trailer. Where does it come from? The building load is comprised of the dead load of the roof, walls, windows and door, where one-half of the roof load transfers to each of the long walls. see Building Your Moveable Tiny House with Mindfulness for a complete discussion on trailer design.
A CAUTION ABOUT USED TRAILERS
The internet is full of stories of people finding a utility trailer or a car hauler in the blackberry bushes behind a barn to use for their tiny house trailer. It’s possible it may be usable if you can verify the GVW. Even then, if it’s been out of service sitting in the weather for some time, it will need to be pulled apart to rebuild the brakes and check the bearings. It may also very well need to be rewired. These are not too hard if you know how to do the work yourself.
Other stories tell of dismantling an old RV in order to use the trailer. This is almost always a bad idea. RV trailers DO NOT have the high-capacity GVW to handle the load of a stick-built tiny house. If you are going to spend up to a year of your life and $20-40,000, you should seriously consider building on a trailer designed specifically for a Tiny House on Wheels.