Introduction: Tiny House Series: Pt. 1 Exterior

Picture of Tiny House Series: Pt. 1 Exterior

We at Trask River Productions are building a tiny house! We had great success with our tear drop trailer last year, so this year, we stepped things up a bit and started a tiny house. Due to the enormous task of building a tiny house, we are going to break our instructable down to 3 separate steps;

1) Exterior

2) Interior

3) Furnishing/Finishing Touches

This instructable is the first step of the process, the exterior. Subscribe for automatic updates when we post the next part of our Tiny House Series.

As you will see in some of the instruction photos, we had to blur the faces of some of the people in our instructable. Trask River Productions is a vocational education program ran through Trask River High School, which is in turn located inside of a youth correctional facility. This leads us to confidentiality laws and prevents us from revealing the identity of any of the youth in our program.

With that being said, let’s begin.

Contest info: We are currently entered in the Epilogue contest, so if you enjoy our project, please vote at the top of the page. If we win first place, the laser engraver will be put to use in our program and provide our at-risk youth the opportunity to learn some new skills that they could possibly use in their lives as a career choice. Regardless of the contest results, we hope you enjoy our project as much as we have enjoyed building it.

Step 1: Introduction

Picture of Introduction

This instructable is not meant as a perfect guide to building your own tiny house. I am not including detailed blueprints of it, nor am I providing very many measurements. Every tiny house should be built custom to the owner’s own preferences. I am however providing detailed steps and photos of the tiny house we built. I am hoping you are interested in building your own tiny house and will use my guide as a start for designing and building your own. The internet is crawling with other designs for a tiny house, and you can find just about any plans you would like to with a simple search engine. I am going to use layman’s terms, so people without any experience can follow along and not struggle with concepts and lingo. With all that being said, I hope you enjoy this instructable almost as much as we enjoyed building the instructable.

Another not is we are not going to provide an exact list of materials; however, we can help guide you in the right direction with our steps in the process and our rough material estimates.

Update: We expect to keep the total weight under 11,000 lbs. The tandem axle trailer is rated at 14,000 lbs and is custom built by a local trailer manufacturer, designed for a tiny house build. This tiny house can be towed with a 3/4 ton or 1 ton vehicle. It also comes with electric brakes and tail lights.

Step 2: Materials

Picture of Materials


Tiny House pre-made trailer from Iron Eagle trailers. (Or you own choice of trailer)


½” CDX Plywood Sub sheeting for the walls

2” x 4” Framing boards with 16” spacing on center

15lbs felt for sides between the CDX and Breckinridge plywood

3/8” Breckinridge plywood siding sheets

Our siding was primed and painted before we hung it.

1” x 2” clear cedar bats for siding, spaced every 16 inches on center

Windows / Door

(All the windows are white vinyl clad windows)

1 8’ x 4’ fixed window (Front center)

1 4’ x 2’ fixed window (Front Top Center)

2 4’ x 2’ opening windows with screens (Lofts)

2 3’ x 2’ fixed window (Front Top Middle)

2 3’ x 2’ opening windows with screens (Back Windows)

1 2’ x 3’ frosted opening window with screens (Bathroom)

1 2’ x 3’ opening window with screen (Kitchen)

1 3’ x 6’ 8” Exterior door, (fiberglass clad, 6 panel door, with obscured glass on the top)


2” x 4” Framing boards with 16” spacing on center

½ CDX sheeting for roof

30 lbs. Felt Sheets

12” standing seam metal roof, repainted, trim and caps


2” x 4” Framing boards with 16” spacing on center

R-30 value foam insulation for floor

¾” Tongue and groove ply subfloor


Exterior Strength Calking



Assorted Nails

Assorted Screws

Step 3: Level the Trailer

Picture of Level the Trailer

To build a house, you start with a base, and in this case, the base is a trailer. While you can use just about any size and design of trailer, I would highly recommend purchasing a trailer from Iron Eagle, in Gresham Oregon. The trailer was perfect for our design, and it even has an inset pan to protect the floor insulation from the elements. If you cannot purchase a trailer from Iron Eagle, then I would recommend, purchasing a trailer that is built specifically for a tiny house. We went with a 24 foot long trailer. Our width is no more than 8 foot 6 inches at the maximum point, and a maximum height of 12 foot 6 inches so can keep it road friendly. Anything over these will require more permission and possibly a temporary permit to move on the road.

Before you can start your build, you need to start with a level trailer. Ours has leveling jacks; however, we wanted to do something more stable for the long run, so we used wood blocks. Using a car jack, we jacked up the high side of the trailer and placed wooden blocks underneath the corner of the frame. Once the high side was where we wanted it to be, we continued with the other 3 sides. It will take a little bit of time to level the trailer, but in the end it will be worth it. No one wants their house to have un-level aspects to it, and building on an un-level surface will do that.

Sorry I don't have any more photos of this process, I hope you are able to understand the process without photos. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I will answer them.

Step 4: Adding the Subfloor

Picture of Adding the Subfloor

To begin your tiny house, you start with the floor. So adding the floor joists is the first step. As the trailer is pretty square and now level, it’s pretty easy to do this step. Simply cut the 2x6 boards to go around the inside of the pan for the floor, to the outside of the wall. This will give the other joists a place for them to attach to other than the metal trailer. Use bolts, nuts and washers to secure the boards to the wall.

Once the outside edges are attached, it is time to put the center floor joists into place. The trailer is short enough wide that you can run single boards across the width of it. Using 16” on center, attach them with floor joist ties to ensure stability.

Once all your floor joists are in place, start to insulate between them. You can use any kind of insulation, but we went with solid foam insulation with an R-30 value. This way if water happens to leak into the pan, the foam will hold up more than fiberglass will as far as mold or mildew goes, it’s also a lighter material and helps keep the overall weight down of the tiny house.

Once the insulation is in, use a caulking gun and caulking along all the 2x4’s and start to lay down the ¾” Tongue and groove ply subfloor. Make sure your seams are not on the same floor, so stagger the sheets so there is no solid seam down the length or width of the trailer, a seam would take away from the strength and solidity of the floor. Use nails to attach the plywood to the 2x4s, and a chalk line would be a good idea to make sure your nails hit the boards in the center. Before nailing down the plywood, use liquid nails to make a more secure bond.

Also, be sure to leave the width of your wall on the outside of the plywood floor. For this, we created a jig as you can see in the photos. The wall frames are going to attach directly to the trailer frame, so we don’t need the floor underneath the walls.

Before you finish the whole subfloor, be sure to leave an open space by the bathroom for the plumbing. We left the whole front of the trailer unfinished when it comes to the floor. So no insulation, or calking, but it is okay to cut the plywood subfloor and lay it down, just don’t attach it down until the plumbing is done in the next instructable.

Step 5: Building the Walls

Picture of Building the Walls

This is probably the most important part of building the tiny house. By now you should have your plans finalized and ready to begin building.

Just like when you frame a house, we are building our walls flat on the ground, standing them up and then attachment them together. We started our house with the back wall, as well as the back side wall. This gave us the chance to attach the walls together for a support; no one wants their wall the fall down as they are making it. This is where it is very important to have your final design and build plans all laid out. This includes your windows and any doors you might include. As well as the knowledge of what kind of siding you are going to use and the measurements of it. This will allow you to have a stud to attach any seams of your siding together. But don’t worry too much as you can always add another stud for the plywood seams to attach to when you need to.

When framing your walls, use a measuring tape and speed square so you know that your walls are square and will be level this way. The trailer should be level already, so making your walls square will insure that they also remain level. There is probably going to be some degree of error where it is not perfectly square or level, but you should still try to get it as square and or level as you can.

Be sure to use proper framing methods when framing around windows, and doors. Remember that every window should have a header and cripple to support them. If you are unsure of some of these terms, use a simple Google search to understand how to properly frame a house. If you are using a blueprint or building plan, then you only have to follow their design, another benefit of using one.

If you are still unsure of where to start with your frame, I hope these photos will give you some clue on where to begin at. This is the part where I am not going to include measurements, but you could figure it out with your own designs and our photos.

When building the walls, all 2x4’s should be spaced 16” on center apart. This provides the proper amount of support, and is spaced perfectly for 8’x4’ sheets of plywood.

Because the front of the tiny house, as well as the back of the tiny house are exact mirrors of each other, we can build them on top of each other so we know they are the proper size and angle. The only difference will be the windows as the front of the house is the bathroom and there is only one window in the center; while the back of the house is the living area and there is two windows.

After all the 2x4s are nailed together in their correct placements, we start attaching the CDX plywood. The 2x4s should have window and door holes framed into them. For the front and back of the house, leave a ½” of plywood hanging off the edge of the wall. This will become flush with the plywood of the other wall and give a nice finish. Refer to the photos if you unsure what I mean.

For the windows, when it comes to attaching the plywood to these sections, simply nail the plywood down over the window holes. Then after the plywood is nailed down securely, using a drill, drill a hole from the inside of the window holes to mark each corner, draw a line to connect them together, and use a power saw to cut the holes out. This will ensure that the plywood fits perfectly together.

Remember that the end walls should be higher than the side walls to compensate for the height of the roof. Because the roof is framed with 2x4s, and has a ½” plywood, the side walls should be 4” taller than the side walls. (2x4s are not actually 2x4, but rather 1 ½” x 3 ½”)

After two walls are cut out and ready to go up, get a couple friends and/or family to help you raise them and attach them together. We started with our front wall and the door side wall of the trailer. Be sure to use temporary braces made from 2x4s to hold the wall up until it is all attached together. We left the braces attached until all our walls were attached, and I would recommend doing the same thing for safety reasons.

Continue raising the walls until they are all raised up and attached together. If your design is anything like ours it’s going to take a little bit of time and some patience.

After your walls are all attached together and covered with the plywood, the roof is the next step in the process.

Step 6: Building the Roof Frame

Picture of Building the Roof Frame

After all your walls are up and covered in CDX plywood, it is time to start building the roof. Every design of tiny house will differ with how the roof is built, but it’s pretty straight forward for every design. Every design should include a slope for rainwater and possibly snow to run off. A tiny house with a flat room will hold the water and or snow and cause structural problems. I have seen tiny houses with a double sloping room, almost like an A-frame, which is great for rainwater and snow to run off. However, you lose a lot of room inside, especially on the lofts. So we used the design of one single sloping roof. This gave us plenty of room inside of the tiny house and especially the loft, as well as providing the slope for the rain and possibly snow to run off.

To begin your roof, make sure your walls are done completely. Your frame should have two 2x4’s already on the top of the walls, so the roof will attach to both of them, using hurricane ties to hold it down in place once we are to that step.

The 2x4s should run the width of the tiny house, so using big enough lumber is a must. I believe 10’ 2x4s will work, as it did in our design, but it depends on your actual designs.

To attach the 2x4’s, simply rest them on the top of the wall frames, and attach them with a hurricane tie using nails. Simple enough right? Told you it was pretty straight forward.

The 2x4 boards should be space 16” apart on center again. We started with the boards on the back of the trailer and moved towards the front of the trailer.

On the ends of the tiny house, there should be a 10” overhang for rainwater, and to add to the overall design. We would add one to the sides as well, but we have to keep the whole house to under 8’ 4” to keep it street legal without any extra permits.

The final step is to cut 2x4 lengths to fit between the long beams of the roof. They go at the high and low sides of the roof to seal it in even more. I don’t have any actually photos of the process, but you can see it in the finished product photos. They provide a barrier for the outer plywood to attach to.

Once all the 2x4’s are in place, it’s time to use the plywood to cover the top of the roof. Be sure to stagger the seams and always have seams line up on the middle of a 2x4 so there is support for both sheets of plywood. The benefit of spacing the 2x4s every 16” inches is that the 2x4s will line up for every seam perfectly, making it a lot easier to attach the plywood.
I apologies for the lack of detailed photos for this step. It was a little hard to climb on the roof and take photos while the roof was being build and the ladders were in use. I hope the photos that are included do provide you with enough detail though.

Step 7: Sealing the Roof

Picture of Sealing the Roof

To seal the roof, we used 30lbs felt paper. To lay down the felt paper, start at the bottom of the roof and unroll the paper along the length of the roof. Be sure to leave a couple inches of extra along the edge of the roof, we can always cut away the excess when we are done. Starting at the bottom, slowly layer the paper strips overlapping the bottom ones as you work your way up the house. Be sure to leave a couple inches of overhang to prevent water from leaking under the paper. Attach all the paper with a hammer stapler.

Step 8: Attaching the Metal Roof

Picture of Attaching the Metal Roof

Now for a tiny house, there are many different ways to finish the roof. I have seen many of them myself; tar or wooden shingles, metal sheets, even a plastic composite shed roof style. Because we are going to be moving our tiny house, we didn’t want to do tar shingles, as they wouldn’t stand up very well against the wind going down the interstate. So, we decided to go with a metal standing-seam roof.

A metal standing-seam roof is a very simple roof to install and works a lot faster than tar shingles would. They also have the benefit of allowing you to get them painted. The downside is you have to custom order them and it takes a couple days to get them.

The first step is to attach the lowest side of the roof’s metal flashing sheet. This seals the end of the roof, most of the flashing tucks under the main roofing metal strips, but it’s still a necessity. We use a different step for the top of the roof, so this is only applied to the bottom of the roof.

Use screws or nails to attach the metal flashing down, I would recommend screws, but nails would also work.

Next, start on one side of the roof and slowly work towards the other side, attaching the metal strips. Each strip of roofing covers the screws or nails from the previous sheet, so they provide a wonderful barrier against any rain or snow.

Because you had to custom order your metal roof, it should be perfectly sized to reach directly across the roof with no extra gaps or metal.

After the main roof strips are screwed down in place, attach the flashing for the ends of the roof, they might need to be cut to size as they usually are sold in long sheets and not custom made.

The final step is to apply the flashing at the top of the roof to keep the rain water from getting under the metal roofing.

Step 9: Installing Windows

Picture of Installing Windows

Installing the windows and door is a pretty fairly straight forward process. Our window frames should already be cut and sized correctly for our windows so this step is simple enough.

Before we can install any window, we need to first prep the hole with an ice and water shield. This will help keep the wood free of any moisture that would mildew or even rot the wood away. The inside of the window hole needs to have this barrier attached to it with staples. Look at the photos for an example.

Once the barrier is in place, it’s as easy as putting the window in the frame, and nailing it in. Be careful not to hit the glass or vinyl frame either. Use any shims you need to keep the window centered in the frame and as level as you can get it.

Step 10: Finishing the Outer Walls

Picture of Finishing the Outer Walls

Before you can attached any siding to the walls, you’ll need to cover the walls with the 15 lbs felt paper. This will help provide a waterproof sealing if water leaks through the Brackenridge siding. Run the strips horizontally across the trailer, and be sure the overlap the layers of felt. Do the bottom first, the each layer above that will cover it as you work upwards to the top of the walls. Use a hammer stapler to attach the felt paper.

Before hanging the Brackenridge siding sheets on the wall, we need to primmer and paint them. This insures that all edges of the siding are thoroughly painted, again protecting them from any water damage. Be sure to use an exterior grade paint and primmer.

The next step of building the walls is to attach the Brackenridge siding on top of the felt paper. Use nails to attach the sheets to the 2x4 studs. We are going to hide the nails with the cedar bats, so be sure to nail the nails on a straight line and spread 16 inches apart. Start the edges of the sheet at the bottom of the walls, just past the bottom of the trailer so water runs off the wall and off the trailer instead of back on the trailer edges. As the sheets are only 8’ tall, we will need to attach more at the top to complete the wall.

Before doing that we need to install the metal flashing to prevent water from flowing into the top seams of the siding. Once the metal flashing is secured into place on the top edge of the bottom sheet of siding, you can finish hanging siding up on the walls.

Paint and primer the cedar bats and attach them to the trailer. This is a finishing step, so use a finishing hammer, and be careful not to over nail them and damage the bats in the process. The bats should be spaced 16 inches apart on center, and covering the nails used to hang the siding up.

Step 11: Calking and Trim

Picture of Calking and Trim

The final step is to trim the windows and door with some clear cedar for a finished look. Before adding the trim, be sure to primer and paint the trim. We used white in our house and gave it a nice touch to the overall aesthetics of the tiny house. Use whatever size of boards you prefer, but we used a 4” wide board for our trim.

Before you can nail the trim in place, use an exterior strength calking and seal up the seams all the way around the trailer. This includes the windows, soffits, and even the seam around the roof and walls. If you don’t use calking it, you can almost guarantee there will be water damage.

In most places the calking is going to be covered so do not worry about it looking perfect, but rather worry about it sealing well. In the areas that the calking will be seen, do your best to make it look even and clean. If you prefer there are tools sold to help you with the process, ones similar to a putty knife.

Final step is to nail the trim in place. You can use whatever size of trim you would like, in any design you would like, but most certainly use a small finishing nail.

Step 12: Installing the Door

Picture of Installing the Door

Now comes the part where it begins to feel like more like tiny house and not a glorified shed, installing the door.

The frame should already be there, so it’s a simple matter of putting the door in the frame, leveling it out with shims, and screwing it in place. Before you start attempting the push the door into place, take 4 small plywood screws, and screw them to the outside of the door frame. This will save you countless moments of frustration attempting to adjust 3 parts of the door at the same time. Once the plywood is attached like in the photo, all you have to do is push the door forward against the plywood and it will keep it nice and flush.

Move the door to inside of the tiny house, and dry fit it in the frame to make sure it fits as planned. When fitting it, expect a large amount of space around the outside edges, something close to 1”-2”.

Once you are certain your door fits, use a calking gun and apply a generous amount of calking to the bottom of the door sill where the door is going to sit out. This will provide a water barrier to keep water from running under the door and ruining the flooring.

Now fit the door in place and start using the shims to get it located in the right position. Eventually you will trim the shims down, so don’t worry about them sticking out. Use multiple shims to get the perfect balance you are looking for. Remember to push the door to the outside of the trailer, as the four plywood guide you attached should prevent the door from going too far forward.

The door should open easily, and not close or open by itself. A perfectly balanced door will stop moving open or close when you take your hand of it. Because we leveled the trailer before we started, this should be the main goal of installing a door. No one likes a door that closes itself or swings open by itself.

The door should have a trim/seal inside the door that is removed to reveal the place where the screws go. Be sure to screw it in there as you will cover it with the trim/seal to hide any unsightly screws.

After the door is installed, it’s time to spray a foam insulation into the gap between the door frame and the 2x4 frame. The foam expands a lot, so don’t use too much. If you accidentally use too much, simply sand the foam flush with the door after it’s dried, and don’t worry as the final trim will cover it up.

Finally, install the door handle and lock.

Note: If you plan on installing any large appliances such as 1 piece shower and tub like we are, I recommend putting them inside of the tiny house before installing the door, it will make it a lot easier than trying to fit it through the door after it's installed.

Step 13: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

Now that you have your tiny house’s exterior complete, it’s time to begin the fun parts, the interior. Because I broke our tiny house instructable into a multi-part series, stay tuned for the next step in the process, the interior work. We are about half way done with our interior and will begin publishing our instructable soon. So follow us to receive instant updates when we have posted the next instructable. You can also go to our website and view our gallery, view other projects, or even subscribe to our mailing list. We update our tiny house gallery every step of the way and are constantly showing off the progress we have made. You can view our website at


Tmech (author)2016-11-27

This is awesome. Can't wait for parts 2 and 3

Thank you! We are currently in the process of finishing the electrical and insulation on the interiror, then we start to close it all in. The next instructable is already in the process. Be sure to subscribe for quicker updates, and you can subscribe on our website and view our gallery for the newest photos.

Still waiting on Parts 2 & 3 of the build - if they are already published, I can't find them. I am subscribed on your website so, can you guide me in the right direction - I will be starting my own build soon and so far, I love what you have written - thank you.

DonnyD13 (author)2016-12-05

Why do you use wood studs when metal studs are so much lighter and stronger?

That is an excellent question, one we debated before deciding to use wooden studs. When it comes to metal studs, they would have been a lot lighter and a little bit stronger as well. However, we wanted to go with the wooden studs for mutiple reasons. Wooden studs cost a fraction of the price that metal studs would have cost, we also wanted to teach the youth framing a house with wooden studs, as they are more commonly used and more traditional.

For someone building their own tiny house, they can use metal studs if they prefer and in some cases they would have more benefits than wooden studs would have.

seamster (author)2016-11-23

Excellent work! This is an inspiring build, thank you for sharing the details thus far! :)

porcupinemamma (author)seamster2016-11-24

I'm with seamster! Way to go!!!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you for the buils detail and for providing at risk youth a skill. My wife and I are considering building a tiny house and are currently rfesearching as much as possible. As Two Paddles Design mentioned, a bit more detail on how the structure is attached to the frame would be helpful.

Thanks again.

Thank you! I encourge you to build your own tiny house. It's been a great learning experience for the youth and eveyrone seems to have as much fun doing it as I am.

Cats Dragon (author)2016-11-28

Congratulations on being featured on website today :)

Thank you! It surprised us as well! :)

brianchadorourke (author)2016-11-29

Very Nice! Thanks for posting this!

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

CindyR27 (author)2016-11-24

a tiny house on wheels is allowed while a tiny house on the ground is prohibited in a lot of areas because of zoning regulations and the fact here in KY local zoning takes from state zoning which takes from federal zoning guidelines which takes from international guidelines which says that you MUST have the minimum sq ft to not be in violation of the law - you can be fined if it is on the ground but if it is up on wheels they legally can't fine you, yet - I was told I legally could not live/occupy a tiny house while I could be homeless and live out in the open/no house, I was told I "legally" could not live in a tent

You are exactly right! As long as we leave the tiny house on the trailer it is never considered permanent and always ruled as temporary. So there is a lot less of laws and regulations for temporary structures versus permnant structures.

Two Paddles Design (author)2016-11-24

Thanks for all of the details and photos. I would imagine that one of the most important parts of this type of build would be attaching the framing to the trailer simply because of the intense wind sheer that would be possible during transport. I wasn't sure quite how you did this, it looks like from your photos you drilled 1/2" bolts through the frame and in the base of the walls? This seems like a key step and I wasn't sure if I just missed some details. Thanks again!

Yes you are correct on many points. Transporting the tiny house will have a large wind shear and therefore it is bolted down in two separate places. The outside floor joists are held in place with a 1/2" bolt, as well as the walls one they are framed together. There is an option to run a bolt from the frame of the trailer all the way into the top frame of the wall (almost 8 feet long). While we had considered this, we opted to use the double brace method with the 1/2" bolts.

FloridaJo (author)2016-11-24

I would consider using Radiant barrier foam in the ceiling and walls. Makes a big difference especially on a small dwelling like this. In pic attached, I used it for the door opening (behind roll up door) and it was an amazing difference. More important in warm climates.

You have a great point! In fact, we had considered using this kind of insulation but opted for what our local supplier carried. We used an insulation similar to it from what I understand.

Tajanne1970 (author)2016-11-24

Looks great! I love to attempt home improvement, furniture and small construction projects. I've been thinking about undertaking a tiny house, but without a lot of experience, I don't know much about the pricing of needed supplies. Do you have a rough estimate of the cost of supplies for the project excluding the trailer?

Thank you! I will work on developing a rough estimate on what we have spent so far as well as roughly how much it is going to cost for the whole build.

Retiredcop (author)Tajanne19702016-11-24

I live in the DFW area of Texas. We have a group of tiny house enthusiasts. We're meeting Sunday in fact.

JerryA38 (author)2016-11-24

How much does it weigh?

etheldaylily (author)JerryA382016-11-24

I also would be curious to know how much it weighs and what type of vehicle would be required to pull it?

Sorry, you had a great point and I was surprised to see that I had forgotten to include this factor. I added an update and answered your question for you. Thanks!

howardnewmans (author)2016-11-24

I was a builder in Florida and built structures on boats and trailers. I found two things very helpful for any structure that has lateral and movement stress. 1. Screw and glue (Liquid nails) everything. It is a bit more time consuming and a bit more expensive than nails but, necessary for longivity. 2. Route 3/8" all thread rod with 2" washers from the cap plate through the structure that you are attaching it to. Space these 16" to 24" all the way around the exterior walls. Tighten them very snug, no slack at all. This will almost totally eliminate flexing while moving and give you a very strong structure. Utilize Simpson 2.5A clips between the top plates and the rafters attached by 1 5/8" screws with a shed roof and straps/clips for ridge attachments on an "A" roof. Other than that I liked the rest of the design.

M. L.T (author)howardnewmans2016-11-24

I like the idea of these tiny houses. Since the completed project is no better than the foundation, I would start with the best possible HD trailer, I really like the idea of the threaded rod all the way thru the trailer bed and cap. Liquid nails and screws are a must if your really thinking of going on the road. I would screw EVERYTHING! No nails at all. Since there's not a great deal of weight in the whole structure, I'd think about building at least the sidewalls using 2x2's, or 2x3's. An extra inch or two inside could make all the difference, and a glued and screwed wall is very strong. If you use, (can afford), frameless camper style windows, and don't go the board and batten route, you could gain even more inside room. It's waymore expensive, and makes the whole thing look more like a traditional travel trailer, but inside real estate is expensive real estate! Being from Michigan originally, I would also use ice & water shield on every inch of the exterior. This project really gets the mind going. There's all kinds of things to do for the outside, inset the door and have a fold down stair, Engineered correctly, you could have a pullout deck. Just think of all that unused floor space under that floor. Can't wait for the inside!!!

You are completely right! We have went through many bottles (tubes?) of liquid nails. Everything has been used with it and it seems to be pretty solid so far! As for utilizing all the space, we have some really cool designs for the interior, stay posted to see them when we publiush the next one, hopefully in the netx month!

eagle4297 (author)howardnewmans2016-11-24

That was extremely helpful. A little extra in the beginning adds to big dividends at the end. Thanks Howardnewsman

This is an extremely useful piece of advice.

kevinatblinn (author)2016-11-24

I don't have a comment on the Instructable, so much as I want to express my gratitude for your work with these young people. Your program, and the too-few others like it, is a great thing for those kids, their families, and the country. Thank you.

Thank you! We are absoultely a non-profit organization dedicated to teach the youth whom come through our program. We have youth with ages as low as 14 and and upwards of 24 learning valuable skills they will apply to their life. As we are located inside of a correctional facility, we are unable to build a regular house so a tiny house has been the perfect oppertunity for them to learn the building skills with building a house.

Alaskan Bev (author)kevinatblinn2016-11-24

Right on, Kevinatblinn! Much better to help these youth develop positive marketable skills that can serve for a successful lifetime! Awesome work! Thank you!

Gairuntee (author)2016-11-24

I'm an experienced home renovator considering this project. Great instructions! I've never attempted it because I couldn't figure out how to keep the house New Orleans weather tight and have it move at the same time. Also, how often can you move it without racking it?

David R (author)Gairuntee2016-11-24

Gairuntee, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head! Since the time of your post, some excellent discussions have been posted: re: all thread rod, spray foam insulation, screw and glue, ice and water shield, and more, see the posts after yours for details on these.

Here are my thoughts:

This is an awesome instructable,and it really made my day to learn that a group like this one could undertake such a project. I appreciate how it is not so much a recipe as it is created to share and inspire.

Assuming you want a travel duty home, and not a park model:

Windows: windows in camper , motor home,other mobile structures are rated to withstand winds in excess of 200 mph.

Modular and mobile home windows are typically at least 120 mph wind zone,to withstand the 70 mph winds it is exposed to during transport from factory to home site. Interestingly, in the seventies, modular home windows and doors were observed to better survive severe weather , and site builders copied their use of higher wind zone doors and windows on lakes and other locatiins with " micro climate" weather impact.


to me, park or travel model, you gain by using steel framing. Care must be taken to choose structural steel in lieu of " tin can" filler studs intended for curtain wall construction. Steel is 30 percent stronger, and probably 50 percent lighter than wood framing. A combination of steel with wood to receive fasteners in places is common in the camper market. Today, in the southern us, steel is about the same material cost as wood,slighty higher labor cost due to slower fastening But you get lower cost from lower electrical and plumbing rough ins due to the ore punched rough in openings in steel framing.

The North Carolina Department of Insurance is concerned about several rather spectacular failures of tiny houses on nc highways in recent months. The larger tiny home producers in N C are adopting third party certifications. These programs require that you follow the certification organizations prescribed methods for framing, attaching to the trailer or foundation and dozens of other items. The best of these certification programs require multiple inspections at various stages of construction of each and every home. This process helps secure loans and lower insurance costs. Even an owner builder can access this third party inspection process.

When you take a structure on public roads, you are responsible for your safety and the safety of others. No one intentionally builds a dangerous to move tiny house, but it has been happening, and the authorities are starting to notice. Some tiny homes have been involved in accidents, and owners have found themselves with inadequate insurance coverage, or cancellation over the methods used to build the home. This is troubling. You never want to see anybody have problems like this, and we all face this issue.

Electrical and plumbing heat and air :

campers and other mobile structures with plumbing and electrical have evolved far beyond the installation methods I have observed in many tiny houses. I have learned a lot about electrical and plumbing in mobile structures from Coachman and other mobile structure builders. Discussions with designers and engineers in these mobile structure plants reveal great concern for fire safety in electrical circuits and propane piping ( damage occurs while building is being moved and shows up when put under power )

there are different " best practices" for every aspect of building a mobile structure, and paying attention to these details will result in a safer structure that will last longer and have a higher re-sale value. There is a world of knowledge about how to build mobile structures to tap into. The best part is it really doesn't increase the cost of building a tiny house.

Great comment! You have some great points and I will leave them up to you and how well you elaborated them. You brought up some excellent factors, many of which we considered in our build. We felt the best course of action was the one we went with and we are still proud of our outcomes.

gralan (author)2016-11-24

great instructable, and I'll be going to check out your website. Thank you muchly.

THank you! I hope you are pleased with our website as well!

onemoroni1 (author)2016-11-25

I like the real house design and construction effort.

Thank you! We appreciate your feedback!

tgogolin (author)2016-11-27

This looks like a great idea. I have seen some built before which were similar. I love all ideas. I might build one some day. Weighting for step one and two before I make my final comment. Like I said I have seen similar before and I guess I will find the best ideas to put into mine. Thank you to the designer for sharing his idea with everyone.

Thank you and you are certainly welcome!

OrusA (author)2016-11-24

The Down Side to a Tiny House. is that..

Nobody... Is allowed to live in them unless you have a house on the land that you are imposing the tiny home on. There are so many restrictions and bylaws to consider first. And you will more than likely be picking a uphill battle with 0 to no success. To many people build these and told by the cops its not allowed to happen. And doing so will result in heafty fines.

Its a absolute backwards world and instead of our politicians embracing change that would benifit people and planet. They want to shut down something good.

Froutnantly enough that is not the case for most if not all states in the U.S. We are located in Oregon and after a lot of research there are little to no laws regarding tiny houses. So long as we keep it on a trailer, it is considred tempoary, even with a permanant deck build around it, and there is no restrictions in Oregon.

EmeraldHeart (author)OrusA2016-11-26

lucky me! where I live, my prop is set for anything from a tent to a trailer; not so lucky . . . could loose it . . . LOL; but I saw mentioned about having it on a trailer as a temporary home?? Here building it on a SKID structure also rates it as temporary and not taxable as part of the property; taxed as personal taxes. Yep; taxed to death.

tgogolin (author)EmeraldHeart2016-11-27

Where I live here in Oregon? The code says anything under 200 sq ft and is moveable ( skids/trailer ) is none taxable nor do you need a permit to build. They have little communities popping up all over with these tiny homes because of cost ( taxes/ moveability ). Some people build two and set side by side. All legal. One is to live in and one is for storage, staples and etc. If on wheels and under 200 SQ FT, I believe all you have to get is a license for a utility trailer. There should be somewhere people can post pictures if they build one. Have a contest for the best all around one. Let the readers decide. Have professional contractors make an approximately 40 - 50 question review. And the winner receive an award or prize. Prize being a cash refund for some of the costs in building there's

bluesdocbob (author)OrusA2016-11-26

Yep the corporation couldn't stand people going of grid with them as they didn't have control.....

isprey (author)OrusA2016-11-24

Not necessarily true :) You'd have to check your country's/state's/county's regulations. In this country (Australia) as long as it stays on the trailer, you can live in it. The minute you take it off the trailer and put it on the land, a whole set of different laws apply. This is a fantastic project and will certainly go some way in fixing the homelessness situation.

About This Instructable




Bio: Trask River Productions is a non-profit vocational education woodshop ran through Trask River High School, which is in turn located inside of a Youth Correctional ... More »
More by Trask River Productions:Tiny House Series: Pt. 1 ExteriorTo Make:Color Changing Wooden Lamp
Add instructable to: