Friday, August 8, 2014

The foundation

Tiny houses can be built on foundations or trailers with wheels. For the purposes of this blog, I will define a tiny house as less than 250 square feet; that is about the maximum amount of square footage that can be contained on a road-legal (without special permits) mobile tiny home. Typically, for this size home on wheels, car hauler trailers are used as a foundation.

There are two options for obtaining a car hauler trailer; purchase used or new. I have read numerous accounts of builders that purchased a trailer used but then spent days or weeks sanding, painting and modifying the used trailer for their tiny home. That is certainly an option and you might be able to save a few thousand dollars going the used route.

If you purchase new, you have a couple other options. You can purchase a ready-made commercial trailer, a tiny house trailer or have a trailer custom made for you. Commercial trailers are marketed in nearly every large city because they are used for construction, hauling, farming and other applications. With a fist-full of money, you can go in and purchase a trailer from the lot. Most likely, modifications will need to made this this trailer to adapt it for a tiny house. You could purchase a trailer constructed for a tiny home, such as a tumbleweed trailer or a tiny house builder's trailer. Both are good options for a semi-custom trailer but typically, they are more expensive and they are constructed to what these builders consider "custom". Plan to spend at least $500-1000 more for one of these trailers than you would spend if you ordered your own custom trailer. The third choice is to have a custom trailer constructed specifically for your use.

I admit, having a custom trailer constructed is time consuming but you will obtain a trailer to the specifications you choose. I chose to have my trailer custom built by Kaufman Trailers in North Carolina. Kaufman was very good to work with, they are experienced with custom trailers for tiny homes and they had an established delivery contractor that was much cheaper than the other manufacturers.

I ordered a custom Kaufman trailer the first week of August 2014 with the following options: 20 foot deck, 10,000 capacity, no dovetail, no wood boards on deck, crossbeams welded even with top deck, no ramps, no tie downs or other attachments on the side, and front trailer jack near front of tongue. Ordering from Kaufman saved me over $1200 if I had purchased a "tiny home trailer"; delivery of my trailer is scheduled for mid-September 2015. One option I was unable to get from Kaufman is "side extensions" that extend the trailer bed from 82" width to 96" width. Kaufman was able to do side extensions of 102". I will have side extensions added once the trailer arrives.
 My custom trailer will be similar to this without the dovetail (sloped rear deck), wood decking, tie downs or the front rail. Overall price of this custom trailer; less than $3000 and delivery to upper Michigan was only $700.

No comments:

Post a Comment