New Tiny House on Wheels

There is a new tiny house on wheels out at the Wurruk’an ecovillage! I’ve posted a few pictures below, and my carpenter friend, Tom Coupe of Blue Leaf Creations, who built it, has written a short article explaining some of the pros and cons of building on a trailer.

Save the steel

Why build on a trailer? It’s a valid question. If you can’t easily tow your tiny, maybe you should leave the wheels off. The cost of a trailer, auto electrics, rego and moving costs could set you back over $10,000 for a standard sized Tiny. Alternatively, build on skids and hire a crane truck on moving day. Of course, those who take that path will never know the joy of driving a house.

For those who do join ‘Team Trailer’, here is an alternate design which could save you thousands.

Steel is expensive, time consuming to fabricate, difficult to weatherproof and taxing on the environment. Pine, on the other hand is cheep, easy to use, sustainable and strong. With this in mind, I went about constructing a trailer-mounted house in a slightly unorthodox manner.

Six lengths of steel was all that I purchased for my trailer, plus the mechanical components. Two bearers running lengthways to support the axles, two end joists to pick up the corners of my house frame and two angled A frame beams. It took me, a novice to trailer building, just 3 hours to fabricate a tandem trailer frame, purpose built to support my 2.8 tonne, 4.2 metre Tiny. The total cost of my trailer materials was $2600 at retail prices, and as an added saving, around 200 kilograms reduced off the weight of the trailer.

I fixed 4mm ply to the top of the steel frame, this becomes my underfloor lining. Next, I fixed 70×45 pine joists on top of the ply, down into the steel. The joists overhang the steel bearers to support the house walls. Insulation batts were placed in-between the joists before I laid chipboard flooring over the top. I constructed some timber mudguards prior to wall framing.

This method is quick, light on materials, thermally effective, strong and simple. As an added bonus, I spent only around 5 minutes underneath this trailer fixing ply lining to the joists. If you don’t appreciate that statistic, you haven’t built a tiny house.

The draw-backs to this method are obvious, but in my opinion, acceptable.

1. The flooring sits around 70mm higher than if fixed directly to the steel frame.
2. Overhanging joists are not as strong as welded steel outriggers, however, it’s a trailer mounted house, it demands a light weight construction. This method is easily strong enough for its intended application.
3. You can’t drive a half built trailer down the highway, it has no lights or mudguards, this method really is only practical to those who can construct the whole house in one spot.
4. It raises eyebrows, not a drawback from my perspective.

Tom Coupe


If you live in Victoria, Australia, and would like to Tom to build you a tiny house, contact details are available here. You will not be disappointed.

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