Exterior Wall Finish System

The exterior wall finish for our tiny home is a nontraditional cladding system known as a rainscreen. A rainscreen's most functional capacity is that it takes advantage of a ventilated air cavity to keep the building's vapor barrier and cladding system dry, reducing home maintenance and providing longevity to building materials. 

We chose to install a timber rainscreen on our tiny home for primarily aesthetic purposes. We wanted to ensure that the cladding system on the tiny home gave it texture and was appropriately proportioned to its size and scale. Wood was a natural option, as we could be very explicit in dictating its dimensional size. We chose to use very thinly proportioned wood planks, oriented vertically, in order to give emphasis to the vertical proportion of the home. Also, if we had gone with a horizontal orientation, the planks at the high side of the mono-pitch roof would have terminated awkwardly.

Aromatic Cedar, stripped and planed down to .75" x 1.5".

Aromatic Cedar, stripped and planed down to .75" x 1.5".

While cedar is possibly the most expensive hardwood we could have chosen for our rainscreen, we knew it would ultimately be the most cost- and time-effective in the long run. Cedar's natural properties make it inherently pest- and weather-resistant, meaning that we could install it untreated and it would last for decades with no maintenance.

Our original intent for the cedar was to torch it using the ancient Japanese method of shou sugi ban. Burning the wood makes it pest- and weather-resistant, but more importantly for us, would give the home a sleek, sexy, and unique modern appearance to the whole home. Unfortunately, however, the shou sugi ban method is incredibly time-consuming and delicate. As time progressed and the finish date for the home kept advancing further into the future, we made a tough, critical decision to not torch the wood and instead, let it weather a soft, cool grey over time. While disappointing, nothing functional was compromised, and the grey weathered cedar would still fulfill our broader aesthetic intent.

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We chose to go through a local lumber yard to source the cedar for our exterior rainscreen. They agreed to plane and strip the planks down for us to our custom .75" x 1.5" dimension, all 2000 8'-long pieces. That's 10,000 linear feet, folks. While it cost only a small amount more to have this done, it saved us days, if not weeks, of time and tedium (and potential error). 

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In a rainscreen system, the cladding finish material never touches the massing of the home directly; a series of battens (in our case, 1" x 3" lumber) separates the exterior sheathing and weather barrier from the cladding finish, which creates the ventilated air cavity. For both vertical and horizontal timber rainscreen systems, battens should be installed approximately 24" apart - this is adequate for both structural and ventilation purposes. You'll notice in the photos above that on some walls the battens are installed with their broad face against the exterior sheathing, and their narrow face in others. This is the result of needing to disguise some exterior MEP elements behind the rainscreen, such as the bathroom fan exhaust and the mini-split wiring; if their depth was greater than 3/4", then a larger cavity was accommodated. These varying depths would not be perceptible once the cedar timber is applied.

Hang the vertical batten, use the leveler to level, and apply remianing screws.

Balancing the vertical battens.

Cedar cladding mock-up under the living area window!

The above image demonstrates the application of Prosoco, the fluid-applied weather barrier product, being applied also to the rainscreen battens and window flanges. The pine timber battens needed to be treated for pest- and weather-resistance, so we chose to use the Prosoco for two reasons: it is a highly effective product that we happened to have extra of, and it provided aesthetic consistency to the surface behind the cedar rainscreen finish.  

A work-in-progress.

As seen in the image above, our cedar was very knotty, and there was a critical concern around the timber warping over time. In order to mitigate this, we installed horizontal cedar battens every 6" so that the vertical timbers would be nailed and secured as tightly and frequently as possible. You'll notice that horizontal battens have been placed at the very top and bottom of the vertical timbers, as the end conditions are the most susceptible to warping.

You'll also notice that there is not one constant joint datum for the vertical cedar timbers; they vary in where they terminate vertically. This condition exists for two reasons: A) the cedar from the local lumber yard only came in 8'-long planks, and would require two timber pieces to complete each vertical 'line', and B) by not making the joint for the vertical timbers uniform, we prevented a potentially obvious warp datum at the end conditions of the planks, and we are able to use cedar plank scraps more efficiently and flexibly.

We chose provide a 1/2" gap between the vertical cedar timbers for two reasons: A) to reduce the amount of finish cladding material (and its associated weight), and B) to create texture and depth.

Plumbing & Electrical

In-floor plumbing & electrical at the kitchen and solar electric battery bank compartment.

In-floor plumbing & electrical at the kitchen and solar electric battery bank compartment.

The majority of the plumbing and electrical in the tiny home is routed through the floor cavity. The loci for all of the systems exists at the kitchen-end of the tiny home, near the trailer hitch. There are three critical MEP hubs in this area: A) an externally concentrated cluster on the trailer hitch, where the municipal connections for water and electricity, the instant hot water heater, and the interchangeable propane tanks for kitchen appliances all exist, B) the electrical breaker box in the kitchen wall at the end of the house, which is adjacent to the mini-split unit, and C) the in-floor compartment under the kitchen floor where the solar electric battery bank and on-board water storage exist.

Water intake and outtake lines for on-board water storage tanks.

White tube: fan and air vent for solar electric battery bank. Grey box: electrical hookup to battery bank from charge controller.

Floor cavity for solar electric battery bank and on-board water storage.

Floor cavity for solar electric battery bank and on-board water storage.

When we designed the trailer for our tiny home, we had the structural tubing framed 12 inches below the top of trailer to allocate for a deeper floor cavity where the solar electric battery bank and on-board water storage tanks could be stored for easy access. The total depth of the cavity is 18", with 9.25" clear under the 2"x10" floor joists.

While having these systems integrated into the enclosure of the tiny home was inconvenient, as they ate up valuable floor storage space, added considerable weight to the home, and made the trailer construction more costly, it was critical to house them within the enclosed, temperature-controlled portion of the home. Concerning the battery bank: if stored without temperature regulation, high temperatures can shorten battery life, while low temperatures can reduce battery capacity. Concerning the on-board water storage: in an off-grid water supply system (and especially in the case of a tiny home on wheels), great care should be taken to make sure that water pipes do not freeze in the winter. If your rain water catchment storage is outside of the home, above ground, and not insulated, then you would need to disconnect your pipes from your water supply in freezing temperature situations. For this reason, we planned to always have 90 gallons of water (enough for two people for one week) on-board in our tiny home, so that in the event of freezing temperatures we could still access water in the short-term.

Plumbing connections. Top left corner: shower drain. Top right corner: toilet water supply and drain. Bottom right: washer water supply and drain.

Plumbing connections. Top left corner: shower drain. Top right corner: toilet water supply and drain. Bottom right: washer water supply and drain.

In any given building project, it is best to optimize plumbing by clustering functions together, which minimizes linear feet of plumbing lines, minimizing not only cost, but also the potential for leaks. We sacrificed optimized plumbing in our own tiny home for our preferred floor plan configuration. However, we still managed to cluster plumbing into two 'zones' at either end of the house: kitchen/on-board water storage at one end and bathroom/washer at the other.

Just another day in the life.

Just another day in the life.

After the plumbing was entirely routed through the floor cavities at the perimeter of the home, we were able to insulate and fully sheath the fixed portion of the floor. The rest was left open and accessible for general in-floor storage. 

Bathroom light and vent switches.

At left: toilet plumbing. At right: bathroom sink plumbing.

Rain water/city water connection.

Pressure check!

Pressure check!

"The Plumbing Leak Saga" as it has become known, was an approximately 6-week period, during which a small, yet persistent leak in the plumbing system plagued Kadim day and night. He would daily adjust some component of the system, reset the pressure gauge, come back the next day, and do it all over again, until through process of elimination he located and eradicated it! It was a very trying time; don't ask him about it unless you want an ear-full!

Future location of the breaker-box, above the kitchen.

Living area light switches and kitchen outlets adjacent to one of the entry doors.

Kitchen-end of the home, prior to sheathing the floor perimeter.

Kitchen-end of the home, prior to sheathing the floor perimeter.

As demonstrated in the above images, most of the electrical was run on a datum above the doors and windows. This allowed for efficient and uninterrupted routing throughout the tiny home: at sleeping loft outlets, in the bathroom for outlets, lighting, and the ceiling vent, in the utility closet for the washer, periodically in the living area, in the main ceiling for the downlights, at the kitchen counter for small appliances, under the kitchen counter for large appliances, at the solar batter bank, and above the kitchen window for the mini-split unit. These pictures don't show it, but we did install metal plate covers on the studs where electrical wires were routed to prevent any future accidental penetration of the wires when installing interior and exterior wall sheathing or finishes. 

Instant hot water heater.

Fully installed above trailer hitch, alongside municipal water and electric hook-ups and propane hook-ups.

Current Status: September 2018

We are considerably behind on all the room- and system-specific blog posts we had intended to post by now, and so many people ask us about the tiny home that we thought we should just go ahead and post all of the most up-to-date imagery ready to share! The following represents 1 year of construction work (evenings, weekends, holidays).

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Upcoming posts include: Plumbing & Electrical, Exterior Wall Finish System, Roof Finish System, Windows & Doors, Interior Wall Finish System, Floor Finish System, Kitchen, Kitchen Countertop, Bathroom, Closets, Ship’s Ladder. Stay tuned!

Weather Barrier

The weather barrier for the tiny house is a fluid applied product by Prosoco. The product, an equivalent of $1500, was donated to us by the company there by securing our first sponsor! 

The tiny home weather barrier is comprised of a series of three R-Guard products from Prosoco, a construction products manufacturer:

R-Guard: Joint and seam filler (fiber reinforced fill coat and seam treatment)

R-Guard: FastFlash (liquid flashing membrane)

R-Guard: Cat 5 (air and waterproof barrier)

Our motivations for using the Prosoco R-Guard weather barrier system over a more standard house wrap, like Tyvek, had to do with the aesthetic and assembly of the tiny home's exterior rainscreen system. The rainscreen will be comprised of thin, vertically-oriented timbers, sealed using the Japanese shou sugi ban method of charring and blackening the wood. There will be a 1/2" gap between these vertical timbers, revealing whatever weather barrier condition lies behind it. Tyvek would, of course, stand out starkly from behind the black rainscreen timbers and compromise the exterior aesthetic. We need a dark, recessive weather barrier, and Prosoco's 'dark bronze' Cat 5 product suits our needs perfectly.

These products have been used in numerous projects by Studio 804 at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design and was recommended to us. We had the pleasure (and luck) of being in close proximity to a local product rep who was very generous in advising us on the proper applications of the product.

Above: Application of the R-Guard joint and seam filler over an exterior OSB joint. The product is applied generously from a tube and then evenly distributed using a putty knife. The joint and seam filler was applied to all exterior joints and corners, including the roof. It was also applied on over-driven screws that created recesses in the OSB surface.

Above: Application of the R-Guard FastFlash at a window opening. Similar to the joint and seam filler, the product is applied generously from a tube and then evenly distributed using a putty knife, The FastFlash was applied to all window and door openings, including skylights. The material is quite viscous and has a build of 3/16" once applied. The product was applied, like flashing, to the depth of the window and to the OSB surface immediately surrounding it, but not to any surfaces at the interior of the tiny home. 

Window with FastFlash Applied

Window with FastFlash Applied

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Above: The application of the joint and seam filler and FastFlash had to be done on separate days, as the products each take about a day to dry. 

In preparation to apply the Cat 5 air and weather barrier, we removed all of the product stickers on the surface of the OSB sheets (this would not have been a problem had we installed the sheathing with the smooth surface on the inside).

The Cat 5, which comes in large buckets, was applied to the exterior walls in a single day, using paint rollers (it was not applied to the roof because roofs us underpayment that is more durable for asphalt shingles, metal standing seam, or roof tiles). The material should be applied heavily, leaving the finished coat thick and consistent, with no OSB, joint and seam filler, or FastFlash visible. In our first application, the material had not been copious enough in some places and had to be covered with a second coat two days later once the first coat had dried.

The material must be mixed well before each use, and a tarp should be laid under all edges where applied, as it drips heavily while it dries. We found that our paint rollers had to be thrown out after each use, so an optimized work flow is encouraged, rather than a piecemeal one. Special care should be taken to protect your hands and body: wear long sleeves, pants, and latex gloves but keep in mind that they can ruin clothes and stain your skin temporarily. 

Overall, we are exceedingly satisfied with this product in terms of ease of application, functionality, and aesthetic. An added advantage that we had not anticipated was the product's behavior as a natural binding agent for the exterior sheathing, further reinforcing the rigidity of the tiny home. 

Sheathing

Before sheathing

Before sheathing

The process of sheathing the tiny home was conducted with material optimization and ease of construction as top priorities, using full OSB sheets where possible and minimizing cuts on all other sheets. We used 48"x96"x.4375" OSB sheets and secured them with 1.25" drywall screws.

The exterior sheathing brought an impressive level of lateral stability to the tiny home structure; the tiny home now has no sway or deflection, as it did before the sheathing was applied.

West Wall

West Wall

South Wall

South Wall

Panels on the walls were staggered and oriented horizontally in order to 'bind' 4' framing modules together, giving added stability to the wall framing. The same principle was applied to the roof, with panels staggered and oriented in the long direction of the roof to 'bind' framing modules together; however, we used .5" thick panels as we rafters were 24" on-center. This logic breaks occasionally, such as at the South wall, where the panels around the window were sized to line up with the clear opening, using the largest panel sizes possible and avoiding complicated cuts.

At the perimeter of each sheet, screws were applied on 8" centers, while screws were applied on 12" centers in the middle of the sheet where vertical studs were located.

Smooth face of OSB oriented to the exterior face was a mistake but not a fatal one. The other side of the OSB is rough and has vertical and horizontal lines for nailing and screwing lines (we now know that).

All walls sheathed

All walls sheathed

The exterior sheathing for the walls and roof was applied in a single day with three people. The use of ladders and scaffolding were essential to the safe and clean installation of the wall panels, while a forklift was very useful in getting OSB sheets safely onto the roof. 

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The installation of the sheathing gave us the first sense of interior enclosure within the tiny home. The space was surprisingly much as we had imagined it, and the amount of light permitted by the window and door openings seemed highly conducive to the sense of openness and natural lighting we had intended. 

Fully Sheathed Exterior

Fully Sheathed Exterior

Fully Sheathed Interior

Fully Sheathed Interior

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For the roof sheathing, we used sheathing clips. They helped in aligning the panels in both direction and maintain consistent expansion gaps. In hindsight, using clips on the walls would be a highly recommend process. The clips also help secure on panel to another for added wind assisted panel tear. 

Roof Framing

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The framing of the roof was the most challenging tiny home construction exercise to date; this was due primarily to the unique geometry around cutting and the need to be elevated during installation. Our friend, Ian, spent an entire day with us installing and troubleshooting the roof framing. Kadim had done all of the cutting of the rafters the day before.

While we did have scaffolding, a fork lift, and ladders available to us, the process of installation was considerably ad hoc, and we finally developed confidence and the best installation methods by the time we reached the final roof rafter.

Ian was rightfully skeptical of Kadim's temporary lateral bracing techniques.

Ian was rightfully skeptical of Kadim's temporary lateral bracing techniques.

Considerable attention to detail was required in order to install and align the roof rafters in coordination with the 2x10 columns. 

Considerable attention to detail was required in order to install and align the roof rafters in coordination with the 2x10 columns. 

Again, the skepticism. Again, justified.

Again, the skepticism. Again, justified.

The roof installation at the loft end was reasonably smooth, due to the fixed, elevated surface that could allow the roof connections to be easily accessed and managed. The floor surfaces had not yet been installed in the other parts of the tiny home, so coordinating ladders and tools was one of the largest parts of the roof installation effort, not to mention elevating each 2"x6"x10' roof timber. 

Strategizing, and probably exchanging snarky remarks.

Strategizing, and probably exchanging snarky remarks.

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Before the installation of the rafters, the walls were considerably insecure; one good push and pull would have the entire house swaying. However, once the rafters were installed, the entire skeleton became much more rigid, and we expect that the exterior and interior sheathing will give it full rigidity and structural soundness.

Wall Framing

The wall framing for the tiny home consisted of 800+ linear feet of dimensional lumber and was executed in only three days between lumber delivery, cutting, dry laying, nailing, and erecting. 

Lumber delivery + our friend, Adam.

Lumber delivery + our friend, Adam.

Lumber delivery continued...

Lumber delivery continued...

Ian and Yahya beginning to tackle 800+ linear feet of cutting. 

Ian and Yahya beginning to tackle 800+ linear feet of cutting. 

The weekend dedicated to framing the walls was our most productive use of help from friends. Because tasks were generally repetitive and did not require intimate knowledge of the tiny home design, we could get people going on cutting or drilling as we coordinated and delegated. Our friend, Ian, and Kadim's brother, Yahya, spent a full day cutting all of the lumber for the wall framing as I provided them with dimensions and helped them coordinate cuts that would result in the least amount of waste. 

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As the cutting was underway, I began dry laying the wall framing in order to keep track of cuts and anticipate nailing and framing patterns. We chose to frame the walls in 4' modules comprised of 2x4" lumber; these modules would fit between the larger 2x8" columns that separated each structural bay in the tiny home. By doing this, we could ensure that nailing would be carefully executed, and once each module was complete, it could be lifted into place and installed without the use of machinery or very much muscle. 

Door module.

Door module.

Window module.

Window module.

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As shown in the images above, we (Kadim) eventually discovered that nailing on top of the trailer was much easier on the back than nailing on the floor.

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In the image above and the two below is a mock-up of the detail Kadim developed for the way in which the wall framing and the interior floor sheathing meet. The wall sandwich is comprised of 2x4" lumber, sheathed with 7/16" osb on either side. The floor sheathing is 3/4" osb. 

A 3" strip of 3/4" osb mediates between the floor rim joists and the base plate of the wall framing. The 3/4" gap left on the interior allows the interior floor modules to be slid into place and their edge condition disguised underneath the wall framing. The bottom edge of the interior wall sheathing is chamfered to allow the floor panel to be slotted easily into place and to mitigate damage at the edge of the interior osb, which is the wall finish. 

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After our team of friends had finished helping us cut the wall framing lumber and began nailing walls, Kadim and I were able to finish the nailing in a day, and we erected all 14 walls on our own in a single day in only 3.5 hours. It was tedious work, but had we not made the walls out of 4' modules, we would not have been able to erect them ourselves without considerable help and coordination. 

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Wall framing complete, with a few temporary lateral braces.

Wall framing complete, with a few temporary lateral braces.

Floor Framing

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The framing of the raised floor system was our first true construction task for the tiny home. We went to Menard's and hand-selected each piece of 2x10" lumber for the beams and joists, each sheet of 7/16" OSB (oriented strand board) for the sheathing at the underside of the floor frame, and each sheet of 3/4" OSB for the floor finish.

Our construction strategy involved building the entire floor framing in three large sections on the ground and then lifting them into place on the trailer frame, where the sections would be bolted to each other and to the trailer frame itself. As shown in the series of photos in the blog post below, this strategy allows the framing to be easily maneuvered for squaring and nailing, and allows the underside sheathing to be screwed into place from above.

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As trained architects, we are very familiar with making precise and well-crafted objects, and we are reasonably familiar with power tools and the design and coordination of structures and systems; however, the framing of the first floor section proved that our familiarity with construction techniques and tolerances was considerably lacking. After all the framing lumber was cut to size according to our digital model, our first construction hurdle involved getting the framing squared. For this we ended up using a metal angle and some temporary bracing, as shown in the images above; the attachment of the underside sheathing, validated the squareness of the framing. 

The 2x10" framing members were nailed together, while the 7/16" OSB underside sheathing was screwed onto the framing. The construction of the floor framing involved basic tools, such as tape measures, pencils, metal angles, and clamps, and power tools such as a circular saw, table saw, nail gun, and drill. 

We first constructed the 4' bathroom section of the floor and then the 8' kitchen and entry section of the floor and lifted them into their respective locations at either end of the trailer. The 8' kitchen and entry floor section is shown in the middle two images above; the gaps in underside sheathing are for the water tank and battery bank storage compartments integrated in the trailer framing below the raised timber floor system. 

The three images below show the construction of the final 12' floor section at the center of the floor system where the trailer wheel hubs are located. 

The row of images below show the final 12' floor section being lifted and positioned onto the trailer. As made evident by the images, the floor sections were incredibly heavy and difficult to maneuver, requiring four people to relocate them from floor to trailer. 

After getting the final floor section onto the trailer, we found it impossible to fit all three sections flush on the top of the trailer. This was the result of measuring and building the floor system according to our digital model, rather from the measurements of the built trailer; the trailer apparently had a few dimensional discrepancies relative to what we had specified in our drawings to the trailer manufacturer. This resulted in two hours of four strong men forcing the floor sections into place via jumping and sledge hammering, as shown in the right-hand images below. While this was exceedingly frustrating, it was admittedly equally amusing.

The biggest lessons learned in the framing of the floor were to check built dimensions, to build with tolerances, and that construction can be a bit messy and unpredictable, regardless of any amount of prior planning. 

In the end, the floor framing was successfully installed, with each section squared and sitting flush against the trailer and against the adjacent section(s). 

While some tiny homes opt to use the trailer framing itself as the floor framing, we chose to employ a raised floor system for a few reasons. Firstly, a raised floor system allows us to route plumbing and electrical through it. Secondly, nearly half of our raised floor system serves as under-floor storage, with all compartments 9" deep, and typically 30x20" in length and width; the remaining raised floor system compartments are insulated, with insulation for the in-floor storage zones located within the trailer framing below. Finally, the raised floor system, which is flush with the top of the trailer wheel hubs, allows us to avoid the trailer wheel hubs as an eyesore and impediment to efficient interior space planning. The greatest setback to the raised floor system is that it reduces the clear height of the interior volume; if we had opted not to have a 10" raised floor, we could've likely gained 10" in ceiling height, which would've been an enormous asset in the lofted sleeping area.

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Trailer Fit Out

Back end of trailer flashed on top. Insulation in this part of the house will be in raised floor system.

Back end of trailer flashed on top. Insulation in this part of the house will be in raised floor system.

Front end of trailer flashed on bottom, with insulation on top. Raised floor system with storage will be installed on top of insulated zone.

Front end of trailer flashed on bottom, with insulation on top. Raised floor system with storage will be installed on top of insulated zone.

As the trailer was being designed and manufactured, we opted not to have the manufacturer flash the underside, as it was an additional $600 and we were confident that we could do this ourselves at a much lower cost. While it did cost less to do it ourselves, it was not easy and involved considerable time and trial and error.

We chose to flash the trailer with galvanized steel sheet metal, purchased in 24" rolls and trimmed down to proper lengths with a straight edge and box cutter. We began by installing a series of timber frames to all internal edges of the steel framing, intended to create a surface to attach the sheet metal with screws, in some places at the underside of the trailer, in some places on the top side. As Kadim began installing sheet metal to the underside of the trailer using only screws, we realized that this was not a feasible method, as the steel was very difficult to handle and puckered badly. We decided instead to create jigs to hold the steel in place while we secured the edges of each sheet to the trailer with aluminum flashing tape. We then secured the sheet metal to the timber framing with screws. 

After flashing the entire trailer, we installed rigid insulation in the lowered portion of the trailer where the battery bank and water storage tanks will be located. Kadim then covered the rigid insulation with a layer of OSB that the equipment will rest on. We installed fibrous insulation in the areas of the trailer where the raised floor system will accommodate under-floor storage. In the areas with no under-floor storage (kitchen, bathroom, closet zones), the flashing is on top of the trailer, where the raised floor system will be installed and insulated. 

Trailer Built & Delivered

Under construction.

Under construction.

75% complete. Raw steel, no paint. 

75% complete. Raw steel, no paint. 

Ready for tiny home construction.

Ready for tiny home construction.

Seeing the custom-designed trailer in the manufacturer's yard was the first time the TINY HOUSE felt real. We stood there staring at the giant hunk of metal and thought 'what have we gotten ourselves into... we own this?'. 

Our trailer is now complete and in the warehouse. It took several months to design, a handful of visits to the manufacturer to red mark drawings, about six weeks to build, and cost $5,450. As our local manufacturer does not specialize in tiny house trailers, there are a few minor dimensional discrepancies that normally would not be problematic for their average client. These discrepancies could likely have been avoided had we checked in with the manufacturer periodically to check progress and validate intentions. We can adapt to these, but they are considerable annoyances.

Getting the trailer into our narrow slot in the warehouse was a challenge, as the common central 'alley' is sometimes congested and not very wide to begin with. However, some masterful maneuvering wrapped up the trailer manufacturing and delivery aspect of the TINY HOUSE. Now to make a trip to Menard's and begin fitting out the trailer!

Warehouse 'alley' maneuvering. Thanks Ben!

Warehouse 'alley' maneuvering. Thanks Ben!

Laying Out Floor Plan

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As of August 16, our TINY HOUSE trailer is under construction and due to be completed any day now. The majority of our construction will take place in a warehouse nearby, and in anticipation of the arrival of the trailer, we decided to mock-up the floor plan of the TINY HOUSE on the warehouse floor. 

The blue painter's tape shows the extents of the floor plan [10'x24'] and some of the interior built-in elements. [In left image above: Kitchen cabinetry shown in front, built-in desks are where chairs are placed opposite each other, and partition walls separating closets and bathroom at the far end.] The white tape shows the 4' structural bay spacing along the 24' length of the house. The first four bays comprise the combined entry, kitchen, living, working area with 9'+ ceilings (I'm standing in the fourth bay on the right image above). The last two bays comprise the closets and bathroom with lofted sleeping area above.

We didn't fully appreciate the size of the TINY HOUSE until we had done this mock-up and placed some furniture to better grasp the scale and spacing of things. [The two chairs opposite each other are at our desk locations, the adjacent diagonal chair represents a lounge chair in the 'living area', and the far chair represents the toilet.] After having done this, we feel highly validated by our design decisions and have gleaned a great sense of confidence about the spacious nature of our 294 square foot home.

We highly recommend this exercise during the design process and before construction in order to validate sizing and decision-making.