Three (seemingly loooong) weeks after I ordered my trailer in June of 2014, it was finally sitting next to my parents’ house! It’s 24 feet of beautiful, shiny perfection. Rob at Iron Eagle Trailers in Fairview, OR is a genius and not only completed building it earlier than anticipated, but he also gave me a discount for having attended the PAD Tiny House Workshop in May.
You can find the specs for his Tiny House trailers here: ironeagletinyhousetrailer.com. The one I ordered is a bit different from his usual trailers (a design by Derin Williams at Shelter Wise). Mine has fewer cross members which lightens the weight of the trailer. It also has a two-inch rail that runs around the inner edge of the trailer, six inches below the top. This is great for framing with 2x6’s, because it’s just deep enough so that the tongue and groove subflooring will be flush with the top flange.
It wasn't until late September that I was finally able to start building. It was a hot, sticky day in Troutdale; perfect weather for lifting and constructing heavy things. Oh wait…
Through all the sweat and sunburns, my dad and I got half of the trailer subfloor framed that first day. It was quite the accomplishment! (My main thought that evening was something along the lines of, "This is going so fast! We're gonna finish this thing in like two months at this rate!" Haha, yeeeeeah.... I sort of miss the excitement of that optimistically delusional timeline.)
(I should mention that in the photo below, we set the frame in the trailer upside down for two reasons: first, just to check that it fits, and second, so that we could screw on the ¼-inch plywood more easily.)
Once the plywood was attached to the bottom of the frame, we painted it all with epoxy paint to seal it.
We got the floor frame back in the trailer (painted/sealed side down). At this point, we leveled the trailer (with the help of kitty Julius) and raised the scissor jacks that are attached to each corner of the trailer (which we probably should have done a lot earlier in the building process. Oh well!). We then put a vapor barrier between the joists because the insulation I selected didn’t come with one. Then Dad secured the wood frame directly to the trailer with bolts with the head of the bolt on the outside, and then tack welded the nut on the inside. I’ve seen it done the other way around, with the head of the bolt on the inside with the insulation and the nut on the outside of the trailer. This is usually done so that you can tighten the nut as needed, but since ours were welded tight, this shouldn’t be necessary. And it looks better with the head on the outside of the trailer, in my opinion.
We ensured insulating foam was covering all metal edges that the frame of the house comes in contact with, including under the floor frame (to prevent thermal bridging). I decided to use recycled denim insulation in the flooring, layering R-13 and R-19 to get an R-value of around 32. This insulation is SUPER easy to use and effective. I really liked that I didn't have to worry about getting it on my skin or anything. It’s a little more expensive than regular fiberglass insulation, but I highly recommend it.
We layered a vapor barrier over everything and secured tongue and groove subflooring over the whole thing.
Finding a weekend not drenched in rain was tricky in the following weeks. There were a few times when we'd pull everything out to begin building, and a few minutes later it would start sprinkling so we'd have to cover everything back up again (the big blue tarp I bought has been a lifesaver with all the rain we've had). However, in late October we finally got a dry weekend, so we were able to build the two shorter walls (the left and right end walls when facing the front door of the house). Because of space constrictions, we ended up doing all the cutting, gluing, and screwing of the frame on the trailer (making sure not to damage the subflooring). It’s a pretty handy work space!
***On a completely irrelevant side-note, I went to Disneyland with my bf in early September and got some sick new shoes that I have now deemed my “building shoes” (mostly just because my sister, Brenna, says I can't wear things with Disney characters on them in public. Whatever). I originally purchased them because I (stupidly) only brought sandals to wear in the park, and soon regretted it. I got these bad boys a few hours after arriving and they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned (probably because they're Crocs brand). If you're ever in Downtown Disney, pick up a pair. They're awesome.
After finishing the two end walls and getting everything covered before it rained again, I decided to block out what my kitchen will look like to scale. I measured everything out and taped off the dimensions. The photo below shows an estimate of how my kitchen will be laid out. It’s a horseshoe, or U-shaped layout with the sink in the middle at the end of the house. The refrigerator will be on the right end of the kitchen (almost under the stairs heading up to the sleeping loft. Yes, I said stairs!). I’m planning on having a full-sized, 30-inch range in that empty space on the left.
My windows came! And they’re beautiful! They’re all tempered with Low-E glass and filled with Argon for energy savings. I ordered three sliders (60”w x 16”h) for the front of the house that will go along the top to brighten the loft. For the back side of the loft, I got a 10-foot wide by one-foot tall window. It has sliders on both ends. There are two more 60-inch wide sliders for the back wall of the loft, and two sliders for the ends of the house in both loft areas. I still haven’t decided on window size and placement for the main level of the house, so I’ll wait to order those later. I have a few windows that I purchased at a Habitat for Humanity Restore that I’ll find a use for as well (including a frosted single hung window for the bathroom). Since I haven’t finished both long walls yet, I still have time to figure out size and location of those windows.