Tiny House FAQs

thgj-stats

HOW SMALL IS A TINY HOUSE?

This question is under heavy debate as many tiny home owners take square footage pretty darn seriously. Some think “tiny homes” need to be under 220 square feet. Others think under 500 square feet is an adequate number. A few try to say that anything under 1,000 square feet is tiny! Here’s the truth: the average new home built in the United States is over 2,400 square feet. Home sizes in the USA have skyrocketed in the recent decades and continue to do so. Why is this bad?Well, for one, it’s not sustainable. Imagine if everyone lived in 2,400 square feet, all over the world. Imagine the waste it would take just to build these large homes, not to mention to energy it would take to heat, cool and maintain them. The average new home in the USA sells for $360k, according to the census. How many people can afford that without going into debt for years and years? There is something not right about this equation. Many tiny housers believe owning a home shouldn’t require sacrificing financial freedom for luxury.

The tiny house movement is a counterculture movement. It’s also a minimalist alternative lifestyle that’s meant to be affordable and eco-friendly. One common misconception is that tiny home owners are poor, this just isn’t true. In fact, most tiny home owners have more savings than traditional home owners. So how small is a tiny house? We believe it’s as small as you’re willing to go to obtain financial freedom with a small home footprint.

World's Largest Axe, New Brunswick

Our house is 125 square foot with a 60 square foot loft

We modified a Tumbleweed Cypress-20 Overlook. Here are the stats/dimensions:

  • Exterior dimensions: 20′ long, 13’5″ high, 8’6″ wide at the wheels, 7’4″ wide at the walls
  • Interior dimensions: 6’8″ wide and 10’6″ high inside
  • Weight: 10,100lbs with all of our belongings including water and propane, 1,500lbs on the tongue.

Salies and I jumping for joy at the end of the world!

WHERE DID WE GET OUR MATERIALS?

We purchased most of our materials at hardware stores, on Amazon and on Craigslist. We had so many listed that we put together a descriptive list of special materials we used in our house, visit our Tiny House Materials page for more details. A big thanks to our sponsors!

Framing right wall - 0051

HOW MUCH DID IT COST? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE? RANDOM BUILD STATS?

  • Cost of Build: Cost breakdown (bottom of article)
  • Human Hours: 1,000+. We built from September 2nd 2013 – September 2nd 2014. One year exactly!
  • Nails: 6,500+
  • Screws: 8,000+
  • Expanding Foam Cans: 55+
  • Beers Consumed: Impossible to calculate…
  • Fingers Remaining: 5 per hand (not impossible to calculate!!!)

Tiny House Aircompressor

WHAT WOULD WE DO DIFFERENTLY?

  • Put the porch on the sidewalk side instead of street side. It’s also better for RV parks (picnic tables are usually on the right).
  • Lower the kitchen loft 5″. It’s 6’9″ to the bottom of our joists, we could’ve gained 5″ in the loft or just lower the whole house 5″.
  • Widen the bathroom just a couple inches
  • Think more about our total weight and distribution
  • Vent our roof or insulate with spray foam instead of rigid foam.
  • Get a different truck. We bought a lemon! After 20,000 miles we’ve spent a lot of $$$ on vehicle maintenance and sometimes we want to push the truck off a cliff.. but… not with the tiny house attached.

THGJ Route to Cape Breton

HOW FAR HAVE WE TRAVELED? HOW FAST CAN WE GO? RANDOM TRAVEL STATS?

  • Tow Truck: 2006 Ford F250 6.0L Turbo Diesel CrewCab Long Bed FX4
  • Tiny Odometer: 24k+ miles
  • Tiny Nautical Miles: 1,190 nmi (Yarmouth, NS to Portland, ME and Haines, AK to Bellingham, WA)
  • Top Speed: 75 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 55 mph
  • Mileage: 9 mpg (at cruising speed and with a fresh oil change)
  • Law Enforcement Encounters:
    • Driving under the minimum speed limit: 1
    • Kicked-out: 1 (Central Park NYC)
    • Parking violation during our open house events: 2
  • RV Park Stats:
    • Parks we stayed at: 50+
    • Parks we were turned away from because they don’t allow Tiny Homes: 1
    • Parks we stayed for free because “our house is so cool:” 3
  • People’s Reactions On The Road:
    • Pictures taken: countless
    • Thumbs up: countless
    • Middle fingers: 2
THGJ and Tiny Tack House - 0003

Tiny House Giant Journey & the Tiny Tack House

TINY HOUSE RESOURCES:

Without these resources to educate and inspire us, we NEVER would have been able to build our house. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Resource Links:

THGJ and the Ravenlore

Tiny House Giant Journey and the Ravenlore Tiny House

Other Tiny Housers:

Books:

micro shelters

Movies:

  • TINY: The Movie. Christopher Smith & Merete Mueller’s story of their build and interviews with other tiny house experts.
  • Small Is Beautiful – Look for it online soon! This is an amazing film that really hits home for any novice builder.

Inspirational / Innovative Homes:

  • Earthship – Sustainable dwellings made from recycled materials. We will build one of these some day!
  • Steve’s Dome Home – Video tour of a DYI built home in Thailand
  • Earth Roamer – Totally off-grid monster RV, and pricey. This high-tech RV is what James Bond would choose for a tiny home.
  • Free Spirit Spheres – Tree house spheres!
  • Finabellavista – a Sustainable Tree House Community / accommodations
  • Castle Truck – A house truck in New Zealand that transforms into a castle. No joke.

84 thoughts on “Tiny House FAQs

  1. I love all things cute, quaint charming as well as the freedom and flexibility of not being tied down by debt, mortgage and enjoying the amazing world around us…therefore…researching and am going to build a tiny house.

    question: i’ve read that you can build the insulation within the frame of the trailer if crossmembers are flush and can also purchase a trailer with drop axles to maximize headspace – what type of trailer did you guys purchase? were these considerations for you? I am looking at the cypress horizon 20′ plans and was excited to see that is what you guys used as well.
    Thanks!
    Sarah

    • That’s great! We used the genuine tumbleweed 20′ trailer which includes space for insulation. I wouldn’t do drop axles, our trailer already touches in any driveway with an angle or even just in some of the gas stations!

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  3. Was it hard finding places to park the tiny house for long durations of time? Did you spend much/any time in Canada?

  4. This may be a stupid question but I was wondering how, if at all, tiny houses are moved over-seas? Are they even allowed to be transported over-seas because I know there are some restrictions on container houses.

    • It’s not a stupid questions. Tiny houses are just shipped on a boat. Ours has been on ferries before and some have been shipped to Hawaii. The restrictions would come more from the highway laws. In Europe for example they can’t really be over 3.5 tons.

  5. Hi. I love your home and am considering joining the tiny home community. You note that you are on the go quite a bit. How do you handle mail delivery, especially docs or credit cards that can’t be delivered to POBoxes, or “place/state of residence” for things like voting registration or auto registration/tags, etc?

  6. First off, I recognize you from a tiny house video I watched….maybe TV. While it is a wonderful idea, it seems so hard to reach when you have debt and such. You mentioned that you were in debt and hated your jobs. What did you do to financially prepare for this lifestyle and how do you setup for making a living on the road? We want to do this but with 14k in debt, car payments etc…it seems so hard to see. How long did it take you to get out of debt, what are your suggestions on reducing your belongings and what steps did you take to get to where you are now financially?

  7. just wondering..did you think of just buying an RV or is the tiny house more environment friendly? Would love to just travel the world with no worries.

    • We wanted to be able to build something ourselves with the materials we chose. Something that would be comfortable year-round and longterm. And something that would set us apart for our travel blog too.

  8. Hey!
    First off I think you guys are awesome, and have been following you for quite some time. I am planning on starting my tiny house build this summer. How did you go about registering your trailer/home so its legal on the road?

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  10. The Ford F-250 is too small to be moving a 10000 pound house you probably need an F-350 dually or bigger I don’t know what problems you had with the truck but I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys destroyed the transmission and engine and that would explain all the truck problems you had

    • While I agree on some points, the f250 we have is rated to tow 12,500lbs. Most f250 of the same year can tow more with shorter beds, cabs and 2wd instead of 4×4 which are heavier. As far as f350, for the same year dually or not, it’s actually the same engine I believe (not sure about the transmission). The 6.0L turbo diesel engine is what sucks on this truck. Cost us $10,000 in repairs over 22,450 miles of towing but people report the same issues without really towing. Our transmission seems fine so far. But yeah, bottom line is a bigger truck certainly wouldn’t hurt, though on the paper, our truck shouldn’t have issues.

      • Yep…we had one of those. Got rid of it before having to fix the issues. The good thing is that once they are all fixed and the truck is “bulletproofed”, they will never die. Good “F250 6.0 bulletproofed” and you’ll know what I’m talking about!

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  12. Hello, I’m gathering info to build one. First, since I plan on traveling with mine, I’m so surprised that most are not very aerodynamic. Do you know of a source that shows better designs for the roof to be aerodynamic to save gas milage. And two, do know of a source that shows how to build so that everything doesn’t fall when traveling. So many people build open shelves in kitchen. That seems like alot to have to move when traveling. How do you secure your things when traveling? Thank you

  13. Hi! I’m considering purchasing a air ventilator to improve air exchange in my house. I am near the point of insulation and am going to use spray foam for the roof and rigid for the walls. I live in Washington so there is a lot of moisture. Do you feel a air exchanger would be beneficial or are you fine with simply opening a window? The down side is the ventilator requires tweaks in the construction and an extra cost so debating if its worth it. Thanks!!!

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  15. Thanks! I’m gonna be driving it from Alaska to final destination in South Carolina, so knowing that 2×4’s will be safe is a huge relief!

  16. There’s some great info in your article! Thank you for sharing… I’m just getting started on mine and am doing the great debate between 2×4 and/or 2×6. Suggestions??

  17. Hi Jenna!

    My boyfriend and I were able to see you house at a Tumbleweed workshop in Orlando this time last year. It is really great!

    We are almost completely finished with our own and I have a question for you about water heaters. We are moving into an RV/Mobile home resort that has 30,40,and 50 Amp service and I know you and Guillaume have stayed in some RV parks on you journey. What kind of Water Heater do you both use? Do you have any recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Stephanie

  18. Since you built on your own, were you able to get an RV certification? If not:
    1) Did you have to get a highway permit?
    2) Do RV parks let you in without any issues?

    Thanks!

    • We have no RV certification, nor did we seek one. We do not need a permit to tow the house and we have not been turned away from any RV park because of certifications. The only RV park we got turned away from would’ve turned away any tiny house, regardless of certification.

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  20. Hey guys, I used the same messy insulation method that you did. Im finished (finally) and im wondering about roof ventilation. I noticed you guys posted that you regret not doing it. Can I ask why? My friend and I keep debating about this. I think that with fiberglass it would be important but since foam is more resistant to moisture it wouldn’t be an issue. They make coolers out of this stuff. The only time they rot is from sun exposure. Plus, since I put spray foam in all the cracks it would be impossible to go back and do it now anyways.

    Thanks again for all the advice wnd inspiration you’ve already given out on this page.

    • It’s more about the wood rafters and roof sheathing than the insulation itself. The foam we used is impervious to moisture, so it shouldn’t be an issue there, but the wood rafters aren’t. The trick for us was to add a vapor barrier, hoping it’d stop moisture from making it through the ceiling and onto our rafters and sheathing.
      There are many debates going on with roof venting. It’s a common building practice but there are arguments that if you seal your roof well, you shouldn’t have an issue.
      That’s about as good of an answer I can give you. I hope this helps.

  21. Thank you! I figured that second question was a stretch. The RVIA certification ordeal was our main concern and it’s great to see that it isn’t necessary! Thanks for the prompt reply

  22. Hello, I have a couple question, did you RVIA certify your house? Or were you able to stay in that many RV parks without it? We are planning and building our own tiny house with the help of a builder/contractor friend and we have gotten to the point where we would rather not have it certified because it is such a headache. Another question would be if you need to own a truck to be insured for towing. We have a small car and were planning to rent to tow in this first move, then without the cost of rent, save and buy a truck. You may not know the answer to this but would we be able to have towers insurance and register a trailer without owning a vehicle to tow? Or would the truck rental company most likely have their own towers insurance?

    Thank you!
    Clementine

    • Our house is not certified nor did we ever have an issue with RVIA and campgrounds on our trip.
      As far as insurance, we don’t have insurance on the house but our truck insurance does cover towing liability. I have no idea when it comes to renting a truck, I have no idea what their policies are, you’d have to contact them directly. I imagine they have something but will it cover a selfbuilt non certified tiny house? No idea…
      Good luck 🙂

  23. Jenna,

    I am falling in love with tiny house living, in the early stages of deciding what type of tiny house would fit me/us. My question is, how to convince my husband that this would be a unique living experience for however long a period we wanted to do it for? Any advice?

    Thanks

    • Hi Claire,

      Glad to hear you are interested in the lifestyle. The only advice we can really give you is to have your husband go through some of our most popular posts to hopefully get convinced that this could be a good idea. Also, maybe go somewhere where you can rent a tiny house to stay in and test it out. There are many on sites like Airbnb.
      Best of luck.

  24. Beautiful tiny home guys!! Congratulations on living your dreams!! Hope a lot of people could do that!! America is very beautiful and there are so many places to see and tiny home is the best way to do it.

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  26. I am sorry if you have answered these questions a hundred times already but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. My question is about your truck(s). Your truck is one of the things you said you would do differently, you said you bought a lemon. You list your tow truck as a 2006 Ford F250 6.0L Turbo Diesel CrewCab Long Bed FX4. In some pictures I see what appears to be a 2008 (maybe) Chevy 2500HD Crew Cab short bed 4×4 (diesel or gas?). Which truck was the lemon? Was it truly a lemon or did one manufacturer seem to build a better truck? Does one seem to perform better (lemon issues aside)? I have been a GMC/Chevy truck guy for as long as I can remember (never owned a Ford truck) but the Fords seem to be easier to find and generally less expensive. Would you go into intimate detail about your truck experiences? Would you mind sharing the approximate purchase prices of the trucks and the cost and details of the repairs/upgrades that you needed to make? I hope to buy my truck soon. I was looking at a Ford (exactly the same Ford you list or maybe an F350). I love your website, videos, and all of the information that you guys share! Thank you for that and for whatever you can share about the trucks.

    • Well, we aren’t truck experts first of all. We’ve never owned a truck until we needed one for this trip, so I never was a Chevy, Ford or GMC guy.
      Here’s what I can tell you. The Chevy was just a rental truck, we had it for a few days and didn’t have an issue. That doesn’t mean it’s a good truck or bad truck. We bought the Ford f250 you listed in Los Angeles at Kelley Blue Book value back in May 2013, around $25,000 with 100,000 miles on it. We put a little over 30,000 miles in the past year, 22,500 or so towing a 10,000lbs non aerodynamic shape. The truck had about $10,000 worth of repairs over that year. Repairs that this particular engine (6.0) is known for. I’m not convinced we had a lemon, I think the design and build of that engine (without modifications), is the issue. I can’t recommend it. Do your research online, you’ll get much much more info on which trucks to avoid, which engines, which years, etc… And honestly, unless you plan on towing your house often, no need to buy a truck!
      Good luck

  27. I worked at a dealership for 4 years and can tell you to get rid of your Ford Truck. The lemon percentages are really high with that brand. I have a 2006 Toyota 4Runner that has never had any repairs and going on 130k miles now. Just replaced the original battery last year. I would buy a Toyota truck. Good luck and hope to meet you both one day!

  28. Hi I have another question. Do you plug your GoalZero directly into you 30 amp hook up to power all the outlets in your house. I hill be having Tinyidahomes build my t.h. And they suggested having 12 volt led lights separate with a battery and then normal power to the outlets. That seems confusing to me. I do want led lights but I will be in an rv park mostly and want to just plug in. But I figured when I’m off grid I could plug a GoalZero yeti 1250 directly into the 30 amp hookup on the outside and just run the th like normal. Will that work?

    • We wish we had more 12V native appliances. If you want to work off of the Yeti 1250, you will have to adapt and not think you can use everything as normal. The Yeti is meant to be a very small portable system. It provides 1,250Whr of power. If you use 1,250 Watts, you’ll drain the battery in one hour, and you don’t want to drain those all the way. If you use 125 Watts, you’ll drain it in 10 hours. You can do the math from there with your own appliances. To give you an idea, a hairdryer often uses 1600 Watts of power. The Yeti won’t power it, it’d drain in no time anyway. Same with a space heater. Anything that requires heat will be undoable. You’ll want to make sure all your lights are LED and that you minimize the use of the water pump. You’ll need a propane fridge and propane cooktop. You’ll want to not use much electricity basically. The Yeti can also only charge at 240 Watts, so you’ll want a solid set of solar panels and lots of sun. If you have several days of rain in a row and are working off of the battery, you will most likely drain it.
      Just know what you’re working with, what the Yeti was meant for and what your electrical design is like. We lasted 5 or 6 days in Whistler, one the Yeti, being careful about our use and with sun every day, it wasn’t a problem. If it was cloudy, it would’ve been a different story.

  29. Hey I know your in Iceland but if you get a chance can you answer a quick question. I met with my tiny house builder yesterday, (Jesse from Tinyidahomes) and he said that there has been a lot of issues with the tankless on demand water heaters. So I’m trying to decide between that or a traditional tank heater. He said the traditional ones will use up propane fast. But the on demand ones are touchy and can be a pain. What has your experience been with your water heater? Have a great time in Iceland. Be sure to soak in some geothermal springs.

    • Ours has been great. Tankless might be slightly more complex than tanks but what seems to happen is that you get what you pay for. We wanted something that could heat up the water no matter which temperature it came in at (80 degree temperature rise). And it’s nice that ours vents through the floor and protects itself from freezing. Other cheaper units can just heat up water 50 degrees, meaning the if your water comes in close to 35 degrees or so, you only get lukewarm water. The challenge we have is that it’s affected by altitude. All propane water heaters will be affected by altitude. If I remember well, at 9,600 feet (where we are), our water heater works at 58% or 68% of its capacity (can’t remember which). We still get really hot water from our water tank despite the altitude.

  30. Bonjour je vien de voir a la tele en France je voulais vous demandais si ce type de maison était pa trop compliqué à construire et pensait vous qu’elle serait adapter pour la France car très peux répendu cher nous cordialement

    • Construire ces maison pour le marché français est possible mais elles doivent être un peut différentes. Les tailles légales sur la route dont différentes, ainsi que le poids total. La Tiny House (www.latinyhouse.com) est un exemple d’une boîte française qui les construit.

  31. Do you give tours? If so, when would be the next one? Or are they by appointment only? Would love to convince my husband, but he doesn’t believe a family of three can live in a Tiny House.

    • Hi Annelise. Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate visits. We are now parked for winter and living in our house. If we do another road trip next year, we will most likely host open houses. I suggest you visit Tumbleweed’s website, they have suggestions here for visiting tiny houses. Also, try Airbnb, they have tiny houses available for rent. You could test it out for a night or two.

  32. My husband and I are now in the planning stages of embarking on our Tiny House journey. I am scared, excited, anxious, and all of the emotions that go with those, rolled into one neurotic ball. I have a random question about mail:

    Going minimal, hopefully will also mean, minimal mail. There are services that will send out documents through the mail rather than electronically. What do you guys do for mail? PO Box in one location? Family/friends houses?

    Your thoughts and advise are greatly appreciated!

    • Congrats on your big change! We get our mail delivered at Jenna’s parents. That’s our standard mailing and legal address (taxes, insurance, etc…). We try to do everything online and are always annoyed when some paperwork require “real paper” 😛
      We get our Amazon packages shipped wherever we are.

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  34. Hey guys i enjoy your videos so much.
    you guys mention high speed internet… i am wondering if you can share the information of the internet you guys use. I am designing my tiny house and researching the things we need to have and internet is one of those. Also what do you guys do about laundry? and can you tell us about your down sizing progress. Thank you,

    • Glad you like them! We either find free wifi or use our Verizon hotspots with our phones. We just got an outdoor wifi antenna booster and will see if we can pick up more signals. I suggest looking at RV forums for that, they’ve been doing it for years now and you’ll find way better info than I can give you. As far as laundry, we do laundromats or use our host’s facilities if they allow us. And for downsizing, we didn’t really think too much into it. We kept what we thought we’d need/use, sold what was valuable and donated the rest. We didn’t own anything too significant besides a couple cars and a motorcycle.

  35. I need to build 2 tiny house’s. One for 3 adults and 1 for a father and his 2 young children. I would like to build using repurposed materials. Also I need to know what’s the size dimensions on the trailer I need in order to accommodate 500 sq. ft. Thanks,
    Tammy

    • Hello Tammy. You might be contacting the wrong people here… We just built our own house, we don’t sell them or have a business training people how to build their houses. We just share our experience. But I can tell you that 500sqft is humongous and will probably not fit on a trailer. At 8’6″ wide street legal, you’re looking at a 60ft long trailer, which just isn’t available. With basic new wood construction, you’d be over 24,000lbs empty! With reclaimed materials, you’ll easily be way over 30,000lbs. It’s already tough enough for us to tow our 10,000lbs 20′ long 125sqft house… You should be looking at mobile homes if you’re committed to that specific size.

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    • Well, mostly because a good used 5th wheel RV, is still an RV… Let me explain, we wanted our house to be designed more for comfortable living than just weeklong trips every now and then. We’ve been in our house for over a year now and it feels fantastic. We picked all the materials we used and customized it to our specific needs. We designed it so it was modular and felt homey and spacious. We wanted it to be well insulated for comfortable winters. We also wanted to set ourselves apart in the tough world of travel blogging. This also makes it easier for us to park in places where campers might not be allowed. We can play the “the house is cute/cool” card and it usually works. We’ve even stayed in some RV parks for free!
      All of this made it that building our own tiny house made much more sense than purchasing a used camper. We aren’t really fond of the plasticky feel of most RVs, and the low quality materials used. It’s all about personal preference of course. And our house is perfectly capable, we’ve towed it over 22,000 miles now, from SoCal to Nova Scotia and from Florida to Alaska, though rain, hail, dirt roads, gravel roads and potholes and besides changing tires when needed, it’s been virtually maintenance free.

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  39. Hey guys I have been following you guys for a while now and I am trying to get everything in order to do something similar. I was wondering in your section about what you would do differently you said you would vent your roof or use spray foam insulation. Could you elaborate on that a bit more i.e. is it really hot? does heat leak through the cracks..? Also do you have an air conditioner? if so what kind? if not do you think you need one? Thanks.

    Happy travels.
    -Ryman

    • We do not have an air conditioner and still don’t think we’d need one.
      The venting for the roof is not because of heat, it’s because of moisture going through your ceiling and rotting your rafters overtime. Creating an air gap in your roof allows the moist air to flow up and out of your roof.

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  41. How does your tiny house handle moving so frequently? Do yall feel like the house itself is holding up ok throughout your long distance travels? I have just heard that tiny houses are a little difficult to maneuver and level out in general, much less very frequently, so I was kind of curious about that. Also, what size truck do yall pull it with and do you know it’s towing capacity? My husband and I are in the planning stages of our tiny house, we travel to place to place each week throughout the Southeast and can’t wait to get started on our tiny home. Your site is great and super informative! Thanks for the info!! 🙂

    • Glad that you like what we have to share and that you are going tiny!
      The house itself has been holding up just fine. We wish we had built it lighter, but it’s been working. We can’t find any sign of fatigue from the road. The trailer itself has had some maintenance, which was to be expected after towing to its capacity for almost 20,000 miles!
      The houses aren’t all that difficult to maneuver though, for travel, I wouldn’t want a house any longer than ours (20ft). It’s just very heavy (over 10,000lbs) and not aerodynamic. But other than that it tows fine. We get 8-10mph depending on speed and wind. We tow it with a 2006 Ford F250 6.0L Turbo Diesel CrewCab Long Bed FX4 and I believe its towing capacity is 12,500lbs. One of the limiting factor that often gets overlooked is the tongue weight. Proper tongue weight for a tow-behind trailer (like your typical tiny house) is 10-15% of the total weight of the trailer. It’s around 1,500lbs in our case. That means that we have 1,500lbs on the very back for our truck, which has a total cargo capacity of 2,200lbs. So we only have 700lbs left for our belongings in our truck: all passengers, dog, luggage, accessories, water, solar system, compost bin, fire wood, tools and whatever else you want to carry in your truck. People don’t usually think of that.
      To help with towing, we have a weight distribution system and that helps a whole lot!
      As far as leveling and setting up, we designed our house so that it’s easy. We’re usually parked and set up faster than most RVs. You can see how we do it in the video in our 10 steps to park a tiny house.

      • Hi Guillaume and Jenna!
        Been following you guys for a while now and I continue to return to your site, videos, and blogs to gather information. Love following your journey! My husband and I are designing our tiny house now. We have the trailer (26′) and are hoping to get the walls up by snowfall. We don’t plan on moving nearly as much as you two (we’re thinking finding a place to stay for a few years or so). We do know that we’ll be driving a good distance to get there, though.

        Our main question is on balance. Speaking purely on the design side, I see most tiny house designs placing the bathroom and/or the kitchen on the hitch side of the trailer. Is that because of balance and tongue weight? Our plan right now is opposite: our kitchen, bathroom, and main loft are at the back of the trailer, opposite the hitch. The front of our wheel wells are 18′ from the end of the hitch, essentially in the second-to-last fourth of the house-section of the trailer. (Sorry for throwing all these specs at ya!)

        How do you think this will work out weight-wise and balance-wise (we plan on renting a truck, so the towing capacity shouldn’t be a problem)? Can we offset the house with merely belongings (and maybe moving the fridge for the haul) and correct the tongue weight to be within that 10-15% range? Any info is super helpful!
        You both are an inspiration!
        Thanks,

        Jennifer

      • Hey Jennifer. That’s a great technical question. Our house is 20′ long with most of the heavy stuff on the tongue end. We’re at about 15%-17% or so. Our weight distribution system is a tremendous help for towing and safety.
        With a longer house like yours, that ration might get worse. Switching the kitchen and bathroom to the back of the trailer will definitely help. You have the right approach to the whole issue and I think you’ll be fine. I’m not familiar with your design or materials, but it sounds like it should be ok. What you could do is find a stopping point in your build, rent a truck and go weigh your structure and see where you are at with tongue weight.
        And if your house is significantly lighter than what your trailer can carry, you can also just put some weight inside your trailer where you need it (sand bags or so).
        Good luck

  42. Hi.

    This is all very interesting. You guys should be having tons of fan!

    I have a question about some of the services. If I want to have a small house that does not move much, can I get water, electric, sewage, and mail address? What do I need to search for when looking for properties (lots with what kind of services or zoning)?

    • Glad you like our project. You can build your house on wheels with all those connections and a mailing address somewhere (there are services), but living permanently in a mobile home is in one location is often illegal. Doesn’t mean you’ll get caught or in trouble, but that’s the case today. If you want your house to be ok foundations, you’ll have to check with your local building code enforcers

    • Hi Eric. We do not have insurance on our house. Our truck insurance covers liability for towing, but they won’t pay for damage to the house itself. My understanding is that, as of today, it will be very tough to find insurance for a tiny house on the move like ours, but it’s getting easier every day to find insurance for a tiny house that doesn’t move much.
      If you purchase your house finished from a reputable builder, especially RVIA certified, it’ll probably be easier to get it insured (again, not sure about towing).
      If you build it yourself, keep a good record of your build with lots of pictures showing how it all went together, build from a good set of plans, higher contractors for things like electrical and gas/plumbing. All of that might help if you try to find an independent insurer.
      Lastly, if you commit to a minimal lifestyle and save a lot of money thanks to it, you can self-insure. If your house cost $20,000 to build, figure out how quickly you can save that amount once you commit to live tiny (get rid of a mortgage, rent, etc etc). Then you end up with a bank account somewhere with $20,000 or more (+interest) and don’t touch it. That’s your insurance there, no need to pay monthly premiums to anyone. If you house breaks, you have funds to fix it. If you house burns down (let’s all hope it doesn’t), you have funds to build another one. Most likely none of that will happen and you will end up with an extra $20,000+!
      Search for “tiny house insurance” online and you will find much more than we can tell you. Good luck.

      • Someone in the Tiny House Collective group in Kansas City supplied me with these two resources in finding tiny house insurance that I found helpful. Just FYI. 🙂

        http://tinyhousebuild.com/tiny-house-insurance/

        http://padtinyhouses.com/real-insurance-for-tiny-houses-on-wheels/

        Enjoying browsing through! SOOO much good information!!

        A new question: When you say “materials”, do you happen to have a recorded breakdown of those materials? In my head, I’ve ignorantly convinced myself that I could build the tiny house for around $12-$15k, because I’ve heard cases of others doing so. I’m sure you’d laugh at my numbers, so I need a reality check to see what’s adding up, and where. Hoping you can help! 🙂 🙂

        All the best! Thanks for all of the info!

      • Haha, no worries. Lots of people don’t realize what a tiny house might cost. It’s not to say that you can’t build one for that price. You just probably can’t build one with all new materials… It all depends on if you want to splurge or not, and if you have more time than money, and vice-versa. Reclaimed materials can be great but require more time and effort.
        Just to give you an example, our trailer was $4,400, our framing and sheathing was probably around $3,000, our windows were $2,800, our insulation was around $1,200, roofing was $800, your typical cedar siding is around $1,200. That’s already $13,400 for new materials that you will need and that doesn’t include appliances, finish materials, skylights, bathroom, furniture, etc etc… Yes of course you can use other siding options, get a used trailer, etc etc. But that should give you a good idea to get started with.

      • Thank you so much for your response. Very helpful!!

        I was discussing with my boyfriend last night how one might expect a tiny house to hold up after, say, a decade on the road compared to an RV. Maybe just the same, but I wonder about the wood shifting in the TH. Have you had any problems with materials shifting? Perhaps a silly question?

  43. Pingback: Tiny House on Wheels Provides ‘Giant Journey’ for Couple + Their Dog | Enjeux énergies et environnement

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