The First Layer

The year we were born, 1983, the average American household consisted of 3.26 individuals living in a 1,725 sq ft home. Review most recent census data and you’ll see a steady decline in family size and incline in square footage. This is where I will heed my inclination to lecture about all the waste and excess in many parts of our lives.

Be the change you want to see.

This tiny house is built on a 8’ x 22’ trailer. The custom trailer is designed so that, should the time come, undoing 14 bolts is all that stands between house and earth.

Why build on a trailer at all if you want to put it somewhere permanently?

Building codes regulate pretty much all aspects of building, including minimum sizes for homes. In the simplest way (that I understand it and can explain it), a tiny house (on wheels) bypasses these building codes by being built on wheels—similar to an RV. It isn’t considered a house. This whole process has had a steep learning curve, but trying to get a loan to build a tiny house probably definitely was the fastest way to learn just how much lenders and banks don’t consider tiny houses to be houses—at least not houses worthy of a mortgage.

So the floor of this tiny house is truly the base of everything.

The frame of the floor is built with long 2” x 6” pressure treated boards, stacked on top each other, 3 boards thick, cut and fit just right before giant bolts and tie down brackets secure the boards to the trailer frame. Next, long 2” x 12” boards frame around the trailer. 12” is how much is insulated beneath the subfloor. The plans only called for a 8” depth, but thanks to YouTube we know one of the main complaints about tiny houses is how cold the floors can be. We will probably mention this over and over, but by building small you can really knock yourself out and go a little over kill here and there…and there.

That floor has spray foam over every bolt, nut and cranny, a solid layer of pink R-38 fiberglass insulation, a blanket of heat reflective Mylar bubble wrap and a layer of 1/2″ rigid foam board insulation that would make the coolest cooler jealous. Then for good measure there is an aluminum shield that helps protects from road debris and moisture in general.

The actual subfloor is a 5/8″ thick OSB (oriented strand board) with tongue and groove along the edges to help guide the next piece to its place. The OSB is laid across the floor joists and screwed into the floor studs.

And as simple* as that you have a serious dance platform.

*Serious thanks to our skilled and amazingly generous friends and family for making this happen. Every tiny house needs friends willing and able to swing a hammer, but to have friends that spend the last sunny days of summer screwing down subfloor, rolling out fiberglass, drilling through steel, hammering in roofing nails and taping over nails with the stickiest tape around (who needs finger prints??)- we feel truly fortunate. Blake gets a special shout out here for spending multiple back breaking days building this floor.

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September 1, 2014 004

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