Tiny House: Building the Frame

Tiny House: Building the Frame

November 2, 2016 Categories Tiny House

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OK, so I’ve FINALLY started building my tiny house. I began piling up supplies near the end of August and placed the orders for my windows and door at the beginning of September. After waiting six weeks for my windows and door to be built and delivered, I finally had the last pieces I needed in order to start building. I took a week off of work, giving me a solid nine full days of dedicated time to work on it.

I started, of course, by getting the trailer as level as possible so I’d have a nice building surface to start with. Since my trailer already has steel joists running every 16″ on center, I did not build a wooden frame on top of the trailer to support the floor. Instead, I’m relying on the structure of the trailer itself to be my support. I did, however, lay down a pressure treated 2×6 sill plate to sit between the metal of the trailer and the untreated base plates for my walls. I also made sure to put a sill gasket (that’s the rolls of pink stuff) under the sill plate.

It took me a lot longer than I expected to build the walls, which are all 2x4s. The front wall, which has six windows and a door in it, took me over an entire day to build. I built the front wall in three sections to make it easier to lift and all the sections slide together and get nailed into place. Even as three separate sections, each section is quite heavy because of how many headers it has for the door and windows. Part of the reason it took so long to build the wall was because of how many different measurements there are and everything needing to be as precise as possible so it would all slide together in the end. By comparison, the rest of the walls were much easier to build.

Luckily I had help when it came to raising the first three walls. Flat out, it would have extremely sucked to have attempted to do it by myself. I built the rear wall in two 10ft sections and was able to raise it by myself.

Once the walls were up and in their final places, I drilled eight holes down through the base plate, sill plate, and trailer frame. I’m sure my Titanium drill bits would have been able to drill through the thick steel of the trailer, but I went ahead and bought a set of Cobalt drill bits, which are better for drilling through hard metals. Based on how easy it was to drill the holes, I’d say it was worth it. Once all the holes were drilled, I dropped in 1/2″ thick, 4-1/2″ long galvanized bolts with washers, a lock washer (not pictured), and nut. These bolts should keep my walls firmly attached to the trailer when it comes time to move it.

My subfloor is 3/4″ tongue and groove plywood that I glued down using Liquid Nails Subfloor adhesive and some 2″ galvanized nails. For those who don’t know, the subfloor adhesive not only helps to hold everything together, but it also helps so you don’t have squeaky floors. Beneath the plywood I have pressure treated 2x4s laid on their sides and attached to a sill gasket that rests on top of the steel joists of my trailer. This keeps my subfloor away from direct contact with the steel and any condensation buildup away from untreated material.

Once my floor was down, I could more easily start working on getting my rafters cut and into place. My roof slopes at a 15 degree angle so they’re all cut to match that angle. All of my rafters are notched to fit snugly into place and have hurricane straps to hold them there. One of the few “legal” requirements of a tiny house is having hurricane straps.

It took me three full days to get the base structure built, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out. Things were finally starting to take shape.

2 thoughts on “Tiny House: Building the Frame”

Ed · November 2, 2016

That is a great start. I’m curious what the recommended interior wall treatment is for a portable tiny home. I’d think drywall would get nail pops with a lot of traveling. Drywall weight is maybe not the best option.

Luke · November 3, 2016

I currently plan on doing a thin, wood paneling; all white. The ceiling and trim will be the same style rustic wood I’m using as siding.

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