The single most important element of any house is the foundation. The foundation produces a plane for proper construction. Typically in a normal house, the foundation is made up of footers, walls and a slab that are re-enforced with rebar, stone and wire mesh.
In a tiny house, the foundation is the trailer. So needless to say, the trailer must be square and straight for the construction to be perfect. Any imperfection in the trailer can cause havoc in the framing of a tiny house. Not only does the trailer have to be perfect in shape, it also has to resist sagging, crowning and flex during transport.
At Homestead Tiny House Co., we design each trailer to combat all of these factors. We have partnered up with one of the nations best trailer manufacturers to build our custom trailers.
We have designed our trailers to have minimal steel but maximum strength. Our manufacturer uses the highest grade steel with expert welders to produce the foundations for our tiny houses. The cross-members or floor joists are 16" on-center which lends to a solid and straight subfloor. All wiring is contained inside the tubing and every trailer comes with electric brakes and axles rated for 7000 pounds each. In addition, each trailer is equipped with brake lights, side markers and a 7-pin connector.
Since the trailer is the foundation of the tiny house, it makes sense that it's the heaviest singular part of the house. Though we designed them to use the minimum amount of steel without compromising strength, the weight is significant. Below is a list of our trailer sizes and approximate weights:
16 x 8 = 3200 lbs.
20 x 8 = 3375 lbs.
24 x 8 = 3500 lbs.
28 x 8 = 4000 lbs.
One of the most important parts of designing a tiny house is calculating the weight for a safe transport. If a trailer has most of the weight in the back, towing can become very unstable and dangerous on the road. If the trailer has too much weight in the front, then the tow vehicle will become strained also creating a dangerous situation. An excepted method to use when designing a tiny house is the 60/40 weight distribution rule. 60% of the weight on the trailer is in front of axle line and 40% is in back.
The tow vehicle must have the towing capacity to haul a tiny house. First, you have to find out the tongue weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of the vehicle. Tongue weight (TW) refers to the weight that a fully loaded trailer exerts downward on the hitch ball of the tow vehicle. Tongue weight should be between 10-15 percent of gross trailer weight (GTW). For example, a 10,000-lb trailer should have a tongue weight between 1,000 lbs and 1,500 lbs. You can adjust the tongue weight of your trailer by removing or adding cargo, or redistributing the load on the trailer.
The tongue weight should never exceed the capacity of your tow vehicle, your hitch, or any of your towing components.
Using a weight distribution system can help if you can't redistribute the weight inside of the tiny house trailer.
It helps to ensure a smooth, level ride and allows you to tow at the maximum capacity allowed by your hitch. It also helps to correct tow vehicle sag, improve steering and stopping, and—when used with sway control—correct trailer sway.