Building from the Floor Up

One of the big questions I get is “Is your tiny house going to be on wheels?”

No. My house is not going to be on wheels, and here are a few reasons why.

  1. Expense. The size my house is actually larger than a typical tiny house, which means it’s heavier and has a larger footprint. If my house were on wheels, it would have to be a 25-foot lowboy trailer. Those run from $7,000 – $10,000. I received a quote to it built on wooden skid for $270. This is a huge money saver that allows that cash to be put into better windows, insulation, finishes, etc.
  2. I’m not a Nomad. I didn’t choose to go little so I could travel across the country. I’m happy with my little life I’ve cultivated here in Northern Iowa. I chose this life style so I will be financially secure in the future. BUT, since it’s on wooden skids, it can be moved via semi to wherever it needs to go. So if I buy land somewhere after my house is paid off, it’s not unrealistic to move it.
  3. Design restrictions. So there are a ton of design restrictions when you’re making a tiny house road legal. It has a to be under 13’-6” from ground to top of house, so the house won’t hit any telephone/power lines while moving. My house is being built in the NIACC Building Trades shop. It has to fit out the overhead door that’s 11’-10” tall. Building my house on skids will fit through that opening. If I built my house on a trailer, it would be over that height.

In other news NIACC started construction January 17th! The rest of this post is going to be about the technical construction of the floor. Here’s how I’m choosing to build my tiny house on skids.Print

The above image shows the layout for the floor framing. My skids are actually 6×6, 25’ long LVL wood columns that run the whole length of my house. A LVL makes sure the skids stays pin straight and are consistent. My floor joists are 2×6 green treated lumber and on a 16” on center layout, perpendicular to the skids. The floor joists are cantilevered out by 6” from the skid. You can see there are two joists right next to each other. This is where my load-baring wall is for my loft. My 16” on center joists start from that point.


Next we have to put the floor together, shown in the detail above. To make the floor structure more stable and take off some of the total height of my house, the wood skid was notched by two inches for the floor joist. The floor joists are then fastened to the skids. To protect my house from air infiltration, I’m insulating the floor with 3” rigid insulation. The insulation is sitting in aluminum trays that NIACC fabricated. Those trays were fastened to the 2×6 joists. The rigid insulation is laid in the tray and the 2×6 joists have flashing tape and spray foam applied where needed to keep a consistent vapor barrier. Then lastly the ¾” plywood sheathing is laid on top and fastened to the floor joists.

And that’s how we do it! Below are pictures showing the process!  Hover over photos for the description.

Some photos from the NIACC Building Trades Facebook Page.  Access their page here

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