Category

Environmental

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If a tree falls in the woods

As we had indicated on Facebook and Instagram, we had all intentions of purchasing eastern white pine siding for the exterior of our house.  But, during the biggest winter storm we had this year, mother nature decided we should try something different.  A 100’+ eastern white pine decided it had enough and came crashing down.  Fortunately, it wasn’t close to damaging our current home, or the tiny in progress.  At over 100 feet tall, and with a 36 inch diameter at its base, there is a ton of usable wood in this tree.  We should have enough for siding and flooring.  We can’t pass on an opportunity like this and it would be a shame to waste the multi-century old tree.

White Pine Base

For reference, I’m 5’10”. The tree is at least 36″ in diameter.

After the snow melted, we de-limbed the tree and waited for some help from our friend Mark of Outdoor Industries, LLC to cut the tree into millable log lengths and move it to our driveway.  We are anxiously waiting for the logs to be milled on site and then dried.  Although it will take a fair amount of time to dry before we can use the wood, our schedule doesn’t look like it will be clearing any time soon.

When it’s all said and done, milling our own lumber will save us about 75% between siding and flooring, if not more!  If the awesomeness of taking it from tree to siding and flooring ourselves isn’t reason enough to put the effort in, the financial savings certainly is.

Tree Rings

While we wait to mill the logs, I’ll be counting the rings…

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Our Foundation

Part of the reason we decided to move Tiny, was to allow us to have a “Home” that we could take where we want. Unsatisfied where we are currently living, but unsure as to where we want to move to, we want the ability to take our home with us. A tiny house on wheels (THOW) was a great choice. Plus, it allows us to build tiny and take advantage of some potential zoning loopholes.

Everyone knows the foundation of anything is the most important step. Whether you are building a traditional house, starting a business, or baking a cake, the foundation is key. If you don’t start right, you can have some real issues.  We tossed the idea of building on a used trailer, however, in the northeast, rust is a major issue.  We would rather spend the money on a new trailer, that is in top-notch shape and have a house that will last us significantly long than take the more affordable route of finding a used trailer.

When we first started looking into trailers, we were a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and the price tag that came along with a trailer. Equipment trailers, deck-over trailers, gooseneck trailers were some of the options that we saw.  At the time of our first serious inquiry into the trailer, we had already purchased the plans from the Morrison’s for their hOMe design, and their original specifications called for a custom designed trailer.  No dealers in our area could even come close to the specifications, and their suggested option, a standard equipment trailer, came with a lofty $10,500 price tag.

Knowing this wasn’t what we really wanted, from both product and price perspectives, we put the foundation on the back burner.  We continued making design modifications to the house plans we purchased and figured we could continue looking around for a trailer in the mean time.

Last August, at the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, CO, we had the pleasure of meeting countless enthusiasts and many different vendors.  Knowing our dilemma with the trailer hunt, we luckily found Damon and his team from TrailerMade Trailers.  Simply looking at the demo unit they had on display, I was sold.  The quality of the construction was far superior to any other trailers we had looked at.  Damon was a speaker slated for Sunday of the Jamboree.  During his talk, he kept referring to the foundation.  “We make and sell tiny house foundations.”  He mentioned the word trailers but mainly focused on the foundation.  Looking at the trailer, you knew there was some significant thought that went into the design.  The structural layout was significantly different than a standard equipment trailer.  There was actually room for insulation!

Efficiency was a high priority for us and our build.  We don’t want to have a tiny house that we can’t stay warm in, and the TrailerMade design allowed for a whopping 6 inches of insulation in the floor, totaling R30 using the rigid foam we have specified in our plans.  In addition to the insulation space, Damon worked thermal bridging into their design considerations.  Instead of having tubular steel go straight from outside to inside, they utilized a center beam to support the floor joists which allowed for insulation space beside and below the joists.  This design significantly reduces the overall thermal bridging in the floor.

In addition to the thermal bridging and efficiency, the TrailerMade trailer has many other great features, including:

  • Angle iron along the sides for simple securing of the walls: You can place the framing over the angle iron, and bolt it right down.  This provides an extremely secure place to fasten the wall, plus allows you to continue your exterior sheathing down, to encapsulate the trailer within your building envelope.
  • Built-in stabilizing jacks:  All four corners have stabilizing jacks, so there is one less thing to worry about.  When you have your house where you want it, level it out and support it with the jacks.
  • Belly pan flashing:  The TrailerMade Trailers come with your belly pan flashing already secured.  All you need to do is start with the insulation and subfloor.  No laying on your back drilling up to screw in your flashing.  This is a HUGE time and labor saver!