Whether you are just starting your research or you are about to start building a tiny house, choosing your trailer is of paramount importance. Indeed, it is literally the foundation of your home, one that will support its weight during the lifetime of your house. It’s better to take your time and do your research to get the best product for your needs. Here is a buying guide that I hope will answer your questions about trailers designed to accommodate tiny houses.
• ” The maximum length for any trailer is 12.5 m (41 ‘).
• The maximum width dimension, load included, [is …] 2,6 m (8′ 6″) when the track width of each of the axles of the vehicle is 2.5 m (8 ‘2 “) or more.
• The maximum height of any road vehicle or combination of road vehicles, load included, is 4.15 m. (13 ‘7 “) » (unofficial translation made by us)
Our trailers, available on our web store, have a width of 2.44 m (8 ‘), but axles of 2.5 m (8’ 2 “) wide to allow you the full width of 2.6 m (8 ‘6”). This extra space (16 cm / 4 “) is used for the construction of fascia. Without these, the rain will flow from your roof directly to your siding and this is risky for water infiltration. 10 lengths are available: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 or 30 feet.
It is also possible to construct a larger building and to bring the vehicle on the road with a special permit. Indeed, according to the Règlement sur le permis spécial de circulation :
• ” the permit authorizing the following limits, including loading, equipment and vehicles with unconventional dimensions by its fabrication without a divisible load:
a) for width: 4.40 m (14 ‘5 “) or 5 m (16’ 4”) in the case of a specific permit;
b) height: 4.30 m (14 ‘1 “) or 5 m (16’ 4”) in the case of a specific permit;
c) for the length: […] 27.50 m (90 ‘3 “) for a combination of 2 road vehicles including a combination of vehicles consisting of a crane and a trailer “ (unofficial translation made by us)
Weight and axle
According to the Guide de construction – Remorques de fabrication artisanale :
• ” A trailer with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is 4500 kg or more is subject to mandatory pediodic mecanical verification and to the Loi concernant les propriétaires, les exploitants et les conducteurs de véhicules lourds. ” (unofficial translation made by us)
Our trailers up to 24 ft long thus have a GVWR slightly less than 4 500 kg to avoid being classified as a heavy vehicle. Our longer trailers (26 to 30 ft) are classified as a heavy vehicle.
New or used?
When the time comes to buy a trailer, many tiny houses enthusiasts are looking for an old trailer to rehabilitate. This is obviously cheaper and if your budget is very low, this may be your only avenue. However, this is not something we recommend. Indeed, when buying a used trailer, you do not know if the previous owner was overtaxing its axles. It is possible to transport a greater than the load capacity axles, but this will damage mechanism in the long-term. Obviously, the person who will sell you a used trailer will never admit doing this while selling you the trailer. You are taking a chance.
Also, if the used trailer you are buying has black painted steel, it is certainly rusty / corroded. You will have to sand everything and apply another coat of protective paint. It’s very tough to get all the rust out, so the corrosion will still continue and the structure will be affected in the coming years.
Finally, one of the arguments for the use of used trailers is reusing materials rather than sending it to a landfill. Reuse is indeed the more environmentally friendly process, but with the price of the different metals, these trailers are rarely sent to the dump.
Finally, a key element to consider: is your trailer built specifically to receive a tiny house? There are very few trailers built for this purpose. Here is a comparison of our trailers and those of Tumbleweed. (20′ length):
|Habitations MicroÉvolution||Tumbleweed Model 1||Tumbleweed Model 2|
|Dimensions||The construction space bypasses the axle (8 ')||The total width of construction is limited by the axles (6 '8 ")||The construction is space above the axles (7' 7")|
|Métal||Galvanized steel||Painted steel||Painted steel|
|Essieux||2 x 5 200 lb // Distance between the ground and the trailer: 0.38 m||2 x 5200 lbs // distance between the ground and the trailer: 0.61 m||2 x 7000 lbs // distance between the ground and the trailer: 0.91 m|
|Construction elements||10 galvanized steel plates welded to support the structure // Jacks at every corner||2 painted steel rods welded to support the structure // Jacks at every corner||2 painted steel rods welded to support the structure // Jacks to all over|
|Price||6 899.95 $ CDN||4 500.00 US (5 989.77 $ CDN)||6 100.00 US (8 119.47 $ CDN)|
The comparison shows that our trailers are better designed than those of Tumbleweed:
• The width of the building on our trailer is not limited by the axles.
• Our trailers are in galvanized steel. This is a major advantage. Indeed, the life of the galvanized finish can last between 30 and 100 years depending on the thickness of the coating (Source). Painted steel, meanwhile, can start to rust in its first year of use. It is a very little lasting protection, as explained in the short animation right. Especially in Quebec with all the salt and snow on our roads.
• Our axles are lowered. This distance between the ground and the trailer provides more living high.
• Our galvanized steel plates welded to the trailer support the structure of your home. Which is not the case for the rods that Tumbleweed puts on their trailers (two rods).
If you have other questions or topics you want to discuss, feel free to use the comments below page!
26 mars 2015 edit:
We were asked a plan with the dimensions of the trailers in order for you to plan the design of your tiny house. It is a very good idea! Here is a basic PDF file with the dimensions:
And the .dwg file that you can edit with Autocad. You can even try to draw your design on this software!
Gabriel Parent-Leblanc est biologiste et détenteur d’une maîtrise en gestion de l’environnement où il s’est spécialisé en construction écologique grâce à l’écriture de son mémoire. Il décide en 2014 de fonder la toute première entreprise québécoise à se spécialiser dans la construction de micromaisons sur roues (tiny houses). Depuis, il a construit sa propre micromaison et a assisté de nombreuses personnes dans leur auto-construction.