Tiny house on wheels. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-11-2015, 09:42 AM   #1
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Tiny house on wheels.

Last night I tuned into one of the many "Tiny House" TV programs that have sprung up in the past few months. I was amazed at the products that some people will buy.

The one featured in the episode I viewed was built on 3 axels and had a final weight of over 14,000 pounds dry!! The new owners towed it with a 3/4 ton pickup! AMAZING!!! The unit was very tall and there was concern about height clearance for power lines. The unit was framed in 2X4 and 2X6 lumber.
You would think both the buyers and the builders had never seen a Travel Trailer, 5th wheel or a motor home! They spent hours creating a dinette that converted into a bed like it was something new and unique! What are these fools thinking! Their 24 ft Travel Trailer "house" cost in excess of $65,000 dollars and had a crude kitchen, all the wrong appliances and nothing said about human waste disposal!! The towing combination could barely make it up a simple hill.
The new owners planned to move around a lot to work at the various oil fields that were offering job oppturnities...hope they survive the trip!

We live in interesting times!

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Old 08-11-2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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So true. I often think the same thing when I see these tiny houses. Many of them are little gems of construction and beauty, others not so much. They must all weigh considerably more than a similarly sized trailer. And like you say, the RV industry has already worked out all the systems so why reinvent the wheel? A tiny house would be fun to have as a guest house or a summer vacation cottage, but for real traveling around a regular trailer or RV is much more efficient, not to mention safe!
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:54 AM   #3
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The gotcha is that many communities have ordinances in place that specifically control the storage and occupation of travel trailers or RVs. Tiny houses, by being built on a utility trailer, are considered cargo, which often falls through the regulatory cracks. That is starting to change as the trend grows. Some communities are adopting tiny-house-friendly ordinances, some are taking the other tack.
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Old 08-11-2015, 01:32 PM   #4
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One more thought. The builders are always scratching for just a little more room ( I can certainly understand as my wife and I spent 6 years in a 29 foot fifth wheel and space is golden ). Yet they always build the trailers 8 feet wide. I thought I remembered that some states allow a maxim width of 8 feet 6 inches so I checked and virtually all states allow that dimension to be towed by ordinary vehicles ( I know that at one time Airstream built a trailer that wide ). Point being why don't the tiny house builders take advantage of this. In a 24 foot unit that would be a , precious , additional 6 square feet. Lee
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:05 PM   #5
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I have watched some of these "Tiny House" shows and think some of the designs are pretty ingenious but on one episode the two children had to give up about 90% of their toys as there would be no room for them in their new home. The impression that I got from watching these shows was that this is a fad and one day most if not all of these people are going to wake up and ask themselves what the heck are they doing living in an oversize sardine can.
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:09 PM   #6
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Old 08-11-2015, 02:39 PM   #7
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This is a fad no doubt about it!
The weight of these things, considering they are on wheels is nuts!
The builders should be using welded aluminum wall and roof framing and not heavy lumber. To date I have not seen any of these programs address holding tanks. Many employ chemical toilets.

Considering that the RV industry is the master of space utilization why are these bozos trying to reinvent the product using heavier materials.
Buyers are all trying to be "trendy" and riding the whole "green-global warming" wave.

As Roger CH said.. "You can't fix stupid"
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:00 PM   #8
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We wonder why these folks do not just purchase a gorgeous RV. Well, even if they're stuck in a tiny house on a cargo trailer for legal reasons, I still wonder why no one has taken a clue from the RV industry and learned the beauty of "slide-outs" to gain more space when parked.
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:11 PM   #9
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The group that is into the Tiny House movement today seems to be the grandchildren of those of us that were building Geodesic Domes in the 70's Go Bucky!
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
The group that is into the Tiny House movement today seems to be the grandchildren of those of us that were building Geodesic Domes in the 70's Go Bucky!
True, except I believe Bucky had a better handle on utilizing space and materials!
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:31 PM   #11
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Well, I will come to the very strong defense of the Tiny House Movement (not necessarily the TV show).

The folks who are building and living in these houses are very much aware that they could have bought an RV. They make the conscious decision that they want the natural building materials and aesthetics that most tiny houses offer. Most of these houses are much better insulated than an RV and totally capable of withstanding severe winter weather on a regular basis.

They also offer the owner/builder the opportunity to build their own home at a great savings, some for as little as $5000 - $10000 and a year or so of sweat equity. Going this route assures the owner that they can fix virtually anything that goes wrong down the road.

Most owners of these tiny homes do not consider them travel trailers, but movable homes. Most are well aware of the difficulties in actually moving them on a regular basis, and do not build them for this purpose. That said, a college student can build his own home mortgage free before or while in college, save TONS of money on rent while going to school, then when he or she get a job can move the home to their new location. When they get a new job in another state, their home can come with them. The aesthetics of these tiny houses can be as spartan or as elaborate as the builder desires.

Regarding holding tanks, you have options. Holding tanks are a pain in the butt (no pun intended) for year round, cold climate living. Most builders choose to go with either full plumbing directly to a sewer, or they design and build (or buy) a composting toilet. Showers can be as sophisticated or as bare bones as you desire, from fully plumbed with on demand heaters to as simple as a pressurized hand pump sprayer filled with warm water and taken into the shower stall with you. No reason you couldn't build a holding tank into a tiny house if you really wanted one, most folks in this movement do not want that option. Those that do, often use the "Honey Wagon" slid under the tiny house, out of the way and not taking up indoor space.

Most appliances come from either the RV industry, or more often the boating industry - alcohol stoves for cooking, propane fireplaces which hang of the wall for heat, some choose to go with tiny little wood stoves for heating. Most use either on demand propane water heaters, or small apartment sized tank models. Refrigerators are generally just small compressor models, MUCH cheaper than the dual fuel RV unit, and since the house is seldom moved, this makes perfect sense.

MANY of the tiny house folks would be perfectly happy and prefer to build their tiny house on a permanent foundation, but most of our governmental units in North America will not allow it. The purpose of building codes was supposed to be safety concerns, yet the building industry has deemed homes smaller than 900 or 1000 sq ft to be inappropriate for some reason (money, bigger homes means more money in their, and the bank's pockets). People who want to live in a small, aesthetically pleasing house built of natural materials have found that building on a trailer is the easiest way to get around our "big brother" government, since trailer built homes are not subject to the same building codes. Most folks who design and build these homes follow all reasonable codes for electrical, plumbing, construction, etc. They just ignore the totally arbitrary size requirements.

In case you haven't realized, I came to consider an RV after years of researching and planning to build a tiny house. I have just decided that I would like to do some full-time traveling first, so an RV makes more sense for that. But for permanent living, in limited locations, I still do not think an RV would hold a candle to a tiny house.

By the way, I do not believe they are a fad. Though not everyone's cup of tea, they have a definite place, and should be an option, for those who choose to live small, with low maintenance costs, low utility cost in a mortgage free home. As stated, some communities are finally starting to implement some reasonable reforms to building and zoning codes, but not near enough.

It seems to me this type of community(this forum), so accepting of the full-time RV lifestyle, and all the reported rewards of more time, less cost and less time spent maintaining your "home", should be a natural ally of the tiny house movement. Most of the responses so far have been very disappointing. Why shouldn't a more stationary person be allowed to have the same benefits so many tout in RV living? I really do not understand the extreme negative attitude.
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:54 PM   #12
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Well put Lyle B!
An RV is a recreational "vehicle". A tiny house on wheels is a tiny "house" on wheels. It's not an apples to apples comparison. It really comes down to building codes, zoning, and land use. I too am a fan of small building. It's been around for years and is not a fad. See Sarah Susanka's books.


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Old 08-11-2015, 05:16 PM   #13
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Buckminster Fuller was a genius! As is the young man who keeps coming up with the clever ideas for his late thinking clients. Yes , it is a fad, but it is encouraging to see people who are really trying to leave a smaller carbon footprint. The moveable part of the tiny house is really due to their jobs: traveling nurse, teaching a new group of people for corporations et cet. Maybe some will really have new appreciation for life; others will get tired of it within 18 months. But my mother had to have a large RV because her cousin had one with 3 slideouts. Who needs space to clean?
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:34 PM   #14
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In referencing the show he saw, Uplander (in his original post) mentions that "The new owners planned to move around a lot". In a case like that, I think an RV would be a more suitable choice. But if I were young again and just starting out in life I would certainly be looking a the tiny house option as a way to get an inexpensive and environmentally friendly home to put on a piece of land somewhere. I for one applaud the movement to build and live in smaller houses!
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