The most important part of any building is its foundation. A tiny home is no exception. However, a tiny home is different because its foundation is a trailer.
I have called many trailer companies in my quest for our foundation. I have discovered that a trailer built specifically for tiny homes is hard to come by, unless you want to fork over extra money for delivery or else drive a ways to pick it up. The best thing that the average trailer company will have is a standard utility trailer, and they can usually modify it (at extra cost) to fit your needs. They also sell deck-over trailers, which will work, but at the expense of head height inside your home.
One thing that I learned about is the trailer axles. They are rated to carry a certain amount of weight. For example, one axle may be rated for 6,000 pounds (#), and the trailer has two axles; so, overall, it is rated for 12,000#. I am guesstimating that my tiny home will weigh around 10,000 pounds, so I need to make sure that my axles can handle that, plus a little more just in case.
Many people try to cut corners in the area of the trailer because it is an expensive purchase. They try to make do with whatever is the cheapest. Axles that carry more weight are, of course, more expensive, so they will choose to go with the cheaper axles and then find out, too late, that they can’t bear the load. I have also heard of people using old RV frames. RVs do not weigh the same as a tiny home. If you are trying to save money, the trailer is not the place to cut corners!
After much research, I finally decided to go with a local welding shop, Glassco Welding and Fabrication in Estill Springs, TN, and they are custom fabricating my trailer. Daniel, the owner, has been super helpful, and I know that I am getting exactly what I need. One thing that I have learned from him is that you have to pay attention to the type of metal being used in your trailer. All metals are not equal. The metal you use in your trailer has to have the proper tensile strength to bear that load that you will be putting on it.
A standard utility trailer may have axles that are rated correctly for your weight; but if the metal frame is not made from strong enough steel, it will eventually bow. Daniel said that he recently saw one that was bowed down 8 inches in the middle! I do not want that happening to my house!
Because I am having the trailer custom fabricated, I also get some added bonuses, like… a bar down the middle (I don’t know if it has a name) to help take the twist out of the trailer when going over uneven ground, metal plates for the jack supports, and a tongue that is connected more securely than the average trailer tongue.
I knew absolutely nothing about trailers when I started this process, and I still consider myself to be a novice, but I am glad to know that the people who are making my trailer know what they are doing and I am getting a product that will be the “rock” that I need.