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Couple Shows You How to Build Tiny House on Wheels

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If you’ve been wondering how to build a tiny house on wheels in detail, you’ve landed in the right place!

This couple is going to show you how they’ve designed, planned, and built their very own DIY, stick-built, tiny house on a trailer. And the best part is… It’s 100% free thanks to Jake & Kiva of the Tiny Nest Project. Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share with your friends below. Thank you!

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Couple Shares How to Build Tiny House on Wheels


Images © TinyNestProject/YouTube

Lesson 1: Introduction to Tiny Nest Tiny House Project

Planning your tiny house project:

  • Jake and Kiva introduce themselves
  • How they got started with tiny homes
  • Seeing their first tiny house in person
  • They stayed in a 16-ft. tiny house in Portland
  • Iron Eagle Trailers
  • Designing their tiny house (floor plan sketch and SketchUp design)
  • Their tiny house workshop experience in Vancouver

Lesson 2: Finding Your Trailer

  • Their Iron Eagle Tiny House Trailer
  • Explanation of how the structure (tiny house) will be built on it
  • Basics of building your tiny house foundation on a trailer
  • Buying their trailer in the United States and towing it to Canada, and then getting it on the island they live on via ferry
  • They paid about $6,000 dollars in total to get their trailer (including all the fees, taxes, and transport to get it to Canada)

Lesson 3: Creating Your Layout & Design

  • Using SketchUp to design a custom tiny house
  • Jake learned how to use the 3D modeling software to visualize their design
  • In this video, they’ll show and explain their tiny house design to you
  • Details include the floor plan and layout
  • You also get to see how the tiny house will be framed (including interior walls)

Lesson 4: How to Create Your Construction Plan

Ever wonder how you can possibly create your own tiny house framing plans? It must be your lucky day because Jake and Kiva are here to show you how it’s done.

  • The trailer
  • Floor joists
  • Insulating the floors
  • Flashing the wood where it contacts metal
  • Subfloor
  • Framing the walls
  • Support for the loft joists
  • Setting up your headers and footers
  • Framing your windows
  • Framing around the fenders
  • Interior framing (shower room, toilet room, kitchen, living room)
  • Loft planks
  • Door framing
  • Simpson strong ties to strengthen the structure
  • Roofing (plus insulation and venting)
  • Vapor barriers and venting your tiny house
  • Wall sheathing & house wrap
  • Siding venting (rain screen) so your house doesn’t build moisture inside
  • Staining the siding
  • Drip edge on the roof, roof paper, metal roofing to finish it, plus ridge caps

Lesson 5: Your First Day of Building

So once you have your design and plans ready, and you’ve ordered your trailer (or you’ve figured out where to build your tiny house), well, it’s time to start building right? So here’s how your first day of construction might look like:

  • Day one of Kiva and Jake’s tiny house build
  • They show you their setup
  • Trailer ready to be built on-site at Kiva’s parent’s property
  • Their lumber and insulation delivery
  • Plus aluminum flashing, house wrap, rainscreen, fasteners, bug-screen, sil-gasket, adhesives, and more…
  • Kiva and Jake also show you their array of tools and safety equipment that they will be using throughout the build
  • In this episode, they start cutting and nailing down parts of the framing for the subfloor

Lesson 6: Building The Floor

  • On day two of the build, they run into one of their first major construction hurdles when there is a spacing issue for their subfloor
  • They end up having to make modifications (a notch) so that the subfloor is flush to the trailer after they install their flashing
  • Adding a protective layer to the metal part of the trailer so that the flashing doesn’t contact the metal parts of the trailer directly (to prevent rusting, etc.)
  • Installing the flashing on their flooring and how they sealed it to prevent any insects or condensation from crawling in
  • Snuggly inserting their subfloor into the trailer (impressive guys!)

Lesson 7: Insulating & Securing/Bolting Your Sub Floor to the Tiny House Trailer

  • Filling the subfloor with Roxul insulation
  • Nailing parts of the subfloor to each other
  • Bolting the floor framing to the trailer (very important part!)

Lesson 8: Building Vapor Barrier & Subfloor

  • Installing the vapor barrier
  • Leveling their flooring with plywood
  • Folding over the excess vapor barrier
  • Protecting the trailer from the elements overnight

Lesson 9: Framing and Raising Your Walls

In my opinion, one of the most exciting parts of a build – the framing!

  • They built all four walls and stored them in a garage
  • Then when their friends come over, they could raise them together
  • Using their SketchUp design as a plan for their tiny house build
  • They used the plans to make the cuts and build the framing for the walls
  • They tested it out and it worked, so they proceeded to the others
  • Using a brace to secure the integrity of the walls during the build
  • Preparations for raising the walls to make it easier and quicker
  • Raising the walls with the help of friends

Lesson 10: Reinforcing Your Tiny House

Structural reinforcement and tiny houses are so important because they have to be built to be able to withstand highway force winds. This is how Jake and Kiva made sure of it:

  • Bolting more screws from the trailer to the frame with structural screws
  • Using hurricane clips to reinforce the structure and to secure framing
  • They also wrapped several corners of the house with metal strips to further secure the structure

Lesson 11: Framing Your Roof and Loft Joists

  • Framing the roof
  • Framing the loft
  • Fixing an issue with the vapor barrier to prevent condensation in the floor
  • Overcoming obstacles with a warped joist

Lesson 12: Sheathing Your Exterior Walls

  • Sheathing the tiny house
  • Using nails to hold up the plywood to line everything up
  • Gluing the sheathing
  • How they cut around the trailer fender
  • Cutting out the windows
  • Removing the braces

Lesson 13: Insulating Your Roof

  • Vented insulating of the roof
  • Preparing roof installation
  • Raising a roof for first-timers
  • Planning the insulation insertion process
  • Tricks and tips for fitting the insulation in place

Lesson 14: Adding Extra Structural Strength to Your Build

  • Adding more structural strength to the build and securing it to the trailer
  • Using an Iron Eagle tiny house trailer
  • Extra structural reinforcement
  • Using galvanized rods for extra strength from under the flange all the way up to the top plate to strengthen the THOW

Lesson 15: Preparing Your Roof & Housewrap

  • Tiny house wrap
  • More roof prep
  • Sheathing the roof
  • Bug screen
  • Stained fascia

Lesson 16: Metal Roofing Part I

  • Kiva and Jake get into metal roofing!
  • Eave flashing (front drip edge) and panel insulation (how to nail)
  • Jake explains how and why
  • Asphalt paper

Lesson 17: Metal Roofing Part II

  • Gable flashing the roof
  • Component details

Lesson 18: Installing Your Windows

  • Detailed DIY window installation in a tiny house
  • New-construction installation of a window in a tiny house on wheels

Lesson 19: How to Install Your Door

  • Door installation
  • Painting it
  • Preparing to hang the door
  • Cutting away bottom plate to make space
  • Cutting away housewrap, and more…
  • Security hinges

Lesson 20: Preparing Your Trim

  • Exterior trim prep for windows, corners, and doors
  • Making cuts, strategizing the cuts, etc.

Lesson 21: Installing Your Trim

  • Trim installation

Lesson 22: Designing/Building Your Utility Box

Lesson 23: Replacing Your Door

Lesson 24: Preparing for Your Exterior Siding

Lesson 25: Installing Your Exterior Siding

Lesson 26: Installing Your Exterior Siding Part 2

Lesson 27: Finishing the Siding on Your Tiny House

Lesson 28: Building/Installing an Awning

Lesson 29: Building Your Interior Framing

Lesson 30: Installing Your Plumbing Rough-In

Lesson 31: Installing Your Water Supply Plumbing

Lesson 32: Doing a Plumbing Pressure Test

Lesson 33: Installing Your Propane Rough-In

Lesson 34: Installing a Propane Furnace

Lesson 35: Testing Your Propane Furnace

Lesson 36: Installing a Propane Water Heater

Lesson 37: Testing Your Propane Water Heater

Learn more

3D TINY HOUSE DESIGN TUTORIAL — http://bit.ly/tiny-design
IRON EAGLE TRAILER DISCOUNT — http://bit.ly/tiny-trailer

You can send these free tiny house construction lessons to your friends for free using the social media and e-mail share buttons below. Thanks!

If you enjoyed these free tiny house building lessons you’ll absolutely LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Jim North
    August 31, 2015, 12:27 pm

    Thank you for your generosity. I am building mine and am going to do the same thing. I have been videotaping my process as well. You beat me to it by a few months. Awesome and your gift is going to help so many people who are probably intimidated by this whole process.
    Love to you both

    • October 8, 2015, 8:58 pm

      Thanks for watching! We are still working away at finishing it. Good luck with your own project 🙂

  • Rich
    August 31, 2015, 10:04 pm

    Kiva/Jake: I was unable to post a comment on Youtube so will post it here. The only omission I noticed in your earlier post (#4 I think) is regarding the insulation/roof venting. Altho you will have minimal to no overhang at the bottom edge of your roof, it is wise to prevent warm air from melting snow behind the cold edge where ice can form. It will be difficult to remove the fascia and the screen to put some insulation in there now (and hold it away from the roof deck with baffles that you mentioned) so watch for any ice buildup and knock it off before the water has a chance to build up above/behind it and seep into your insulation and walls.
    I haven’t watched all your videos but I think your series is the most complete and informative of any I have seen on the www with the possible exception of Byrce’s at ‘Living Big in a Tiny House, NZ’… and he has had professional help. Tx and best wishes to you 🙂

    • October 8, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Indeed, this would be more of a concern if we were in a colder climate. There is very little snow that stays for more than a few days here on Vancouver Island… but we will definitely keep an eye if we get a snowy winter 🙂

      Thanks for watching!

  • Nanny M
    September 1, 2015, 1:09 am

    Wow, Jake and Kiva! What an incredible job! I literally couldn’t tear myself away and spent the WHOLE DAY watching your episodes. What a lovely, loving, intelligent and meticulous couple you are. I’m sure you will enjoy many happy years in your wonderful home. And I just had an education. Thank you!

    • October 8, 2015, 9:02 pm

      Thanks for watching! We’re still working on finishing it 😛 so make sure you’re subscribed on YouTube to see the rest 😉

  • Glema
    September 5, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Thanks so much Kiva/Jake for sharing not only your home, but the whole process of completing your tiny house. I really appreciate your generosity in sharing it with us. May God richly bless your union and your lives in your tiny house always! Happy Trails! I’m hoping sharing your story with hubby will be the added incentive that was needed. If not, hey, I can start in the fifth wheel he wants to start in. 🙂 Thanks again and thank you Alex for sharing the article with us.

    • October 8, 2015, 9:04 pm

      Hope our videos help you with your plans! And thanks for watching 🙂

  • Robert Aulicky
    August 17, 2017, 4:25 pm

    Hi Kids,

    Getting ready to start mine. I like peeking around to see what I forget to think of and I will post my construction as well. I am thinking of steel framing instead of wood. Did you consider of steel? 10×32

  • Pam Wells
    September 23, 2019, 2:21 pm

    I would like to attend a workshop but you never have them in my area. I live in Dayton, Ohio so could you give thought to coming here.

    Thank you

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