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I find it unbelievable that, after submitting my first tiny house article last month, I have received hundreds of personal emails from all over the world, connecting me to THOW enthusiasts who have asked some intelligent, positive questions. Many wanted some additional photos and construction details about my tiny house innovations … others just wanted to share their joy.

To my many new friends, I offer the following article, along with my solidarity, gratitude, and sincere thanks.

How I Designed/Built a Lightweight THOW

Petes Smart Framing Tiny Houses on Wheels 001

Insulation, smart framing, weight reduction, SIP’s, building costs, design, energy saving, recycling, innovation… each tiny house builder has different goals, different styles, different needs and different values – I’ll share my personal favourites:

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In last week’s article on passive solar design for tiny houses I briefly mentioned advanced framing and SIPs—two alternatives to conventional 2×4 stud framing.

Well, it turns out there are a lot of alternative framing systems out there. Why would you use one of them to build your tiny house?

In a lot of ways, conventional 2×4 stud framing is pretty awesome. This technology makes it possible to build houses quickly and cheaply. It’s flexible and can be used to create a wide variety of structures, including tiny houses. And it’s based on a standardized set of dimensions with which most other building products are compatible.

But conventional framing has some weaknesses, and the main one is that it’s not terribly easy to seal and insulate well, so it’s not very energy-efficient. That’s one of the five big factors we’d look for in an ideal framing system for a tiny house:

5 Factors for Framing Tiny Houses

  1. Insulation. Does it provide good thermal insulation and few air leaks?
  2. Strength. Can it stands up to the rigors of transportation, high winds, etc.?
  3. Weight. Is it relatively lightweight? (Sorry, concrete, you’re out!)
  4. Cost. Is the additional cost (if any) justified by the benefits?
  5. Ease of construction. Can it be built quickly, and is professional installation required?

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