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Archive for July, 2014

PostHeaderIcon The old camper I will use as a frame for my tiny home on wheels

I got this old camper about 2.5 years ago for free due to extensive water damage from front to back. I left it out in the sun the first winter and let it dry out with the windows open. I actually moved into it that summer and used it for two years as my home. Now it will begin a new life as a tiny house on wheels.

I plan to gut out this old camper down to the bare metal frame and use the trailer as a base to build my tiny house on wheels. The old camper was listed as a 32 foot camper but in actuality it was only 28 feet from trailer hitch to bumper. The living area was only 24 feet long by 7.5 feet wide inside. Since the camper was built in the early 80s and I got it for free, I guess I cannot complain to the company about their false marketing.

I found this camper online for free. It was being used in farm shows and had very bad water damage due to severe leaks in the front and back of the camper. The front of the roof had been literally ripped open like a tin can at one point in time and sort of patched up roughly. This leaked and led to frame rot and a total rotting of the floor. Someone in the past had dropped in plywood sheets on the floor to cover the rotting wood.

I had cleaned it up through and through with lots of vinegar and bleach. I added new wood framing inside the walls and some boards inside to cover the holes and I had a home.

Repairing My Camper Framing

Last winter was so severe though that its weak frame could not handle the snow and the roof caved in some. I figured it is time to retire my old camper and build a real house on wheels.

Winter in my off grid camper

My tiny home will be fully insulated and built with standard 2×4 framing. The floor will be built with 2×6 framing and will be fully insulated. The roof will be metal for lighter weight and cheaper price.

Now here is the catch to using a camper frame for a tiny house on wheels. You have to remain under the total listed weight of the original camper. Mine is rated at 7,000 pounds. This presents some very interesting obstacles when building a house. I had no idea how heavy an average home really is until I downloaded a building materials weight sheet and started to do the math. I had to reduce the weight of my tiny house plans or this would fail.

After working and reworking the plans, I came up with the following:

I am using 2×6 floor joists at 24″ on center. The bottom will be covered in aluminum flashing to keep out mice and bugs. The floor will be 3/4 inch tongue and groove plywood sanded and waxed. This will be my house floor and will not be covered in order to reduce overall building weight. I am using rockwool insulation in my tiny home to prevent mice and for its multiple advantages.

The walls will be framed at 24″ on center with standard 2x4s. There will be no sheathing on the outside. I will wrap the home in house wrap and then use 1/4 inch plywood on the outside with 1×4 boards spaced every 2 feet for a board and batten look. The exterior of the home will be water sealed with a transparent sealant to allow the natural color of the wood to show through.

Inside my tiny home I will also use 1/4 inch sanded plywood for the paneling. This will be coated in a natural beeswax for a nice finish and fresh smell. In the living room I will use tongue and groove pine plank paneling in a horizontal pattern. This will also be coated with natural beeswax.

The kitchen cabinets will all be hand made using recycled pallet wood. This will be sanded and heavily coated with a natural finish.

I will share other details about my tiny home in later posts.