I received a question via email recently asking about our reasoning for choosing a tiny house design rather than a traditional recreational travel trailer. The reader asked:
“I’m a builder so I’m wondering about standard construction used in tiny houses and what kind of weight it adds up to? RV manufactures go to great lengths to minimize weight and tiny houses are a direct opposite of this practice. Just wondering if this is an issue for people who want to travel.
Tiny houses seem very attractive and cozy to me, but I am puzzled why people wouldn’t just opt for a travel trailer. This to me is the biggest mystery associated with the excitement that seems to be attached with tiny houses…”
Tammy and I get variations on this question quite often. To help other readers understand our decision I thought I’d post my response below:
Most tiny houses are built to the international building code. This building code is a robust and well established construction guide. Dee Williams describes this construction process very well in her ebook “Go House Go”. We have never weighed our home but we estimate based on the weights of other stick-built (wood framed) tiny houses that it weighs approximately 5,000 lbs. There are some manufacturers of tiny houses that have chosen lighter weight materials such as steel framing however the purpose behind these tiny houses differ from traditional RV applications. Tiny houses are usually built for permanent use throughout all four seasons. Thus they have greater insulation and are built with traditional materials to stand up to environmental exposure (sun and snow) and the needs of daily living. Further, tiny houses are usually parked in one place for a longer period of time and because the design aesthetic is typically not aerodynamic or lightweight, they are not intended to travel frequently. Although some RVs may also fit the above application of four season use, most are built for 3 season occasional use camping and are built with less robust materials designed to be efficient in gross-weight and aerodynamics for travel.
If a potential buyer were interested in frequent travel I would not recommend a tiny house. Tiny houses are basically smaller, more affordable versions of traditional homes with the added benefit of having the ability to move it.