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Tiny House Towing Basics

Tiny House Towing basics
Part 1

I have been towing trailers since I was a kid working on a farm. Granted, most of those were hay wagons that were tricky to back up into a hay mow. Even with all the practice, I still made errors such as; not securing the trailer hitch to the trailer ball, or not firmly attaching the trailer light connection to the truck connection.

Anyhow, here is some advice for towing trailers.

Before towing anything have your hitch rated for its towing capacity and know what your vehicle is capable of towing. Making sure your vehicle is sized correctly for what you will be towing is important for steering, braking, and basic rules.

Towing a 16000lb with an F150 is not a wise choice as the trailer easily outweighs the truck and will have a tendency to push the truck around in braking as well as on curves/turns.

I have towed the hOMe I built with a 1 ton truck and found that my road speed had to be less than 50 mph. I did exceed that 50-mph limit one time at 55 and found the trailer taking over and causing a lot of road sway. The Home weighed in at 16,500lbs with a tongue weigh of 2,100lbs.

My F150 could be used for moving around the parking lot and towing smaller tiny houses but found the tongue weight of the hOMe collapsed the springs.

Tiny house bound for MA

Tiny house bound for MA

Another tiny house, without a loft, did not have enough tongue weight and we had to add ballast to the front to keep enough weight on the hitch so it would be tow able.

Rather than find out one has weight distribution issues, I decided to know for sure the tongue weigh and keep an eye on it while the tiny is being built. If, it has a loft over the tongue, you are adding a fair amount of weight to the hitch, and if the loft is over the real end(aft) the weight will diminish.

The 1st basic rule is the tow vehicle MUST be capable of safely handling 15% of the gross weight of the trailer (total weight of the trailer plus contents) Fifth wheel trailers can usually handle 25% of the gross weight of the trailer.

I purchased a hitch scale from Sherline so we would know what weight we had on the hitch. Generally, you want 10% – 15% of the total trailer weight on the hitch. If a trailer weighs in at 10,000lbs, you want a hitch weight of 1000 to 1500 lbs.

Another alternative is to have the manufacturer move the axels forward or backward. As a general rule and by insurance requirements, that distance can only be 10%. The center of the axles is normally placed with 60% of the distance from the front with the rear being the remainder 40%.

Sherline Hitch Scale

Sherline Hitch Scale

 Stay tuned for part 2

Hooking up the trailer

Part 2

No longer accepting some tiny house projects

closing doors

“Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere.” — Paulo Coelho

We will no longer accept projects that are Airstreams, nontoxic chemical free tiny houses criteria; including but not limited to specs that have stainless steel floors, powder coating metal walls, copper/stainless steel water and waste lines.

We will be focusing instead on wood frame tiny homes that are green and we will not use OSB sheathings. We will try to be as green as possible, with no OSB and no particle board products.

We will also accept consulting gigs for those that want to access our knowledge base of construction experience.

Pex and PVC will be our choice of material for plumbing parts.

Window Condensation in tiny homes

With temperatures below zero, we see people concerned about window defects because there is condensation on the glass.
That spurred me to write about condensation on glass. It matters little if they are Pella, Marvin, Jeld Wyn or Crestline windows.

Condensation facts you should know

Window condensation; where does it come from?

Today’s energy efficient homes and tiny houses are built more airtight than ever. But in addition to sealing in warmth and air conditioning, they also send to hold in too much moisture laden air.

If your home contains excessive moisture and it is cold outside, the 1st place you will see it is on your windows, and it makes little difference which brand name we discuss. They will all have condensation on the glass as the temperature drops. You may think this means that there is a problem or defect with the window, but it does not! In fact, the vast majority of window condensation problems are not the fault of faulty windows. The windows are just indicating that your home needs added ventilation to lower the moisture in the home.

Can condensation damage your windows?

Occasionally, beads of moisture o n your windows is not a problem.

For example, it is likely your bathroom mirror  and windows will steam up after a hot shower.  Or your kitchen window may fog up when you’re boiling food on the stove.but in both of these cases, the moisture clears in a few minutes.

However, if your windows are sweating at other times, or stay that for any length of time — you may have a problem!Window Condensation

Although the glass itself may not e affected, dropping condensation and excess moisture can not only damage your windows but potentially your entire home and tiny house.

  • Wood frames and sash can warp and become difficult to operate.
  • Paint can peel and other finishes become  mottled or stained.
  • Insulation can become damp, damaging ceilings and walls.
  • Exterior siding and finishes can become blistered and warped.
  • Interior surfaces can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew.

That’s why it is so important to take the steps to control and eliminate excess moisture!

Where does all the moisture come from?

In a word, everywhere.

  • In the kitchen, moisture is generated by cooking food, using the sink,, and running the dishwasher.
  • In the bathroom, from showers, hot tubs, toilets, and spas.
  • Washers and indoor-vented dryers contribute as well.
  • Basements and crawl spaces can channel dampness from the ground to our home.
  • Even breathing and perspiration adds moisture to the indoor air.

Collectively, a family of four can easily generate up to 18 gallons of water a week in the form of humidity inside your home.

How can you get rid of excessive moisture?

To lower your home’s humidity levels, you need to increase ventilation and decrease the sources of moisture.

  • Make sure you have good ventilation in high-humidity areas; bathrooms, the kitchen, laundry areas and in the basement
  • If you already have adequate exhaust fans and dehumidifiers in thesed areas, try running them for longer periods of time.
  • Take shorter showers and install water-restricting faucets –                                                                     you’ll lower the humidity and your energy bills as well.
  • Cook a little differently. Keep pots and pans covered to hold the moisture in. Use your your microwave instead of boiling on the stove. Slow cooking crock pots are extremely energy efficient and moisture efficient as well.
  • Check and reroute drainage away from your home to minimize the moisture in and around your basement and crawl space.

How much humidity amount?

You’ve probably heard that your home will feel warmer in winter if the humidity is higher. That’s true, and yet why many people use humidifiers to counteract dry static-filled air during the heating season.

Is the right older homes excessive moisture usually us a problem because the structure breathes through unsealed cracks and crannies in the construction, creating a regular exchange of outdoor and indoor air. That’s why it is often a struggle to keep enough moisture inside older homes.

But with today’s modern building techniques, homes are much tighter and energy efficient. As a result, newer homes don’t usually need a way to add moisture – they’re more likely to have trouble getting rid of it.

So how much humidity is enough to keep us comfortable without dampening our surroundings? Refer to the chart for temperature and humidity levels that are generally recommended.

Not sure what the humidity level is inside your home or tiny house? Ask a HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning) contractor to measure it for you.

Suggested Humidity Levels for Maximum indoor comfort

Indoor Air Temperature

Outdoor air temperature

Recommended Max Humidity

70F

Below -20F

15%

70F

-20F to -10F

20%

70F

-10F to 0F

25%

70F

0F to 10F

30%

70F

10F to 20F

35%

70F

20F to 40F

40%

 

Source; University of Minnesota Engineering and Experiment Station

What else can you do to lower excessive indoor moisture levels?

The basic principle of reducing window condensation  is simple. When there’s too much condensation on your windows it means the humidity is too high in your home or tiny house for the current temperature outside.

Here are some additional actions that may help reduce humidity levels:

  • Open your windows occasionally to vent excessive moisture
  • If the condensation is on the storm window, open periodically to vent excess moisture
  • Open drapes and blinds to allow warm house air to circulate against the window
  • Turn off your furnace humidifier mor other home humidifiers
  • Make sure your humidifiers are working properly and are well drained
  • Be sure that louvers in the attic or basement crawl space are open and are of adequate size
  • Run Ventilating fans in the bathroom and kitchen longer in the kitchen and more often
  • Air out your house by opening a door or window for a few minutes after the bathroom, kitchen or laundry has steamed up
  • Install an air exchanger to constantly exchange the inside and outside air such as a Whisper Quiet Panasonic air exchanger or a Bal Port air exchanger.
  • Lower the indoor air temperature and dress warmer, add a blanket to the bed, wear a sweater. The cooler the inside temp is the less moisture the air can absorb.

Is there any condensation that’s temporary?

There are two causes of temporary window condensation, and they normally disappear after a few weeks.

First, there is moisture that comes from new construction or remodeling. There’s moisture in new wood, plaster, and other building materials. For instance, I recently installed reclaimed barnwood siding and power washed the siding to clean it. That moisture would also be driven into the wood and it would take time to dry out. When the heating season starts, this moisture gradually flows into the air of the home. After a few weeks or a month or two, or a heating season, that moisture would disappear.

Second, this same type of moisture can accumulate in milder form at the beginning of each heating season. During the summer, your home and tiny house absorbs moisture. After a few weeks, your home would dry out and you;ll have less trouble with window condensation.

What is there’s condensation between the pieces of glass in an insulating window?

As building experts often point out, windows should not be blamed for condensation. They are merely an indicator of too much moisture in the air.

In an unlikely event you see condensation between the panes of glass in an insulating window, contact the window contractor or manufacturer or dealer directly who sold the windows. Moisture between the panes means that the seals on the glass has failed. It is a very rare occurrence, but one that is usually covered for 10-20 years under the manufacturers limited warranty.

 

Some of the information in this article was derived from the following sources:

  • Moisture and Home Energy Conservation US Dept of Energy
  • Washington Energy Extension Service Technote
  • University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign – Small Homes Council – Building Research Council
  • Better Business Bureau of Philadelphia, Condensation on Windows

42 Favorite Cabins and Tiny Houses

Which is your favorite cabin?

10 Loopholes to build a Tiny House

Published and shared from HuffPost Blog

2016-05-13-1463103123-291302-tinyhome
By Megan Craig, Contributor

It’s no secret that tiny houses are growing in popularity across the U.S. Not only can owners of tiny homes simplify their lives by reducing possessions and space, but they also tend to pay less for mortgages, utilities, and other costs.

Still, zoning laws can make it hard for average Americans to find sites for their pint-sized properties. These guidelines affect the dimensional requirements for various types of buildings.

“I think that originally those laws were there to protect people, and then they grew to be more about keeping the neighborhoods standard and keeping property values high,” said Elaine Walker, founder of the American Tiny House Association. “But I think we’re seeing a bit of pullback on that idea.”

 

So, where exactly can tiny house enthusiasts put their little homes, and how can they comply with zoning laws that differ from place to place?

“That is the million-dollar question,” said Pat Clancy, a tiny home specialist with Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

Here are 10 tips for building tiny houses that meet the zoning laws of your region.

1. Build your tiny home in a friend’s backyard.

If land ownership isn’t your primary objective, consider building your tiny house on someone else’s lot as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). According to the Federal Housing Administration, ADUs are habitable living units located on properties with single-family homes. So, if your friend or family member has land to spare, you could share it under ADU regulations in many states.

Still, going the ADU route isn’t ideal for every tiny home builder.

“Most people don’t want to risk building their tiny home on a foundation on someone else’s land because it would be so difficult to move,” Walker said. “You don’t necessarily want to take the risk if it doesn’t work out with the larger homeowner.”

2. Find a job that makes it legal to live in an ADU.

If your tiny home is portable, living in it on an employer’s land is another way to use accessory dwelling unit laws to your advantage.

“It really is a great option, particularly for elder care,” said Laura M. LaVoie, who built and lives full-time in her tiny home in North Carolina and blogs about it at 120squarefeet.com. “In most cases, it would be essentially a rental situation (for the worker), so it’s up to them whether that’s something they’d be open to.”

3. Put your tiny house on a trailer.

Many places — including Nantucket, Mass., and Fresno, Calif. — place less stringent regulations on tiny houses that are portable. According to LaVoie, the advantage of living in a portable tiny home is that you can move if necessity, or opportunity, dictates.

Once your tiny home is on wheels, you can have it certified as a recreational vehicle, provided that it meets RV standards. However, because some codes prohibit RV owners from living in the vehicles permanently, having your home certified could work against you.

“A lot of places don’t want somebody living in an RV in a driveway, so they’ve put prohibitions on it,” said Jay Austin, designer and owner of a tiny house called The Matchbox and member of tiny house collective, Boneyard Studios.

For best results, research your municipality’s restrictions on RV ownership before deciding whether to register your tiny house as one.

4. Regularly move your tiny house on wheels.

Take the idea of a mobile home to the next level by bringing your tiny house with you when you travel. Not only does doing this save you money on hotel costs, but it also helps you avoid breaking temporary living rules.

“Most people don’t build their tiny house with the thought that they’re going to move it constantly like you would a camper or RV, but there are people who do want that completely mobile lifestyle,” LaVoie said.

Moving regularly can enable you to get around restrictions on camping, or keeping your tiny home in one spot for too long.

5. Only live in your tiny house recreationally.

According to Walker, many cities allow individuals to live in tiny houses temporarily but not permanently. Hence, a tiny home can serve as a great vacation property, if it’s located in a place you like to visit.

Additionally, tiny home builders can rent out their accessory dwelling units to earn extra income. Said Walker, buying a tiny home to rent out is “a good investment and a legal route” to joining the tiny house movement.

6. Explore land sharing in a blighted area.

If you’re building a tiny home on wheels rather than a permanent foundation, consider participating in what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development calls “temporary urbanism” by planting your tiny house on urban property that’s otherwise not useful.

Austin, who once lived on property held by another tiny house owner, now resides on city-owned land in Washington, D.C. The site of an abandoned middle school, the land is too costly to fix up or tear down. Instead, the city leases the front plaza of the property to a neighborhood farming guild, which in turn subleases a small plot to Austin.

“The idea is to move the house there for a few years, and then when they’re ready to start developing [the property], you find another place to move,” Austin said.

7. Find a tiny house community or village.

If you’re looking to build your tiny home without having to jump through a lot of zoning hoops, choosing an area that already has other tiny homes is a sure bet. Numerous tiny home communities exist across the country and, according to Walker, might be good options for those who feel uncertain about sharing land or moving their homes frequently.

“A lot of people who come to the tiny house movement are specifically looking for that community experience,” said LaVoie, “so going to an actual community is perfect.”

8. Move to a city that allows tiny homes.

In many parts of the country, zoning laws prevent tiny homes built on foundations and those not considered accessory dwelling units. However, the list of places that allow tiny homes is expanding.

Some of the cities that permit tiny houses are Walsenburg, Colo.; Canyon County, Idaho; Ashland, Ore.; and Richmond, Maine. Additionally, Pulaski County, Ky., has no zoning laws, a fact that makes it a great choice for tiny home dwellers.

Walker offers an incomplete but expansive list of tiny home-friendly locations on her site, Tiny House Community.

9. Opt for a small home that isn’t technically a tiny home.

If strict zoning laws have you feeling left out of the small house movement, you might want to opt for a house that’s slightly larger than tiny. Walker suggests looking for homes that are smaller than traditional houses but not quite as minute as those found in tiny home communities.

Very old homes in New England, for example, often measure in below present-day zoning minimums. However, according to Walker, “you can be grandfathered in with that footprint.”

10. Petition your local government to change its rules.

If you dislike your town, city or county’s zoning laws, you might be able to petition to have them changed.

North Carolina-based LaVoie is a member of the Asheville Small Home Advocacy Committee, a volunteer group that’s working with the city council and planners to make tiny houses more viable within the city.

“It won’t be an overnight process, but it’s something people have done and people are doing in cities all over the country,” LaVoie said.

 

This article, 10 Loopholes to Build a Tiny Home Legally, originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com.

Ravenlore Tiny House Update

The Ravenlore exited the building as firefighters and trucks showed up to fight a fire in the dust collection system and main collection point of the woodworking shop we share the space with. They had 6 trucks and a hook and ladder there while the firefighters fought the blaze.


It would be nice to say that the delivery went without any issues, but one leg of the 50amp power feed came loose during transit at the cabin connection which resulted in no hot water or ability to use the electric stove. A local electrician visited the tiny house and quickly fixed the problem.

 

 

We build north woods tough!

Ravenore safe outside

Ravenore safe outside

I recently saw an ad for a tiny house that said they build tiny houses for temperatures from 47 degrees to 147 degrees and the picture showed a cabin in snow storm. Snow at 47 degrees? Maybe they meant  -47?

Our cabins and tiny houses are built for many different climate for instance; the desert southwest to the frozen tundras. Each one has a different level that needs to be met for that climate. The multiple climate zones for building are;

Marine - A marine climate meets is defined as a region where all of the following occur:

  • a mean temperature of the coldest month between 27°F and 65°F;
  • a mean temperature of the warmest month below 72°F;
  • at least four months with mean temperatures over 50°F; and
  • a dry season in the summer, the month with the heaviest precipitation in the cold season has at least three times as much precipitation as the month with the least precipitation.

Mixed Dry – A warm-dry and mixed-dry climate is defined as a region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Hot Dry – A hot-dry climate is defined as region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis)or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year.

Hot Humid – A hot-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year. This definition characterizes a region that is similar to the ASHRAE definition of hot-humid climates where one or both of the following occur:

  • a 67°F r higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year; or
  • a 73°F or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year.

Florida, Southern Texas, South Mississippi, South Alabama, South Georgia are some states that fit this zone.

Mixed Humid – A mixed-humid and warm-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.
Tennessee and Kentucky region and neighbor states fit this zone.

IMG_20170602_164012413_HDR

Cold Climate Zone – A cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis).

From the New England states through the Midwest through the Rockies are in this zone, including the southern half of Minnesota.

Very Cold – A very cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days or greater (65°F basis) or greater and less than 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Northern Minnesota, northern North Dakota, and the southern half of Canada are in this zone.

Sub Arctic Zone – A subarctic and arctic climate is defined as a region with approximately 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater.

Each of these different zones requires different criteria in building envelopes as well as higher R Value assemblies.  Insulation plays a critical value in tiny homes. We have heard from some people that I am already reducing my carbon foot print or energy consumption substantially, it does not matter.

Does it? Fifty years ago, building a home with no insulation did not seem to matter, and yet 50 years later it really does. What will energy prices do in the future is anyone’s guess, and yet leading indicators would suggest using the technology now to create a personal environment and home that will meet your needs now and then.  Housing is becoming high tech and why skimp on something that can enhance your living experience in the future.

Anyhow, how about some winter cabins eye candy. We build our tiny house for our very cold zone as well as everyone else’s climate zone.

Great Tiny House Communities by Kris Lindahl REALTOR® CRS CLHMS

How Tiny Home Communities Across the Country are Helping People Get Back on Their Feet

Despite existing for quite some time now, some Americans see tiny homes as a somewhat foreign concept. However, to residents of the many tiny home villages sprouting across the country, community life is the key to getting back on their feet and enjoying a life they never thought possible.

The Rise of Tiny House Communities

Over the past four decades, the size of the average American home has grown more than 1,000 square feet.  This means each homeowner has roughly twice the living space of the average in the 1970s.  The tiny house movement is rapidly attracting wishful homeowners frozen out of a market where an average home is about 2,600 square feet and costs nearly $300,000. On top of the rising costs of homes and a lot of potentially unused space, there are plenty of unexpected costs that come with ownership as well (especially as the home gets bigger).

However, the development of tiny house communities has already proven to be about more than saving money and reducing carbon footprints.  Communities of these easy-transportable small structures, typically 100 to 400 square feet, are providing life changes for the homeless, single parents, seniors, and those just down on their luck.

Starting in Detroit

Residents of The Motor City who earn a minimum wage can own a home and become members of the tiny home movement.  Thanks to a rent-to-own program created by Cass Community Social Services, those with a yearly income of just $10,000 might be able to purchase a newly built home.

  • Rent is only $1 per square foot.  After up to seven years of payments, the tenant becomes a mortgage-free homeowner.
  • Houses are 250 to 400 square feet in size.  They usually represent the first asset a resident can call his own and pass on to his children.
  • Foundations and private donations fund the project.  Professional builders construct the foundation, exterior, and utility hookups.  The price tag:  about $50,000 tops plus very inexpensive utilities.

Community life centers on residents getting on their feet.  They must take classes in home maintenance and financial literacy.  The Cass headquarters sits nearby and offers educational, mental health, and nutrition programs.  Built on two vacant lots on Detroit’s northwest side, the community has brought hope and excitement to a blighted neighborhood.

Conquering Homelessness Across the US

A number of tiny house communities around the country have been formed to solve the problems of the homeless.  For residents of Quixote Village in Olympia, WA, community living means safety and a path to both stability and an improved quality of life.

Funded by a grant and private contributions, Quixote Village provides tiny homes to locals who are experiencing homelessness.  Although the simple 144-square-foot houses fulfill shelter needs, living in the community adds the peer support and mentoring residents need to get back on their feet.

Staff and residents work elbow-to-elbow.  Residents have proven tough survivors successful in getting jobs and an education.  They work with full community support in overcoming any physical or mental health issues.  Living in a community where each resident has a lawn and an individual porch creates a pride of ownership that fosters hope for the future.

The victim of child neglect, 51-year-old Penny left home for good at age 10.  While living on the streets in Austin, TX, she heard about Community First! Village from food truck volunteers.  She now has a permanent home in the 27-acre tiny home community.

Community First! is more than buildings.  Walking trails and a community garden encourage peace of mind.  Residents have places for worship, fellowship, and study and a medical facility.  Micro-business opportunities enable them to earn an income while they heal.

Though it began as a way to save on housing costs and simplify life, the tiny house movement has evolved into much more.  Across the country, tiny home communities with the specific goal of helping the homeless and others needing a fresh start are forming.  They provide far more than safe shelter.  For so many, they offer crucial first steps on the path to a better life.

Kris Lindahl REALTOR® CRS CLHMS
RE/MAX Results
2407 109th Ave NE Suite 110
Blaine, MN 55449

Don’t Forget to Check Out My All New “Minnesota Moving Guide“!

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Snowflake tiny house – under construction

The Snowflake tiny house, a custom welded steel frame tiny house.

Specs

  • 8′x24′
  • GVW 9000Lbs
  • Sleeps 1-2 people
  • Welded steel frame 16 gauge cold formed steel studs
  • All connections welded
  • Stainless steel floor
  • Stainless steel shower enclosure
  • Stainless steel sink
  • Copper waste and water lines
  • Fabral steel siding exterior
  • Fabral steel siding interior

 

IMG_20171130_144934100 IMG_20171130_145002512 IMG_20171130_145027845 IMG_20171130_145056578 IMG_20171130_145251261