After two weeks of scrolling through craigslist locally and on the mainland, Shane (my husband) had the crazy idea of building our Tiny House trailer, ourselves. I didn't need too much convincing because I wanted this project to start! So, we jumped in with little to no experience at welding or metal work. Thankfully, my husband's father(our everything-building resource) had tons of experiencing welding and showed us the ropes.
When we started our Tiny House project, fabricating our trailer wasn't a part of the initial plan. The lack of affordable trailer options locally and the desire to save money (where we could) lead us to take on the challenge.
In the recent year, Tiny House living has gained popularity on Maui making (brand new) prefabricated (tiny house specific) trailers available. If I could do it all over again, I would consider buying a pre-fabricated trailer from this local Tiny House builder, Kalani of Island Tiny Homes.
Our Trailer Kit
We bought a 26ft gooseneck trailer kit from Here, Trailer Plans. Our total cost for the kit was $2,541.07. With our floor plan in mind, we went with a gooseneck trailer plan because it provides additional space over the neck of the trailer for another room (in our case an office and now turned into a baby room).
Once we received the kit, we customized the material list (provided with the kit) and sent it off to local vendors for quotes.
$3,051.64* Building supply distributer
$5,781.82 local company
*We were surprised by the fact that the local company's number was way higher than this Washington base company. Ultimately, we went with the lowest bid.
**Always get two quotes, like us, you might be surprised by the number**
EQUIPMENT & TOOLS USED DURING FABRICATION
Plasma cutter -Crucial tool to make all the necessary cuts. We initially started with a chop saw and an expensive blade specifically for cutting metal. We quickly realized that was going to take WAY to long and cost us WAY too much money replacing blades.
French calk - Used to mark the steel for your cuts. A pencil or sharpie will not work
PREPING TO WELD
Grinder - Cordless is the easiest to use, but make sure you have plenty of batteries.
Cut off blades
+Unless you want to visit the ER in the middle of the night like we did, use your safety gear ALL THE TIME :)
Welding helmet - Absolutely necessary for any and all welding work.
Leather gloves - The metal gets extremely hot.
PAINTING THE TRAILER
Ospho Rust Treatment - This product removes all the rust(for real) that you created during the welding prep which makes the paint prep so easy!
Building our trailer took a good 4-6 months! Buy yourself that time by getting a pre-fabricated base and dedicate those extra months we lost to your actual tiny building.
Total Spent on trailer material $7,559.61