Monday, June 15, 2009


Hello again!
Arlene has been doing most of the work on our tiny house for the past couple weeks as I finished off school (my undergraduate degree). With that done, I'll be spending a great deal of time over the next few weeks on our project.

Today's post is about bolts. If you've been following us, you saw us work on the trailer and the floor a while back. If not, this link brings up the relevant posts:

At the time, I didn't take a picture (or a not a decent one) of the underside to show the bolts. There isn't much to see really. I just bolted through the decking into the floor frame (made of 2x4's) with 3 inch lag bolts. And as I mentioned in one of the earlier posts, since our floor frame is thicker towards the back of the trailer, I used longer bolts back there.

We also probably used more bolts than the plans called for. This was due to paranoia on my part. I kept having visions of loosing my house while on the road. In fact, all along I had planned to also bolt through the wall base board, through the floor, floor framing and connect it to the steel of the trailer. Otherwise, what we'd have is the floor frame bolted to the trailer decking, the floor nailed to the floor frame, and then the walls nailed (screwed, actually) to floor and floor frame. I wanted a direct connection from my walls to the steel of the trailer.

You can buy long, 1/2 inch think, threaded rods at most good hardware stores. I got 2 of them, with washers and nuts and a four small steel plates. Now our trailer is a utility trailer and has slots along the sides, front and back that are there so you could put 2x4s into them to make a wooden rail around the trailer. In the photo below, you can see two of these. One has my bolt through it, and the one further back does not.

The steel plate on the bottom (photo above) has a longish slot in it that allows you move the plate to best fit your application. I found this handy as not all of the holes ended up perfectly where I planned them.

And this brings me to holes and drills. Where the floor frame is thickest, there is a bit over 8 inches from the top of the wall frame base to the bottom of the floor frame. Add to that the depth of the 2x4-fence holder on the trailer and you have about 11 inches that is not perfectly vertical. So if you do this sort of thing, you have to be aware that there might be a slight angle you have to introduce. In this case, it was easiest to drill the hole from the bottom up, with a spotter watching the angle of my extra extra long 5/8's inch wood boar drill bit.

Finally, I cut a short 2x4 block, drilled a 3/4 inch hole in it (for wiggle room), and stuffed into the 2x4-fence holder. This made that bottom plate you see in the pic fit without moving around.

Now our walls are fully attached to the steel of the trailer and I'm feeling more secure.


  1. Jeff, Great progress! I want to build one of these someday. It is great to see someone doing it!

    I did notice one thing about how you bolted the sill plates to the trailer. I hope you put lock washers under the nuts. Its not so needed on a house that is sitting on a foundation but since your home will be going down the road at somepoint I'd be very nervous about the nuts backing off from vibration. I'd go as far as double nutting them.

    Maine USA

  2. Ya know, I didn't, but that is a great idea. And since I don't have the paneling on on the inside, I can still fix it.



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