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"Tiny House" vs. Fiver?


Chad&Jen

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As the tiny house movement seems to be accelerating at breakneck speed, has anyone considered one as a full-time alternative to a fiver?  The build quality has the potential to be sticks and bricks-grade and a possible quasi-second floor on the larger models would appeal to some.  The lack of slides is obviously a major negative.  Just wanted to see if anyone had researched going in that direction.  Thanks.

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There are parks that will not accept tiny houses.  If you read the fine print of a parks rental agreement, there are those that require a RVIA sticker on the RV to allow access.  Very few actually enforce this rule, but it is an excuse to keep out some home built units.  It is similar to the 10 year old rule that many parks have.  It is seldom enforced until they need a reason to deny someone entry.  

The other issue with many tiny homes is the lack of a stand alone electrical system (think 12 volt systems and batteries) and the lack of holding tanks.  Very few tiny homes have these systems in place.  As a result, they require full hook ups in order to be functional.  This is rarely if ever mentioned on the TV shows.  This, of course can be overcome if you are designing one from scratch.

The final comment I have about tiny homes (I am actually somewhat fascinated by them and watch many of the tiny home shows on TV) is their weight.  Most every transportable tiny home built is built on a tag along trailer rather than a 5th wheel or goose neck trailer.  When you get into the larger versions of the tiny homes, this is A LOT of weight to pull off the bumper of a vehicle.  The shows rarely address weight when they talk about how the tiny homes are built.  A larger stick built style tiny home is going to require a significant tow vehicle to move it around.  One episode I remember in particular of Tiny House Nation, they built a fairly large "Tiny Home" (I know that is a kind of oxymoron) and then over heated and almost blew the transmission on a dodge dually with Cummins turbo diesel motor climbing a hill.  They actually had to get another truck out there to tow the first truck and tiny home the last few hundred yards to the crest of the hill where the home was going to be located.  All this for a home that was still smaller in size than a typical large 5th wheel with slide outs.

I like Tiny homes, but I like them for stationary use (drop it on a small piece of property somewhere).  I don't think they are nearly as practical as a standard 5th wheel is for general traveling.

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40 minutes ago, Chad&Jen said:

The build quality has the potential to be sticks and bricks-grade 

How well do you think your sticks and bricks house would hold up while traveling down the road?

I also haven't seen many tiny houses that had room for 9 family members to sit around in and watch a movie during a rain storm in a campground. 4 on the couch, 2 in recliners, 2 in the dining chairs and I sat on the floor playing the good host when out camping in the same place as my parents, both sisters and B-I-L's. Of course I have the biggest RV in the family but show me a tiny house that would even get half that many inside.

Just my personal opinion, but houses (tiny or otherwise) are made to sit on a piece of property. If you want to travel around, get a vehicle that is designed to be moved. 

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A few observations.  A tiny house would be an ideal thing for weekend couples retreats on a nice little lot by the river.  Providing it was built on a foundation, and not on top of the cheapest utility trailer they found down at the corner farm supply.  We all hear folks talk about "sticks and bricks quality" and if we are talking about finish, fixtures and mechanical systems I would agree.  But face it, a sticks and bricks house is basically held together by geometry, gravity, and a handful of nails.  Witness that latest weather, get some wind inside or under the roof and they fold up like a house of cards.  So imagine that same construction with a perpetual 70mph wind traveling, and the good old washboard effect on the road mucking up the above mentioned geometry and gravity it is relying on to stay square and together.  To me, a mobile tiny house is just a shack on a utility trailer no matter how pretty the trim and how many drawers they ingeniously hide under the bed. 

And they have serious code problems.  As other posters mentioned, the vast, vast majority do not have the systems or appliances that are RV rated, or safe for an RV.   They are NOT RV's, despite the fact that in most states you could sign an affidavit and get an RV license plate.  They are also not houses.  In order to place a house on a lot, you need permits, inspectors, permanent electric water and sewer hookups done by licensed professionals, etc.  There are many cities that have banned them outright because of this as they do not meet the code or definition of either an RV or a house.  I remember reading Nashville for one banned them and disbanded a growing little community of tiny houses a couple of years ago.

Now, if you are planning on moving it once or twice a year, are real careful about it, and are planning on parking it on a jobsite or Uncle Carl's side yard, they are probably fine.  Providing Uncle Carl's side yard has a sewer hookup (because they don't have tanks) and a good water hookup (because they don't have tanks) and a large enough electrical hookup (not a 10amp extension cord) and the local government types and neighbors don't raise a stink.

And they are EXPENSIVE!  You can buy a much roomier and better equipped travel trailer or small fifth wheel for far less money.  Unless you are building it yourself which is whole 'nother topic on cost and return.

Space.  I have to think that even the most wacko left wing greeny save the planet with my carbon footprint eco nut type would have to be begging for elbow room after a month or so.  And god forbid you have a screaming young 'un running around in there on top of it.

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Tiny Houses, my two cents.......

So when I watch the Tiny house shows and DIY's I always wonder what one would be like. Then I think they would get really small really fast. I don't think I have ever noticed them saying how much they actually cost to build even when it was a DIY, but like pointed out earlier they are more expensive than a good used trailer or 5th wheel.

Also as noted earlier pulling them across country. I watched this one couple. I believe he did this for a project in college, built it the midwest and went to the east side of the country. So he loads it on, what looks like a trailer from Harbor Freight, has to borrow a friends F-250 and start the trip. Before he even starts he has problems getting the truck backed up to the trailer, bad sign. Next as he is pulling out and you get a broad side view of the "Tiny house" leaving the construction area you see the tires are having a hard time supporting the weight of the contraption, they are half flat. I turn to my wife and say this is way over weight for this trailer. The next clip is them two states over on the side of the road replacing the drivers side wheel because it burnt out, followed by a scene where they are replacing a tire on the passenger side.

I think the "Tiny Houses" are a novelty that will go away. I would just get a used 5th wheel and give it some TLC, but then again what does a biology teacher know.

Later,

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tiny homes are overrated and for the fixed location it maybe fine but if you want to do some moving around, go purchase a well made 5th wheel near 1/4 the cost of a tiny home. Don't fall for the hoopla of the tiny homes it's unrealistic. but enjoy what you select and be free.

Grayling & Shirley

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My wife likes to watch the tiny house shows and one thing she has noticed is that they have nowhere near the amount of cabinetry that we do in our vintage Beaver MH.  Beavers were known for their beautiful cabinetry and ours fills virtually every nook and cranny.  In addition, we have usual basement storage under more than half of our 40 foot length.  There's simply no comparison between the storage (or lack thereof) in tiny homes and what we have today.

Sandie & Joel

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About those tiny home shows ...

I used to work in television. Wide angle lenses, careful lighting and camera placement can make even the smallest of rooms look huge.  Just ask anyone who's been on the set for the 11 o'clock news.

It's similar to the way architectural perspective drawings of a new building never look like the finished product.  Or  how the hamburger you get from a fast food restaurant never even remotely resembles the picture in the ad.

 

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I was talking with someone the other day that said they were considering a tiny house.  I told them we have one and it even has slide outs to make it slightly bigger.  We stay in our tiny house for several months every year.   Then I said it is a RV.  That's not a tiny house she said.  So I asked what is the difference.  After a little discussion she agreed a RV is a tiny house.  I think she actually didn't agree but couldn't think of reasons other than RV's are not the new in thing.

Randy

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39 minutes ago, Randyretired said:

 I think she actually didn't agree but couldn't think of reasons other than RV's are not the new in thing.

Right; tiny houses are "trendy"; RV's are not!

Sandie & Joel

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We currently live in a tiny house under 400 sq ft and I prefer the RV over tiny houe as far as living space goes. I feel I have a lot of wasted space in the tiny house and would probably spend more money making it as efficient as a 5th wheel bought new. And I can’t imagine the structure holding up as well. Just look at the windows alone. Inenvision cracking and gaps as time passes. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have the knowledge of the weight of of a typical Tiny House, either Empty or Gross. Just thought of this question. I wonder if the Tiny House has to have the weighs registered to be licensed.

The Tiny House is a poor man version of a Park Model

My Opinion     Clay with a 40 foot FW

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In most/all states a "tiny house" would have to have a certified scale weight, suitable lighting for stop, tail, and parking lights, and possibly clearance and marker lighting. The wheels would likely also require brakes.

Dutch
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In Colorado and a few more places a properly licensed and outfitted  trailer is all that is necessary.  While it may be overloaded that is seldom checked.  We see trailers here in the fruit growing area with tires nearly flat and distorted due to overloading nearly every day.

Randy

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On 10/29/2017 at 8:51 AM, Randyretired said:

In Colorado and a few more places a properly licensed and outfitted  trailer is all that is necessary. 

Colorado has gotten lack in the forty some years. I'm not sure but maybe at 1500 pounds or more brakes was required on a trailer and random road checks were not uncommon.

For Agriculture there are variances.

Clay & Marcie Too old to play in the snow

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Having watched many Tiny House builds on TV, I cannot see living and traveling in one.  They look pretty for stationary use, but not mobile use. 

They do not have holding tanks, any external storage, internal storage is lacking and lots of shelves with no method of restraining items for on the road.

I will stick with my 5th wheel .

Ken

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They are not really made for traveling, just moving around once in a while. More like mobile home. 

Saw one that is parked In a campground. Apparently a lady had it built and bought some property. She didn’t check codes and cannot park it on her property. Fairly nice, parked here for sale, $35k. Brand new  

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My wife's sister and bil are in the midst of a battle over folks starting a tiny house community on state lands near them in Colorado.  Apparently some people "assume" they can park wherever they like. 

 

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