There have been times we thought we’d never move into the tiny house. A lot of times. I think Tara and Tyler write about it well in their post, Despair, which I read last year when they posted it but didn’t fully understand. It’s hard to understand what it is about building a house that makes you want to give up completely. I can now say it’s because so many little things constantly wear away at you and you feel like you’re never making progress. You just want to be in the house. You want to feel like it’s looking like a home, when it really looks like a pile of bones and the weather is conspiring against you along with your suppliers and your bank account your stupid jerk brain that can’t compute basic geometry all of a sudden. And meanwhile, twice a week everyone asks, “How’s the house coming along?”
We were just at the part where we were going to make progress: put in windows, start siding. Sounds great, soon to look great! When we learned that we had to move the tiny house a few months sooner than planned. And it felt like back to square one. In order to make the house safe to move, we had to firmly attach it to the trailer.
This is not a problem that all tiny-housers have. For example, Tumbleweed welds threaded rods onto their trailers, and as you build the walls you drill holes in the bottom plates and slide the rods through those. Tighten down with nuts and done. Other tiny house builders use strong ties like these, which connect to studs and use anchor bolts through the trailer. We had neither option, and so we went with threaded rods drilled through the trailer, up through the bottom plate, and then reaching all the way up to the top plate as well. We went with this approach because we needed to attach the walls to the pieces of metal channel that run perpendicular to the trailer’s length. The bottom plates have nothing to sit on otherwise. Might as well be secure, you know?
It was a process to figure out. We had to figure out how many attachments we needed, where they would sit that wouldn’t interfere with windows and yet still give us a rod every 6′ (as per building code), special order the rods, cut them to length, drill through the bottom plate, drill through the trailer, drill through the top plate, thread the rod through all the holes, and tighten down the bolts at both ends. Meanwhile, our suppliers conspired against us by providing the wrong size rods for two locations, along with our bank account which cringed at having to run to the hardware store four times for the correct tools to account for the change in sizes in our long lead time rods, and our stupid jerk brains that suddenly couldn’t do basic geometry. Yes we did cut that rod too long, and that other one too short. Building a tiny house is hard! Who knew, eh?
Eventually the rods were in. We tightened them down. We felt secure. We moved the house. And one of the walls shifted anyway. If there was ever a time I felt like giving up on the tiny house, threaded rods would be it.