By day 2 of "The Big Push" I started framing out walls. I had planned to make 6 frames total, one for each of the short ends of the house, and 2 for each of the broad sides. Once again I had made some crude measurements (no blueprints for this girl), and we physically drafted them out to scale in permanent marker on our garage floor. They'll probably be there for a heck of a long time, or at least until someone comes along and refinishes the flooring, which is kind of a nice thought.
After a little bit of research I decided to go with 16" on center studs instead of 24" OC. 24 inches can save weight, and I recall as we were putting up the frame, that I felt like it was going to be SUPER heavy. My trailer load capacity is only 13 thousand pounds and I couldn't get that thought out of my mind.... until the second year of building that is. Here's the thing: If you plan to move your house down the road at some point, you're most likely going be agonizing over weight with every single board and nail that goes into the thing. Ready for the good news? If you end up building for as long as I was, you'll eventually stop caring and just do your best to get pretty close. There are people out there that think it's possible to calculate the weight of every bit of material that you use. No offense to those people, but F that. I considered weight during my entire build process, but the bottom line is that I wasn't planning to do much driving around. Someday, if I ever decide to move it, I'll strip off everything that isn't nailed down and hope for the best.
Ok so back to framing - The hardest part of this job by far was drilling a crap ton of holes through the rock hard steal of the trailer frame. I had to use a gigantic heavy drill that vibrated my bones and made my teeth chatter. Hole by hole, sweating bullets, I'd make it about halfway through and give up. I remember being out in the yard by myself, wondering if my parents were watching my struggle through their kitchen window. Ultimately, my dad ended up drilling most of the holes because I just plain lacked the strength required (judge me if you must).
A lot of people struggle when it comes to framing around the wheel wells of the trailer. We ended up making a header, like you'd make over a window or door frame, to sit on top of each wheel well so that we didn't have to match the angles. They are supported with 4x4's on either side.
When it was finally time to raise the walls, my uncle and neighbor showed up to help. This was one of the most exciting moments of the entire build. The best part about the beginning phases of a tiny house build, is that they're relatively simple, but also impressive. It feels like you're really FINISHING something. Hang onto this feeling, because in a couple of months it'll take you all damn day to install some stupid little thing like outlet boxes and you'll feel like you haven't accomplished anything at all!
By the end of the 4th day, most of the frames were secured to the trailer flange using carriage bolts. We checked the corners for plum, made sure everything was level, and attached each frame to it's neighbor. We had done a surprisingly good job squaring up the frames and it didn't take too long to line them all up. It was great to have the family around to see the progress, and working with my sister is always a good time.
Something else to consider when building a tiny home is security against wind and vibrations. When you drive down the road, you'll essentially be creating hurricane force winds and an earthquake simultaneously. I installed hurricane ties at every corner joint to help ensure that my house frame won't lift off of the trailer if I end up driving it somewhere. We put more around the headers at the tops of the frames and into the roof rafters, but we'll get to that later.
6 days into the first week, we placed the ridge beam! We couldn't find a board that was long enough to cover the whole 20 foot length of the trailer, so my ridge beam is spliced about midway. This was not an ideal work-around and I wouldn't recommend it, but the splice has been reinforced and works for my purposes (the biggest concern I have is the weight of heavy snows that can potentially accumulate during hard winters, but so far so good).
Not too shabby for 6 days worth of work! Next up, the hottest, most annoying day of building ever - we start the roof.