How Wide Can a Tiny House Be

Tiny Houses on Wheels are sized for the road

An 8 1/2 foot width is standard in tiny houses because that’s the maximum width that can safely travel down roads without an oversize permit.  We also build some tiny houses on wheels 10+ feet wide as Park Model RVs and procure oversize permits in every state they’ll travel through to get to their destination.  10+ foot wide houses, of course, aren’t recommended as houses that will travel more than once.

While the length of tiny houses is variable (we’ve built everything from 16 feet to 32 feet) the height is also restricted by the road.  13 1/2 feet tall is the maximum, which means the ceiling can be just over 10 feet from the floor inside the tiny house.  That’s why we can’t build a sleeping loft you can stand up in– unless you’re only two feet tall.

Shorter tiny houses are lighter

We recommend a house up to 24 feet long for towing.  Anything larger (or heavier) gets unwieldy for travel.  (We can still build a bigger house if you’re not planning on traveling with it!)

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Tiny House Interior Dimensions

As mentioned, the biggest determination of your in

As mentioned, the biggest determination of your interior space will be from the deck height of your trailer, then of course your trailer length. Since you can only build up to 13.5 feet tall, you’ll have to subtract your trailer deck height and then also account for wall and roof thickness.

Tiny House Interior Width: 80 inches wide

Because most wheel wells are a pretty standard siz

Because most wheel wells are a pretty standard size, you’ll have 72 inches between the wheel wells themselves. If you choose to build your walls above them, you can achieve a maximum of 80 inches wide from the inside of one wall, to the inside of the wall on the other side.

Tiny House Interior Length: Up To 29 feet long

The length of your trailer will determine this dim

The length of your trailer will determine this dimension. A good rule of thumb is to take your trailer deck length and subtract 8 inches (4 inch thick walls times two).

Tiny House Interior Height: 10.5 feet tall

Your inside height will be a function of your trai

Your inside height will be a function of your trailer deck height, minus your roof thickness, minus your subfloor, minus your flooring.

You can have a tiny house up to 13.5 feet tall. Often trailers are around 24 inches from ground to top of the deck, your sub floor is usually 4 inches thick, your flooring is up to an inch thick, and then your roof will be anywhere from 4-6 inches thick from inside finishes to the top ridge cap of your roofing.

I’d suggest also subtracting 2-4 inches as a safety margin.

Tiny House Loft Interior Dimensions: Up To 4 Feet 2 inches tall

Don’t forget to check how your design will impact

Don’t forget to check how your design will impact your tiny house loft height. Your main floor in your tiny house can be just barely taller that you are, giving you clearance for your head as you walk under your loft, but if your roof is too thick or you give yourself too much head room under the loft, you’re going to have a very small loft.

Let’s say, after accounting for roof thickness, trailer height, floor thickness, etc., you have 10.5 feet of inside vertical space. If you are 6 feet tall, your loft inside height will be about 50 inches tall. This is because you need to account for the loft floor supporting beams and decking.

HOW TO SET UP A TINY HOUSE LOFT LEARN MORE

Typically, your loft is built on 4x4s with a ½-inch piece of plywood on top. On top of that, you’re going to put your mattress, which can be anywhere from 4-12 inches thick. So crunch your numbers to make sure your loft height is going to work for you.

The final thing to consider is your roof style. If you have a standard hip roof, the peak will be directly in the middle of your bed, which is great if you’re a solo person and can sit up right in the middle. The sides of the hip roof will slope down on either side based on your roof slope, typically a 12:12 or 6:12 pitch.

You could also choose to have a shed style roof running from side to side or front to back. You could put the high end of your shed roof over the loft to maximize your headroom there.

What that Includes

So you have decided to “go as wide as I can on this thing.” You have to remember that everything on your home is included in that tiny house trailer width. Your outside sheathing, outside siding, door and window trim, drip edge and roof overhang all have to be included in that 102”. We get asked a lot about why our trailers have a standard width of 90” when the legal limit is 102”. The answer is that if we built our trailers to 102″, you would surely be wider than that by the time you were done with your house. Now, if you are using metal siding which is only an 1/8th inch thick and a shed style roof which normally has a reduced overhang of only 1”, you can go a little further out, which is why we offer the extended width option for our trailers. The extended width option lets you specify the exact width of the trailer up to 102″.

Cons of Having a 10-Foot-Wide Tiny House

Most people usually choose a ten-foot tiny house when they’re looking for a home that they can set up as permanent spots. If you want a tiny house that you can use for frequent traveling, you will do better to go with a standard 8.5 foot tiny home.

Moving Can Be Difficult

Two feet (0.6096 meters) doesn’t sound like much, but it is enough to cause a tiny house to be too large to travel on highways without preparation. To move on the road, an object cannot exceed 8.5′ (2.4384 meters). 

Otherwise, there isn’t enough clearance for you to pass other vehicles or obstacles on the road’s sides without hitting them. It can be time-consuming to travel a long distance with a tiny oversize home. 

Risk of Damage

In narrow spaces, you can face challenges of getting damage to your house from other vehicles or structures. You may have to pull over to wait for traffic before passing through certain areas.

And many times, you will be responsible for any damages done to another person’s property by your tiny homes, such as mailboxes, fences, or vehicles. 

Insurance

Insuring a tiny house can be tricky, so be sure you do your research, so you’re covered in all situations, including travel.

Permits

And before you put your 10′ tiny home on the road, you should check with your state to see if you have to apply for any permits, which you usually need. 

Pricing can vary, and you may need multiple types if you’re traveling through different states. If you want to do a lot of traveling with your tiny house, it could get expensive. 

Minimum and Maximum Weight For Tiny Houses (Without Road Permits)

The maximum road weight for tiny houses (without needing permits) is a bit like the maximum length – higher than most tiny houses will hit. Indeed, the legal maximum weights are frequently over 20,000 pounds, whilst a typical 20’ long tiny house will barely hit 10,000 pounds even with possessions in it (unless you are a hoarder, in which case the tiny house lifestyle might not suit you!). A general rule of thumb is that a tiny house weighs around 500 pounds for every 1’ of length.

The main thing that you need to be wary of is if your tiny house weight (including possessions and the ~2,000 trailer weight, of course) exceeds the towing capacity of your tow rig. For example the 2019 Silverado 2500HD can tow 15,400 pounds (6,985 kg) with the largest engine configuration, or around 14,000 pounds with the typical model. So if your tiny house is coming close to this weight, you might need to reduce your overall weight or look at hiring out a more powerful tow truck. For example the Ford F-450 Super Duty is an absolute beast, with a towing capacity of 32,500 pounds with the latest V8 turbo diesel engine.

Conversely to this, however, your tiny house should not be too light, either! Your tiny house will be hit by some large winds when moving it on the highway so it should be weighted and tied down sufficiently. This is not an issue for lived-in tiny houses, but if you were looking to transport a partially built tiny house shell, be sure that it is properly fixed to the trailer when transporting it. This is especially true if there are poor weather conditions when you hit the road.

 

When Do I Need a CDL To Tow My Tiny House?

A Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) is required ba

A Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) is required based on a few rules such as size or weight. While this is set by the federal government, it’s left up to individual states to set their own standards and oversee licensing.

Type of License Description Vehicles You May Drive
Class A CDL Required to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds. Tractor-trailers (also known as Semi, Big Rig or 18-wheeler), Truck and trailer combos, Tanker vehicles, Livestock carriers, Flatbeds. Most Class B and Class C vehicles, depending on endorsement requirements
Class B CDL Required to operate operate any single vehicle that isn’t hitched to a trailer (commercial trucks that have an attached cab and cargo area with a combined weight greater than 26,000 pounds, as well as trucks with a detached towed cargo vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds). Straight trucks, Large buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses), Segmented buses, Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks), Dump trucks with small trailers. Some Class C vehicles with the correct endorsements.
Class C CDL Required to operate a single vehicle with GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds or a vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs less than 10,000 pounds, or transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Double/Triple Trailers, Buses, Tank Trucks, HazMat Vehicles

What to Consider When Calculating Dimensions of your Tiny House

Now that you know the size your tiny house should be, you need to consider what lifestyle factors are most important to you. This will make all the difference when it comes to finalizing your design and will also ensure that space will be livable.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

How many people your tiny home will need to house will be the biggest factor in design. This will directly determine the amount of “free” space versus the amount of “living” space you will need.

Depending on the plot size, tiny homes can be properly designed to hold up to a family of five.

There are many ways to get creative when it comes to designing your tiny home. However, sacrifices will need to be made. While a large functioning kitchen may be on your dream list, you should consider the space it will take up.

Also, having multiple common areas like dining areas and living spaces may not always be conducive to your tiny home.

While fitting a family into a time home is an obvious struggle, it can become even more difficult when you factor in your stuff. Tiny houses are not an ideal move for families who tend to hold onto a great deal of clutter.

Cherished memories should be included in the planning of your tiny home; however, you should still be comfortable with letting certain extra baggage go.

Tips For Optimizing Your Tiny House Floor Plan

Ready to start drafting up your floor plan? Here are some tips before you go:

Doors:

  • Draw the swing of the door, and make sure that it doesn’t collide with anything else in the room. If a normal door swings out too much, try installing a pocket door instead.
  • Corner doors should be given an extra 3 or 4 inches away from the corner, as you will need some room for trim.
  • The standard door in a North American home is about 3’ wide, but this can be a problem with tiny house measurements. You might need a custom door, or find a 2’ wide door from a seller.

Windows:

  • There are all kinds of windows, and your plans should account for your window choice. Don’t try to imagine the windows before you see them. Know which windows you intend to install and draft them into your tiny house plans.
  • Indicate the swing direction of your window, whether it goes out or in.
  • The usual widths for windows in tiny houses are 1’-6” and 2’-6”.

Kitchen, Furniture, and Bathroom Dimensions:

  • Don’t try to wing it when it comes to planning your furniture. Plan out every chair, table, couch, and more, with a measuring tape if the furniture is already available. Add these numbers to your floor plan.
  • Give yourself at least 3 feet to work with in a kitchen; going smaller than that can make cooking incredibly difficult. 4 feet should be even more comfortable, if you can work it in. A foot or two is definitely not enough space for your cooking plans.
  • For a good time in the bathroom, you will want to space out 15 inches on either side of the toilet from the center of the toilet. This will give even bigger adults even space to do their business. You should also try to afford at least 21 inches from the front edge of the toilet forward.

Here’s a great sample of a floor plan to scale with the tips from above:

Source:
Source:

Bedroom

Moving past the bathroom, we find the full-sized bedroom at the other end of the house, which can fit a king bed, with storage integrated underneath. There is built-in storage above the bed, as well as a spot for a wall-mounted television.

JP Marquis / Minimaliste

Maximum Dimensions for a permanent tiny house

A permanent tiny house can be as big as 400 square feet. However, some people considers wider and bigger one storey or two storey tiny houses meaning that they can be as big as 1000 square feet. Depending on the local regulations, tiny houses on permanent foundation can be bigger or smaller. If you are not sure what can work for you, then you should consider to purchase tiny house plans.

10 Feet Wide Tiny Houses

Many tiny house owners have decided to go wider than the standard 8.5′ (2.4384 meters) and opt-in for a 10 feet (3.048 meters) wide tiny house instead. A 10′ (3.048 meters) tiny home gives you two more feet of room, but it does require a trailer with wider axles.

10′ (3.048 meters) wide tiny houses are more difficult to transport and often require professional mover assistance. For this reason, many people who purchase a 10′ (3.048 meters) wide tiny house only move it once, and that’s during the initial set up. 

Once you’ve set your 10 feet (3.048 meters) wide tiny house up at a location, it’s better to leave it permanently. Every time you put your 10 feet (3.048 meters) tiny house on the road, you will need to apply for a moving permit. Over time, these fees can add up to put a pretty sizeable dent in your budget. 

The cost of a permit to haul an oversize load will vary by state, ranging between $14 and $30. If you want a tiny house that you can hook up to your truck and drag to a new spot on a whim, you’ll want to stick with a tiny house that’s the standard 8.5 feet (2.4384 meters).

Kitchen

The kitchen features plenty of storage, and space for farm sink, and appliances like a convection oven, induction stovetop, small dishwasher, stackable washer and dryer, and a refrigerator. The quartz countertop extends the kitchen space out onto a peninsula, where the clients can sit to eat or work.

JP Marquis / Minimaliste 

Oversize Load Permits

Photo from Wikipedia.com

Photo from Wikipedia.com

Oversize Load Permits needed to move wider tiny homes are not expensive but can be time consuming to obtain because each state has it’s own unique regulations and required permits.

The DOT in my home state, Colorado, has to consider obstacles like the Eisenhower tunnel. You also need to be aware of road hazards like rock slides that might be limiting the width of the road in certain areas. Don’t even think about taking that puppy over Independence Pass. I don’t care what Google Maps says. Not all roads are safe for moving wider tiny homes but most are.

Oversize.io is a website that makes it easy to determine the permits and costs involved with a route you might need to take. This frequently updated website will also specify what type of signage and lighting is required, as well as provide easy permit applications.

Oversize Load Permits are not expensive

Most states charge between thirty and sixty dollars for permits. The biggest expense would be the requirement of an Escort vehicle. But only a few states require that.

Times and Route Restrictions

Your permit will specify the route you must take thru the state. It also specifies the times you can travel. These requirements are not super restrictive but you do need to plan ahead.

The state might deny travel on certain holidays. They might require an Escort vehicle if you’ll be traveling a night.

Your route will be determined to be safe for a vehicle of the specified size. However, you need to be aware of weather condition, like heavy snow, that might cause wires and branches to hang way lower than the minimum level.

How Big Can a Tiny House be? You Decide

As you can see, there is no set tiny house size, but there is a range of “normal” sizes.

The most important thing is that your tiny house is big enough for you (and your family) and small enough that it brings you the benefits of tiny house living. If you decide a tiny house is too small for you, go for a small house instead and work on getting the practical and psychological benefits of tiny house living in other ways.

How big can a tiny house be, in your opinion? What size will yours be?

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