Tiny House Trailers: Choosing Your Tiny House Trailer Width

We hear this a lot: “I need it as wide as we can go.” But do you really? What is your motivation behind that? Are you even aware of the legal road limits? Here are some considerations when choosing your tiny house trailer width.

The Legalities

tiny house trailer width - courtBelieve it or not, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not set the rules for over-sized loads on the roads. It is up to each individual state, and although you will find variances in length, the width stays pretty much the same throughout the USA. Most manufacturers go with the max width of 8’6” on their vehicles because this is the most common width in the country. There are places that narrow down a little more, like some of the undesignated parts of NY and NJ, but you are going to be plenty safe driving your tiny home with a width of 8’6 or 102”.

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″.

Going Larger

tiny house trailer - plateThere is a whole section dedicated to size in the article, “Five Signs You Aren’t Ready to Go Tiny,” but let’s take a look at larger tiny house trailer width dimensions for a moment. As you start to go wider, longer and higher, there are certain permits and requirements you are going to have to do in order to legally move your home. Proper signage, chase vehicles and restricted travel hours and locations are just some of the rules you will come up against. Not to mention the permitting fees that you are going to have to pay. And finding a driver that will be able to transport your load is going to cost more, too.

Other Considerations

There are always other options for going a little bigger. Go longer instead of wider. Look at collapsible and convertible furniture that fold away when not in use. This can free up space for movement and activities. But at the end of the day you need to really ask yourself why, because you may find that you are just assuming what you will need.

What did you go with for your tiny house trailer width? What are your plans? Let me know in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “Tiny House Trailers: Choosing Your Tiny House Trailer Width

  1. Adeline smith said:

    Brilliant !!! These are very small and unique steps about the tiny home that should be known to every person to make their house cool and spacious. Thanks for sharing this. :)

  2. Desiree and Chad said:

    Hi there! So, we bought a 100″ wide tiny house trailer to build our tiny house on. Have you seen anyone build their bottom plate in a little (an inch or so) on the trailer to compensate for the width? We want to have an overhang on the roof of 2″ so we are planning to build the walls in slightly. We would love some feedback on this, as it’s our first tiny home and we are fairly new to building.

    • Tom Bastek said:

      You can certainly do this, but be careful about leaving an area exposed where water could collect. You may want to flash that so that water can’t creep back into your walls.

  3. james vail said:

    dreaming of building Tiny house in a dry van 48×102. any recommendations a pricing

    • GREG COOK said:

      I have considered the same option, or go 53′. I am retired OTR. You’re going to need a serious truck to pull a trailer that big. And it’s going to have to be equipped with air brakes. A can trailer is not really structurally sound. The walls do not like to be cut into for doors, wundows, etc. Not saying it can’t be done, but I would strongly suggest a qualified engineer checked your plans. Now if you’re going to build it onsite, and leave it, that’s a different story. Roof will still have to be needed up. You’d have to be sure to get the flooring replaced, or stripped down dramatically. Interior walls cleaned strenuously. You would have no idea what has been hauled in it. Just because it Mike look purty inside doesn’t mean something hazardous has spilled. These trailers are brutalized. Most likely you would have one that has frame bent, walls tweaked, or even more common roof leak. Remember also that your deck is going to be 48″ from ground level, unless you have slider removed when you park it. One advantage is that you can easily store materials at one end and work back and forth as needed regardless of the weather. Also running plumbing underneath will be extremely easy. Good luck.

  4. cheri roshon said:

    Hi Tom, Now i am beginning to worry…. I live in Minnesota, and I purchased a trailer from a builder who does trailers specifically for tiny homes. The width is 11 feet. He has 2 other 11 foot wide THOWs, and told me that in Minnesota, we can haul up to 12 feet wide with only a $30 permit and no pilot cars, and I believed him. How and where would I verify this? I am all dried in and waiting for the spray foam insulation which will be awhile, because of the weather, so I have time to figure this out. Thanks for your input! Cheri

    • Nany said:

      Hi, I’m not familiar with the laws in your state, but given that you exceed the allowed width for transportation, there is always the option that you contract someone to haul your house for you, someone with an ‘oversize’ licence.
      I live in Québec, Canada, in a tiny house I built 3 1/2 years ago. It is wide, 11 feet outside the wall + overhangs that bring me a little over 13 feet. With the proper licenses and road escort, it is possible to go as wide as 16 feet!
      Of course, it makes the house more expensive to move. If you are building it to move it around a lot, I would recommend a narrower model.
      But if you want to make it moveable and want the extra width more than the facility of moving it, go ahead!
      For my part, I wanted something moveable, but not something to travel in, and I did not care to deprive myself of the extra space just in case I might have to move it one day. The result is 10 foot wide indoors. I’m very happy with this decision, to this day.
      Hope this helps you!

  5. katie love said:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I think I would have chosen a different title. This piece sounds biased. In fact, every piece I read about going with a larger trailer sounds biased and sometimes even a bit judgmental I must say. Considering there isn’t a definitive answer on what the square footage that defines a THROW is, I don’t think it is fair to frown upon THROWS with a width greater than 8′-6″. I also feel that these types of articles scare readers into thinking it is a BIG deal and substantial added cost to move a wider load across state lines. It is good to let people know, of course, that there is an extra cost and effort involved, but it always seems a bit swayed in delivery. I would like to see it framed more like-“hey, if you want to go bigger because that suits your family’s needs, go for it, here are some considerations for making that choice…” In my opinion, what I take away from this article is more along the lines of “why not to consider a wider width-it is challenging, expensive and doesn’t align with the tiny house movement philosophy” Thank you for allowing us to leave replies, it is much appreciated. Sincerely, kt

  6. Jed Davis said:

    When I built my tiny home we decided it keep it more narrow at only 92″ wide. Completed with siding and overhangs it is hits about 96″ wide. We also built it to only 11 foot tall. The primary reason for this is to make it easier to haul and reduce stress when moving it from place to place as we use it more like an RV.

  7. Patrick Sughrue said:

    I’m with Katie Love
    I design with SIPs and use 4-1/2″ panels with R-19 graphite foam.
    The panels come 8ft wide so I like 8′-9″ wide. Plus trim etc. Which means your going to end up about 9′-0″ that is only 3″ over on each side. anywhere I have checked out west that is a $10 permit if you care.
    Most THoW’s don’t move very often. if you are building a 16′ to 20′ model to tow around to see all 50 states yes by all means build it 8′-6″

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