We Built a Tiny Home in a Day
December 19, 2017
On November 3, 2017, we invited the public into our Louisville-based manufacturing facility to see just how easy it is to build a tiny house on wheels with one of our structurally insulated panels (SIPs) kits. We invited Kim D. Kolarik, a freelance writer, and photographer based in Louisville, to capture the event for our blog. We hope you enjoy hearing his perspective and seeing his photos.
Curiosity got the best of me
Build a tiny home in two days? No way, I thought. I had to see for myself what was happening at the Mighty Small Homes™ headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
I know the interest in tiny homes is not a fad. It’s part of a movement for simpler living that is friendlier to the environment.
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The event announcement I saw on Facebook said it would take two days to build the 300-square-foot home. I was curious. I had my doubts.
I was wrong. It didn’t take that long.
The prefab small-home kit was one of the versions Mighty Small Homes offers on a flat-bed trailer. When I arrived on Friday, the foundation on the 40-foot tandem-wheel trailer was complete.
That work took about two hours the previous evening, Mighty Small Homes co-owners Damian Pataluna and Cyndi Masters told me.
What came next made me a believer. The sturdy walls went up quickly because they’re prefab factory-built SIPs – structural insulated panels. These have been around for years, but I never saw them used and didn’t know the benefit over traditional “stick-built” construction – the way most homes are built.
The SIPS are pre-assembled in a factory using two-by-four studs and meet building code specifications and feature high R-value solid foam insulation. The studs are pre-drilled the pull the wiring for electrical service.
What was great about watching the build was to see all the pieces up close. The wall panels and roof panels are numbered to match the detailed building plans.
The crew didn’t need extravagant tools. I saw hammers, a hand drill for the screws, industrial construction glue, and a level.
About four or five guys lifted, tugged, pulled, and pushed the panels into place snug against its neighboring panel. All four walls were securely in place in about four hours. By the end of the first day, the roof panels topped the house. As it turns out, this was about five hours ahead of schedule.
In retrospect, said Steve Corwin (one of the builders), a team that large wasn’t even necessary on this project. He surmises he could do the exact same job in the future with only two people.
The only work remaining on the second day of the build was adding the roofing paper and house wrap for the outside-facing walls.
After I left the building project, I got to thinking about the possibilities for Mighty Small Homes housing. The company offers building kits for larger homes built on foundations. Their largest is about 1,200 square feet, Cyndi Masters told me. These could be great solutions for in-filling the vacant lots of many urban areas. And they could be the solution homes lost following natural disasters.
Imagine the possibilities.
Kim D. Kolarik is a freelance writer and photographer in Louisville, Kentucky.
Want to see more? This video captures the entire day in less than a minute
This time-lapse video captures the entire day into less than a minute. You’ll see how a small team …
- Secured the floor panels to the trailer base
- Joined together structurally insulated panels (SIPs) to create the floor and walls
- Placed the roof panel