A deck-between trailer is a flat bed trailer where the bed of the trailer is between the wheel wells. The width of the bed is restricted by how far apart the wheel wells can be. The advantage of a deck-between trailer is that the bed of the trailer is low to the ground, allowing for a taller house to be built on it.
A deck over trailer is a flat bed trailer where the bed of the trailer is over the top of the wheels. The bed can be up to 8’ wide. A deck over trailer is higher off the ground, and is suitable for one-story houses without lofts.
A dovetail trailer can be either a deck-between or deck-over trailer, but it has a section at the rear of the trailer that angles to the ground. Generally this is found on trailers that are made to haul cars or other vehicles. The angled portion allows a vehicle to be loaded on the trailer more easily. This is not a good trailer to use to build a house upon. The dovetail creates an awkward platform to build on and requires additional welding and modification before it will be ready for a house.
A gooseneck trailer can be either a deck-between or deck-over trailer, but it has a special hitch connection. The trailer hitches to the bed of a truck that is fitted with a ball hitch in the bed of the truck. This connection allows for pulling larger trailers, and is generally a more stable way to pull a heavily loaded trailer. Building a house on a gooseneck is fine.
When choosing a trailer to build your house upon, there are several considerations to keep in mind. A trailer is built with axles connecting the wheels that are rated for certain load capacities. The axles will be able to carry a certain amount of weight each. This is referred to as the GWVR, or Gross Weight Vehicle Rating. A double axle trailer with two axles each rated for 3,500 pounds will mean that your trailer can hold 7,000 pounds total. Keep in mind that the GVWR includes the weight of the trailer. So if the trailer is rated for 7,000 lbs and the trailer weighs 1,500 lbs, you can put 5,500 lbs on it. Learn the weight of our houses, including the trailer, here.
Trailers usually include brake lights, a license plate, and a breaking mechanism. The lights and brakes attach to your towing vehicle, and when you use the brakes, it will also apply the brakes to the trailer to signal to the person behind you.
The hitch connection of the trailer attaches to the hitch ball on the rear bumper of your towing vehicle. There are many sizes for hitch balls, but almost all are either 2" or 2 5/16" (2 5/16" is perfect for Tumbleweeds). The hitch ball on your towing vehicle is easily changable. Parts for the hitch of your towing vehicle can be purchased at auto supply stores and are generally not too expensive if you need to swap out a hitch ball. Last but not least, the hitch jack helps raise the level of the hitch for towing.
Your towing vehicle should also have a maximum GWVR for towing. This can be found online for your year, make and model, or in the owner’s manual for your vehicle, and most of our homes tow best with three-quarter ton trucks. Before towing, please confirm the weight rating for your towing vehicle is appropriate for the weight of your tiny home.