“When I first saw a SteelMaster building I was in love. Why? They’re steel, pre-fabricated, highly engineered and just look so friggin cool! The arches are self-supporting so no need for your typical framing – ROOF + WALLS = 1. No plywood, no OSB, no Tyvek, no siding. INTERIOR + EXTERIOR = 1.
So, when I started looking at ideas for tiny home designs, the choice was obvious. Obvious to me, anyway, as I haven’t found a tiny house design like this yet. The trailer is a 8 x 16 foot, 3-1/2 ton dual-axle deck over galvanized trailer.
SO…What exactly is this tiny house of steel (T-House O’Steel!) thing…?
– T-House O’Steel! is: The specific result of precarious living as an artist for the past, say, 20 years of sporadic employment, zero to little savings, and little hope of being able to get a mortgage.
– T-House O’Steel! is: The kind of thing a guy going through a mid-life crisis might do, though most guys would buy a motorcycle or maybe go bungee jumping or something with more of an adrenaline rush.
– T-House O’Steel! is: Simply put, what I’ve always wanted to do – to live inside the object of my own building.
Steel building materials are not only lighter but so much more reliable than wood – they won’t warp, shrink or rot. Don’t get me wrong: I still love the smell of sawdust as much as the next wood worker. But there are so many ways to engineer steel that I feel like I’ll never build with anything else.
Over the course of a year, the frame and beams and windows have gone up, giving me a better perspective of what the space will look like inside. It’s breathtaking, really – high and long. From the outside, the silver of the frame from a distance reminds me of the old Airstream motor homes. The arc and curves are like sculpture.”
How could I not live in something so beautiful?”
Tiny House of Steel
I have to admit my first reaction was concern over using too much metal, which has high embodied energy. But I soon changed my mind when I realized how little metal is actually used in a tiny house such as this one. For starters, a tiny house uses way few materials and energy to heat and cool than a typical American home. When compared to other tiny houses, there are fewer wall and roof materials. In fact, the roof and walls are one as they point out. So you’re saving on materials and (possibly?) labor. Plus, the Galvalume Plus coating has a maintenance free 30 year manufacturer- backed warranty. Think how much time, money and effort you would save on patching and replacing roofing, staining, painting, cleaning gutters, etc. over the years. You’d never have any worries about a wind storm blowing your roof off. It’s also very aerodynamic on the highway. Most importantly of all is it’s affordable enough that this family can escape the rent trap and live the life they want traveling.
So… if this tiny house of steel works out for them then I wonder if SteelMaster or some other manufacturer would consider selling partially assembled tiny houses? They could put together the basic shell on a trailer, and the homeowner could do all the finish work. Another option is to pay a contractor who works with Quonset huts all the time. They’d have the tools and experience to assemble a tiny house like this in a few days instead of one year. That way the owner could focus on the much more fun and interesting parts of fitting out the interior.