The Tiny house Blog

Steel Framing on a Tiny House

ThinHaus Entry 1

We are SUPER excited about this blog post. We get the opportunity to introduce Thinhaus, a company setting the stage for the next generation of Tiny Homes on Wheels. This blog will be the first of a series of 10 that follows Thinhaus through the build process of building their model homes. You’ll see the process first hand with insights that are worth their weight in gold.


Each progress post will be straight from ThinHaus, written by the founder, Jay, as our guest. You will get a sense of their passion for what they do, and the fun they have while they make some of the best tiny homes out there!


They really do have the goal of spreading knowledge to everyone, which is right in line with what we believe in here at Tinyhouse.com.


With that said, we’ll let Jay take it away!


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It All Starts with Steel

Ernest Hemingway once said that he would have to write a long story because he didn’t have time to write a short one. Fortunately for us at ThinHaus, our story is already a long one so this is not going to be a problem. Even so, let’s break things up into bite-sized reading pieces and let you go for as much as you want, whenever you want. Also, rather than start from the beginning on how ThinHaus came to be, let’s begin with what might be the most important part of a ThinHaus, the steel frame. It’s what makes our homes so incredibly strong and light.

ThinHaus Model in Production


When you design with steel, you start at the end and come backward. By “the end” we mean, what are the loads on this structure, both static and dynamic. Once you know these things, you can figure out how to build it. Static loads are basically standing weight ... the weight of the thing (roof and walls) and weight on top of it (snow and rain ... Arizona Sun is a beast, but it doesn’t really weigh much). Dynamic loads are the real killer and really need to be understood. Moving a ThinHaus means 55mph for hours on end. Every square foot of the surface contributes to the dynamic pressure. If you want to withstand 150mph, you better build it with thick steel.

The steel stud tables tell us that 12’ spans of 2x4 steel studs require 16ga metal. This is not available at Home Depot and you have to buy several tons with each order from the manufacturer. It’s not really a product for a DIY tiny house builder. Even if you did have it, putting it together requires something special ... the self- driving, pancake head, #10 philips steel sheet metal screw.


Self-driving, pancake head, #10 philips Steel Sheet Metal Screw


To build a ThinHaus, you’ll need over 10,000 of these guys and big surprise ... you can’t get these at Home Depot, either (there’s also a rubber grommet that is used to keep the weather out and guess what ... not available at Home Depot). The steel frame of a ThinHaus is lighter, stronger and stiffer than wood and costs only a little more. It’s an obvious choice ... if you can get it and know what to do with it once you do. The stiffness thing has another really great benefit: It allows the walls to be thinner while still providing great insulation. It means there’s more room inside a steel ThinHaus than if we made it with wood. That means more liveable square footage. Walk into a ThinHaus or just lean against one and you’ll see what we mean. It’s crazy solid.

So, that’s where we start ... crazy solid ... wicked strong and aircraft light. It’s what engineers make when they start with a blank piece of paper and a world of interesting materials.

For more data and building details concerning the ThinHaus frame, email to: engineering@thinhaus.com and we’ll share the specifications and techniques that we use to build our industry-leading ThinHaus.


- Jay

Founder, ThinHaus


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Woah! Is everyone else impressed with their steel tiny home structure? We’ve seen these benefits first hand - tiny homes on wheels built with steel are not only lighter but stronger, safer and more efficient than building with timber. There are so many benefits to a steel structure, but they are definitely NOT easy to build - especially well like a ThinHaus. And believe us when we say that we know you want to have a strong tiny home when you are pulling it down the road - we’ve towed more than 75 tiny homes!


Stay tuned for ThinHaus Entry 2 which will be about their inception - from a dream to the idea, to engineering, to pulling the trigger and finally getting started on their first tiny home build and beyond!


We’re looking forward to following along their journey as they keep building their model homes. To follow along with us, subscribe to our email list so you’ll be able to follow along in the journey!



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