The Scrap House

Warp Speed, about 10 MPH | June 21, 2009

Well, the time has not quite come, as I’m not in the country at the moment. However, I have been doing a lot of thinking about  moving this silly house. Or more likely, thinking about how I’m out of ideas. The problem is one of height. The house is thirteen and a half feet tall. The cable lines are 15 feet. So, we have to figure out some sort of trailer arrangement to move the house the 22 miles to my house.

We’ve been mildly entertaining the idea of putting the house on its side. As the house without the roof is 8×8 in profile, if you situated it such that the plane of one of the roofs was horizontal, then the house would only be 11.3 feet tall. Like so:


I can’t tell if this idea is brilliant or just plain stupid. I think we’re going to cross brace the house pretty severly either way, so ridgidity shouldn’t be a problem. And cribbing solves everything. The other option would be to just find a trailer that was really that low… but I honestly don’t know if such a think exists. Just a low boy trailer?

So this is kind of a call for help. Do any of y’all faithful blog readers have any suggestions? Experience? Dry and snark remarks? Let me know what yah think. Peace. -Ted

Posted in Uncategorized


  1. tilt it front to rear and it may work. Titling to the side makes it very wide since you will have to tilt it 45 degrees–Dad

    Comment by austinminiman — June 21, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

  2. Please, please, PLEASE be sure to get it on video, whichever way you try to tilt it. :-O

    Comment by James NomadRip — June 22, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  3. I live in a historic district, and homes are moved here to fill in the empty lots all the time. The power and cable companies travel along with you, dropping and reattaching cable, power and phone lines as you go. So I would check to see how much an ex-tall moving permit would cost before you risk the structural integrity of the building by tipping it.

    Comment by tea — June 25, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    • Having spent 18+ years building high-end houses, and teaching construction technology for 6 years, I have to commend Ted, Hyatt, and the guys for their initiative in this project. However, this ‘house’ has NO structural integrity because of the improper techniques used in building a home. I would also bet that there is no way this home could pass the building codes for Dare Co. and would NOT be considered livable. We must be careful not to start having students thinking they are doing more than they actually are. As the saying goes, “don’t be fooled by cheap imitations.”

      Comment by Owen — July 16, 2009 @ 9:59 am

      • Hi Owen,

        Well thank you for the initial compliment, at least. However, past that, you do kind of miss the mark. First off, this blog was only intended to show the progress, and not any detailed insight into the techniques used. Because of this, you as a bystander don’t really know what techniques we used, and therefore it is rather foolish of you to make a judgment based upon essentially nothing. Whenever possible, we did follow code. The only times we had to deviate were in instances where the clearances required would have been limiting space wise. The house was built under the supervision of our teacher, who has worked in the building industry for many years, and it was also inspected by numerous people with experience. It will in the near future be inspected by the county(for this area) building inspector. However, he does know of the project and has seen the blog and many more photos and has deemed it acceptable given what he knows so far. However, despite this, if you’re familiar with the Dare County building code, which I must assume you are not given your comments, it is not required for a structure to be built to code, have a building permit, or be inspected if it is less than twelve feet in every horizontal direction. Our house is 8’x12′, if that helps in your analysis. While a hurricane hasn’t been through recently, the house has stood up to 45-50MPH winds with not damage, which I suppose implies it has slightly more than “no structural rigidity.” You’re correct, I suppose we shouldn’t “make students think they are doing more than they actually are.” However, I suppose we should also be careful to not criticize people, especially when you’re not knowledgeable about the topic, for the soul purpose of boosting your own ego.

        Comment by Ted — July 16, 2009 @ 10:27 am

      • Sir, I do believe that some of your comments may have been misconstrued by my building partner Ted. We are well aware of the fact that our house could in no way pass any form of code.

        However; the house was built very sturdily and I can assure you that it will hold up to the elements and use.

        I do not see that we are showing students that they are doing more than they actually are. In all honesty the project was laughed at by most.

        If it helps you should look at this in the same way we do, as a shed. As a shed, ergo no Dare County Codes, this structure was built as many sheds are in our area, cheaply and good enough to last a while.

        Thank you for your comment sir.

        Comment by High Yacht — July 16, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  4. Ouch…

    Comment by PIerre-Luc P. — July 16, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  5. It looks like you used scrap pieces of ply for an ext. sub-sheathing, which isn’t as strong as 4×8 sheets, but if you nailed the crap out of them the technique should be enough to provide the shear strength necessary to ’tilt’ or tip the house on to a trailer. However, you’ll need a boom truck, crane, or track hoe to do the tippin’ and raisin’-this house, tho small, is heavier than hell.

    Is there some sag in the lines you must drive under? If so, and there’s only one set of lines on the route, how about a long wooden stick, rubber gloves, and rubber soled shoes? Or, rent a low boy trailer and tractor. Otherwise, as posted above, the power/phone/cable companies will move wire for you. However, it won’t be free, and if you inquire you’ll see what an understatement that is.

    Good luck.

    Comment by powermatic — July 26, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  6. My first thought would be to try to get some axels and attache them directly to the trailer. but something like this (a car trailer) with smaller diameter tiers might work. Small diameter tires will mean you have to drive slowly, but for a one time move could be worth it.
    I have no experience with this and no idea if it would work, but I know tire diameter helps determine trailer height, and a car trailer often has a bed just slightly raised from the axles, so I’m guess its worth at least contemplating.
    Good luck, this has been an inspirational project to read about. 🙂

    Comment by Katrina — July 28, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  7. another idea use a fish house (ice house) trailer, they are made to ride higher for driving and then drop down on the ice, you could drop down for going under wires. I know people in MN frequently home build the drop down mechanism, I’m not sure of how it is done though.

    Comment by me — July 28, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

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This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.







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