How To Level A Tiny House: Best Practices

How To Level A Tiny House: Best Practices

leveling a tiny house

NAVIGATION

Figuring out how to level a tiny house was an important step in my own journey to tiny living. I had to consider whether to set my tiny home on blocks and which supports would work best. I learned a few things along the way and found a secure, solid, and level solution.

Tiny homes on wheels are typically meant to be mobile, so if you’re settling somewhere, consider my tips as overall best practices.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

After I figured out how to level a tiny house, I used jack stands, but it wasn’t as sturdy as I’d like. I could feel my tiny house flex a bit when I walked in it. Now that I have it on blocks, it’s supported all around and feels very solid.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How To Level A Tiny House

How To Level A Tiny House

Once I learned how to level a tiny house after finding the proper support, equipment, and location, the process took me about an hour and a half.

When finished, I had successfully eliminated the dreaded tilt and shake to enjoy a level and secure foundation.

I’ll share with you the steps, equipment needed, and lessons learned during the process, but it’s also important to take precautions, be safe, and set yourself up for success from the outset.

tumbleweed tiny house on wheels

A tiny house is a very heavy thing; mine is around 6,500 lbs. Having your tiny house mounted on jack stands is very important for a number of reasons.

Why Mount Your Tiny House On Jack Stands

  1. You can more easily level your trailer to make building things square and plumb
  2. You can avoid tire shock from your trailer wheels resting in one spot
  3. Walking in your house will be more stable
  4. You can remove your wheels from the hubs to dissuade theft

⚠ WARNING!!! ⚠

Lifting a tiny house is dangerous and can cause major injury or death if it falls off the jack stands. I recommend taking precautions and contacting a professional contractor in your area for help.

tiny house basics

How To Level A Tiny House: Materials Needed

Materials Needed To Level A Tiny House

Looks can be deceiving. Ground that appears level to the naked eye might not be as level as you think once you get your tiny house situated. One side might be tilted, or your tiny house might be unsteady overall. The first step I recommend is to decide which direction you want your tiny house to face and then make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment to level it properly.

how long does it take to build a tiny house

Choose Bubble Levels For Leveling A Tiny House

Modern cross-line laser levels are all the rage, but they lose visibility on sunny days and take more time to set up. Sometimes, simple is best. The traditional bubble level is my favorite when learning how to level a tiny house because it’s easier to use outside, lasts longer, and is consistently accurate.

tiny house design ideas

A Hydraulic SUV Jack For Leveling Jobs

I found that scissor jacks weren’t the best for stabilization as they only went up and came down at one angle. If the ground is unlevel, you’ll put too much stress on the jack. This can cause it to bend, break, or slip out from underneath your house.

I use a bottle hydraulic SUV jack. It’s easy to transport, stable, and efficient. Once I raise my house to a level place, I want to keep it there with reliable jack stands for superior support.

⚠ WARNING!!! ⚠

For safety, be sure to check the weight rating of any jacks you use on your tiny house.

Why It’s Important To Level A Tiny House

Why Its Important To Level A Tiny House

When learning how to level a tiny house, it’s important to understand why you should do this step in the first place.

When my tiny house was unlevel, the doors and kitchen cupboards swung open all the time. While using my countertop as a workspace, nails and building materials rolled and fell onto the floor.

Consider the structure of your tiny home. Mine’s on a trailer, which is spring-loaded and weighs 6,500 lbs. After considering my options, I chose to level my home with jack stands, and below, I’ll get into some of the reasons why.

jack stand tiny house

How To Level A Tiny House For Stability

No one enjoys living in a house that bounces and shakes. Putting your tiny house on jacks the right way allows you to more easily level your trailer to make building things square and plumb. Walking and generally moving around in your house will also be more stable.

tiny house books

How Leveling a Tiny House Helps Preserve Wheels

I didn’t want tire shock. This happens when your trailer sits on the wheels, and the tires stay in one spot. Instead, when you level a tiny house, remove the tires, and they’ll last longer. You can preserve the wheels by only using them when you move your home. As I mentioned above, removing the wheels has the added benefit of dissuading theft.

are tiny houses safe

How To Level A Tiny House: Establishing The Foundation

Establishing A Tiny House Foundation

Initially, I had put my tiny house on jack stands that sat on a gravel bed under a paver and leveled with sand. This didn’t go well. The pavers kept cracking, and I had to replace them several times. I thought about using wood, but I worried that even treated wood would eventually degrade, mold, and rot.

jack stands under tiny houseThe picture here shows the cracked pavers underneath the wood. I added that wood as a stopgap while I came up with plan B. Even the board started cracking. I upgraded the foundation and put in cement footings so I could quickly move the jack stands.

If I were to do it all over again, I would have learned how to level a tiny house the right way from the beginning and installed a concrete slab with self-leveling concrete. Then, I’d have built some drain lines into the slab. It’s a simple affair to roll the house onto it, then set all my jack stands to the same setting, and it is instantly level.

I only put footing in the spots I wanted to set the jack stands. With just a quick hole in each corner, plus some high pounds per square inch (PSI) Quikrete, I had my footings. I let the footing sit for a while to cure and harden up, then carefully jacked up the house.

On the rear of the trailer, I added cement footings to gain more elevation because there is a slight slope to the ground. So the front of the trailer (the back of the house) is just on jack stands, but the rear is on blocks. The footings were about $7 and gave me an additional 8 inches of height.

tiny house tools

How To Level A Tiny House: Lessons Learned

The picture above shows that under the footing block, I filled the hole with high PSI Quikrete. Getting your jack under the tiny house is hard work, requiring serious elbow grease and forethought.

I don’t like lifting the house alone because I’m afraid that if something were to happen, my arm would be trapped. I’d pass out from shock or be unable to reach my phone for help. It stresses me out. I recommend you look at your options and consider getting professional assistance.

Since my house weighs 6,500 lbs, if a stand tips or a support plate slips, there is nothing I can do other than get out of the way and watch it fall. Therefore, it’s important that I take the time to install a secure foundation underneath my jack stands. Make sure your stands are perfectly level and sitting on a sound base while learning how to level a tiny house.

tiny house building checklist

Your Turn!

  • Do you prefer a trolley or bottle hydraulic jack, and why?
  • How often do you rotate the wheels and tires on your tiny home?

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