With their low-cost lifestyle and easy construction, tiny homes have boomed in popularity in recent years. From TV shows to magazines, it seems the tiny house movement is everywhere.
Thing is, tiny homes have uses that go beyond living in them full-time.
Because tiny houses are light, easy-to-move, and affordable, people are buying them for all sorts of purposes. Backyard guest houses, in-law suites, home offices, affordable cottages, and even man-caves or she-sheds. A tiny home can perform many roles, and this made them an increasingly popular purchase beginning in the mid-2000’s.
Unfortunately, with the explosion in tiny-home popularity comes a problem…
What’s the right foundation for a tiny home?
Challenges of Tiny Home Foundations
The most common “foundation” for a tiny home is simply leaving it on a trailer. This is great if you’re buying a pre-built home and need to easily move it to a site. It’s not so convenient once it gets to the site and needs a more permanent place to sit.
Leaving a tiny home parked on wheels, only supported by jack stands, is not a good long-term foundation. The ground in Manitoba is too prone to movement to provide reliable support. Over time, your tiny home could sustain damage from the shifting ground.
The foundation becomes even more important if you’re building a tiny home on-site. Many tiny homes and structures are built on a pad-and-post foundation, because it’s a cheap and easy option.
Pad-and-post foundations, however, don’t solve the problem of shifting ground. Of all your foundation options, pad-and-post will be most prone to movement and damage from frost heave and shifting ground.
Ask around and you might hear about poured-concrete foundations, known as concrete piles. This is a common foundation, and when placed under a heavy, well-heated structure like a large family home they will perform well.
But! When placed under a light structure like a tiny home, concrete piles are not a solid choice. If there’s not enough weight pushing down on the concrete pile, it’s going to be pushed upwards by the immense force of Manitoba’s ground frost. This will lead to the same shifting and heaving problems that pad-and-post foundations experience.
So, if you’re looking to support a tiny home/structure, you need a foundation option that’s resistant to frost, easy to install, and won’t heave under a light structure.
Screw Piles: An Ideal Tiny Home Foundation
For structures like tiny homes, screw piles make an excellent foundation.
Screw piles are a foundation that’s been around since the 1800’s. Originally they were designed to support lighthouses and bridges in some of the worst conditions imaginable – think brutal coastal storms and pounding waves.
Looking at a screw pile, it’s easy to see how it got its name. It’s a seriously heavy-duty screw that anchors into the ground. Because of the unique design, and because of some engineering principles, a screw pile defends against frost heave more effectively when used under light structures.
What does this mean for a tiny home?
It means that a screw pile foundation is going to guard against foundation shifting and movement better than other foundations like concrete or pad-and-post.
That’s not the only benefit to screw pile foundations.
- Screw piles can be installed with compact equipment, like a skidsteer or mini-excavator, no excavation required. You don’t need to deal with messy cement mixers and piles of dirt.
- Screw piles can be installed with no impact to your landscaping
- Screw piles can be installed in a fraction of the time that cement foundations require. In most cases, a tiny home foundation can be installed and ready to use in just a few hours.
- Often, screw piles can be a more affordable option to cement foundations
- Screw piles are environmentally-friendly. If you ever move the structure, the screw piles can be turned out of the ground and reused or recycled.
Getting a Screw Pile Foundation
You might be thinking, “Okay, screw piles sound great. But what’s the process for getting them installed?”
Here’s how the process works at Postech Screw Piles:
- We chat with you about your project, and come up with a quote
- Once you approve the quote, we find an install date that works for you
- On install day, our friendly crew comes out and marks the pile locations, installs them, and finishes by laser-leveling them
- Your foundation is installed and ready to go!
Having a screw pile foundation installed for a tiny home is a beautifully simple process. In just 1 day, you can have a reliable foundation for your tiny home that will stand the test of time.
Are Screw Piles Right for You?
The big question: “Are screw piles right for me?”
Honest answer? It depends. There are certain cases in which a screw pile foundation might not be the right choice. However, our customers usually find that screw piles are an affordable way to support their tiny home or structure for decades to come.
If you want to know if screw piles are right for your project, we can help! Our friendly foundation experts are glad to give you a free foundation consult. We’ll help you figure out if screw piles are a good choice for your tiny home or structure.
Click here to get in touch and tell us about your project!