Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recycling An Old Travel Trailer Into A Micro Home by Walt Barrett

  I have to start off this piece by telling you that I am a huge fan of the Tiny House Blog that my very good friend Kent Griswold publishes on the Internet.  If you have never read it - you should.  The Tiny House Blog
   Housing has always been a major concern of mine because My family started off very, very poor and and I started off in life by living in what many would describe as a tar paper covered shack.
That was indeed the derogatory term commonly used in the 1930's.
You don't ever forget that and the experience still drives me to this day to survive no matter what!
   So anyway, I'm an avid reader of the tiny house blog and I keep seeing these articles about enterprising people who are purchasing older aluminum travel trailers and rehabbing them.  Now I'm a born businessman and had my own business by the time I was twelve so I know an opportunity to make money when I see one.  Well the latest article really set me off because I have been thinking all along that there are plenty of people who cannot afford the prices that are being asked for a micro home built on a used trailer frame.  So now I'm thinking about used travel trailers and I turned to the poor man's on line catalog and set up a search.  Well, the day I did the research there were older used aluminum travel trailers on there ranging from $450.00 needing a floor to $5,000.00 in very good condition.  I have been designing and inventing products for fifty years and I'm thinking to my self that there is no way I would ever pay $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 for a wooden shed that was built on a trailer frame!  If a person is handy they can replace a rotted floor in their spare time in a couple of days and in a couple of days they can repair and paint worn cabinets and interior wall panels.  Sinks, toilets and shower stall can be replaced if needed and as necessary. 
When you replace the rotted floor try to put some good quality solid foam insulation under it and be sure to use treated plywood for the flooring.  The exterior can be washed, masked off and rolled with exterior paint.  Even if each one of these projects takes three days each you are not talking that much labor.  
   The trick is to put the unit back in good condition and to make it look fresh and as new as possible.  There is nothing wrong with recycling.
I estimate that if you are a neat worker and a steady worker that you can easily double your money on one of these used travel trailer units, or you can park it and rent it or live in it yourself.  If you do the latter don't bother spending a lot of money on new tires, but if you are going to use it on the road you should pull the wheels, Check the brakes if there are any, inspect and repack the wheel bearings, and replace the tires.  If the tires are tubeless you should recondition  the rims and replace the valve stems and get a spare tire.  Then you can sell it, rent it or live in it.  It's a win - win situation either way.
Happy Trailering!