Do it Yourself Living Quarters for Horse Trailers

By Angie Gentry

Buying a finished living quarters horse trailer isn't always a financially feasible option. If you have the technical skills to do the work yourself, you can make a plan to build your own living quarters and save some money.

Planning

Before you begin your living quarters project, draw a floor plan of your trailer or use one provided by the manufacturer. Take measurements and decide where you will put your cabinets, benches, tables, and other fixtures. Choose which fixtures you will include. You may, for instance, choose to avoid plumbing projects by finishing the space without a bathroom. Most campgrounds and equestrian centers have basic bathrooms; and you may not need a shower if you typically stay only one day.

Insulate

Cut sections of insulation to fit into the spaces between beams in your horse trailer. Select your insulation based on your climate. Insulation with an r-factor or 3.5 or so is suitable for most climates, unless you will be staying in the trailer during extremely cold weather. Fit the insulation into the space and secure it using glue or aluminum tape. Because these pieces are small, if you have some leftover insulation from a recent remodeling project, you can get by with that.

Stripping

Add 1" x 3" strips horizontally by securing them to the aluminum beams in the trailer. Place them about 14 inches apart. You will use these to attach your paneling. If you attach paneling directly to the aluminum beams, moisture can seep through the paneling and create condensation in your living quarters. Paneling can be purchased at your local home store or you can ask friends and family members if they have any they are planning to take down. If you're careful when removing it, you can save some more money.

Build Your Framework

Use 2"x2" boards to build frames for your cabinets, tables, benches, and closets. Keep in mind that you will be moving around a lot in your trailer so floor plan is very important. It's usually best to put a table, bench or counter top on the long wall of your trailer. Once you have your plan laid out, secure the boards with decking screws to keep everything is sturdy and will stand up to the bouncing and vibrations associated with travel.

Add Electrical and Plumbing

Unless you are highly skilled in these areas, it is usually best to outsource your electrical and plumbing work. If you decide to try this yourself, read extensively on the subject and be careful. Faulty electrical work can lead to fires and faulty plumbing can create leaks and ruin the interior you've worked so hard on. There is some work you can do on your own, though. Plan where you will need electrical outlets for your refrigerator, microwave, and other appliances. Also think about where light switches will be most practical. Installing a light switch in the nose of the trailer is a good way to ensure you don't have to climb out of bed in the dark.

Finish Up

Make the cabinet doors and attach them to your frames with self-closing hinges and magnetic closures. You can use pine boards from the lumber stores or refinish old wood for a rustic look. Adding magnetic closures keeps cupboard doors closed when the trailer is moving. Secure your paneling to the stripping and add trim to give it a finished look. Select your floor covering and put that in place. Vinyl tiles are a good choice because they are easy to clean and install. You can also add pictures, curtains, and other decor accessories to personalize your trailer's look.