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DIY TINY HOUSE: HOW TO BUILD A TINY HOUSE FROM SCRATCH

Building a tiny house from scratch

Sometimes you have to build a tiny house from the ground in order to get the at-home creature comfort that best suits your preference. However, you need to have the knowledge of how to build a tiny house if you are to make it a success. For this reason, most people seek the help of a tiny house builder to do the hard work. Alternatively, you can DIY tiny house from scratch by reading guides on how to build a tiny house. In this article, we are going to have an insight on how to DIY tiny house without facing any problem whatsoever.

DIY TINY HOUSE BUILDING CHECKLIST

Any person who wants to build a tiny house must start with the planning and brainstorming. This is because it is the most important factor, which will determine the type of tiny house that you will build. There are so many things that you need to consider when planning to build a tiny house. They include:

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FIND A PLACE TO BUILD YOUR TINY HOUSE

After having taken the decision to go tiny, the second most important step in your tiny house journey is to find land. I own a facebook group with a lot of followers and the most prominent problem that people face when going tiny is finding a place to build and put your tiny house. Building a tiny house tends to be very easy especially if you have a piece of land. This is regardless of whether the piece of land is in your backyard or at the edge of a property. People who do not have a piece of land can opt for a tiny house on wheels or trailer. With your tiny house on a trailer, you will not need land to set up the foundation.

PURCHASE TINY HOUSE PLANS

Drafting a tiny house-building plan can sometimes be very hard especially if you have no idea on what you need. For this reason, most people will buy a tiny house plan. With your tiny house plan, you can have an insight on what to expect as soon as the construction is complete. Make sure that you follow the tiny house plan to the letter if you are to build a tiny house without any issues.

Myth Buster: You need a tiny house permit if you are going to build a tiny house and plan to use it as a residential unit. The Tiny House plans needs to be approved by the planning department of your town/county.

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CREATE AND DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET

Building your own tiny house from scratch can be very expensive for some people. Most of them will have to stop the construction at one point as they lack the finances. To avoid this embarrassment, you will have to create and determine your budget and plan finances properly. To give you an estimate a good looking tiny house (28′) with sturdy construction should cost you about $27,000 – $35,000. If you plan to buy a tiny house, keep this figure in mind. I’ve come across a lot of scam artists trying to sell a tiny house for a price of $80,000 – $1,20,000. I’d always recommend to put in a little hard work and either DIY tiny house or hire a builder to do it.

ADDRESS ALL BARRIERS TO BUILDING A TINY HOUSE

To build a tiny house, you will have to look into all the barriers that people face.  Let me list them out for you:

  • Deciding to go tiny or not
  • Parking and Land owning issues
  • Choosing the Right toilet Issues
  • Fixing the bathroom
  • Finding the right plan for your tiny house
  • Trailer size and weight related issues
  • Finding the right builder or DIY it
  • Whether or not using a tiny house shell
  • Choosing the right insulation for your tiny home
  • Electricity in your tiny house
  • How to make your tiny house stand out from the crowd

With this information, it becomes easy to find the necessary solutions before starting the construction. Most people can rely on facebook groups, google search and blogs like this and others.

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EXAMINE ALL THE MAJOR FEATURES YOU WILL NEED IN YOUR TINY HOUSE

People have different tastes and preferences when it comes to owning a tiny house. For this reason, you will have to determine the features that you want in your tiny house. Like if you are a family of 4, you need to have 2 rooms and a kitchen and some play area for your kid. If you’re a senior citizen you cannot have a bed on the loft since it’ll be difficult for elderly people to go on and off the stairs with ease, for that you’ll need a tiny house plan with bed on the first floor itself.

Like wise, know your requirement jot it down on a piece of paper and look for the right plans that suit your need. In Most cases people are unable to find what they need, and hence they hire an architect to do it for them. I’m an architect myself and my clients say my fee is very modest. Have a look here

SOURCING TINY HOUSE COMPONENTS

The next thing that should come to your mind after getting the information you need is tiny house components. Getting these components is very easy since you can buy them from stores or even seek help from your friends or relatives. Some of the tiny house components that you may need include:

  • Trailer
  • Basic tools such as drill bits, jigsaw, clamps and Skill Miter saw just to mention but a few.
  • Windows, Doors, and fixtures
  • Lumber
  • Professional who can offer help when raising the roof

With all the above components in place, it becomes easy to start your tiny house building process. Below is a step-by-step explanation on how to DIY tiny house.

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STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING TINY HOUSE

To build a tiny house there are primarily 11 steps involved which can be further broken down into many number of steps.

STEP 1

BUILDING THE FOUNDATION OR OBTAINING THE TRAILER

The foundation is what determines how strong your tiny house will be after finishing the construction. For this reason, you will have to set up a strong foundation for your tiny house. If you are building a THOF (Tiny House On Foundation), then you will have to frame your floor.  To make the tiny house stronger, you can use corner braces on the floor. Most of these corner braces are used in the hurricane-prone area hence they will offer maximum protection.

If you want a THOW (Tiny House On Wheels), then you’ll be using the trailer as your foundation. To make the trailer stronger, you should reinforce the joints or any other weak point that may cause problems. After securing your floor foundation, you should sheath the lumber with an Oriented- Strand- Board (OSB) or plywood. Remember to add insulation and a vapor barrier to protect your tiny house against water.

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STEP 2

FRAMING THE WALLS

Once the tiny house foundation is in place, you should start giving your tiny home a shape as shown in the plan. To make this a success, you must raise the walls and shape it according to the plan. With a strong wall, you will never have to worry about the tiny house falling over especially if it is on wheels. To keep the walls intact, you can decide to use metal bracing. Most people might think that the metal bracing will give your tiny house a bad view. However, this is quite the opposite since they will be hidden from view by the interior wall as soon as the tiny house is complete. You can also decide to sheath the walls with OSB or sheath once it is in place.

If you are planning to make a tiny house on wheels, you should secure the framing to your trailer using anchors. This will make it easy for you to drive around in your tiny house on wheels without worrying about accidents.

STEP 3

SHEATHING YOUR TINY HOME

Sheathing your tiny house is very important if you want to build the best tiny home. To carry out this action, you should first measure and put a layout in place.  After doing it successfully, cut the pieces while at the same time allowing an expansion gap between the sheets of plywood. To make the sheaths strong, ensure that you use a few nails. You must put the nails on the edges of panels and studs. Finally, anchor the plywood to the foundation once you raise the walls.

STEP 4

FRAMING THE ROOF AND FIXING THE ROOFING MATERIAL

With the walls in place, you should now focus on framing the roof and fixing the roofing material. Fixing the roof can be very stressful especially if you do not have a person who can offer a helping hand. However, you can decide to use a simple roofing design if you want to avoid the hassle that comes when making your roof.

When working on the roof, you should first consider starting with the roof frame. The roofing frame should be put in such a way that it gives your tiny house a good appearance. If you are to get a longer lasting roof, then you should consider using a standing seam metal as your roofing frame. Once the frames are ready, you can add the sheath. You will also have to include the roofing material if you are to protect your tiny house from rain.

STEP 5

WRAP UP YOUR TINY HOUSE

Wrapping up your tiny house is the next thing that you should do after fixing the roof and roofing material. Remember, you must use a house wrap if you are to carry out the wrapping successfully. This is because it is the best material that can add protection to your house. Apart from this, a house wrap releases moisture while at the same time keeping the interiors dry. Through this action, your house will be able to withstand any weather condition especially if you own a tiny house on wheels.

STEP 6

FIXING THE DOORS AND WINDOWS

The doors and windows are an important addition to your tiny house. You should, therefore, consider the measurements for your windows and doors when you build a tiny house. With the correct measurements, you will never have to worry about fresh air and lighting.  Sometimes you may have to seek the help of a professional when installing the windows and doors. By doing so, you will never encounter any problems with your doors and windows once they are set up. The good thing about seeking the help of a professional is that you will never have issues with your doors or windows. Furthermore. The doors and windows will serve their aesthetic purposes just the way you want.

STEP 7

TRIMMING, CUDDLING AND PAINTING THE EXTERIOR

You should now concentrate on the final touches since your tiny home is almost complete. Remember, the final touches determine how your tiny home will appear on the eyes of others. For this reason, you must make use of the best final touches while building your tiny house.  While doing the final touch, you must fix any crack or gap that you made when building your tiny home. To save on costs, you can decide to use the pre-finished materials to fix the cracks and gaps.

When it comes to painting, you must choose the best color that fits your preference and taste. You can make use of a painter to do the hard work or simply seek help from your friends. By doing so, you will be able to complete the painting within the shortest time possible. Furthermore, you will not make any changes to the paint especially if a professional did the painting.

STEP 8

PLUMBING AND ROUGH-IN ELECTRICITY

With your tiny house almost ready, you will have to concentrate on the plumbing and electricity system. This is usually a very slow process since there is no room for making a mistake. It is for this reason that you are to seek the help of an expert if you know nothing about the plumbing system. Most people may use plastic plumbing to make their plumbing system. Alternatively, you can opt for classic copper plumbing systems if you are not running on a low budget. With a good plumbing system, you will never encounter floods because of having broken pipes.

When it comes to the electrical system, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of a professional. This is because installing the electric system can sometimes be very difficult when you lack knowledge. By seeking the help of an expert, you will avoid electrocution that occurs when you have a poor electrical system.

STEP 9

INSULATION

You should never forget the insulation when you decide to DIY a tiny house.  For the best results, you can make use of a foam board insulation. Alternatively, you can also purchase a low-VOC insulation panel, if you wish to have a healthier interior air quality.

STEP 10

INTERIOR SHEATHING

Once your plumbing and electrical system are in place, you can focus on sheathing the interior of your tiny house. Most people may prefer using wood to make the interior wall when they DIY or build a tiny house.  However, you can use drywall since it is cheaper while at the same time guaranteeing maximum protection.

STEP 11

FLOORING

The final step of building a tiny house involves flooring.  This step requires you to cover the subfloor with any material that you may find appropriate. You may use materials like tiles, vinyl or even wood.  Alternatively, you can decide to buy pre-finished wooden floors, as they are more durable and strong. Your DIY tiny house is now ready for use once you finish working on the floor.

CONCLUSION

Learning how to DIY Tiny House is not as hard as most people may think. All you have to do is follow the step-by-step guide and you are good to go. Remember, you must seek the help of experts or professionals while building the delicate parts of your tiny house.  By doing so, you will avoid the stress that comes with having poorly fixed parts like the plumbing system. Furthermore, you will save on costs since you will build a tiny house according to plan.

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