Find out how to build a tiny house, step-by-step, even with a tight budget! Don't worry if what you have is only a big dream to live small or minimalistic.
It can be overwhelming at first but you are not alone in your quest to be self-sufficient. We will take you through the necessary steps to build the tiny house of your dreams!
Learn How to Build a Tiny House on Your Own
Step 1: Planning and Designing Your Tiny House
Looking at tiny house plans and designs probably gives you an idea of how living small can be possible. This is where you get started with building a tiny home. You imagine it, consider your options, and start planning.
This is an important step that will help you avoid regrets and unnecessary expenses later on.
Step 2: Find a Place to Build Your Tiny House
If you have a piece of land ready, you can go on right ahead and build. Whether it's at the edge of a property or your backyard, it's a good place to start. If the lot is an issue, consider a tiny house on wheels.
This is why this tiny house building guide leans more toward a tiny house trailer design.
Step 3: Build the Floor
Use standard lumber to build your tiny house floor. If you're using a trailer, use it as your foundation. Secure your house to the foundation, reinforcing the joints, and probable weak points.
With your floor foundation secured, sheath the lumber with plywood or OSB (oriented-strand-board). They are both super sturdy but OSB will cost you less.
Step 4: Framing the Walls
The next step is to give your tiny home a shape or structure. You can use metal bracing to keep the walls together. Don't fret. The metal bracing will be hidden from view within the interior walling once the house is completed.
The braces will do their job from within the interiors of the wall. Sheath the walls with plywood or OSB.
Step 5: Framing the Roof & Installing the Roof Material
With the walls set up, roofing comes next. It can be a bit tricky if you want to get your things done fast and you're new to construction. A simple roof design will work out best for you.
Once the roof frame and sheath are done, put on the roofing material for keeping the rain out. Use standing seam metal for long-lasting roofing. Take note, it will be harder to install steeper and more complicated roofing.
Step 6: Wrapping up Your Tiny House
Next up is to wrap the tiny house with a house wrap. It is a breathable material used as added protection for the house. It allows moisture to be released while keeping the interiors dry and protected from weather elements.
This will help your tiny house withstand the weather beatings.
Step 7: Installing the Windows & Doors
The trick with installing doors and windows is in the measurements. Get them to be flawlessly square and level. This is important in tiny homes not only for aesthetic purposes but for the doors and windows to last.
This time, you may enlist the help of professionals to get the job done perfectly.
Step 8: Cladding, Trimming, Painting, & Caulking Exterior
You're almost done and these finishing touches to the exterior are just as important as the other steps. These steps are important for an overall flawless finish.
Seal cracks and gaps with caulking and you may use pre-finished materials to sheath the house. This way, you won't have to add another layer of siding or cladding.
Step 9: Plumbing
This is the slow and meticulous part. There is no room for mistakes here and it can be tricky. You also need to enlist the help of experts here. Plastic plumbing is recommended but you may opt for the classic copper plumbing.
The latter costs cheaper but is harder to work with.
Step 10: Rough-in Electricity
The electrical connection is also a complicated part that needs some expert advice. If you're a beginner in construction, you need expert advice to avoid the risk of mistakes. You cannot risks fire and electrocution.
Step 11: Insulation
For your tiny home, use foam board insulation. It is best to use low-VOC for healthier interior air quality. Make sure to fill every tiny nook and cranny with plastic sheeting and spray foam.
Step 12: Interior Sheathing
With plumbing, electricity, and insulation in place, now comes walling. Most people use wood for their tiny house interior but you can also choose drywall. It costs cheaper and provides added protection from fire.
Step 13: Interior Stain and Painting
Here comes the exciting part. You can definitely do the interior painting on your own as you only risk paint spillage or worse, a color you hate. Make sure you have a pretty good idea and a whole lot of practice to perfect the job.
Step 14: Finish Electrical & Plumbing Connections
Install the electrical and plumbing connections. Make sure that you still meet safety codes even though you will probably not have to get an inspection for your small house.
Step 15: Flooring
We now come to the final part which is flooring! This is to cover the subfloor with any materials ranging from wood, vinyl, or tiles. Pre-finished wooden floors come highly recommended.
You are now ready to furnish your tiny home as you see fit and move in!
Watch this video by Living Big In A Tiny House for a zen-inspired tiny house idea:
Learning how to build a tiny house isn't at all difficult. It's a bit tricky but definitely doable. Learning to live in a tiny home though, will take a bit of getting used to.
Try to think about the energy you're saving and the simplicity and beauty of it. You'll learn to love it as you move along!
Did this article on how to build a tiny house got you planning to build one on your own? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in September 2020, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.