How to Build a Tiny House
The tiny house movement is sweeping the nation for a reason – bigger is not always better. That’s why we’re teaching you how to build a tiny house that’s suited for your family. We’ll take you through all the steps necessary to build the tiny house of your dreams. Check out the plans below and learn how to build a tiny house that’s custom tailored to you.
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1. Planning and designing your tiny house
Planning and designing the build of your house is a major step you should not overlook. Keep the design simple especially if you’re on a budget or have limited experience. Avoid complexities as these can add hours of labor and hundreds of dollars in material. Lastly, make sure your house is right for you.
2. Find a place to build your tiny house
If you choose to build on a trailer, there is no need to own a piece of land. Choose a trailer that is stout and sturdy. Tiny houses are heavier than normal travel trailers because there are more amenities included inside. The most common type of trailer used is a simple dual-axle flatbed trailer with trailer breaks.
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 its foundation, making sure to build in strength to potential weak areas and reinforce the joints. A mobile house is especially susceptible to a lot of different forces while going down the road, so be sure your house can take it.
Once the floor has been secured, sheath the lumber with plywood or OSB (oriented-strand-board). Both plywood and OSB are extremely durable, but OSB typically costs a little less.
4. Framing the walls
This is the step where the house takes shape. You can use metal bracing to keep the walls together. This metal bracing is not visible when the house is complete but works inside the walls to keep everything in place. Sheath the walls with plywood or OSB.
5. Framing the roof and installing the roof material
Once the walls are up you’ll be ready to put the roof up. Roofing can be a bit tricky. If you you’re new to construction or want want to get your things done quickly, a simple roof design will work out best for you.
Once the roof is framed and sheathed, put on the roofing material that will keep the rain out. Using standing seam metal roofing is highly recommended because it lasts a long time. Take note that the steeper and more complex your roof the harder it will be to install.
6. Wrapping up your tiny house
A house wrap is a breathable material that keeps the walls dry and protected from the elements while allowing moisture to escape. This will help your tiny house withstand the weather beatings.
7. Installing the windows and doors
The trick with installing windows and doors is that you must get them perfectly level and square. This is extremely important for a tiny house because it will increase the longevity and function of the doors and windows. Having someone to help you install the windows and doors will make the job easier.
8. Exterior cladding, trim, paint, caulk
You can opt to sheath the exterior of your tiny house with a paintable (or pre-finished) material that doubles as cladding, so adding another layer of cladding/siding is not always needed.
9. Rough in plumbing
To rough-in the plumbing simply means that you are putting drain and supply pipes in the walls and floor. You’ll also be adding your water heater at this point. You can choose between using plastic plumbing or the classic copper plumbing. The latter costs cheaper but is harder to work with.
Do not add the faucets and other fixture yet. Instead, pressure test your water lines before continuing to make sure there aren’t any leaks before sealing up the walls.
10. Rough-in electricity
Rouging-in electric wiring is simply running wire through small holes drilled in the framed walls. You connect the wires inside junction, outlet, and switch boxes in the walls. Make sure to do this step right because sparks from improperly installed wiring can cause fires.
There are many ways to insulate your tiny house and there is no one single way to do it. When choosing the insulation material, opt for low-VOC (volatile organic compound) board because it will keep the interior air quality of the house healthier.
The main purpose of insulation is to stop the radiant heat and air leaks. Expanding spray foam and plastic sheeting can help fill all the tiny cracks and crevices.
12. Interior sheathing
Now that the walls are insulated and all the rough-plumbing and rough-wiring is complete, it’s time to seal up the walls. Most people use wood to build the interior of their tiny house but you can also choose drywall. It costs cheaper and provides an additional fire protection.
13. Interior trim, installing built-ins and painting your tiny house
This phase involves slow careful work and can take a bit of time. If you don’t have a lot of experience with carpentry you may want to find a friend of pro who can help.
Once the final wood work is complete, apply the final finishes, like paint, stains, and sealers to your walls and wood surfaces.
14. Finish the electric and plumbing connections
Install the electrical and plumbing. Make sure that you still meet safety codes even though you will probably not have to get an inspection for your small house.
15. Finish flooring
The last and final step is to cover that plywood subfloor with a real flooring material. Pre-finished wood floors install quickly and it’s affordable.
That’s all, fellow homesteaders! Did you enjoy our how to build a tiny house tutorial? Let us know in the comments section below what troubles you had or what you did differently when building your own tiny house. Do you have a tiny house project that’s a staple on your homestead? Share it with us and we’ll give it a shot. We love doing DIY homesteading projects and becoming more self-reliant by learning more about how everything works around the homestead. That’s why Homesteading was created. We want all folks looking to lead a self-sufficient life, either on a homestead or in an urban environment, to come together and learn from each other! Of course, we welcome your help in creating a community of homesteaders. Come and share your homesteading tips and ideas, recipes and expect the best advice on self-reliance and homesteading trials from our team of long-time homesteaders, self-reliant wilderness, and preparedness experts. Want to write for Homesteading? Shoot us an e mail and make sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
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