Many people dream of leaving the rat race behind and living off grid in a tiny house.
While it is a nice idea, the process is still a lot of work. We look at how to build a tiny house from planning to completion.
Planning A Tiny House
The key to success in any project is planning and this is very true when it comes to building a tiny house.
Take the time to create a well researched plan including why you want to live in such a house as well as the problems you may encounter.
Set a budget and get some detailed construction plans drawn up. Decide on a location and talk to other tiny house owners.
Some of the components you will need include:
- Door and windows
Finally you may need the help of a qualified professional such as an electrician or a plumber.
Logistics & Access
This is the time to think about how to get your trailer onto your site and how you can remove it if you ever needed to.
Consider the size of the furniture and appliances you want to have in your tiny house and if they will fit through the front door.
Finally, order materials as and when you need them and have the appropriate tools to hand.
Building A Tiny House
An essential component of your tiny house is a trailer for it to sit on and which makes it mobile.
All of the construction will be done on top of the trailer chassis, so this will depend on the size you want your house to be.
Perhaps the most important part of siting your trailer is the base it will sit on.
It is worth laying down a level concrete base so that your tiny house can be rolled straight on to it and leveled up on jacks.
On top of the trailer chassis you will place your subfloor along with insulation and a vapor barrier.
All necessary rough plumbing and electrical work should be installed at this point.
Frame The Walls
Next you will build the frames of the walls, the window frames and fit the sheet rock(see also: What Is Alabaster?).
Make sure the walls are square and plumb and raise them one at a time cross bracing them to make sure they don’t move.
At this point you may want to install larger elements such as the shower stall which may not fit afterwards.
Now you need to sheath the frame with a suitable material, plywood or OSB board.
This gives strength to the walls and roof, provides a base for the siding and adds another layer of protection to the structure.
Choose a loft design and install the framework of the loft area. Use OSB or plywood for sheathing this area.
Window & Door Openings
Now cut the window and door openings into the wall sheathing. It is also the right time to wrap your tiny house in a waterproof barrier to insulate the interior against rain, and moisture.
Roof Framing & Sheathing
Create the roof frame but ensure that it stays under 13 ½ feet if it is a mobile tiny house, or you may encounter clearance issues.
Fit the roof sheathing, OSB or plywood and install headers for any skylights you may want.
You can now add the door frame and fit the door. Test it after installation to make sure it works and fit your locks and other hardware.
At this point you can install the siding, painting it on both sides. There are various sidings to choose from, metal, wood or engineered wood.
Tape the house wrap at the seams and fit furring pieces. Fit the siding and any outside trim.
Fit the roofing according to the manufacturer’s instructions and the gutters, a reflection barrier and a water and ice shield.
Metal roofing is the best choice for a tiny home roof, it is energy efficient and lasts a long time.
Plumbing, Electrical & Gas Lines
For the plumbing, electrical and gas lines you should consider hiring a professional installer as these services are not appropriate for DIY installations. You will also need to plan out the drainage and any heating system.
Now you can add your insulation and foam any edges. You should also install a vapor barrier of 6 millimeter thickness.
Install Major Appliances
Any major appliances that you want to install should be fitted at this point. This could include a water heater, a fridge, and whatever heating system you wish to install.
Depending on the kind of flooring you are going to fit you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation or hire someone to install it for you. Cover it with a protective layer while you finish the rest of the work.
You can now install the wall panels and trim around any lights or edges.
Plan your kitchen for storage and layout of appliances. Make a rough frame for the countertops and cabinets.
Install your countertop and drop in your sink and stove top, connecting them both. Build in shelves and fit cabinet doors.
Plan the locations of your bathroom fittings as well as finishing your shower stall and connecting the toilet.
Finish the bathroom walls and build your bathroom storage. Install a vent for air exchange.
To finish off the sleeping loft, wire in any lights and electrical outlets. Build in any additional storage.
In the main room or living space finish wiring in any lights and electrical outlets. Build any necessary storage.
While there are many stages to building a tiny house it is a manageable process with the right planning. There are many resources available to help you.
For some installations such as gas and electric you should use the services of a qualified professional.
We hope you have found our guide on how to build a tiny house helpful.
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