We recently posted an article on the tiny house movement, and I wanted to elaborate a bit more on what it takes to actually build yourself a tiny house.
This is one of the biggest appeals of tiny houses, of course, that the initial building materials can be cheap, the construction easy. Many people are able to do it themselves, even if they don’t have a whole lot of construction experience. You can use foraged, repurposed, or discounted materials, and make it your own. All these factors contribute significantly to reducing the overall cost of a tiny home, so it’s a great option for homesteaders, so you can put your funds into other homestead efforts.
Where to build?
The first step is, of course, finding a place to build your tiny house! Most people either do so on small lots in cities or suburbs or buy their own land in the country. If you would like to build a tiny house on your homestead, and your ultimate goal has more to do with living off the land than building your dream home, buy land that suits these needs. Another great appeal of a tiny house is that even on an acre or so, with a smaller house, you’ll have more room for farming and raising animals.
Zoning and coding
Next step will be checking your local law. If you are buying land that doesn’t already have a house on it, you’ll have to make sure the land itself can legally have a residence built on it.
Secondly, you need to make sure the structure you build will be in compliance with local building codes. You can get huge fines if this is not the case. These will dictate not only the size and height of the structure but also sometimes who does the work. So, for example, you might be able to build the structure yourself, but will have to hire a certified electrician to wire it. It varies state to state and county to county, so find out what pertains to your area before you spend any money on building materials.
Once you know where you will be building, and your local building codes, it’s time to get planning! You can design your own, or look online for resources. In most cases, you will probably need a contractor involved with this state to some degree. They will need to sign off on your floor plan before you can begin construction.
You can hire a contractor to oversee the whole project or simply to help with the planning, it’s up to you (and what’s legal in your area).
When designing the floor plan, you will need to think about this very carefully. Since it’s a tiny home, you will need to use your space very efficiently.
At this stage, you will probably want to spend lots of time watching videos or reading articles about other tiny homes (fortunately these days there’s a lot of documentation of successful tiny homes since they’re very popular, so Pinterest and YouTube will have a wealth of resources for you).
Next step will be choosing your building materials. While you will probably be
wanting to go as low-budget as possible, quality is also of the utmost importance. This is a house, and you’ll want it to last. Always opt for quality over thrift, wherever you can.
If you are using reclaimed or repurposed materials (such as a building container, a very popular tiny house feature), make sure it is in good condition, of high quality, durable, and sturdy.
The building phase
When it comes to the actual building, you will probably want some helping hands, at the very least. Doing it all yourself isn’t impossible, but it will be much easier with help. It is no small feat to build a house, even a tiny one!
If you are only a novice when it comes to construction, you will probably want to seriously consider hiring some help. There are many options out there for companies you can hire who will help to some degree. You can still be very involved in the building yourself, but some professional help can really go a long way.
There are construction companies who would be happy to help with building a small home, as well as those whose specialty is tiny homes. Check your local listings to see what’s available in your area, or, even better, ask friends and family for referrals.
A great option would be to find a local homesteading or tiny house group on Facebook and ask around. If you are going to hire someone to help with construction, nothing is worth more than a personal recommendation with plenty of references and examples of their work you can see yourself. Interview and compare a few different contractors or companies if you’re able since it’s a pretty big decision.
Whether you build your tiny home yourself or hire someone to help out, it will certainly be a great experience! There’s nothing quite like the reward of building your own home with your own hands.
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