How to build a tiny house

Written by david mcguffin
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How to build a tiny house
Cut your living expenses by building a tiny house. (Match small house image by Arnybob from Fotolia.com)

Tiny houses, which are both economical and environmentally friendly, consist of portable, only-the-basics living spaces. They provide places for sleeping, cooking, bathing and storage. With a tiny house, you can avoid expensive rental payments and cut down on buying luxury items.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Lumber
  • Electrical wiring
  • Deep-cycle batteries
  • Windows
  • Hammer
  • Panelling or drywall
  • Skill saw
  • Nails
  • Insulation
  • Mini-furnace
  • Mini-fridge
  • Kitchen sink
  • Paint and brush
  • Tyvec

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Design your house. Decide on whether you want your house to stay in one place or whether you want it small enough so that it is constructed on a trailer, limiting it roughly to the size of a 10 by 10 feet. If you have other facilities available, such as bathing and storage, that may affect whether or not you want to include a shower in your tiny house or how much storage space you will need. If you have a list of all of the essential items that you plan on storing in your tiny house, that will help to determine the size of the house and how you want to store your items.

    Generally, a tiny house has a loft bedroom, small living room, front porch, kitchen and bathroom with shower. Other design options can include building floors, walls and roof made out of shipping pallets.

  2. 2

    Assemble your materials. You may want to look at old Volkswagen Vannagan parts as you search for peddle-pump sinks, refrigerators or burners. Because you will be operating on your own power source, you may want to consider designing a deep-cycle battery hub where you can draw on power from the batteries, which can be recharged by an electrical socket from another power source or even connected to and wind power systems. You will also need a portable septic system, comparable to a smaller version of those used by recreational vehicles.

  3. 3

    Assemble the frame of the tiny house. If your tiny house is being built on a trailer, that will serve as your foundation. If you are building on the ground and do not plan on moving your tiny house, be sure that you have some sort of foundation worked out, whether you want to use breeze blocks or actually dig some footers for your house. Most tiny houses will be OK resting on breeze blocks because there will not be much weight to cause the ground to shift or collapse. Be sure to wrap your tiny house in Tyvec or other similar vapour barrier to protect from mould growth.

  4. 4

    Install the electrical and plumbing. Make sure that you still meet safety codes, although you will probably not have to get an inspection because the house is so small. You may still want to hire professionals to wire the house so that it does not short out or burn down.

  5. 5

    Put the roof on your tiny house with shingles. Construct the interior of your tiny house. Because the space inside is so small, it may be best to assemble as much of the interior outside and then take it inside and nail it to the frame. Start with building the loft area so that you do not have to carry in the bed frame and closet space for the loft after the living room space is already installed.

  6. 6

    Put insulation in the walls and floor so that your house can stay warm. Depending on your climate, you may also want to install a small burner that runs on propane or a small wood-burning stove.

  7. 7

    Put the finishing touches on your tiny house. Make sure that your sink and plumbing works. Paint your house and move in.

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