Tiny houses are all the rage because millennials and retirees seek profitability over safety. Mobility and cost savings are two major advantages that motivate small home builders to downsize. However, with no prior construction experience, many enthusiasts end up learning the trade as they go. Do proper research before starting your project and keep these key tips in mind.
1. Start with a quality trailer.
Many college students and other young people are looking for the cheapest possible housing solution, but it is important to start with a trailer in good condition. People sometimes start with a used RV chassis, even cleaning the original frame themselves. The danger with this approach is that rust stains and wear and tear can become long-term problems. Used trailers may seem like a bargain, too, but it’s difficult for a hobbyist to guess trailer mileage or identify signs of wear and tear. Areas weakened by rust can be filled with putty and painted, leaving the impression of a stable structure. DIY small home builders should invest money in a new trailer to have a reliable foundation for their project.
2. Reconsider traditional materials and methods.
Many of the traditional materials and methods used by conventional home builders would be inappropriate for a small home. Most residences now use drywall for interior walls, but the material is a terrible idea for a home that could be hauled hundreds of miles down the road. Even on smooth roads, wind turbulence causes the entire structure to rock and flex, causing large cracks in materials such as drywall. Tile and stone surfaces also add a lot of weight and should be used sparingly, if at all. To withstand road trips, these one-of-a-kind miniature residences must be relatively light and flexible, especially compared to their full-size counterparts.
3. Try to be realistic about your needs.
Couples often underestimate the challenges of trying to live together in less than 400 square feet of space. Make sure your design considerations are realistic when it comes to the things you value, whether it’s cooking space or bathroom routines. For example, the composting toilet is a great idea, but it can be nearly impossible to legally empty human waste bins in some urban areas. Incorporating modern conveniences can give you the emotional respite you may need.
In the end, there are many things to consider before joining the ranks of small home builders. Do a lot of research and be sure to talk to people with real life experience. Consider attending a conference or meeting with people who have experienced this lifestyle. Most people are happy to share observations of their first-hand experience. It can be a great and rewarding adventure to build your home, but the project is also a huge commitment of time and money.