Are you confused as to whether you should BUY or BUILD your future Tiny House RV? Don't worry, you're not alone. I host Tumbleweed build workshops, and I see a lot of eager individuals start a construction project and never finish. Depending on your situation, building your own tiny dream house might not be the most economical or practical option.
Below I’ve listed several reasons to BUY INSTEAD OF BUILD. I encourage you to review and decide for yourself. For the alternative point of view, read this article for reasons you should BUILD INSTEAD OF BUY.
1). You don’t have enough time
I built my own Tiny House RV without any prior construction experience, and It took me one whole year. For a Tumbleweed design we estimate the following for total work hours based on your experience level:
Example scenario: John is a beginner builder with weekends available for his construction project. He can build year round, without weather delays, because he has a covered build site. If John is able to work eight hours a day on Saturday and Sunday (16 hours a weekend) it will take him 62.5 weekends to complete his build. Most likely John will need 1.5 years to construct his Tiny House RV.
Inside the Tumbleweed build facility
If you purchase a fully built Tiny House RV from Tumbleweed, you can have it delivered within a few months. That is a big time difference! So if you don't have enough time to build, consider purchasing a fully built model or half built shell.
2). You don’t have a build site
Where will you build your Tiny House RV? Ideally you will have a large covered location, with ample electricity and storage for your materials. Finding the perfect built site is easier said than done. If you don't have an ideal build location, expect challenges and delays in construction.
Inside the Tumbleweed build facility
3). You don’t have the tools
Tools are an expensive investment. You can purchase used tools, rent tools or find a tool sharing build site. Be careful not to blow your budget on tools.
4). You want to finance the costs
DIY Tiny House RV build projects are difficult to finance. If you don’t have enough money saved up, you run the risk of going into credit card debt or putting your build on hold. I’ve seen many builds never reach completion due to this problem. So if you want to finance your Tiny House RV, go ahead and buy one - there are more financing options.
5). You want an RVIA certified Tiny House RV
If you build your own Tiny House RV it will not be RVIA certified. Not having the RVIA certification can limit your financing, insurance, DMV registration and future parking options. More on the RVIA here.
Tumbleweed is one of the few RVIA certified Tiny House RV builders in the country. If you purchase a fully built tiny from Tumbleweed, it will be RVIA certified.
6). You don't have the passion
I know this sounds silly, but building a Tiny House RV is a huge commitment. I’ve seen projects fail because the individuals became bored or frustrated. Make sure your passion won't fade.
7). You lack the physical ability
Skills can be learned, but physical labor is still physical labor. I've seen a handicapped builder finish a beautiful Tiny House RV, but the strain of construction is not for everyone. Before you decided to build, make sure you are physically capable of completing the project.
8). You haven’t done your research.
Building a Tiny House RV is not the same as building a regular home. The structure has to be road worthy, vented correctly, capable of withstanding extreme winds and many other unique practices. It’s a specialized type of construction. These skills can be learned, but it takes research.
Tumbleweed has been building Tiny House RVs for over 15 years. They have a specialized team and a proven road worthy product. If you don't believe you can build a structurally sound Tiny House RV, purchase one instead.
Over the past few years, we've had a plethora of customer requests for a new Tumbleweed model. Our design team has been hard at work, imagining and drafting fresh designs while maintaining the quality and nostalgia of the Tumbleweed brand. Today we're excited to announce NOT ONE BUT TWO new Tumbleweed Tiny House RV designs: the Farallon and the Roanoke!
Introducing the "Farallon"
Synthesizing modern aesthetics and traditional farmhouse form with a rich palette of materials, the "Farallon" is designed for the Tumbleweed Low-Wider trailer, expanding interior living space by building lower and wider than ever before!
Inside, the open living floor plan combines kitchen and living space under ten foot tall ceilings. The downstairs bedroom acts as the mini master suite, with a wall of clothing storage and adjoining bathroom.
One of our most common requests is for a downstairs sleeping option. Our new designs meet that need.
The Farallon also features a second sleeping space in the form of a large sleeping loft. Owners can choose to sleep in the loft while using the downstairs bedroom as “flex space”—a home office, walk-in closet, or kids’ bedroom.
Drum roll please...
We will be displaying the Farallon at this year's Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado, August 5-7th! Be one of the first ever to tour this innovative Tiny House RV design by attending the event.
*For more photos and information on the Farallon, click here.
Introducing the "Roanoke"
The "Roanoke" design has a contemporary aesthetic with a beautiful shed roof line, allowing for even more interior vertical space.
*For more photos and information on the Roanoke design, click here.
Both the Farallon and Roanoke are available to order as fully built Tumbleweed Tiny House RVs. In the future, we hope to have these models available as Barn Raisers and building plans for our DIY customers.
To get a quote and/or to talk to one of our Tiny House Specialists about purchasing a Farallon or Roanoke, visit our online Tiny House RV customizer
We hope you enjoyed viewing our two new designs: the Farallon and Roanoke! Please share and tell us what you think in the comments!
This week we'd like to feature Ryan Hoffmeyer's unique Tiny House RV, featuring a one story floor plan.
Ryan began constructing his Tiny House RV during North Dakota's 2014 winter season. He was completely isolated in a rural community, building in his neighbor's garage. That is, until the project literally outgrew the space.
"I built at much as I could knowing I had a 12’ garage door and a 13’ Tiny House RV," Ryan explains. "It wasn’t long before I had to move outside in the dead of the winter."
Having strong knowledge of the construction process, Ryan built solo and was able to finish his Tiny House RV in just four months, despite the weather. In May 2015, he moved it to Colorado.
A one-story Tiny House RV design that works!
Ryan designed his Tiny House RV to have no loft, high ceilings, and a main floor sleeping space. He accomplished this by installing a murphy bed over a folding couch. The transforming furniture came from Italy and took 3 months to ship. In the meantime, Ryan continued to build.
Ryan can also relax in a hammock with his open floor plan!
Another innovative element in Ryan's design is that he chose to elevate his kitchen and bathroom floor 15 inches to accommodate a space for mechanical storage. By doing this his batteries, piping, p-traps, fresh and greywater tanks are all located in the insulated area of his trailer. He never has to worry about winterizing his pipes for freezing temperatures.
"Being a DIYer, I could afford to build my house with nice things," Ryan explains. "If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing."
The average DIY Tiny House RV spends approximately $25-30k in materials, but Ryan opted for upgrades. The total costs for his 20' Tiny House RV came to $35k.
Ryan's Three Pieces of Advice:
1) Build as much as you are able to yourself. Sleeping in something you built with your own hands is the best feeling ever.
2) Watch youtube videos. Gather ideas, do’s and don’t. Just because it's tiny, it doesn’t mean you don’t have all the building procedures of a normal home. Framing, plumbing, windows, roofing, siding, electrical, interior finish, etc. It can be overwhelming without the correct knowledge.
3) Take the Tumbleweed workshop. It's pretty much is a live version of youtube. You get a booklet and step-by-step on every procedure. Plus the room is filled with enthusiasts who are planning to build, or have built, and are sharing about it. I was very impressed with the knowledge of the staff. Tumbleweed trains them properly before they send them off to start to train you. I give it a 10.
What do you think? Would you opt for a single story floor plan if you could? Comment below!
Laurel Mundy and Brandon Husby first heard about the Tiny House Movement in the summer of 2014, while they were living in a large and sparsely furnished apartment in Seattle. Not long after the couple decided it was time to simplify, and they began building their own Tumbleweed.
"We were really attracted to the sustainability of going tiny, both in resources used to build it and in the energy required to heat it." - Laurel Mundy
"We were drawn to Tumbleweed’s designs because we thought they were particularly cute, and liked the overall style," Laurel explained.
Construction is taking place in rural Arlington, Washington, on Brandon's family's 30 acre property. A lot of the wood used in the couple's Tumbleweed came from the site, including scarp wood and pieces of downed old growth trees. Some pieces were even cut and milled by Brandon's grandfather many years ago. Now these fallen trees are being put to good use!
One of the coolest parts of Laurel and Brandon's Tiny House RV is their custom stained glass window. Laurel commissioned an artist to make the glass match the colors of their tiny's exterior.
So far the couple has managed to build their Tumbleweed for under $30k, with all the comforts of a standard home in a small footprint. They are currently working on storage solutions, trim and a few finishing touches. Their tiny dream is close to being realized!
"I’d call the style that we came up with: Rustic Craftsman" - Laurel Mundy
After their Tiny House RV is complete, Laurel and Brandon hope to purchase a piece of land in Washington to park it on. The next construction project will be to build Laurel a separate art studio and connect the two structures with a raised deck! For now, she's using the bump out as an art nook (pictured above). Laurel works as an illustrator; view her work here.
At Tumbleweed, we typically outfit our Tiny House RVs with a standard 32" x 32" fiberglass shower. This is the same size shower that you'd find in a traditional home, and it's comfortable, lightweight and affordable. Of course, some of our customers prefer to use alternatives, which can add character to a tiny bathroom. Below I've listed five alternative showers, but there are many more options out there. Feel free to post your ideas in the comments section.
5 SHOWER IDEAS FOR TINY HOUSE RVs
1). Metal Shower
A popular DIY shower method used in a many Tiny House RVs is the metal shower. Galvanized steel sheets are available at any hardware store and, because it's roofing, the sheets are already waterproof. Note: It's important to waterproof the seams—areas where two sheets meet. For an extra snazzy look, use SILVER silicone sealant for this application. I even used my leftover roofing underlayment behind my tiny metal shower (pictured below), for extra waterproofing.
Ella Jenkins uses a horse trough for her Tumbleweed Cypress shower tub. This adorable, lightweight, affordable option comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Ella also created a wrap-around shower curtain rod from copper pipping to ensure that water does not damage her bathroom paneling.
Enjoy a soak? Ofuros or Japanese-style soaking tubs are compact and luxurious. Of course, they also tend to be expensive. But, so what? Pamper yourself!
4). Wooden Shower or Tub
Some woods are water resistant - like teak and cedar. Why not create an entire shower with water resistant wood? Wouldn't that be beautiful? Another fantastic shower alternative for Tiny House RVs is the use of a reclaimed wine barrel for a small tub (as pictured below)!
Note: All wood intended to be used in the shower will require maintenance and some form of sealant. But I think the aesthetic is worth the extra elbow grease, don't you?
Tile is not usually recommended for Tiny House RVs for two reasons: 1). It's heavy, and 2). Tile tends to shift and crack when jostled on the road. Of course, if you do not plan on moving your Tiny House RV often, tile might be a wonderful option for a creative and beautiful tiny shower. Get artsy—create a mosaic shower with reclaimed tile pieces!