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.
Happy Father's Day! Today we're highlighting a father-daughter team who decided to build a Tiny House RV to spend more time together.
Randy & Nicki rocking out while working on their Tiny House RV roof
Back in October 2014, Nicki received a call from her father, Randy, who had a wild idea to build a pirate ship on top of a trailer. "That sounds cool," Nicki told her father, "but why don't we build something more practical, like a house?" That very weekend Nicki and Randy attended a Tumbleweed workshop that was serendipitously happening in nearby Boulder, Colorado.
"I thought there would hardly be anyone at the workshop, but it turns out there were over 75 people!" Randy recalled with amazement. "And Meg, the presenter, was very informative, rational and helpful. The dream (to build something with his daughter) became a reality almost immediately after this weekend."
Randy, who has always regretted not building a tree house as a teenager, wanted to teach his daughter about carpentry. With his 40 years of experience and Nicki's eagerness to learn, construction of their Tiny House RV began almost one year ago.
"The best gift has been the mentorship and bonding (my dad) has offered." - Nicki
Randy and Nicki are building on a Tumbleweed trailer and using modified Tumbleweed Cypress plans. They have chosen to name their tiny in memory of a dear friend, Uncle Paul. "Paulie" is being constructed with Uncle Paul's tools and his passion for reclaimed materials.
The round window, front door, siding, window trim and greenhouse window are examples of salvage finds being used on Randy and Nicki's Tiny House RV. However, as with many resourced materials, these items have taken a lot of extra labor to re-claim, store and install.
"This experience is simply a gift," says Nicki. "It's been an incredible opportunity to spend so much time together."
Close friends, Al and Nancy, offered Randy and Nicki their barn and property as a build site. Because of this, construction was able to continue throughout the winter season in Colorado. Nicki's mother, Donna, has been tracking the father-daughter team's work hours so that they can accurately recall this data after construction is complete. They hope to be finished this summer.
"As a father, to be able to teach and learn with my daughter the basic skill of shelter, is exciting," Randy explains. "Nicki has been learning life skills that will serve her forever."
Randy and Nicki's story encompasses so much of the spirit and community behind the tiny house movement. How many people can say they built a shelter with their father or daughter? It's wonderful to see people coming together, accomplishing their dreams and learning/teaching life skills through Tiny House RV projects.
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!
"Don't laugh, but I know what I want to do with my life."This is the statement Kacey told his girlfriend, Catherine, one afternoon as she came through the front door of their home. He had just watched the film "TINY: A Story About Living Small," and he was hooked. He wanted to build a Tiny House RV.
This story is not an uncommon one. In recent years, thousands of people have fallen in love with tiny spaces. In fact the Tiny House Movement is growing rapidly, welcoming more and more dreamers every day. Within minutes Kacey convinced Catherine that building a tiny house would open new doors in their life, and so began their tiny journey.
Kacey is 6'4," but he isn't the first tall man to build a Tiny House RV.
Building a Tiny House RV for a tall frame is not impossible. Wes Sekeres (who is 6'4") designed and built his Tiny House RV with custom high ceilings in his kitchen and bathroom. Two brothers, both towering over 6'7," built the "Tall Man Tiny House" specifically for tall body types.
At every Tumbleweed workshop we meet at least one attendee who wants to build a spacious Tiny House RV for a tall occupant. We offer design tips and suggestions to help all future tiny housers design their perfect Tiny House RV. We like to believe that anything is possible with some creative thinking.
Kacey and Catherine decided to use Tumbleweed Elm plans, with a few modifications: a double door, increased window size, and enclosing the porch for more interior space.
Beginning their build in February 2015, the couple hopes to have a finished Tiny House RV by the Tiny House Jamboree in August this year. Currently, they are working on the interior.
"This build has been unexpected transformational in all aspects of our lives,"Catherine explains. "We find ourselves being far more purposeful in how we communicate with each other."
Kacey and Catherine plan on making their Tiny House RV completely off-grid. They will store a 95-gallon water tank and batteries in the "basement" of their Tiny (or underneath the trailer). The finished design will also include innovative storage solutions such as: toe kick drawers, folding tables and in-wall cabinets.
Ironically, Kacey and Catherine recently showcased their Tiny House RV at the Tumbleweed workshop in Berkeley, the same workshop that Kacey attended almost two years ago. It seems their tiny journey has come full circle!
What would make you take the leap and start your own tiny journey?
Deb began dreaming about simplifying after having a negative personal experience with managing too many belongings. She came across the tiny house movement and felt that Tiny House RVs embodied her desire for simplicity and functionality. Now Deb's daughter Chanel, who has experience in residential and commercial design, is helping her mother build her tiny dream in to a reality.
"We took a Tumbleweed workshop last May." Chanel explains."The workshop experience was the final push to give us the confidence to get started!"
Together the mother daughter team is building Deb's Tiny House RV in Olympia, Washington. They hope to be finished by September of this year, which will mark one year of construction.
"We have learned building a Tiny House RV is a process that should not be rushed."- Deb
Chanel customized the original Tumbleweed Elm design to compliment Deb's lifestyle and preferences. She extended one side of the structure to have a full dormer that stretches the entire length. This customization creates an a-symmetrical look and increases interior space. Deb's Tumbleweed will also have a unique storage staircase design with space for: hanging clothes, a pull out desk, an ottoman and display shelving for books and photos.
Smart choices have to be made when designing a small space, and it takes a lot of creativity.
Chanel believes that working on her mother's Tiny House RV has been a rewarding experience. She gets to help her mother create a space that embraces every detail of her lifestyle.
We asked Deb what it's like building with her daughter. Her answer is too good not to share:
"It has been a wonderful experience, everyday we learn something new together. We understand how each other thinks so we are able to put our heads together and solve problems. We also have the help of Chanel’s fiancé, Marshall, who has construction experience and has been our teacher every step of the way. The three of us make a great team, and when things get hairy we take a break and have a glass of wine. My Tiny House RV could not have been built without many heated discussions, long trips to Home Depot and laughs over wine."