What is this movement sweeping the nation? Why do I see Tiny Houses all over television? Is it just a bunch of millennials trying to get out of paying taxes or are they onto something? Are Tiny Homes here to stay? Read on for some answers to your Tiny House FAQs.
TINY HOUSE FAQS: HOW SMALL IS A TINY HOUSE?
This question is under heavy debate as many tiny home owners take square footage pretty darn seriously. Some think “tiny homes” need to be under 220 square feet. Others think under 500 square feet is an adequate number. A few try to say that anything under 1,000 square feet is tiny! Here’s the truth: the average new home built in the United States is over 2,400 square feet. Home sizes in the USA have skyrocketed in the recent decades and continue to do so.
Why is this bad? Well, for one, it’s not sustainable. Imagine if everyone lived in 2,400 square feet, all over the world. Imagine the waste it would take just to build these large homes, not to mention to energy it would take to heat, cool and maintain them. The average new home in the USA sells for $360k, according to the census. How many people can afford a regular home without going into debt for years and years? There is something not right about this equation. Many tiny housers believe owning a home shouldn’t require sacrificing financial freedom for luxury. More on Tiny House costs and why people go Tiny.
The tiny house movement is a counterculture movement. It’s also a minimalist alternative lifestyle that’s meant to be affordable and eco-friendly. One common misconception is that tiny home owners are poor, this just isn’t true. In fact, most tiny home owners have more savings than traditional home owners. So how small is a tiny house? I believe it’s as small as you’re willing to go to obtain financial freedom with a small home footprint.
My house is 125 square foot with a 60 square foot loft
I modified a Tumbleweed Cypress-20 Overlook. Here are the stats/dimensions:
- Exterior dimensions: 20′ long, 13’5″ high, 8’6″ wide at the wheels, 7’4″ wide at the walls
- Interior dimensions: 6’8″ wide and 10’6″ high inside
- Weight: 10,100lbs with all of our belongings including water and propane, 1,500lbs on the tongue.
WHERE DID I GET MY MATERIALS?
I purchased most of my materials at hardware stores, on Amazon and on Craigslist. Visit my Tiny House Materials page for more details. A big thanks to my sponsors!
HOW MUCH DID IT COST? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE? RANDOM BUILD STATS?
- Cost of Build: See my detailed Cost breakdown
- Human Hours: 1,000+. Built from September 2nd 2013 – September 2nd 2014. One year exactly!
- Nails: 6,500+
- Screws: 8,000+
- Expanding Foam Cans: 55+
- Beers Consumed: Impossible to calculate…
- Fingers Remaining: 5 per hand (not impossible to calculate!!!)
WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?
- Put the porch on the sidewalk side instead of the street side. It’s also better for RV parks (picnic tables are usually on the right).
- Widen the bathroom just a couple inches
- Think more about total weight and distribution
- Vent the roof OR insulate with spray foam instead of rigid foam.
HOW FAR HAVE I TRAVELED? RANDOM TRAVEL STATS & TINY HOUSE FAQs?
- Tow Truck: 2006 Ford F250 6.0L Turbo Diesel CrewCab Long Bed FX4
- Tiny Odometer: 24k+ miles
- Tiny Nautical Miles: 1,190 nmi (Yarmouth, NS to Portland, ME and Haines, AK to Bellingham, WA)
- Top Speed: 75 mph
- Cruising Speed: 55 mph
- Mileage: 9 mpg (at cruising speed and with a fresh oil change)
- Law Enforcement Encounters:
- Driving under the minimum speed limit: 1
- Kicked-out: 1 (Central Park NYC)
- Parking violation during our open house events: 2
- RV Park Stats:
- Parks I stayed at: 50+
- Parks I was turned away from because they don’t allow Tiny Homes: 1
- Parks I stayed for free because “our house is so cool:” 3
- Reactions On The Road:
- Pictures taken: countless
- Thumbs up: countless
- Middle fingers: 2
WHERE CAN YOU PARK A TINY HOUSE?
This is the number one question asked here at Tiny House FAQs! The answer? It depends on if you want to live legally or “under the radar.” Tiny Homes on wheels fall into the same category as RVs. The easiest way to find out where you can legally park a Tiny Home is by checking your local RV parking regulations. Every county is different.
Click here for a list of USA campgrounds that I parked at from 2014-2015 on my one-year road trip.
If you are looking for parking, a great resource is this website: Tiny House Community. Review her Tiny House FAQs page for parking info. You can also subscribe to different Tiny House community Facebook groups in your area and post on the Tiny House Hosting Facebook page.
FOR MORE TINY HOUSE FAQS, CHECK OUT THE BELOW RESOURCES.
My Favorite Tiny House Websites:
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company: I attended the workshop, bought the plans and a trailer. Now I work for them, blogging about Tiny Homes!
- Relax Shacks – So many amazing ideas here, especially on using salvaged materials. Deek Diedricksen is the man.
- Tiny Revolution
- Tiny House Magazine – Wonderful stories and photographs of tiny house living. My house has been featured a few times.
- Tiny House Listings
- The Tiny Life
- Tiny House Blog
- Tiny House Swoon
- Tiny House Talk
- Small & Tiny Home Ideas
Other Tiny Housers:
- Little Yellow Door – Ella Jenkins, presented the Tumbleweed workshop I attended
- Sol Haus Design – Vina’s house was the first Tiny House I ever toured. I have a video tour of her home.
- Tiny Tack House – Chris and Melissa Tack, this Tiny House made me fall in love with the movement.
- Life in 120 Square Feet – Laura and Matt let me tour their home. Laura offers excellent beer recommendations and tiny house tips on her blog(s).
- La Petite Maison – Sicily Kolbeck , she was 13 when she started building her tiny house… need I say more?
- Mini Motives – Macy Miller – Her house is so unique and she’s a pretty big deal in the tiny world
- Check out dozens more, with photos and video tours, on the Tiny House Profile section of this blog.
My Favorite Tiny House Books:
Click here for a full list and reviews of my favorite Tiny House Books!
My Favorite Build Guides (for beginners):
Before building a Tiny House, I had zero construction experience. I attended a Tumbleweed workshop and purchased the “How-To” DVD. The DVD is little out of date now, but still very helpful for covering the basics of Tiny House building. I highly recommend the workshops. I also recommend Tiny Home Builder’s Construction Guide and Video Tutorials.
You can also book me for a Tiny House Consultation!
My Favorite Tiny House Movies:
- TINY: The Movie. Christopher Smith & Merete Mueller’s story of their build and interviews with other tiny house experts.
- Small Is Beautiful – Look for it online soon! This is an amazing film that really “hits home” for any novice builder.
If my Tiny House FAQs article has helped you in some way, consider making a small donation. This is how I am able to maintain this website, and without donations, I will not be able to continue. Even $5 helps! Thank you for your support!
The link to the places you’ve parked has been removed! Sad day. Any reason why?
You mean this?
It’s just hidden now.
If I was to build my house from the ground up, can I get it certified as a permanent residence? Or does the build need to be done by a certified company in order to be legal? And what about middle ground, could I have the certified company build the shell and I finish it, would I be legal?
I have been trying to figure this out for a while, it’s important to me that I get to build my dream home with my own two hands. I want to know every little detail about it. But at the same time, I’m terrified that I will finally get to have my home, but it would be deemed illegal and I would be thrown out.
I currently live and wish to build my tiny house in Ontario, Canada.
Do you have any advice on what I should do? Who I should ask (and how I should get in contact with them)?
If you can even answer one of these questions, thank you.
Are you talking about a tiny house on wheels? Or a house with a foundation?
I am thinking the exact same thing. However, I live in Florida. I am torn between having a house on wheels and having a house with foundation. I would love to have a house with foundation, but buying land is something I may have a hard time doing since the area I am in has mostly built places already. A house on wheels sounds better so that when I travel, it cuts back on some costs. I also do not live alone and my ideal place would be wheelchair accessible for this person….could it work out?
I have a vacant lot for sale in Ft .Lauderdale. I was thinking about putting a tiny house on it or just sell it. Interested?
I am Daniel
I met you guys at the tumbleweed work shop two years ago. You brought your trailer to the workshop.
However, I didn’t build my tiny house yet. Instead I was traveling around the world for two years.
Now I am ready to build (or probably buy) a tiny house of my own. I was looking for the weight of the house and a truck that can tow, then ended up here.
you guys are now celebrities!
I didn’t read through all the comments so I apologize if this was already asked/answered. We bought our trailer through tumbleweed. A 20 ft. We went off the overlook plans. We just got it weighed and its 10,060 lbs. I noticed yours is 10.100lbs. My parents have pointed out that they have had issues with the DOT for truck and trailer being over 10,000lbs you need commercial plates and a DOT number. Have you had any issues with towing and weight and having to deal with a DOT number? Or have you had to stop at scales and had issues? Or is this not really an issue at all?
We haven’t had an issue. Is that your dry weight or fully loaded weight? Ours is fully loaded at 10,100.
I am a portable building dealer and I am amazed at how many customers are buying the buildings and converting them into tiny homes. I have shared this article with several customers. Its awesome reading about your Tiny House Journey.
I love all things cute, quaint charming as well as the freedom and flexibility of not being tied down by debt, mortgage and enjoying the amazing world around us…therefore…researching and am going to build a tiny house.
question: i’ve read that you can build the insulation within the frame of the trailer if crossmembers are flush and can also purchase a trailer with drop axles to maximize headspace – what type of trailer did you guys purchase? were these considerations for you? I am looking at the cypress horizon 20′ plans and was excited to see that is what you guys used as well.
That’s great! We used the genuine tumbleweed 20′ trailer which includes space for insulation. I wouldn’t do drop axles, our trailer already touches in any driveway with an angle or even just in some of the gas stations!