One of the most inviting aspects of the prospect of tiny home ownership, is that building one is an approachable project. A tiny house is do-it-yourself size, especially compared to a big ‘normal’ house. These days building a big home is a daunting project, riddled with red tape, permits, inspections, mortgages, and only suitable for professionals to tackle. But tiny homes seem much more doable.
This is not only due to a tiny homes diminutive scale, but it’s immunity to most red tape. I don’t think building codes are a bad idea – they just come with the heavy burden of bureaucracy. So while it is an excellent idea to build to recognized codes and best practices – like those outlined but the American Tiny House Association – a huge amount of red tape is cut by building the house on wheels.
But it is also true that the tiny size puts many of the construction steps at a scale that most folks can imagine doing themselves. So with many of the burdens of red tape removed, coupled with the smaller sized construction tasks, the only thing that’s left in the owner-builder’s way is learning how to put one together.
If you’ve got friends in the construction business or a budget that can support hiring help, you technically don’t need to know how to do everything yourself. But it helps to have a good idea of what to expect especially if you want to manage the project yourself.
You can learn this kind of stuff from books, classes, and workshops, but if you want a quick jump start Dan Louche’s Tiny House Builders video series is a great place to start – my top recommendation in fact.
Dan’s a friend of mine, but I happily paid for a year’s subscription to access his how-to videos. Dan has a lot more building experience than me, so when I wanted to brush-up on my knowledge, I turned to his videos first.
Another way to go is to attend in-person building workshops. There are lots of great options for that too – but except for your memory & notes some of the learnings you get there can be lost. The memories of the great time you had and the friends you make at an in-person workshop can last a lifetime – but for absorbing the information – a how to video series and/or book can be better since you can go back to them over and over.
So if you want to get started learning to build your own tiny house online I recommend:
- Dan Louche’s Tiny Home Builder How-to Videos
- Dan Louche’s Tiny House Design& Construction Guide
- Dee Williams Go House Go ebook
- Jay Shafer’s DIY Book
- Tumbleweed’s Construction Video
If you want to learn in-person I recommend taking a building workshop from:
- Dan Louche at Tiny Home Builders
- Derek ‘Deek’ Diedricksen at Relaxshacks
- Dee Williams at Portland Alternative Dwellings
- Jay Shafer at Four Lights Tiny Homes
- Peter King at Vermont Tiny Homes
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Not all the workshops are classroom based and not hands-on. That’s great for some but if you want to get dirty be sure to read the workshop details before signing-up. Below is a preview of what Dan puts in his videos.