How Much Does It Cost To Customize A Tiny House? • Insteading (2023)

If you’ve researched buying a tiny house you know prices are usually listed as a “starting price,” just like new cars are. Why? Because a tiny house is too personal for a one-size-fits-all option to work.

So builders offer options to match a customer’s budget or lifestyle. Someone doing a lot of outdoor work might want a washer and dryer to quickly clean soiled clothes. A foodie might want a bigger fridge than the average person.

But how much do these options cost? It’s key information not just for someone planning to buy a tiny house, but for anyone planning to build one. The amount that tiny house companies charge for extras will give you an idea of how much time or materials costs will have to go into building something similar for your home.

I took a look at a few different tiny house builders to see what they charge for various customization options.

My main source was Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Their web site features a customization page where you can go through all their available options and price out a home to your specifications. Obviously not everything is optional—you can’t choose “no roof” or something—but many features are. Plus, their page explains what’s standard in their homes, which start at $60,000.

I went through their customizer and noted all of the different options. For comparison, I also investigated customization options from Jamaica Cottage Shop, which is more of a standard cabin company rather than a tiny house on wheels builder.

Taken together, they give you an idea of what each of those little extras will cost you, whether you buy or build yourself.

(Video) How much does a TINY HOUSE COST TO BUILD in 2021? Cost Breakdown

Exterior Siding and Trim

Tumbleweed’s home have clapboard cedar siding. “Cedar is light weight, resistant to bugs and fares well in all climates,” they say. Sealing or painting is no extra charge.

Porch

For homes that come with a porch, Tumbleweed offers to build front steps for $200 extra. For another model an insulated mud room is an option, for $1,300. Gives you a good sense for what an extra insulated area of your home will cost in time/materials.

Exterior Windows

Tumbleweed homes have Wen premium dual-pane awning windows, with cranks to open and close them. This is standard on all their homes.

Jamaica Cottage Company offers optional additional windows. On their Xylia cottage, a 16″x21″ hinged window is $105 extra, up to a 4’x2′ window for $242.

Exterior Doors

A painted door and the door hardware is standard. On their Elm model Tumbleweed offers an optional side door for $1,550. An extra door like this would add time, materials, and complexity to the framing process. Doors aren’t free, either. Tumbleweed offers a custom-designed screen door as a $400 add-on—obviously, you could easily get a cheaper screen door at Home Depot and install it yourself if you didn’t care about aesthetics.

Jamaica Cottage Shop charges $433 extra for a double door to their Vermont Cottage Kit.

Roof

Tumbleweed homes come standard with a metal roof. Metal’s best for tiny houses on wheels, since it’s so lightweight compared to other roofing materials, and won’t shear off on the highway like shingles might. On their Elm and Cypress models, Tumbleweed offers additional dormers for $3,400 each.

(Video) Building My Dream Tiny Home For Under $8000

Tumbleweed will also add Velux 21″ x 26″ fixed skylights at $800 each. These skylights cost about $200 at Home Depot. That extra $600 gives you an idea of the extra labor involved with adding one to a roof (of course, Tumbleweed is surely adding a much-deserved markup into the price, they have to make a living, too!)

How Much Does It Cost To Customize A Tiny House? • Insteading (1)

Jamaica Cottage Shop, which specializes in cabins rather than tiny homes on trailers, does offer a red-cedar-shingle option. The prices are $1,127.57 for an 8×8 cabin, up to $2.751.40 for an 8×20 cabin. Very precise prices! And a good look into just how costly red cedar shingles are.

Interior Boards and Doors

Tumbleweed interior doors are standard. A sliding door, which slides flush inside the interior wall, is $600 extra. A pocket door is $300 extra.

Interior Finishing

Tumbleweed’s standard interior siding is pine, tongue and groove, untreated boards. They will finish with birch plywood boards, for a more modern look, for $2000 extra. Tumbleweed recommends sealing or, better yet, staining the interior boards, to better protect against the rigors of highway travel. Sealing is $2,700, staining $4,500.

Tumbleweed homes also come with insulation. Not every tiny house does. Jamaica Cottage Shop, which sells kits and fully-built tiny houses, makes insulation an additional option. It costs $8,432 extra in their Vermont Cottage. This should give you a sense for how much you’re going to spend on insulation if you build on your own.

Interior Flooring

The price of the flooring Tumbleweed uses must not vary that much. Walnut, oak, and bamboo are all offered at the standard price.

Interior Lighting

Lighting sconces and an overhead chandelier are standard in Tumbleweed homes. Options are a ceiling fan ($150), track lighting ($200), and an LED lighting package ($250). Tumbleweed says the LED lights they use will last 20,000 hours. That’s 27 months.

(Video) $6000 Shed Turned Into An Affordable Tiny Home

Interior Storage

Storage is critical. Tumbleweed offers a storage loft and a closet as standard part of their houses. They’ll build in a 3-foot-high bookcase for $350, or a six-foot-high bookcase for $450.

Other Interior Extras

You don’t pay extra for light switches and outlets in a Tumbleweed house. But you can upgrade to data/tv outlets or outlet/usb charger combos. Tumbleweed charges $50 each for either. They also offer a built-in media center (with a built-in slot for your TV) for $800. Other extras, which are available depending on the model: Desk ($350), bookshelf by des ($350), desk/daybed ($350), couch/bench ($350). The materials costs here aren’t substantial, instead it’s the time involved with building these items into the frame of the house.

Kitchen: Counters

Tumbleweed houses come standard with butcher block countertops. You can make these countertops walnut for $300, or stainless steel for $500. Tumbleweed will replace the standard topmount stainless steel sink with a farm sink for $600. They will build in a collapsable drop-leaf table to give you a little extra counter space for $500.

Kitchen: Stove

A two-burner cooktop is standard in Tumbleweed homes. They’ll outfit the stove for either electrical or propane power (more on this later). You can get a four-burner stove and over—electrical or propane—for $800 extra.

Kitchen: Refrigerator

The standard option in Tumbleweed homes is an electric stainless steel EdgeStar 3.1 cu. ft. undercounter fridge/freezer ($239.99 on Amazon). Their other options:

  • Electric Avanti 7.4 Cu. Ft. apartment-style compact refrigerator, $500
  • Danby 9.2 cu-ft Bottom Freezer/Refrigerator, $550

From what I can tell Tumbleweed offers these at pretty close to cost. The Avanti sells for $415.98 on Amazon, the Danby is $554.41 at Home Depot.

Kitchen: Storage

Oak pull-out cabinets are standard in Tumbleweed homes. Tumbleweed offers darker-toned more modern-looking cabinets for $2000 extra. You can also get toe-kick drawers for the floor-level drawers for $250 each.

(Video) This Tiny Tree House Makes $120,000 Per Year… Here’s How | Checked In

Upper shelving is standard, you can make that shelving walnut instead of pine for $100 extra. If you want upper cabinets, it’s $350 extra.

How Much Does It Cost To Customize A Tiny House? • Insteading (2)

Bathroom: Washing

A full shower, with Moen hardware, a hand sink with mirror, and a bathroom fan are all standard in Tumbleweed homes. A sink with vanity is $400 extra.

Bathroom: Toilet

A Thetford Aqua Magic® Style II low flow RV toilet (about $150 on Amazon) is standard. Tumbleweed will install a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet for $1000, which is also pretty close to cost. A small bathroom mirror is standard; upgrade to a medicine cabinet for $150.

Jamaica Cottage Company offers an optional Envirolet Santerra X10 Composting Toilet for $2,215, which is close to cost.

Sleeping

A loft big enough for a queen bed is standard. Your choices are how you want to get up to the loft, and whether you want built-in storage up there. A ladder to your loft is standard, stairs will cost $1,000. Stairs with built-in storage are $2,500. I’ve never built stairs but these prices indicate to me that doing so is a lot of work.

Cabinets in the dormer are $700, while a custom loft storage cubby is $450.

Utilities

Tumbleweed’s standard model uses electric power. They will outfit your home with a package they call “Propane / electric light energy” for $2,500, or, for $3,000, their “Propane / electric extra energy” package. In the two latter packages propane is used for heating and cooking. The difference between the two packages is in how powerful the electricity is. Homeowners who plan to, say, stream movies all night, may want the extra wattage.

(Video) The Harsh Reality of Building a Tiny House and why I may be done.

Jamaica Cottage Shop offers a solar package with some of their cabins and kits. For their large 12×24 Xylia cottage, the cost is $5,840.

Plumbing

A Suburban 10 gallon water heater (around $400 retail) is standard, along with a 26 gallon water tank. Options include a propane tankless water heater ($1100). A washer/dryer is not standard in a Tumbleweed home. They offer a Splendide 2100XC washer/dryer combo with a 15-pound load capacity for $1,500, or an LG washer/dryer combo with 19-pound capacity for $2,300.

All told, these custom options can add as much as $20,000 to the purchase price of both Tumbleweed and Jamaica Cottage Company homes. Building on your own, you’ll want to factor these in as either time costs (in the case of elaborate built-in cabinetry) or fixed costs (for appliances).

FAQs

How much does it cost to build your own little house? ›

The average cost of a tiny house is a reasonable $30,000 – $60,000, although they can cost as little as $8,000 or up to $150,000 depending on the amenities you choose to include. It's typically cheaper to build a tiny house than to buy one prebuilt, but don't get too caught up in the savings.

What is the smallest house you can legally build? ›

Most states have adopted building and zoning codes from the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC codes require that all homes must be built on a minimum of 320 square feet. The minimum square footage for a house is 120 square feet, and at least one room must be habitable.

Can I live in a tiny house on my own land UK? ›

You can legally put your tiny house in a number of places including; Within the curtilage of your home/dwelling i.e in the garden. On a plot of land, such as farmland for a period of 28 days or you can place it there for longer under permitted development rights and/or with a certificate of lawful development.

Is 700 sq ft a tiny house? ›

A 700 square foot tiny home is larger than most tiny homes, but you're still on a tight budget in terms of amenities. You have to be conservative and efficient with what little space you have. Your tiny home might not even have a living room.

How much does it cost to build a 200 sq ft tiny house? ›

The national average cost to build a tiny home is $40,000 to $80,000. Most spend around $60,000 on a foundation-built 200 sq. ft. tiny home with a sleeping loft on the second floor.

How much does a 400 sq ft tiny house cost? ›

A tiny house is generally a home smaller than 400 square feet. The average cost of a tiny house ranges from $30,000 to $60,000, but can be as high as $150,000 depending on the amenities you choose.

How long do tiny homes last? ›

With proper maintenance, your home on wheels can last over 30 years. Ultimately, your tiny house is a durable, affordable housing option that can last you a lifetime.

Is building a tiny home worth it? ›

Living in a smaller, more energy-efficient home with fewer belongings helps them reduce waste. In fact, a tiny home uses only about 7% of the energy that a traditional house does. Even if you're not totally off the grid, tiny homes can help you live sustainably, especially if you install solar panels or use wind power.

What is the largest a tiny house can be? ›

Tiny Houses can range from 60 square feet up to 400 square feet when built on a trailer. Of course, you can build bigger if you build on a foundation. Typically your tiny house can be up to 8 feet wide inside, so your length will be the main variable that impacts square footage.

What is the biggest tiny house you can build? ›

What is the biggest tiny house you can build? The biggest tiny house you can build is 13.5 feet tall by 8.5 feet wide. These are standards for how big you can build to be able to tow it. If you build the house on a foundation you can go bigger.

How high can a tiny house be? ›

The total height to keep it legal on the road for a tiny house or any vehicle without extra permits is 13'6”, or 162”. This means that from the bottom of your trailer's wheels to the highest point of your tiny house, your tiny house must be at or below 13'6”.

Do you need council consent for a tiny house? ›

A tiny house could be considered as a building or a vehicle, or both a building and a vehicle. In some circumstances you may require a building consent even if the tiny house has wheels.

Are tiny homes well insulated? ›

Unlike a traditional RV that has 5-7 R of insulation a Tumbleweed Tiny House RV has about 17-18 R value. Even though this is lower than home insulation in extreme cold climates, we find that because the space is so small this proves to be enough insulation.

Can you live in a tiny home forever? ›

Some people plan to stay in their tiny homes forever. Others may move out when they begin a family or grow tired of having clutter in their lives. There is no “average” amount of time.

What is the biggest sq ft tiny house? ›

Checking in at 746 square feet, this is the largest Tumbleweed built to date. Because it's on a foundation this Tumbleweed meets the International Building Code requirements.

Is 900 sq ft considered a tiny house? ›

A 900 square foot house is a small but livable size for a family, and it is not too big or too small, and it is a manageable size for most people. This size house is also affordable for many people, another plus. It is affordable and manageable, and it can be a cozy and comfortable home.

Can a tiny house be 1000 sq ft? ›

On Dream Home Source, we define "tiny house plans" as any home design under 1,000 square feet. Homes under 1,000 square feet can and often are used as primary residences.

Is 800 sq ft a tiny house? ›

Tiny homes are generally designated as being under 600 square feet, but the average size of a tiny house for sale in the U.S. is actually just 225 square feet, or roughly eight times smaller than a typical home, according to a new survey by Porch.com, a home services platform.

Why are tiny homes so expensive? ›

Why are tiny houses so expensive? Tiny houses seem expensive because of the unique craftsmanship that goes into building them. They are often one of a kind and made to specific needs. The trailer foundation is also costly because they aren't produced in bulk like other trailers.

Can a tiny home be 500 square feet? ›

There's no hard-and-fast rule for what qualifies as a "tiny" home, but they are usually under 500 square feet.

How much does it cost to build a 500 sq ft cabin? ›

A 500-square-foot cabin typically costs between $62,500 and $87,500 to build, or $75,000 on average. Building a rustic cabin of this size on flat land may only cost $50,000, but trickier locations or complex designs could up the costs to $150,000 or more.

Is 400 sq ft too small? ›

How big is a 400-square-foot apartment? Four-hundred square feet is about the size of a two-car garage. It's not a huge apartment, but it'll get the job done. After all, two cars take up a lot of space and you won't actually have two cars parked in your house — the furniture you have will be much smaller!

What are the disadvantages of a tiny house? ›

Disadvantages of Tiny Houses
  • Less Living Space. A tiny house doesn't have room for a full-sized luxury kitchen or bathroom. ...
  • Less Storage Space. ...
  • Limited Entertaining Capability. ...
  • Zoning Rules. ...
  • Financing.

Is it cheaper to buy or build a tiny house? ›

Building a tiny house yourself is the cheaper option. The average cost of a new home is $114 per square foot which aligns with the median price of a tiny house (400 sf) at $45,000. Approximately 55% of that cost is labor, fees, and builder profit with just materials coming in around $20,000.

Are tiny homes safe in storms? ›

With the proper weather-proofing, tiny houses are safe in thunder and lightning storms. Heavy rain can cause electrical or wood damage, so it's a good idea to take storm precautions. Protect electrical connections by trimming branches away from power lines, or run lines underground to protect them from the weather.

Are tiny houses still popular in 2022? ›

Some will say that tiny homes are a fad, but the trend is still going strong. In fact, the market is set to grow by $3.57 billion between 2022 and 2026, according to a report by the Global Tiny Homes Market. A survey by Angi's HomeAdvisor discovered that 86% of respondents would move into a tiny home.

Are tiny houses hard to sell? ›

There are certainly a lot of perks to living in a tiny house, but also one big drawback: Simply put, tiny houses can be hard to sell. But hard doesn't mean impossible, and so long as you're aware of some of the challenges unique to tiny house sales, you can usually map out a good strategy to get your place sold.

Do tiny homes really save money? ›

There is little doubt that living in a tiny house will save you money. In fact, 58% of people who live in tiny houses have about $11,200 more saved in the bank than the average American and 65% of them have no credit card debt.

What state has the most tiny homes? ›

#1 – Georgia. Northern Georgia's Blue Ridge mountains offer some of the most picturesque landscapes for tiny home living, so it might not come as a surprise that the state is No. 1 on the list for best places for tiny homes.

What is the next size up from a tiny home? ›

Micro homes are the “next step up” from tiny houses; they range from 400 to approximately 800 sq. ft.

Can a tiny house be 10 feet wide? ›

ThinHaus makes ten foot wide tiny houses. We do this because the extra foot and a half is literally ... huge! It allows the wheel wells to disappear from the living space and the stairs to the master loft to be placed next to the bathroom keeping them out of the main living area.

Can tiny house be two stories? ›

Two-story tiny homes can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common homes are built from two shipping containers. Shipping containers are strong and sturdy, and therefore a natural choice when building a second story. However, there are cabins, A-frames, and the occasional roundhouse.

What is the smallest house ever built? ›

The One SQM House

Architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel has created probably the smallest house in the world.

How thick are tiny home walls? ›

How Thick are tiny house walls? Tiny House walls are about 4.75 inches thick. This includes your interior cladding (1/4″ thick), your wall framing filled with insulation (3.5″ thick), your sheathing (1/2″ thick), and your outer siding (typically 1/2″ +/- depending on your siding).

How big is a living room in a tiny house? ›

The living room design by Teacup Tiny Homes is about 7 to 10 feet long and about 7 feet wide. Slats of plywood create interest in the space and add a modern touch.

What size is a normal bathroom in a tiny house? ›

How Big Is A Tiny House Bathroom? A tiny house bathroom usually ranges 25 square feet to 50 square feet. My rule of thumb is it should be 25% of your ground floor, assuming your bed is in a loft.

What kind of hookups do you need for a tiny house? ›

Most tiny houses on wheels come with RV hookups where you plug an extension cord with an adapter into the side of your house. These connections work best for those who plan to use electric appliances like ovens or washer/dryers in their tiny house.

How long does it take to build a tiny home? ›

It typically takes 500 hours to build a tiny house.

This of course can vary depending on size, skill level, and complexity, but 500 hours to build a tiny house is often a good rule of thumb for the average DIYer. Professional builders who have a dedicated facility will be able to reduce this down to about 300 hours.

Why do tiny houses have wheels? ›

Why are tiny houses built on trailers or wheels? Tiny homes are built on wheels for those homeowners who not only love to travel, but also love to live seasonally. Building a tiny home on wheels or on trailers makes it easy to transport them, save costs on property taxes, see new sights, and live minimally.

Are tiny homes warm in winter? ›

Living in a tiny house in the winter months comes with challenges besides staying warm, like preventing condensation and mold from developing in the building. "Since it gets cold and the heat is on, people usually don't open windows, since it would make the heat escape,” Fuist says.

Do tiny homes work in winter? ›

Well insulated tiny homes do not require a large heater to keep them comfortable in the winter but it is important to get something that is reliable and properly sized for your home. This is maybe the most common feature tiny home builders are missing the mark on for cold climates.

How do I keep my tiny house warm in the winter? ›

Here are 5 ways to do it.
  1. Insulate, Insulate, Insulate! If you're concerned about keeping your Tiny House comfortable in the winter months, then good insulation is the obvious first defence. ...
  2. Invest in Electric Heaters. ...
  3. Incorporate Radiant Floor Heating. ...
  4. Protect Pipes from Freezing. ...
  5. Generator (Just in Case)
20 Nov 2020

Where do tiny houses get water? ›

You can opt for off-grid water and power solutions, which is essential if you want a tiny house on wheels. For eco-friendly water options, you can collect rainwater and filter it for consumption. Or you can install a tank and have it manually filled, which could be fairly cumbersome.

Is buying a tiny house a good investment? ›

Benefits of A Tiny Home Investment

Due to their small size, tiny homes have relatively low purchase prices compared to traditional properties. Many investors will be glad to know the price is not the only advantage: Minimize Maintenance/Operating Costs: A smaller home means less area to maintain over time.

Do tiny houses have plumbing? ›

Tiny House Plumbing Isn't as Hard as You Think

In truth, tiny home plumbing is not much different from regular plumbing. It's as easy as marking a space on your wall and fitting it there. And of course, there's much less needed! Most tiny houses only have one sink, one shower, and one toilet.

Can I build a tiny house by myself? ›

DIY: DIY tiny homes are often the best choice. You get to buy the materials yourself and also do all the work on your own. This can be difficult to do if you want a tiny home on a foundation, but it's still doable.

What materials do you need to build a mini house? ›

  • Trailer. Tiny House Trailer. The trailer is the foundation of your house on wheels. ...
  • Wood. Dimensional Lumber. ...
  • Insulation. Extruded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) (XPS) Boards. ...
  • Roofing. Metal Roofing. ...
  • Hardware. Exterior Screws. ...
  • Strapping and Flashing. Hurricane Straps. ...
  • Millwork. Exterior Door. ...
  • Electrical. Wire.

Is it cheaper to build a cabin or a tiny house? ›

You can build a cabin for less money, with some prices coming in around $20,000 to $30,000. With a cabin, you do not have to purchase the trailer that tiny homes and park models are bound to.

Are tiny houses profitable? ›

Tiny homes have grown in popularity over the years due to their sleek and stylish atmospheres provided at a cheaper price. Their increasing demand and lower startup costs make tiny homes a potentially profitable opportunity for Airbnb hosts.

Are mini houses worth it? ›

Living in a smaller, more energy-efficient home with fewer belongings helps them reduce waste. In fact, a tiny home uses only about 7% of the energy that a traditional house does. Even if you're not totally off the grid, tiny homes can help you live sustainably, especially if you install solar panels or use wind power.

Do people regret buying tiny houses? ›

A whopping 44 percent of participants had housing regrets, and the biggest regret among homeowners had to do with size. One in three homeowners said they wish they had chosen a larger home, compared to only nine percent who wished they had downsized.

Can I Airbnb my tiny house? ›

Host a Tiny House on Airbnb | Airbnb® Show guests what it's like to live tiny and earn the income to let your dreams live large. From sustainable and off-the-grid living to celebrating traditions old and new, hosting helps you grow the community you love.

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