We all love to save money wherever we can, but when it comes to house building, there are some things that you just can’t scrimp on. If you’ve ever done a DIY home project, you know that building materials – primarily, lumber – can be expensive.
There are legitimate reasons why lumber is so expensive, which includes production, availability, manufacturing and transportation costs. You will also want to be sure you’re buying sustainably sourced lumber or even local and sustainable materials instead of home products that are less sustainable. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a nonprofit organization that sets the standards for all forestry operations. Any time trees leave any forest; there are certain requirements that must be adhered to for the lumber to obtain the FSC label on it. You can find out the standards that must be met to get a stamp of approval. Or check out alternative products. Building a tiny house can be a wonderful way to use the most sustainable and high-quality materials and keep your building costs lower than they would be if you built a conventionally sized house. That being said, the costs still add up even when you’re building a tiny house. So here are some tips to keep those building costs lower.
1. Go Smaller
Even though you’re already building a tiny house you may want to consider trying out a smaller floor plan. Think about the smallest size you would be comfortable in and go with that. Reducing the floor plan size will decrease the overall costs of the build because fewer materials will be needed.
2. Get a Kit
Instead of sourcing all of the materials yourself, you can always look into purchasing a tiny house building kit like these ones from Artisan Tiny House. Usually, when you buy a package, you get the good deals. Since the company purchases bulk orders of items, they can pass the savings onto you which may end up saving you some money in the end.
3. Check your local ads
Upcycle building materials by scouring your local buy and sell ads on Craigslist or in your local newspaper. People often sell the items from home renovations or house demolitions, which can be useful for your project. You can save a lot on used hardwood floors, cabinets and even fixtures like sinks or showers. Plus, you can furnish your finished tiny home with second-hand items too.
4. Visit construction sites
If you live in a city, this would be the perfect place to collect some good materials. So many materials are wasted and just thrown into the dumpster when they’re not used in the project. Instead of materials piling up in the landfill, why not put them to good use in your tiny house build. Just be sure to ask before you take, talk to a site foreman and explain what you’re looking for.
5. Lumber auctions
Attend a lumber auction where good, usable materials are sold for way less. You can look in your local newspaper or, you can do a search online for lumber auctions in your area.
6. Pallets and wooden crates
Pallets are found everywhere these days since so many businesses use them to ship and receive orders. They can be useful when they are taken apart properly which requires some work, but you get free wood! People have created beautiful floors, decks, furniture and awesome garden items out of pallets. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle. Wooden shipping crates are the same, but with some large crates, you can get full pieces of plywood which will save you a lot of money in the long run.
7. Build it yourself
Professional labor costs can add up pretty quickly. Since it’s a smaller project, you can attempt to do most of the work yourself if you’re up for it. You’ll save a lot, and you’ll gain some great experience. There are videos on YouTube like the ones from the Tiny Nest channel that show you the entire process of building a tiny house. There are also books and courses you can take too.
8. Get free plans
Instead of paying a professional to design your plans for you, or buying expensive tiny house plans online, you can find free designs and plans. There are also websites that offer very affordable tiny house plans as well. You could also draw up your own plans on a program like Sketch Up and then have them looked at by a professional designer to be approved for building.
9. Take your time
If you don’t have a time constraint, it pays to take your time so you can find the best deals on materials and finishing touches.
10. Ask for friends and family to help
If you have some people you feel comfortable asking for volunteer assistance then why not lighten the load? This can cover costs of paying a professional to help you.
So while tiny house building costs can turn out to be quite high for some, you can lower the cost of the build by implementing a few or all of these helpful strategies. Use your imagination and get creative!
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