Why Modern Tiny Homes Are Growing In Popularity

In recent years tiny homes have exploded in popularity! This has led to an enormous increase in both the types and styles of tiny homes available on the market. Methods of construction have become increasingly varied from wood two by fours all the way to solid steel beams. In addition to other methods of tiny living such as vans, campers, yurts, and skoolies, there are always new and interesting forms of modern tiny homes popping up on the scene. Methods tend to also vary greatly depending on whether the house is built by a professional contractor or assembled at home by a DIY builder. There are a number of reasons for the increased popularity and interest in time homes as of late, but there are a few major ones that stand out as being obvious indicators. Practically speaking there are clearly a few utilitarian points that are probably responsible for the overall trend of the tiny home movement. Increased housing costs, decreased wages, and a volatile housing market are all likely key culprits. That said, there are certainly many other personal considerations individuals to account for in regard to those that are taking the plunge into an alternative lifestyle.

Sustainability of Modern Tiny Homes

Environmentally friendly tiny house For some, the reason for making the switch to tiny living is synonymous with the desire for ecological sustainability. It stands to reason that a smaller home would have a smaller ecological footprint compared to an unnecessarily large home that outweighs a person or family’s individual needs. For starters, large houses require more square footage of heating and cooling, and even if that energy is derived from a sustainable source, the raw materials still provide an unnecessary environmental impact. The fewer number of solar panels needed to power a home, the less rare metals need to be used in the overall system. Comparatively, larger homes also require more materials for construction, meaning a higher cost to the resident and the environment. By living on a smaller scale an individual becomes aware of the direct connection between the resources one uses on a daily basis and their ecological footprint. By utilizing a smaller scale utility system a tiny home resident is forced to monitor their water usage. Due to the limited capacity of mobile water tanks, water level readers are usually incorporated in their design. Additionally, one becomes much more aware of their electrical use, especially if the home is run on a solar battery setup.

DIY Tiny House Builds | Building a Cheap Tiny House

Another factor one could attribute to the increased popularity of small living environments can be traced to a growing digital movement of tinkerers, makers, and do-it-yourselfer. These communities are particularly thriving in online communities and in video format. Hobbyists often overlap genres working with wood, concrete, and electrical circuitry. These videos, while being informative, inspire others to pursue aspects of these creatives hobbies. Tiny homes often incorporate aspects of all of these areas of knowledge and through accessible tutorials and guides, the ability to build your own cheap tiny house has never been greater. This knowledge base and DIY movement is certainly the result of the proliferation of alternative tiny homes. Some of the most interesting builds that have begun to appear include box trucks, fifth-wheel trailers, and even mobile storage containers. These experimental living spaces allow for more flexibility with budget as utilizing a pre-made shell or structure can greatly reduce an overall build cost. Often these experimental builds vary the most based on personal taste and budgetary restrictions. It’s not uncommon to see repurposed materials and practical solutions as opposed to the often lavish aesthetic of a professionally built tiny home.

Each alternative method surely has its benefits and drawbacks but transportation is a key aspect for almost any tiny house build. The freedom not to be bound by one location certainly plays a role in the logistics of modern tiny homes. In the case of tiny houses, school bus conversions, and van or truck conversions, the home in question must also serve as a mobile vehicle. This means it must be easily portable and the construction and weight distribution of the home itself must be carefully planned so that it will remain aerodynamic and balanced on the road. This is something that mobile home and RV manufacturers have known for a long time but which is often overlooked by people building their first tiny home. Another interesting note about these alternative forms of tiny home construction is that new types of builds always popping up. Some of the newest vehicles to have been converted include ambulances, shuttle buses, as well as step delivery trucks. With each new one-of-a-kind build that appears there’s an exciting amount of experimentation that occurs. Even if elements of the home rely on tried and true methods of constructing tiny houses that came before it the wider range of application means accessibility for just about anyone that can get their hands on a large or compact vehicle.

Budgetary Considerations & Long-Term Investments

The cost of a tiny home varies greatly depending on the individual skill level and amount of work that the builder takes upon themselves. Even an inexperienced builder may be able to reduce the cost of the home by using recycled materials such as reclaimed wood as well as excess building materials from other sites. Although sourcing excess materials requires a connection in the construction industry, it’s not impossible to find listings on different online marketplaces. If you do choose to build a traditional tiny house that utilizes a trailer as a base then the metal foundation will likely be the most expensive part of the tiny home. With housing prices becoming more unrealistic in desirable areas more young people find the idea of a smaller upfront investment extremely appealing. Additionally, many modern tiny home manufacturers often payment plans for those without an upfront budget. Regardless, those on a budget would most likely opt for building a cheap tiny house using do it yourself methods.

Trailers as Another Method of Tiny Living

Sometimes these trailers are converted from normal hauling trailers, but these days they are increasingly being custom built and commissioned from tradesmen specializing in welded designs. This not only increases their range of application but ensures that the rest of the construction process runs smoothly. These custom bases can be fabricated using AutoCAD technology. With the proper dimensions, they can also be fabricated based on a simple Google SketchUp file. They are even some companies that have made their SketchUp files easily accessible on their website. By downloading these plans you can construct tiny house blueprints around the schematics of the trailer. Alternatively, you could also buy a premade design and fit it to the dimensions of one of these specialized trailers. The main benefit of a custom trailer are pre-drilled holes for anchoring the base, a recessed inner compartment for housing the home’s floor joists, as well as the added option of metal paneling for extra protection.

As an alternative to the typical flat trailers, it’s also possible to convert a fifth-wheel trailer or toy hauler. By using the square structure of a toy hauler as a shell for your tiny home you can greatly reduce the amount of work necessary to construct a tiny house and make it watertight thus creating the ideal cheap tiny house. The trade-off when using a premade shell is the limited construction space (one can’t simply add more height to a determined metal structure) as well as the aesthetic drawbacks of a simple container. While I personally have not seen many trailer conversions (also known as trampers) I believe, with the right vision, one could potentially create quite a unique and impressive living space. Some of the benefits of using a tramper method is speed (since the house shell is already complete), the option to order windows through the manufacturer, and the ease of working with 90 and 45-degree angles.

Van life outdoor travel and adventure
Van dwelling is a popular form of tiny living often used with sprinter van conversions and customized RV’s.

Is A Tiny Home Too Small For Me?

When it comes to square footage and usable space within a tiny home looks can often be deceiving. For example, if you’re currently renting an apartment with a 600 square feet, downsizing to a tiny house with 300 square feet can seem like a daunting task. However, the considerations one can take in making sure every space is highly customized and usable according to your needs is the key to living within a smaller footprint even when building a cheap tiny house. If you were to lay out a heat map within your home and create analyze the amount of square footage you primarily use you may be surprised by how little actual space we use on a daily basis. It’s for this reason that tiny homes are often condensed into just a kitchen and sleeping area as they are the most primary functions of a home and the place where you spend the most amount of time.

While it’s obvious that tiny homes are not for everyone, this write-up should hopefully serve as a jumping-off point for those considering making a lifestyle shift to a smaller scale of living. Aside from those looking to downsize, for individuals already living simply tiny houses can open up doors for full-time homesteading and land ownership. With a reduced cost to housing, one can focus their resources on long-term land ownership with the option of building a permanent dwelling such as an A-frame cabin for continued simple living or larger residence to accommodate a growing family.

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