If you’ve been wondering how long does it take to build a tiny house on wheels, you’re at the right place.
I received a question from a reader (you can read it entirely below) who was also wondering how long it takes to build tiny, and I thought you might be wondering the same thing. So why not answer it right here on a public blog post and open the topic up to discussion in the comments?
This is a great question and there’s obviously not just one answer because it largely depends on your situation. Like what you want in the house, how detail oriented you are, how much learning you have to do, and more…
Like whether or not you want to take the extra time to find reclaimed materials like a used trailer that needs to be refurbished. Or if you want to harvest your own wood and need to find the time and resources to mill it.
This question also largely depends on not only how much construction experience you already have and who might be available to help you but also on how much time you are able to dedicate to the project every week. Let’s dive deeper and get your question answered below.
How Long Will It Take Me To Build a Tiny House?
Building Part Time (While Working a Full Time Job)
To put things into perspective, people that build around a full time job (meaning they’re working full time and building on the evenings and weekends) usually take about 1 to 3 years to finish their tiny house project. Again, depending on how much help they have, how much experience they have, and how well the entire project was planned and executed.
Building Full Time (~40 Hours a Week)
Those who can dedicate a full time effort to the project can usually get it done in about 2-3 months (usually a little longer than that) with experience and proper planning. It can, of course, and usually does- take longer (4-6 months). It’s a serious project to embark on, but it can be done, and is being done by everyday people. And you can do it too if you really want to.
How long will it take to build a tiny house? (reader Q&A)
Let me allow you to read the question from our wonderful reader, Maeve, below so you can chime in on this discussion in the comments too (I love getting to read your input, as do other readers):
I have been interested in tiny houses for a few years, and my husband and I are considering building and/or purchasing a tiny house to live in with our children (and dog and outdoor cat…) while we build a somewhat larger house. The tiny home will then get passed on to another family member. We are trying to figure out the right balance of spending our time vs spending our money. Do you have insight into this question? We both have construction experience. Should we buy a shell and finish it our selves? Just build it ourselves start to finish? Buy a finished product so we can move in and get started on the permanent house?We would like to be moving into the house before summer 2015.I have seen people say their tiny house took 8 months, 10 months, 2 years to build…and also found this article that said it took around 120 hours of work:
I would greatly appreciate your advice!
Thanks for your time,
Question: Should we buy a shell and finish it ourselves? Should we build it all ourselves? Or should we buy a finished tiny home?
Should they buy a shell and finish it themselves?
Should they just do it all themselves from start to finish?
Or should they just buy a completed tiny home and get started on their ‘small house’?
This is something that you have to decide for yourself according to your own situation, what you value most, and what you currently have to work with.
If you have a high paying job, then maybe it makes more sense to stay focused on that job while hiring contractors to do majority of the work for you or maybe even just buying a completed tiny house from Tumbleweed, Tiny Happy Homes, or any of the tiny houses for sale listed here.
If you don’t have the money, maybe you have the time? In that case, it makes more sense to consider doing it yourself. Especially if you already have the construction experience or are highly motivated to learn because you’ll save lots of your $ in labor while learning a lot, too.
Another option is to do a combination of the two. Do some of the work yourself (maybe the parts that you enjoy most and are already good at) and hire the rest of it out to contractors (then watch, learn and help if you can and want to).
Question: I found this article that said it takes around 120 hours of work
As for the 120 hour estimate (shown here), it doesn’t include the interior finishing process which is very tedious. It also doesn’t include the design/planning phases.
So in many cases I would double or triple that labor estimate.
I suggest most of you to triple the estimate to account for planning and designing, making and fixing mistakes, decision making, occasional redesigning, shopping for materials, etc. So I’d say it’s really more appropriate to expect about 360 hours for most of us.
Building a tiny house yourself from start to finish on a full time basis: 3-6 months of ~40 hour work weeks.
Some examples that might be helpful for you to re-look at…
- Jane Dwinell’s Tiny House Project (Completed in less than 6 months)
- Sage’s Gypsy Tiny Home (amazingly- only 4 months to finish)
- Ethan’s $7k micro house (6 months)
Building a tiny house yourself from start to finish on a part time basis: 12-24 months of ~20 hour work weeks.
- John and Debbie’s Tiny House (11 months to finish) <- this post gives a good idea of what it takes to build
- Ella’s Tiny House (12 months to finish)
How Many Hours Does It Take, Really?
These estimates are based on about 360+ hours of planning, designing, decision making, and building. Which of course varies depending on what you build, how you do it, and how much learning you have to do.
Your Thoughts Please
How long do you think it takes to build a tiny house on wheels from start to finish?
We’d absolutely LOVE to read your thoughts in this question in the comments below. Thank you!
If you enjoyed this Q&A discussion on how long it takes to build a tiny house on a trailer you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!
Our big thanks to Maeve for asking this excellent question and bringing it up for discussion for all of us to benefit from.