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Build A Tiny House For $3,000 In Materials (2021)


If you’re looking to build a tiny house for the most affordable price, here’s how you may be able to do it for only $3,000 in material costs. Our friend LaMar Alexander is looking to help anyone out there looking to get into a self-built quality tiny house for the least amount of money with his new tiny house plans.

So if you can do the labor yourself, you may be able to build yourself a tiny house very affordably. Need it to be built on a trailer for mobility or zoning? That will run you up approximately $6,000 in materials so you can build it on a Big Tex Trailer. Just remember, these prices are approximate and can change and vary depending on various factors like location, trailer choice, material choices, as well as any uncontrollable events and material price hikes. Learn more below!

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Build A $6,000 Tiny House on Wheels, Or Just $3,000 On A Foundation/Skids

LaMar gives you a few ideas on how to build out the floor plan.

The design includes a bathroom, kitchen, living area, dining/desk, and main-floor sleeping.

He also provides ideas for other modifications.

A tiny house build for under-$10k in 2021

VIDEO – Build your own Big Tex Tiny House for only $3,000 to $6,000

Highlights

  • 8×14 tiny house
  • Designed for Big Tex 8×14 trailer, but can also be built on foundation/skids to save costs
  • Sleeping for up to 4 adults
  • Kitchen and bathroom
  • The trailer costs $3000
  • Material costs to build the tiny house are approximately $3000
  • LaMar is offering the 30 page eBook with plans for only $5.00
  • Or you can upgrade and get the Off The Grid package with more add-ons for only $10.00

Would you consider building this tiny house?

Learn more

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Our big thanks to LaMar Alexander for sharing!🙏

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 12 comments… add one }
  • jerry dycus
    May 26, 2021, 5:42 pm

    Very Nice Lamar. Though recent lumber, etc price rises add another grand to the price.
    A suggestion is instead of a trailer put 2 10″x2″ or 4″x4″ skids on the bottom and bolt trailer axle to them. Without the weight of the trailer you can maybe get by with 1 axle.
    Then bolt a trailer tongue in front.
    As not much storage put in 2 lofts 2′ wide at 6′ high down each long wall adds huge amounts of storage from normally not used space.

    • James D.
      May 27, 2021, 1:44 am

      The trailer serves as a foundation for movable structures, which means compromising on that will be risky…

      Besides, I’m pretty sure improvising your own trailer out of wood beams would be considered illegal and dangerous in most jurisdictions. Especially, if you tow it onto the federal highways… Get into an accident with no title, registration, VIN, etc. don’t have proper lights, brakes, etc. and you’ll land right into liability hell…

      It’s allowable in certain use cases, but a THOW wouldn’t be one of those unless you only move it locally, provided there weren’t any strict local restrictions, and preferably on the same property…

      So wouldn’t help with mobility much, though, could help with zoning as it just has to be moveable then but doesn’t have to be for a significant distance.

      • jerry dycus
        May 27, 2021, 4:05 am

        You have no clue what you are talking about as most everything you said is wrong.
        Why do you think it wouldn’t be legal?
        You are just making up BS whatever your brain could make up and have no clue on legality, structural, etc.
        So why are you lying and spreading BS?

        • James D.
          May 27, 2021, 5:33 am

          Sorry, I don’t lie or spread BS. Just pointing out the problem with your idea. Hate to break it to you but you’re not the first person who ever thought to do that but there are road legal requirements to be on our system of highways, etc. that each vehicle and trailer has to meet and is why you don’t just see this done all the time because it would be a heck of a lot cheaper if there were just no issues with doing it.

          When you buy a trailer, you’re buying something already engineered, already equipped to meet the road legal requirements, already has a VIN, load capacity rating, etc. Something that’s insurable, etc. To be a trailer manufacturer you typically need an automobile/trailer manufacturer license, and may be coupled with a distributor license. But you throw all that away when you improvise something and go by just being able to physically move the structure but basically don’t bother to meet any of the road legal requirements or know if it’s even safe to tow on highways, etc…

          There are situations where it can be allowed, towing loads from farms, etc. on side dirt roads, usually have exceptions or aren’t mentioned in the codes. You usually don’t have to have a vehicle registered if you only transport it locally but it has to be in order to get on the highways. License plates, tail lights, brake system, safety equipment/gear, etc are example of road legal requirements. In addition to having a VIN and a rating for what you are towing to know whether it’s a safe load or not, safe max tow speed, etc. information which goes to liability because if you don’t have that information or aren’t even registered then you can be fully liable for an accident you were involved in even if you didn’t cause it…

          Never mind THOWs don’t use regular trailers anymore. Because regular trailers aren’t designed to handle the weight or support needs of a Tiny House. The trailer has essentially become the foundation for THOWs and needs to be extremely strong and able to handle extremely high loads not just for itself but for everything the owner can possibly ever put into it because it has to last for the life of the home… So they’re engineered specifically for building a tiny house on them, far more than just slapping a couple of beams together and hoping for the best.

          Seriously, this is one of those it may seem like a good idea but if you bothered to think things through as to whether you should actually do it or not then not so much… You can do it but if you ever get pulled over, then it’s over!

        • jerry dycus
          May 27, 2021, 7:38 am

          There are no issues as I’ve built, VINed, certified and tagged several trailers, just not hard. And you are just making stuff up and lying.
          Nor is it new as near every mobile home, most travel trailers are built that way making the floor frame the trailer they bolt axles and tongues to. Only THs put theirs on top of trailers.

        • James D.
          May 27, 2021, 12:35 pm

          Sorry Jerry, but you’re the one telling fibs. Unless you forgot that you did not include any process for getting a VIN, certification, etc. in your original post. So anyone who did follow what you actually stated to do would be in violation because they would not have known from your statement that they would be required to do anything else to be road legal, let alone be safe!

          So stop lying about what I’m stating Jerry, you know very well what you originally posted is wrong!

          Nor is anything you just added correct. You’re confusing the old unregulated mobile homes with what’s allowed now but modern manufactured houses are federally regulated under HUD and that has been enforced by law since 1976!

          Manufactured houses are built on steel frames and have to meet the HUD code, which means they can only be built in a HUD certified factory by a properly licenses manufacturer. You can’t even move one without having the proper license and permitting specifically for moving manufactured houses.

          While any modifications or changes to the structure of a manufactured house will void its certification and it will then depend on the local laws to how it’s handled but it can make the structure illegal to live in or may need to meet local building codes when HUD no longer applies, if they don’t simply overlook the issue but that’s the reality of anyone dealing with it today has to consider when dealing with them now.

          While TH’s aren’t the only things put on top of trailers when that is their primary function for most applications. So it’s utter nonsense to state only TH put theirs on top of the trailer.

          Besides most TH’s are actually integrated into the trailer these days, usually in combination with drop axles, to gain up to an additional foot of usable height but still remain within the road legal height limit, and again, none of this changes the problems with your original post…

          For anyone actually interested in doing it right, look up what your local requirements are and if planning to use highways, etc. then look up what the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) States should be followed. Particularly sections like Part 393 Section § 393.70: Coupling devices and towing methods, except for driveaway-towaway operations. For details like the number of safety devices you must have…

          “§393.70(d) requires that every full trailer must be coupled to the frame, or an extension of the frame, of the motor vehicle which tows it with one or more safety devices to prevent the towed vehicle from breaking loose in the event the tow-bar fails or becomes disconnected. The safety device must be connected to the towed and towing vehicles and to the tow-bar in a manner which prevents the tow-bar from dropping to the ground in the event it fails or becomes disconnected.”

          Among other details, like trailer, or really anything that will be on the roads, is legally required to have working lights and indicators. There’s a list of details that should be followed to be road legal and not in violation of anything that will get you in trouble if you ever get pulled over or worse are involved in an accident… Don’t just put some supports and attach the axles and tow tongue and call it good… There’s a lot more to it!

  • Bj
    May 26, 2021, 9:15 pm

    I think it’s a pretty good deal. Where can you get plans for $5.oo.
    I like the tiny ness of it. Something to think over. Thanks.

  • May 27, 2021, 1:24 pm

    I see there is some discussion of trailers on here.

    Just to add some info: The Big Tex is designed specifically for the Big Tex car hauler trailers or similar car hauler trailer which come in 14′, 16′ or 18′ length and designed for more weight than a traditional trailer.
    You can see them here and get the specifications: https://www.bigtextrailers.com/60ec-economy-tandem-axle-car-hauler

    I designed the Big Tex Tiny House to be very low weight and low profile while maintaining full framing integrity. It has 7 foot side walls and aprox. 8 feet to the peak and the model shown is 8’x`14′ single level with no loft so it is light weight and low profile and will not be top heavy like many models. It is designed for towing as needed and the trailer must have approved road lights and safety chains. The framing is all 2×4 except for the center roof beam and all structural members are glued and screwed like they build airplanes for maximum strength. The trailer to frame attachments are approved lag bolts and steel braces.

    The plans are very detailed, full color step-by-step and this can also be built on a foundation. Many of my cabin and tiny house designs have been built all over the world now and this was one I wanted to do for people that need a portable home that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and can be built by a DIY builder. I also include basic solar power system instructions and the off grid equipment I recommend and use in my own cabin in the plans.

    -LaMar

  • Lee Ann Rorex
    May 27, 2021, 5:00 pm

    I’ve seen LaMar’s videos on YouTube — so nice to see him and his work here. Great affordable spaces, LaMar! Thank you! Good job as usual, Tiny House Talk. 🙂

    • Alex
      May 28, 2021, 8:40 am

      Thanks, Lee Ann!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 28, 2021, 2:48 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it, Lee Ann. All the thanks goes to LaMar!

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