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Planning and building a tiny home

TinyHomeDIY is a resource wiki for building your own tiny home. I'm collecting quality info for planning your tiny home, right here online. The most practical sources are blogs by individual builders who detail their decision-making processes, materials, methods, costs, and the problems and solutions they encountered. Distilling all that knowledge with common sense should result in a DIY master plan that's as close to foolproof as humanly possible. That's the attempt here, to synthesize, giving full credit and sources.

Planning & research checklist

Step-by-step building checklist

A master list of building steps, once you have plans in hand (in progress). At the moment, this is for a trailer-based house, steps 1-3 will be adjusted for a non-trailer build.

  1. get a trailer
  2. remove rust from trailer (sad face)
  3. build floor framing
  4. attach aluminum flashing
  5. attach floor framing to trailer
  6. fill in floor joists with insulation
  7. cut & attach subfloor/flooring
  8. pull off first ruined subfloor & put second one on
  9. attach scissor jacks & level trailer
  10. build wall framing
  11. build loft framing
  12. build roof framing
  13. add plywood sheathing to walls & roof
  14. install roof window
  15. pick out & install metal roofing
  16. add rigid insulation to the walls
  17. install windows
  18. install housewrap & furring strips
  19. install front door
  20. build tiny shed on the hitch
  21. install siding
  22. build planter box
  23. build stairs
  24. frame interior walls
  25. run electric
  26. run plumbing, including grey water tank
  27. install pocket door for bathroom
  28. build a tiny couch with storage & table
  29. install & tile shower
  30. make a composting toilet
  31. buy & install appliances
  32. buy & install mini-split air conditioner
  33. install fireplace?
  34. build kitchen counters & cabinets
  35. build utility cabinet to house propane, water, batteries
  36. run propane lines
  37. build a couch with storage
  38. finish interior walls
  39. build some between-stud shelving
  40. solar system installation

List from Erin & Rob build a Tiny House: Building Checklist

All-in-one planning & construction checklist


  • Determine your true needs: Info here
  • Select site
  • Talk with other tiny house people: Info here
  • Create rough floor plan
  • Determine major features
  • Draw up or purchase plans
  • Create budget
  • Address top 5 barriers: Barriers, Solutions Part I, Solutions Part II
  • Start skill building: Getting Started Guide


  • Trailer – My Trailer
  • Windows – Info here
  • Lumber
  • Tools – Basic Tools I Used
  • Appliances
  • Knowledgeable friends
  • Professionals

Consider Access

  • Consider when you need to bring in your mattress, appliances, shower stall, toilet, furniture
  • Make sure big things can fit through door or windows!



  • Site selection
  • Leveling
  • Remove decking – I decided to get a higher weight rated trailer, so I left these on
  • Cut off extras – More on the Trailer
  • Weld on anchors – Anchoring the Tiny House


  • Build foundation frame – Framing The Floor
  • Anchor foundation to trailer – Anchoring the Tiny House
  • Attach metal flashing – Adding the Deck Flashing
  • Add insulation
  • Add vapor barrier – Protecting Against Water
  • Install sub floor

Wall Framing

  • Frame walls according to plans
  • Ensure squareness
  • Test fit windows (while lying down)
  • Sheathe while lying down
  • Consider big items that might not fit through door (e.g. shower stall, mattress, fridge)
  • Raise walls, square and brace
  • Secure framing to trailer via anchors


  • Measure & plan panel layout
  • Cut all pieces
  • Allow for 1/8? expansion gap between sheets of plywood
  • Test fit
  • Apply glue to all studs
  • Tack in place with a few nails
  • Screw every 3? on edges of panels
  • Screw every 6? into studs covered
  • Ensure you use screws & nails designed for treated wood!
  • After walls are raised, anchor plywood to foundation

Windows And Door Rough Openings

  • Double check window dimensions, give a little extra
  • Cut out window holes (Sawz-All or plunge router)
  • Apply house wrap (WRB), Tyvek or Typar
  • Cut house wrap – inverted “Y”
  • Test fit window
  • Flash window sills – 5 degree angle
  • Install windows & shim
  • Tack with a few screws
  • Test window functionality
  • Secure per manufacture recommendations
  • Flash window – start at bottom and work up
  • Leave bottom edge unsealed for water drainage

Roof Framing

  • If building Fencl, first install loft collar ties and flooring
  • Construct trusses per plans
  • Ensure height stays under 13.5 feet
  • Build headers for rough opening for skylight

Roof Sheathing

  • Plan layout and dimensions
  • Cut boards
  • Glue truss edges
  • Use “H” clips between sheets
  • Secure with ring shank nails and screws

Install Skylights

  • Build frame if using curb mounted
  • No need to frame with deck mounted
  • Test fit skylight
  • Install skylight per directions
  • Flash according to directions


  • Frame door frame
  • Build door or purchase
  • Test fit
  • Shim and secure
  • Consider a temporary plywood door during construction
  • Install door hardware


  • Tape house wrap seams
  • Install furring strips
  • Paint BOTH sides of siding before putting up
  • Hang siding

Outside Trim Work

  • Install fascia boards
  • Install drip edge

Install Roofing

  • Apply ice & water shield
  • Install reflection barrier (need .5? gap)
  • Install furring strips
  • Install roof per manufacture’s recommendations

Rough Plumbing

  • Plan out drains, inlets, holes in floor, etc.
  • Be sure to check for trailer cross beams under trailer
  • Be sure to account for vents if needed
  • Be sure to account for “P” traps
  • Be sure to account for proper slope so water drains well
  • Consider hiring a professional

Rough Electrical

  • Plan out locations of outlets, lights, fans, sockets, etc.
  • Plan locations for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Consider your power usage
  • Hiring a professional is highly recommended

Rough Gas Lines

  • Plan out locations needed
  • Hiring a professional is highly recommended

Rough HVAC

  • Plan out locations needed
  • Hiring a professional is highly recommended


  • Install insulation
  • Foam in edges
  • Install vapor barrier – 6 millimeter thickness
  • Ensure your materials and fasteners that come in contact with foam are okay (some react)

Install Major Appliances

  • Water heater
  • Fridge (may wait till later)
  • Shower
  • Heater


  • Follow directions
  • Cover with durable protection layer


  • Hang wall panels
  • Trim around lights and edges


  • Plan out locations needed
  • Construct rough frame for cabinets and counter tops
  • Install counter top
  • Drop in stove and connect
  • Drop in sink and connect
  • Build and install cabinet doors
  • Build in shelving


  • Plan out locations needed
  • Finish the shower stall connections
  • Finish bathroom walls
  • Finish bathroom storage
  • Connect toilet (or build composting unit)
  • Install vent (consider having on timer for whole house air exchange)

Sleeping Loft

  • Install any additional storage
  • Wire in lights and outlets
  • Take a nap, you deserve it!

Main Room

  • Finish HVAC
  • Wire lights and outlets
  • Build any built-in units
  • Finish storage

From The Tiny Life: Tiny House Building Checklist

start.txt · Last modified: 2021/12/07 19:34 by miketfb