Building a tiny house yourself DIY style

How Long Does It Take To Build a Tiny House? (DIY vs. Pro’s)

In Tiny Housesby Morten Storgaard

Considering building a tiny house? Make sure to have a solid plan first. Construction projects often get off track, so it’s important to have as much information as possible before you start.

We have done the research for you about how long it will take to build a tiny house.

How long does it take to build a tiny house? Professionals can build a tiny house in around 120 hours. A DIYer may take more like 500 hours. So you’ll likely need around 63 days where you can work 8 hours. Most people building part-time can reasonably complete the project in one year.

There are many different factors that play into how long it can take to build a tiny house.

Factors that affect the time it takes to build a tiny house

Level of Experience

A DIYer is going to take much longer than a professional.

Building a home requires knowledge in many different areas:

  • structural engineering
  • electrical wiring
  • plumbing
  • roofing
  • general construction skills.

A handy DIYer is still going to need to spend a lot of time learning how to do some of these skills. And it always takes longer to do something when it’s your first time, so take that into consideration too.

Bringing in Pro’s

Even if you plan to do most of the work yourself, you may want to opt for some professional help for certain tasks.

How many jobs you contract out can make a big difference in how long it takes to build. On one hand, if the pros are faster than you are, as they likely will be, that will save you some time.

And they can probably work on the project when you’re not on site, so their time won’t cut into yours.

But on the other hand, you might have to wait for them to accommodate you in the midst of other jobs. So make sure you plan well and keep on top of communication with your contractors if you need to save time.

Preparing the Plans

Drawing up the plans can take a lot of time, so your timeline may depend a lot on if you’re going to make the plans yourself, hire an architect, or buy a pre-made plan.

Even if you purchase a premade plan, you need a lot of time to study them before you start work.

You may want to make edits to the blueprints to make the home exactly what you want. Adjust your timeline to accommodate the amount of work your planning stage will be.

Electrical work

The time it takes to wire the house can vary widely depending on skill.  

Learning how to wire a house can take some time, plus doing the work can be dangerous if you’re not a total pro. So you’ll probably want to hire someone to come out and work on the electrical portions of the house. It’ll take time to research to find a good electrician. Then you’ll need to coordinate with them about buying supplies.

If you’re going to provide the supplies, you’ll need to spend time researching and ordering as well as coordinating shipping. You don’t want to have to call the pro out again due to lack of supplies because that will really bump out your timeline.

Plumbing in the tiny house

Plumbing is another area where it might be faster to hire a professional depending on your skill level.

Most tiny houses only have one bathroom and a kitchen sink, plus maybe a small washing machine. So the plumbing is not nearly as complicated as a full-sized home. However, you may still decide to hire a professional depending on how quickly you want the house finished and how much money you’re willing to spend.

Work Days & Weather

Even if you do everything in your control to secure your timeline, you still need to account for mother nature.

Of course, a month of sunny weather will lead to much more progress than two weeks of rain in a month.

So consider the seasons in the area in which you plan to complete the project.
Is there a rainy season?
How cold are the winters?

If you’re in a snowy area, you’ll probably have to suspend construction in the winter.

Obviously, summer works better, weather-wise, but the days are also longer, which means more working hours, so that’s a plus too. Just some things to consider when you’re planning your timeline.

Something else to consider is the blocks of time you’ll have to work. If you can work long days, you’ll probably save some time because you won’t have to spend an hour putting away tools and cleaning up after just a few hours of work.

So if you’re working on the house part-time, you might not want to work on it unless you’ve got a full day to put in.

Budget

Though you may think the amount of money you have to spend on this project isn’t related to how long it will take to build, you’d be surprised at how extra money can really work to speed up the process.

If time is an issue for you, you might want to consider adding a little wiggle room to your budget. With more money, you can hire more help to speed things up.

The budget will also affect how much you choose to DIY.

In some instances, if you spend more time searching for used or cheaper materials, you can save money.

But if your goal is to save time, having more money to spend on materials can allow you to choose options that are faster but more expensive.

If you want to save money, you’ll probably also want to pad your timeline a little to allow yourself some time to research at the beginning of each step. That way, you’ll know you’re getting the best deal on materials to perform the work in the cheapest way possible.

Ways to cut down on the time it takes to build a tiny house

Hire more professionals

As discussed above, hiring professionals will have a definite impact on your timeline. Keep in mind, they might not always speed it up. But if you plan well and coordinate your schedule correctly, hiring people for some of the steps along the way can really save you some time.

Buy a completed tiny house

Obviously, there’s a lot of interest in building tiny houses, but if you need it more quickly or don’t want to build it, you can buy a fully completed tiny house, both new and used.

You can always add a loft or a porch, so you feel like you’ve contributed to the building a little.

Panel Homes can save you time

If you’re stuck between not wanting to build a whole home and not wanting to spend the money to buy a completed one, you should research panel homes. SIPs, or Structural Insulated Panels, can help you build your tiny home quickly. Many companies sell prefabricated sections of a home as a kit that makes it easy to build.

Because all the pieces are designed to fit together and are already insulated, it becomes very easy to build the walls and floors of your home.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into how long it takes to build a tiny house. If you’re just starting out on your tiny house journey, I hope you’ve learned some things that you’ll take into consideration when setting up your tiny house timeline.

What’s the first step to building a tiny house?

Planning!

You’ll want to spend a lot of time at this stage.

Researching what you want your tiny house to look like and the supplies and skills you’ll need to make it happen will take many hours. You’ll also need to choose where you will put your tiny house.

If you have property to put it permanently, then you’ve already got a head start. If not, take some time to research tiny house communities or building your house on wheels.

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