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  • Clara Bobrycki

Let's Talk Numbers


One thing I would like to clarify before we move on in this Tiny Home Expense post is:


We did not have to pay for our beams and most of our lumber. (We did have to buy our 2x3 studs and a bit of framing material.) A fire rolled through our area, Mountain Ranch CA, in 2015. Our friends decided to rebuild their home after they lost everything. During their build process they purchased a Woodmizer Mill. They had a lot of burned trees on their property, that they wanted removed. They let us have these trees and mill them for free. This was a HUGE blessing and cut the cost of our tiny home by a lot.


Okay, that being said, let's move onto the numbers.


The first order of business was our trailer. We went through Tiny House Basics to purchase our beautiful trailer, made of steel tubing. This cost was about $6,658, since we went with dropped axles. (We did not calculate the gas money to pick up the trailer from Southern California.)


Next, was our frame. Again, we did not have to pay for the 5x5 beams of our Timber Frame. These cedar beams would have been exorbitantly expensive from a lumber store. So, take that as you will. Total cost of our frame was $774.94. This includes all of the fasteners, dowels, preserve-a-wood, hex bolts, lock nuts, flat washers, bolts for the trailer, angle iron, fasteners and angle Iron. Once we assembled all of our bents, we decided we wanted a little more rigidity. So we went back and added lags and angle iron tee’s to all of the corners of the bents. This jumped our cost by about $300.


The cost for our Sub-Floor was about $831.16. The cost primarily came from the insulation board, which we did two layers of (came to about $224). Plywood also gets expensive ($188). Our flashing surprisingly only came to about $150. Other expenses of the sub-floor included the caulk gun, caulk, glue, drill bits, screw, glue, foam.


For our roof, we were able to gather a lot of paneling and shingling from our friend. They had extra materials left over from their house build. This shaved off a bit of expense for our home. However, we still spent a total of $1,902 on the roof alone. Not only was this the most time consuming aspect of the build, but more expensive than we initially realized it would be. We spent about $250 on 2x3 studs, $500 on plywood and $300 on roofing panels. (Other expenses for the roof included hardware for ridge beam, screws, foam and DuPont flashing tape, insulation board, metal blades etc.)


Our walls cost us $2,514. The bulk of this cost was the insulation board, plywood and the sheet-rock sheets/supplies. (We did two layers of insulation board in the walls and roof). However, all the little items and materials we picked up everyday, began to add up as well. Some of these items included: Sanding pads, stain, caulking, spray foam, 2x3 studs, caulking, glue, screws (so many screws), paint, polyurethane, primer etc.


While we were shelling out for our walls; we were also bleeding money out for our electric. Luckily we were also able to use extra electric parts from our friends' left over build stock. However, the cost of electric still put us in $643.15 deep. For this cost we bought electric boxes, armored cable, wiring fitters, boxes, brackets, outlets, switches, electrical tape/supplies, light fixtures, LED light bulbs etc.


The total for purchasing seven windows and 3 doors was $2,097. This price is extremely good, for what we purchased. We were able to lower the cost of our windows and doors by buying second hand from Facebook Marketplace. Windows and doors are expensive, when you buy them full priced. (Fun fact: There are big outlets where you can buy new windows. Contractors will make mistakes on the dimensions of windows/doors and won't be able to return them to the maker. They then, get sent to these warehouses for a reduced sale price. SO look out for those! I found those warehouses on Craigslist.) Our sliding glass door by Milgard was only $450. Our kitchen window was $35. The one window we did splurge on was our octagonal window. This window was bought brand new and cost us about $288. Each of our linear actuators for our window wall cost us about $50 each. Since the first pair bent completely, we ended up having to purchase another pair. Sad day.


Plumbing cost us about $389, after purchasing shower heads, plumbing supplies, mud for the shower tile etc.


Appliances cost us roughly about $5,000 when everything was said and done. Our fridge alone cost about $1,800 since it was made for running off of our solar panels. We also purchased an induction cook plate, a gas stove, a convection oven, a propane heater, an industrial Master Cool and a beautiful sink.


With every build, there added costs that get forgotten and misplaced. On top of this number, we not adding anything extra for forgotten costs/receipts. We are also not including the cost of our time. THAT is huge. We honestly don't want to calculate our labor cost because that would make us sad!


When everything was said and done, the rough total for our build was.....drum roll please.......$20,808.94.


We hope this was able to give you a good idea on what a DIY Tiny House build will cost. It took us by surprise how quickly little purchases, here and there, added up. However, we don't regret a thing and absolutely love our home. If you have the ability and opportunity to invest in a DIY tiny home, we highly recommend. It's extremely rewarding and becomes the holiest of sanctuaries.




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