Whether you have come to this page because you are interested in building a house with a limited budget, or you have the desire to impact nature in a more positive way, learning how to build a small house can be much simpler than originally thought yes Progressive steps are followed. Initially, the task can be overwhelming when thinking about electrical installation, plumbing, appliances and all the other features of a home that require a lot of work.
However, the final product is rewarding; It is worth designing a mini dream or a vacation home for the few months it will take to complete. Observing how he gives life to his designs can be satisfactory, along with the time we spend inside a house built with our own hands.
Design the house of your dreams
The process starts with the fun part! Before starting to build a small house, take out a sketchbook and a pencil, because we are the masters of our creations. This is the time to think about the function of our house. Will it be designed for vacations or work needs? Maybe our little house is just a getaway, or a place where we can spend time with a loved one? Do we want to build our small house with solar panels to reduce our impact on nature?
Do we want a small house because we know that we will spend most of the time outside? Before drawing the floor plans and the exact dimensions, it is a great idea to have the overall look of our house sketched to help us when we draw or hire someone to create the floor plans. When designing a house of this type, keep in mind the following questions:
Size and location
- Will the site be on flat or sloping terrain?
- It is dry / wet / swampy / etc. Land that will require special foundation adjustments?
- Should large rocks or stumps be removed or can the house be built around them?
- Do we want a small house of one, two or three levels?
- Will we have to design around trees, rocks or other natural obstacles?
- Do we want it to be rectangular or circular, with little or many angles?
- Will the house have small wings or a porch / balcony?
- Are we willing to put in extra work for curved walls?
- Flat, gable or hip?
- Will we convert it into a balcony or will we install solar panels on it?
Energy / access
- Will your home have water from the city, sewer, gas, power lines, etc.?
- Are solar panels ideal for your home and, if so, do we want to connect them to the main power?
Laundry / utility
- Do you need a laundry?
- Will we need a back door with a mud room?
- Is a gas or electric stove ideal?
- How many will we need to incorporate into the design?
- Will a space be necessary for visitors?
- Are enclosures or integrated storage spaces needed?
- Do we want to build bunk beds and storage space?
- Do we want to connect the bathroom to the room?
- Will our room be in a loft area, with access only through the use of a staircase?
- Do we need one or more?
- Will the main bathroom be full, medium or shower?
- How much storage will be needed and integrated?
- Do we prefer a closed or open kitchen?
- Will it connect to the dining room / breakfast room?
- How much storage space will be needed for dishes and small appliances?
- How much counter space is a necessity?
- Do you need a large or small sink and oven?
- Will there be a pantry?
- Do we want an island?
Walls, windows, balconies, porches.
- Large windows or small?
- Many windows or a few?
- Do we want skylights?
- Will the walls be flat or curved?
- Do we want a balcony or porch, and if so, connected to what room (s)?
- Can integrated stairs be used?
- Is there enough space for a fireplace?
- Do we want a room built specifically for a hobby?
- Where will the additional storage space be?
- What type of architectural style do we want to incorporate into the design?
Determine budget and main characteristics.
Now is the time to find out how much money we are willing to spend in our small house. In general, the decision to build a small house revolves around the idea that it will be a cheaper alternative to a larger one, but sometimes it is because we want to create a lesser impact on nature or we need it to make reclusion work in a hobby. If it’s for pleasure, spending more could even be part of the plan within specific hobby rooms.
Maybe it’s a dream to have a small holiday home isolated in the middle of nowhere. In any case, it is better to decide on what we will spend more money while we build our small house and if our dream design is really an excessive budget.
Consider the main characteristics of your home:
- Are we going to spend a lot of time in the kitchen? If so, do we want to spend more on kitchen appliances?
- Is it the purpose of the house for holidays or a hobby? If so, do we want a specialized room for relaxation or our hobby? Do we need specialized features for the installation of our hobby?
- Do you prefer that the exterior look sublime with a garden instead of worrying too much about the interior?
- Is there a specialized feature that needs to be added, such as a ramp or a full ladder?
Whatever the design of your dream little house, be sure to spend the right amounts of money on the right aspects of your home. Use the right materials for walls and foundations, but consider the cheaper alternatives. This is where you should calculate the amount of wood you will need according to the design, the costs of walls and windows, power tools and appliances, etc.
In general, a small house can cost between $ 20,000 and $ 100,000, depending on the quality of the materials we plan to buy, as well as how small the manufacturing is. The small houses can be simple or elaborated according to the type of architecture used and the complements that we incorporate into the design.
Draw / buy plans and permits.
Before applying for a zoning and / or construction permit, the city / county near the location of our small home will often request the design and plans of our new home. Whether you are an amateur architect or you prefer to hire someone with professional knowledge in architecture, it is a good idea to have your plans ready in case the city has negative comments about your permit. You will need the final dimensions as well as the electrical and plumbing drawings.
Be sure to check the laws of your site regarding the property before finalizing your plans. Once you are sure that your plans comply with the appropriate zoning laws, it is time to get your permission from the city! Be patient, the process to obtain a construction permit can take from one to 30 days, depending on the complexity of the plans of your new home.
Prepare site, materials and foundations.
Once we have obtained our construction permit, it’s time to get our hands dirty! When preparing the location of our small house, we must first make sure that the ground is level, that there are no obstacles in our path, and that the ground is stable enough to support a house. When choosing which direction your house will take, consider sun exposure. If you want a specific area inside to be exposed to afternoon or morning sunlight, keep this in mind as well.
Also consider what views you want your windows to have. This is also the time to evaluate if you want space for an access road or a yard, and if so, where you want to locate them. The materials we will need will be acquired step by step during the process of completing our house. To begin with, the foundations of the house must be laid. There are several different types of foundations we can choose for our small house:
Permanent wooden base
Preservative-treated plywood has been used to build houses since the 1960s and is ideal for small homes. They resist the effects of decomposition and water, and are much easier to install than a concrete base. Not only are they light when it comes to workload, they are less complicated than your next option.
This type of foundation is common, but for a small house project, it can be a bit overwhelming. If we are interested in having a concrete base, it is better to mix and pour the concrete slabs on a gravel bed for proper drainage in the winter and spring.
If our small house is located in a colder climate, it would be a good idea to add a shallow base protected from frost.
For some of us, a high base is necessary because our site receives a lot of rain or is in a flood zone. For others, a raised base adds the look we seek for our dream little house. In any case, there are two different types of high foundations we can use: the foundation of a pier / beam using bricks or concrete with reinforcement bases about a foot away.
The base of a stem wall is similar, but the bases are constant rather than spaced. Do not take any “shortcut” when laying our foundations. It is one of the most important steps in the construction of our small house. If we do not put the foundations correctly, the structure will be affected and the cracks in our walls are a definite potential.
Framing the house and the roof.
After we have decided what we want as our base, and it has been placed correctly, the next step is the framing. We want to make the skeleton of our house. This step, along with laying the groundwork, is crucial to building a successful home that is stable and has a long lifespan. Again, do not take shortcuts in the frame, it is a vital aspect for the longevity of our home. To begin with, we must decide where our main beams and posts will be located to make sure that their walls can support their own weight when we are finished.
Separate beams evenly around the edges of the house, use sturdy materials and do not be afraid to use metal hooks and ties if the joints appear to be loose. The same applies to the roof, whether we are trying a flat or gable style.
Utilities and appliances
It is better to install the drain pipe first, in case of an accident, we do not want it to affect the electrical wiring with the potential for electrocution. We must decide where we want our sinks, showers, bathtubs and bathrooms to be installed. Let’s not forget our refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine, which will also need access to clean water.
Consider whether we want a larger or smaller hot water heater depending on the amount of water we plan to use. This is also the time to review your building permit verification list. Often, there are established standards regarding what should be done in a residential home with respect to plumbing.
Electricity and gas are the following. We must choose if we want a gas or electric stove to decide if gas is needed. Now, we can choose what kind of lighting we want, as well as where we would like it. Are we going to want candelabra in our little house? Apply? Simplistic outputs for plugging floor lamps?
Be aware of the places where the points of sale are installed and make sure there is enough to meet the needs you have. The wiring can be placed through small holes drilled in the beams of the walls. Make sure they are more than two feet from the ground, in case of a flood or other natural disaster around your small home.
This is also a good time to consider energy alternatives. Do solar panels sound attractive? If we have decided that we do not want to incorporate a balcony on the roof of our house, placing solar panels can be a viable and economical (long-term) alternative to energy. As we are building a small house, the solar panels should have no problems to provide enough electricity for the small structure and a limited amount of space that we will need to heat / cool if we install a heater / air conditioner.
Some of the counties offer cash to residential homes if they send their extra energy to a nearby power plant. However, we can install isolated solar panels and save all the energy for ourselves. But be careful: if our small house will be located in an area with lots of trees, the panels may not get enough sunlight to adequately produce the amount of energy needed. Make sure that if you install solar panels on the roof, you get a good amount of sunlight.
Walls and floors
Once the small skeleton of our houses is complete, and finally the pipes and electricity are installed, it is time to build the walls and the floors. Depending on the type of terrain and climate on which we have built our base, choosing which one to install first will depend on the builder. In general, the floors are the next to be installed to facilitate mobility in the home as new projects begin to emerge. Decide if you want wood, bamboo, vinyl, stone, tile or any other type of material first.
If we want a carpet, leave this step for a final touch so that it does not get dirty as we move towards more messy projects. Taking the right dimensions for the necessary materials is vital, so we are not spending too much or have to return the materials for a refund.
Apply the same concept to the walls. Make sure the windows and doors are well framed, and that they are large enough to fit our furniture and appliances! Remember, there are internal and external wall materials that must be installed correctly. Gypsum panels are usually used together with insulation materials to ensure adequate protection against the outside climate. Once this is done, more options arise as to what we can do with the inside of our walls.
We can choose bricks, plasterboard, mortar, plaster, concrete plates, tiles, etc. Keep in mind that appliances will soon be installed in the kitchens and bathrooms, so leaving space around these areas may be ideal for those of us who wish to assemble specialized tiles or other design forms in these areas.
Bathroom and kitchen.
Now is the time to install the rooms in which many people spend most of their time. This is where we can finally begin to be creative. As mentioned above, make sure that the windows and doors are large enough to carry the appliances and materials; otherwise, it is possible that our ideal appliances may not fit in our small house. When installing countertops and sinks, we must pay close attention to the place where we have placed our plumbing to make sure that the dimensions match the plumbing line correctly.
This is also the time to consider where we want our additional bathroom storage, using space efficiently.
The same rule applies to the kitchen: install the countertops, the stove, the refrigerator and the sink within the appropriate dimensions that match the plumbing and electricity. Find out where storage space will be most useful, and if an island or buffet fits your ideal design. There are a variety of different types of cabinets to choose from, as well as different sizes of refrigerators and stoves.
Choose appliances and countertops that match your future decor, all within your budget. It is also vital to verify the regulations that our county may have regarding stoves and safety; Some places require that specialized materials be installed around our stoves to prevent the spread of fires.
Finally, it is time to install the final extras that we have in mind for our additional rooms we have designed. Whether it’s a sewing room made with a built-in sewing machine or a room to practice playing instruments, adding specialized details to our small house can make the difference as to whether we fall in love with our final product or not.
Make sure that details such as lighting in the cabinets and the installation of windows that complement the climate are addressed, wherever we decide to build our small house.
Just as the design of our small house was fun, so are the finishing touches for any home. After making sure that our plumbing is properly connected, the electricity is working properly, our appliances are working and running, and our sinks do not leak, we can concentrate on painting / walling, adding furniture and placing small pieces of our personalities throughout our small house in the form of specialized decoration.
Add the tiles around a kitchen stove or tiles in the bathroom is now ready to be completed. Finally the carpet can be installed. Now you can carry out a cleaning of the entire small house, as well as installing any chandelier or particular lighting. Adding details to the exterior of our house can also be taken into consideration, such as flower beds in the windows or porches or balconies on the balconies.
As we can see, building our small house on a budget is not so horrible if we classify the right steps and budget our money accordingly. Many of the jobs described in this guide can be done by professionals hired at a cost, but finding our own means to build a house can be quite rewarding and easier than we think if we follow simple guidelines.
Divide the process into steps, it facilitates the construction of our own house, especially when knowing the sequences in which each project is carried out. By using this guide, we have learned that designing a small house can be easy, done on a budget and can help to impact our environment in a positive way as we begin to occupy less space and use less energy. Now we can consider whether or not we want those solar panels connected to our small house.