If you know anything about tiny homes then you will probably know you can convert many different types of structures to a house like a shed or even a barn, also known as a barndominium. They come in different shapes and sizes. We have been asked by many readers whether going for a tiny house shed as a cheaper option is a better option than actually building a traditional tiny house.
One thing you must always remember is that tiny homes have carved a niche and made a name for themselves. And that’s because these homes are out to break the mold. The whole diversity that comes with tiny living is what makes it intriguing. Many people have taken the ideals we share on tiny homes and tweaked them to many forms, eventually coming up with new creative ways to live in small homes.
That said, creatively using a shed and turning it into a tiny house is a brilliant way to kick things off. And today, we will give you all the important details regarding shed converted to tiny house. And yes, we will also show you some brilliant pictures of sheds turned into homes. Let’s get started, shall we?
Is it possible to live legally in a shed?
Can you legally turn a shed into a house? This is one question that comes up every time we talk about shed to tiny house conversion. Read on for all the details.
Just like tiny homes, living in a shed can be pretty challenging as building it to meet building codes requirements and other relevant laws can be rather difficult. That said, the cool thing about this kind of structure is that they are very popular that you can just get one and drop it off. Nevertheless, some places require tiny house shed owners to apply and have permits. But then again, this can be all formality as the city council is mostly interested in getting its slice.
If you plan to use your tiny house shed as storage, you will get a passcode. Unfortunately, things can get pretty complicated if you don’t have plans to keep the shed behind a primary dwelling. And just so you know, this is where many shed enthusiasts run into problems.
Where most people find it pretty challenging living legally in a shed is when it comes to connecting power, sewer, or water.
Connecting water to tiny house shed
Getting water to your shed is pretty easier than connecting other utilities. And that’s because water isn’t as complicated as other utilities. Plus, it doesn’t pose much risks. If you live off-grid, you can simply dig a well. On the flip side, if you live on the grid, what you can do is connect to city water for landscaping, and you’ll have no issues.
That said, it’s important you have the cash for permits and installation. Once permits and installations are settled, you can simply run it to a frost-proof hydrant. With this resolved, you can go ahead to get the job inspected. The moment inspectors are done with the relevant checks and you’re issued all the important documents, you can drop off your shed and proceed to connect water off the books.
Because it is pretty easy to get water to your shed, you can simply connect it and get bills that will serve as proof of residence for other things, such as getting a post office box or DMV.
Getting power to your shed
This is where many tiny home shed owners run into problems. The reality is connecting electricity to your shade can be tricky as code officials may get a hunch you plan on living in the shed. That said, it isn’t weird that you may want electricity in your shed to power some tools. A smart thing to do is get water installed on the land. When doing this, make sure it is 20 feet close to the property. Be patient for a couple of weeks, while you make plans for your shed pad to be graded and dropped off.
Once your shed is ready and dropped off, we recommend adding a few items like a sawhorse, a lawnmower, a tabletop, and a couple of power tools scatted on top. You want to give inspectors an impression that your shed is where you park your car or use it for storage. Doing this will give the electrician and the inspector an impression that your shed is indeed used for storage.
That said, keep in mind that you’ll most likely get approved for a 50-100 amp service. This is a sharp difference from the 200 amp you get in normal homes. However, this should pretty much be enough, given the size of your small space.
Connecting sewer to your tiny house shed
Quite frankly, this is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face when trying to connect the sewer to your shed. And to be honest, you aren’t going to find it easy as no code official will let you install a traditional flush toilet in your shed. If you do this, then you’ll be doing it off the books, which may someday backfire, and we are sure you wouldn’t like that.
If you must install a toilet in your home, we strongly encourage going for a composting toilet. And if you don’t like the idea of installing a composting toilet, you can opt for a septic system instead. But before you take this route, keep in mind that installing septic systems will raise eyebrows and have people asking questions. Eventually, you’ll get people looking into your property, and they may eventually report you to the authorities. So your best bet is to install a composting toilet, just to be on the safe side.
What are the perks of living in a shed?
Just like living in a tiny house, living in a shed comes with lots of exciting perks, including being cost-effective, insanely popular, and above all, easy to maintain. Here, check out some remarkable benefits of living in a tiny house shed.
Easy to get permits
One of the things we like about tiny house sheds is the fact that getting a permit is a breeze. While you may run into problems trying to legitimize your tiny homes, you’ll get your permits for sheds much easier. And in most cases, you can just have your shed dropped off on your property without worrying about permits. And just to add, many municipalities have special rules like “If the house isn’t used as a primary residence and has no dimension that is more than 12 feet, it doesn’t require a permit.
Cost-effective and affordable
If you’re looking for a cheap structure you can live in, you’ll not be disappointed to give tiny house sheds a try. They are pretty much affordable than your typical tiny homes. One of the models we saw recently measured nearly 192 square feet.
And we like the fact that it featured all of the important things including doors, windows and more. Plus, the company selling the shed added installations, site levelling, all the relevant taxes, and delivery in the mix. As per pricing, it went for $4,200. If you factor in the cost of insulation, running water, permits, and drywall, assuming you get it done yourself, everything should cost you around $6000.
And if you want to take things up a notch or want a really fancy place, you can deck it out with Ikea for an additional $500. The only problem we have with this model is that it is missing a loft for a bed. But we doubt if that will be a deal-breaker as you could save yourself all the stress by getting a murphy bed.
Also, with models like the one we mentioned above, you get to enjoy hassle-free payment plans of up to $70 per month. This makes it a reasonably priced option, especially if you consider the fact that some people pay as much as $1500 in rent every month.
Super easy to transport
Another exciting perk that comes with living in a tiny house shed is that it is super easy to transport. Even though it may not be as easy as moving a tiny house on a trailer, it isn’t impossible. The reason these structures are easy to move is that they are delivered on flatbeds and sometimes tow trucks. And there are even specially designed crawler machines built to help maneuver sheds into spots where a truck might naturally not get to.
Unlike your typical tiny home where the closest builder is several states away, there is every likelihood that you’ll find many shed builders and sellers in your city. And because they are everywhere, you won’t break a sweat finding the perfect shed that ticks all your boxes. And the icing on the cake is that these structures don’t cost a fortune.
Converting a shed to a tiny house: What you should know
Once you’re lucky enough to get a shed that ticks all your boxes, the next thing you want to do is get all the utilities, you want to install in your home to the site. Now have everything nicely set up before you get to business. The next thing you want to do is get water, sewer, and power squared away. It would also be nice to get all the necessary approval and wait a couple of weeks.
Waiting a couple of weeks will give you enough time to tie up all loose ends as you don’t want to run into issues with inspectors who may visit your property every now and then.
Put together a level pad and make room for drainage
Before you get your preferred shed delivered to your property, it’s important you get to the basics. By basics, we mean scrapping the grass away and adding at least 4 to 6 inches of gravel. Once that’s out of the way, you can proceed to bury the sewer and water connections. It will help if you hide the end, so you don’t get the inspectors asking unnecessary questions.
We strongly recommend spreading the gravel nicely in all directions. Anything between 1 to 2 feet should do. It’s important the entire space is totally leveled. Not just that, also ensure you compact the base using a plate compactor.
While you’re working on this, think about how the water will flow around the shed. To get things spot on, we strongly recommend installing a French drain as it would help push water towards it. Another thing you want to figure out is how water will flow off the roof, especially if your shed has a gutter. To resolve this, you won’t go wrong installing a durian pipe. This would help flush water away from the shed.
Connect all-important utilities to your shed
Once your shed arrives on your property and is properly dropped off on the pad you built and the inspector is done with his job, you can proceed to connect all utilities to the shed. If you had earlier done as instructed and pre-buried your connections, it’s time to uncover the connection spots and do the needful. Make sure you test everything and confirm they are working before you close up the walls.
Resolve moisture trapped in the interior and exterior of the shed
If there is one thing we really don’t like about many of the sheds we have come across, it is the fact that they are built using OSB or similar materials. The issue with these types of products is that they just don’t stand up too well to moisture. If you have enough cash to spend, we suggest buying extra plywood, making sure it is treated.
Underneath the floor, especially areas facing the ground, is where you’d expect moisture to build up. If not addressed immediately, it is only a matter of time before bugs start eating into it. To be on the safer side, it’s always a wise move to have your shed dropped on the block a little high enough that you can easily crawl under. This will give you easy access in case you need to fix things underneath.
It’s important you have access and airflow as it will ensure that your floor is dry. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to apply thick exterior oil-based paint. This helps to seal the wood from moisture.
Tweak your shed framing
Most shed builders we have come across use smaller dimension framing instead of the traditional 2×4’s. So if you don’t want to go through any hassles and want all your building materials like electrical boxes, insulation, and more to work, please kindly request that your shed be done with 2×4’s.
Suppose the wall in your shed isn’t framed using 2×4’s. In that case, you may have to look for alternatives to every other step we will highlight subsequently, and that’s because the majority of building materials for sheds are designed to accommodate a 2×4 wall. And yes, you will also need a wall with a deeper cavity as this makes insulation easier. A shed with a 1×3 wall will end up making your home too cold, and we doubt if you‘d like that.
If you are unable to order the shed to come with 2×4 walls, you’ll have to build the walls inward. And if that’s the case, we suggest going for a much larger shed as it will come with thicker walls, making insulation a breeze.
Connect water, HVAC, and electrical line
The next thing you want to do is connect water lines, install HVAC, connect electrical lines, and other important utilities. If you like, you can make provision for lights and electrical outlets just outside your shed. One thing we have learned over the years is that you can’t have too many outlets. And because you have limited space to play with, you want to have outlets where you need them the most.
Consider all of the things you plan to plug and make room for outlets accordingly. Also, if you have any wall space that is more than 5 feet and has no outlet, make sure you have one there. Since outlets are cheap, with some going for as low as $1.50, you won’t spend a fortune on them.
Cover every visible crack
One thing we have come to notice about sheds is that these structures aren’t air-tight enough. To this end, bugs can easily find their way in. And trust us when we say you don’t want to deal with a bug infestation. Most times, the space in between the roof, precisely where it meets the top walls, is not done properly. To this end, you can sometimes see daylight filtering in. You want to start by sealing it up nicely using decent silicone caulk.
Once that is done, you want to also seal it again, this time from the inside. To ensure everything is done correctly, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to also seal up where the walls meet the floor. Pay special attention to the various edges and inside framing, particularly areas where the studs converge with sheathing. Though this might sound like a lot of work, remember that a shed is not so big. To this end, you will be done in a couple of hours.
Also, you’ll have to spray can foam to seal up any hard-to-reach gaps. Another thing you want to do is fill up spots that are difficult to insulate. Finally, go over the seams to make sure there is no room for leaks. Sure, some people may consider this as going overboard, but guess what? All it takes is a couple of hours and a budget of $50 to prevent air, water, and bugs from causing damage to your structure.
Insulate walls and ceiling
When it comes to insulating your walls and ceiling, you can explore two main options- bat insulation and spray form. We like bat insulation because it is affordable and easy to install. The other exciting thing about this option is that you can get bats that are correctly sized for your wall cavities. This helps to minimize the number of cuttings you’ll do when insulating.
Another brilliant option you can take advantage of is closed-cell spray foam. This option is not only a great vapor but also does well as an air barrier. The other exciting part is that spray foam has a robust R-value. To this end, it will keep your home hot or colder longer using the same amount of wall thickness.
Many experts in this industry usually suggest going for open foam as it is a lot cheaper and makes it easier to spot leaks. However, we feel this is exaggerated, especially the aspect where experts claim it makes it easy to spot leaks.
Insulate the floors
Insulating your shed floors is a brilliant idea, especially considering the fact that it will prevent your structure from having a condensing surface. If this isn’t done, your feet will be cold most of the time. There are two ways to go about this. The first one is to insulate just underneath the floor, just at the bottom of the shed. The other option is to lay the foam board on the floor and add a new layer of plywood on top.
If you have the money to spend, you can do both. To do this correctly, you can place an order for a shed with taller walls. With this type of shed, you can spray closed-cell foam around the underside, then proceed to lay two-inch polysio foam along with a strong adhesive. Once you have done that, you can install a thick plywood subfloor and finish off with adhesive.
The only downside with this option is that you’re building into the space. This will reduce overhead height. Secondly, the transition to your front door will look a little weird. So you may need to fix that too. Overall, warm floors are a must in a shed, so don’t jump this step.
Install drywall, floor, and trim
The next thing we would suggest is to finish off with drywall, especially because it is cheap. When doing this, it is important you seal up all joints and transitions of drywall. This is great for airtightness. With a properly done drywall, you’ll not have any problems with vapor filtering into the cavity to cause moisture build-up and mold.
Once you have finished installing your drywall and sanded the joints, you can proceed to trim out your windows and doors. Finally, paint the whole thing, install your floors and add your baseboards.
To wrap things up, you want to install cabinets, countertops, and other important finishes. We highly recommend leveraging off-the-shelf pre-built materials as they are affordable and make your job easy. After all that is done, you can bring in lighting fixtures, appliances, and roughed-in boxes. It wasn’t that hard, was it?
How much does it cost to convert a shed into a house?
How much does it cost to convert a shed into a house? Well, this is a question that comes up very often. And today, we will attempt to give you some ideas on how much it will cost you to convert your shed to a house you can live in.
In terms of pricing, it will cost you nearly $75 per square foot. This includes the cost of the shed. And depending on the size of the shed, all the important appliances, and utility connections you want to have in your home, you may end up spending more. Keep in mind that this pricing is applicable only if you’re buying a pre-built shed.
If you were to build the shed yourself, you’d end up spending less, especially when you consider the fact that shed builders add more than 60% to the cost of materials. Are you interested in knowing the cost of a shed converted into tiny house? Read on for our detailed breakdown:
- A pre-built shed will cost you between $3,500 to $10,000.
- Windows cost between $500- $6000
- Insulation cost around $500 to $2000
- Water heater: $300 to $1500
- Paint job: $70 to $250.
- Interior finishing: $600 to $4,000
- Appliances: $500 to $5,000
- HVAC: $450 to $1,600
- Electrical work: $800 to $3,500
- Flooring: $300 to $1,500.
Can you temporarily live in a shed while building your house?
A lot of homeowners wouldn’t mind living in a shed while they build their permanent house. While the idea may sound exciting, keep in mind that it still boils down to the issue of legality. Because of how small sheds are, many counties and municipalities don’t allow people to live permanently in a shed.
Also, from our research, we have come to discover that if you do this, the code enforcement officer may require you to submit all of the necessary documentation you need to live legally in a traditional home, pushing the cost of living in a shed dramatically higher.
So to answer your question, the answer is both a yes and no. Pertaining to whether you can live in a shed legally, the answer is a no. However, it is still possible if you do things off the books.
Turning a tiny shed into a living space: What you should know
This is quite an exciting project for anyone looking to get their hands dirty. Plus, converting a shed to a living space isn’t so difficult, especially considering that tiny homes have almost the same measurements as converted sheds. That said, there are some important factors you’ll need to consider if you plan to convert your shed to a living space.
Brilliant ways to tweak a shed to a living space
Here are some top ways anyone can convert their shed into a living space:
- Connect important utilities like water, power, and sewer to your shed
- Select an option for climate control, especially addressing cold and heat.
- Seal up all cracks to prevent mold build-up and bug infestation.
- For a clean look, you won’t go wrong to insulate and drywall
- Endeavor to opt for durable flooring option
- Install a light color pellet along with natural light and overall decent lighting.
Top shed design ideas
If you want a comfortable living space, you want to make sure it has all the basics that make for a comfortable living experience. By basics, we mean your shed must have a kitchen space, a bathroom, a cozy loft or sleeping area, all the essential utilities and amenities you’ll typically find in a traditional home.
If you don’t plan to spend an insane amount of money on electricity, we suggest making provision for solar in your home.
Frequently asked questions
Are sheds super expensive?
Compared to your typical tiny homes, sheds aren’t all that expensive. If you decide to go for a prebuilt shed, you’ll end up spending between $3500 to $10,000 for the shed alone. On the contrary, tiny homes are way more expensive.
The cheapest tiny homes usually go for $25,000 or more. Plus, traditional homes are even more costly. So if you want something affordable, a shed wouldn’t disappoint. Our only concern is the issue of legality. Once that is sorted out, you shouldn’t have any problem.
Where can I buy sheds?
Because sheds are pretty popular, you’ll find multiple shed builders in your city. And chances are your city has a tiny house shed home depot, where you can easily buy a shed from. And if you want to save yourself a lot of hassle, you can simply surf through Google for tiny house sheld sellers close to you. You’ll be incredibly astonished at the number of options you’ll get.
Is it possible to tweak tiny sheds into living space?
Converting a shed into a living space isn’t as difficult as you think. By buying all the relevant materials and making a couple of adjustments, you can seamlessly convert your shed into a living space. That said, it’s essential to check with local officials to see what the law permits.
This way, you won’t run into any issues with the authorities.