Foundation For A Tiny House – Everything You Need in 2021

Many have been asking us questions pertaining to Foundation For A Tiny House and how it all fits together in 2021, All you questions and more are answered in this post.

With the rising popularity of tiny houses, would you buy a tiny house for yourself and your family? Would you buy a tiny house in Texas? If yes, then this is one of the best ways to avoid the costs of building foundations for tiny houses. However, regardless of whether you have bought a built tiny house or RV, you will need a place to park the RV or a foundation to set the tiny house. In that regard, you are expected to know how to make a foundation for a tiny house and some of the materials you will need in the process.

Tiny houses may be as small as 400 square feet. Though, the hype and the culture that surrounds tiny houses is anything to go by. In the current world, it seems like everyone is getting addicted to minimalist aesthetic living. Most of the minimalists emphasize simple living and reduced costs of living.

Besides this rising popularity, tiny houses account for less than 1% of the real estate transactions in the US. But they have recently attracted top reality shows such as Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters and made a list in the viral pages such as the Cutest Tiny House in Every State. So what is regarded as a tiny house, and what would be the cost of establishing one?

For any house to be considered tiny, they must meet some basic guidelines by the American Tiny House Association. They must be no higher than 400 square feet, and they mustn’t be lower than 70 square feet. This is the first category of tiny houses. The second category is the houses that are between 400 sq. feet and 1,000 square feet. According to the 2009 statistics, the average size of an American house is 2,700 square feet.

How likely are you to go for this kind of extreme downsizing? Are you getting convinced lately about tiny living? If yes, here are some reasons why many people are already downsizing to these tiny houses.

Simplicity

The simplicity that comes with tiny houses is from another world. Despite the decrease in the average size of the American Family, there are reports that the size of the American houses has grown from 1,780 to 2,662 square feet. Today, many people have started to understand the motive behind the minimalist life, and most of the members in the Tiny House Movement have cited the simplicity of tiny houses as the main reason to downsize.

Tiny houses are environmentally friendly

This is one of the most cited reasons why most people are going for tiny houses. They want to create a more sustainable lifestyle for them and reduce the stress burden on the environment. The tiny houses have proven to be more sustainable and energy-efficient for various reasons. First, they are small and require less energy. And secondly, they produce fewer emissions and waste to the environment.

Reduced costs

One of the highest costs of owning a big apartment is the maintenance cost. The obvious benefit of tiny houses is the fact that they require less labor and costs to maintain. Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and other normal house activities are minimal. Repairs will also be minimal and less expensive.

Mobility

Lastly, many people have been thinking of tiny houses on wheels to facilitate their dynamic lifestyles. Some people will always move from one place to another, which is why they don’t prefer houses on permanent foundations. Many people often cite self-sufficiency as the reason behind their decision. In this era, the popularity of tiny houses on wheels has grown rapidly. In this case, the owner has the freedom to move with the house any day.

Want to build a tiny house on a permanent foundation? Here is everything you need to know

When we picture a tiny house, we often figure the one on a trailer and with wheels. But the actual fact is that you can build a tiny house on a trailer or a permanent foundation. The tiny houses on trailers are for people that want to get around the city and move around without any restrictions. But as the tiny house movement gains popularity, some people want to build tiny houses on a permanent foundation, especially those in the rural areas where land is cheaply available.

Although the tiny houses on wheels are more popular, for some people, especially those with families, the tiny house on wheels is not very practical. Fortunately, there are two other alternatives that you can go with. You can build a tiny house on skids or a tiny house on a foundation.

Tiny House on Foundation

You can surely build a tiny house on a permanent concrete slab. Once the slab is ready, the next thing to do is get the foundation ready for the tiny house from main manufacturers in whatever size and shape you want and set it over the foundation.

Tiny house on skids/runners/piers

In case you don’t have permanent ownership of the land, you can go for the tiny hybrid house. However, you will only think of a tiny house pier foundation because it’s a semi-permanent solution. But if you go this way and you have plans of moving with your house later on, it will have to meet some standards to be allowed to be transported in a trailer. You also have to involve the building inspectors to ensure that the house is legal.

This post will mainly concentrate on the best foundations for tiny houses and tips and tricks of saving money on tiny house foundations.

Which foundation is right for your tiny house?

The right foundation for your tiny house will be influenced by a couple of factors besides the size and shape of the tiny house. You have to meet all the building standards and set regulations in your area; it will also depend on whether you permanently own the land or lease and few other factors. But in all cases, the foundation must be very strong. Depending on these factors, you will choose between semi-permanent and permanent foundations for your house. Choosing the right foundation for your house is the starting point for your precious and charming space. But how do you go about it?

The type of foundation

The first consideration is the perfect type of foundation for your tiny house. Each of them has its own pros and cons. To help you, we’ll discuss different types of foundations and their pros and cons, starting with the slab foundation.

Slab Foundation

This is one of the easiest and simple ways of getting a tiny house on foundations. It’s also very common and easy to try, especially for DIYers. It is simply a pad made by creating a wood frame known as a form and filling. In most cases, you will be required to lay in wire mesh or rebar to reinforce the pad. In the case of tiny houses, a 4-6 inch thick slab is perfect for you. But before getting to this stage, make sure you preplan and measure the slab and inquire about the measurements of the tiny house.

Concrete slab pros and cons

Pros

  • Simple to build
  • Very strong
  • Relatively affordable
  • Perfect for relatively bigger tiny houses
  • Sturdy foundation

Cons

  • It lacks flexibility
  • Have preplan drains

Vented Crawlspace Foundation

This kind of foundation is formed by easily creating short walls that you will build the house on. You will be required to pour footers around the edge of the foundation, and the walls are built preferably between 2.3 feet. This is very important because you can run all the plumbing and the wires in the space. If your wires and the pipes run into problems, you can crawl under the space to fix them. The crawl spaces will equally have some vents in them that allow moisture out. Its main drawback is that the crawl spaces are dirty and typically dark.

Crawlspace foundation pros and cons

Pros

  • Sturdy foundation
  • Inexpensive
  • Strong
  • Easy access to wires and plumbing

Cons

  • Relatively expensive than slabs
  • Requires steps to your house

Sealed Crawlspace Foundation

This is basically a mini basement foundation that works perfectly fine for tiny houses. The sealed space is very different from the crawlspace because there are no open spaces via vents. This will eliminate the molds. You can seal the space off and condition the space as part of the house. However, this kind of foundation is not preferred for tiny house foundation methods because there are chances of many issues such as bugs and moisture.

Sealed Crawlspaces foundation pros and cons

Pros

  • Extra storage space
  • It controls moisture and bugs
  • Access to wire and pipes easily
  • It’s strong and sturdy.

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • You require HVAC

Tiny House Basement Foundation

For tiny house enthusiasts that don’t care about the expenses, this foundation is the best. It’s one of the most expensive foundations that you can get around mainly because you will have to dig to the earth, which needs engineering. The extra space that is gained will work as a basement for extra storage or additional living. But before you try this type of foundation, you have to check with the local building codes and make sure you meet all the standards. It would be highly prudent if you also got a contractor that properly understands insulations, seals and drains. Building finishes are also very important to reduce flooding in bad weather.

Basement foundation pros and cons

Pros

  • Extra storage space
  • You can easily access wires and plumbing
  • Low-cost square footage

Cons

  • It’s the most expensive type of foundation
  • You require permits
  • It requires engineering

Tiny house piers or tubes Foundations

This type of foundation is a footing placed in a grid pattern into the ground with a bracket on top. The bracket connects directly to the underframe of the house. The piers are simply rows of poles that are laid out in the grid. This is simply done with the use of larger timbers running between them. This kind of foundation is perfectly suitable for sloped lots.

Piers Foundation Pros and cons

Pros

  • They are very affordable
  • It’s very easy for a DIYer
  • Access to plumbing and wires

Cons

  • Not allowed in some states
  • Requires permits
  • It’s not a permanent solution

Skids or runners Tiny House Foundation

Lastly, let’s discuss one of the most popular tiny house foundation options that serve as a semi-permanent solution. This foundation is simply a collection of large timbers placed on the bottom of the house and works as runners that can drag the house. The skids are usually made of lumber and steel.

Skid foundation pros and cons

Pros

  • Mobile in a pinch
  • Low cost
  • Semi-permanent and movable
  • Simple materials
  • String and sturdy

Cons

  • Can rot away
  • Hard to access under the house

Is Building a Tiny House on Foundation actually worth it?

Besides the mobility benefits, which is why tiny houses are built on wheels, there are several benefits of building a tiny house on a permanent or semi-permanent foundation. So can you put a tiny house on a foundation? Is it really worth it?

Before answering this question, you should understand all the costs and procedures of building the foundation. First of all, you will require local permitting and potential placement restrictions. Every state has some building and zoning codes that dictate how the houses should be built. Consequently, you need to make sure you have followed all the guidelines.

Constructing a tiny house on wheels is the next big thing because it has many economic and practical benefits. So, can you put a tiny home on foundation and is it really worth it? Yes, a tiny house on a foundation is safe irrespective of the type of foundation because the house will be firmly rooted in the ground. Another great reason it’s worth it is that financing a tiny house on a foundation is more the same as financing a traditional house. This means that if you have a good credit score, you can be financed easily.

The cost of building a Tiny House Foundation

You are probably wondering how much it does cost to build a foundation for a tiny house. One of the highest expenses when building any house is the foundation. The cost will, however, vary depending on the kind of foundation that you are going for. A simple slab foundation can cost up to $2,000, including the materials and the labor. But compared to building a tiny house on a trailer, this is relatively cheaper. The trailers can cost between $3,000 and $6,000.

Another area where you can incur significantly is zoning and permitting. You must ensure that you are complying with all the zoning ordinance regulations, which are additional costs. With a permanent foundation, especially the basement foundation for a tiny house, you will get permits and at the same time be required to pay for the additional costs of engineering and to dig the ground.

The building permits will equally vary depending on the type of foundation and the location. In most areas in the US, you are looking at an average of $1,200 for the permits. Besides the cost of the foundation and the permits, you will equally need a sewer and a waterline connection which is always expensive in some parts of the country. Most cities will charge as high as $11,580 for the connection.

Luck is with the people outside the city in rural locations because you can get a traditional utility hook-up or drill a well and install a temporary septic system. You might also choose an off-grid option such as a solar panel and compost toilet because these are more affordable and can stay longer. The other important thing about the off-grid options is that you don’t have an additional bill to pay after the initial cost.

Compared to the tiny houses on trailers, you might save money on the trailer, but you require a lot more to comply with building the foundation. Besides the information shared here, the cost of building the foundation will vary depending on the type of the foundation, the size and the permits.

Location

Building a house on the foundation is worth it, but you will have to pay more depending on where you live. The cost of the foundation can vary from $4-$25 per square foot, depending on where you are in real-time. The amount that you will pay will equally depend on how shallow and how deep the design is. The Monolithic concrete slab can cost up to $14 per square foot.

Planning

Planning is the initial step in any project, which addresses some things such as the local building code and pulling the building permits. This means that the planning stage will equally contribute significantly to the cost of the foundation. Getting the right documents to start building and paying someone to design the foundation for you are major costs.

Safety is another significant consideration. You must make sure that the construction is safe. This means that you will have to carry out soil tests, oil reports, and few other considerations. The builder will equally need to know the soil’s compaction and frost line depth to determine what is needed for safe construction. This can cost anywhere between $800-$1,000 if you need the seismic and flood reports.

Inspections

In some areas, you will need to pay for the inspection of your area to make sure that the structure is sound. The cost of paying inspection is around $500. You cannot skip this essential part, and the construction shall not proceed until the inspector signs off on the foundation.

Materials

A large share of the building cost will go into materials which include the cost of concrete. This will also be determined by the different types of foundation that you need to be installed. You might need few bags of concrete to thousands of concrete and concrete blocks installed to support the house. The foundation will also require labor reinforcement and molding, which equally adds to the cost. Moving on, foundation insulation will significantly impact the cost. You can end up paying up to $2,000 depending on the insulation materials and the foundation.

Drainage

Drainage is very important in any type of foundation for your tiny house. It doesn’t matter whether you install a full basement foundation or a slab foundation, moisture build-up can cause significant water damage and can lead to a lot of risks. Some simple drainage systems such as a sump pump and grading can cost up to $5,000, depending on the size of the foundation.

Heat Radiation

Heating is one of the biggest considerations in a tiny house. For that reason, you might have to consider how the home is heated and how the heating system will affect the foundation. Planning and installing radiant heat can also cost you significantly, depending on the foundation type. Additional project costs may also apply to the slab foundations. If you have hot water heating, you will equally need to set the lines on the slab.

How to save money with Tiny House Foundation installation

You previously asked yourself many questions about the tiny houses and why you should put your tiny house on foundations. After giving you insights about the cost of installing different types of foundations and the factors that significantly impact the cost of Tiny House foundations. We now have to let you digest some tips on how to save money on Tiny House foundations.

Saving money with concrete foundations

One of the notable methods of saving money with a concrete slab is to go with the monolithic slab instead of the stem wall. This can save you up to $1 per square foot. You can also skip a vapor barrier because most slabs never have a fatal problem with moisture, especially if you live in a dry climate. This might save you up to $1,000 on vapor barrier installations.

Saving money on Pier and Beam Foundation

The cost of installing Pier and beam foundation will significantly increase as you add more piers. Consequently, you can save money by just going with a perfectly rectangular home. You also have to make sure that there are no bump-outs because they can significantly reduce the number of pairs needed, bringing the overall cost down.

Saving money on CrawSpace Foundation

The most effective method of saving money with the crawl space foundation is to avoid using a vapor barrier. As I’ve already stated, most concrete doesn’t have a fatal risk with moisture. However, this is not recommended unless you live in an arid climate and are not prone to floods. This means that you can combat minor water issues with proper drainage. If otherwise, you might not save money, and you can end up paying more money for the repairs.

Saving money on Full Basement

As I’ve already stated, the full Basement Foundations are the most expensive. Thus, this is where you really need to be more creative and save a significant amount of money. The first method is to avoid the vapor barrier because it can save you a few thousand dollars on installation. Additionally, you can save more money by simply leaving the Basement Foundation unfinished because it can save you more than half of the money.

How to build a great foundation for a tiny house

Installing a tiny house foundation shouldn’t be a daunting task if you have the right information. If you have been wondering how to build a foundation for a tiny house or heard people discussing how to make a foundation for a tiny house, this guide is right here for you. We have compiled some of the best instructions and necessary steps and made them clear and manageable for you.

Putting up a tiny house foundation

Tools and materials

The tools and materials to use in this case will vary depending on the type of foundation that you want for your tiny house. In this example, we are going to discuss pole platform and concrete slab. Here are some of the tools that you will need.

Tools

  • Power auger
  • Maul
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Garden Spade
  • Posthole digger
  • Garden Spade
  • Line Level
  • Backsaw
  • Electric drill with an auger bit
  • Circular saw
  • Tamper
  • Carpenter’s Level

Materials

  • Pressure-treated poles
  • Pressure-treated 2X6s, 2X10S
  • Ring-shank Nails

Steps

  • Dig the holes-This is the first step where you should lay out the site and dig the holes
  • Set the poles-You now have to plumb the corner poles with a leveland braxe then with the 1-by-2s
  • Start the Daps, which will enable the beams to sit squarely against the poles
  • Finish the daps– Now, place the saw on top of the pole and align the blade with the ends of the horizontal cuts on one side.
  • Locate the outside beams-You will need a helper in this case. Now set the beams against the outside of one row of poles, ensuring that the edge sits squarely in the daps.
  • Position the inside beams-Now you can run a string across a row of poles. Next, line up the string with the edge of the pole, mark the tops of the larger poles, and eventually cut the dap at each mark. Now nail beams temporarily to the inside of the poles.
  • Bolt the beams to the poles
  • Lastly, attach the floor joists. You should now set the joists across the beams at 16-Inch intervals and let them extend beyond the outside beams.

Depending on the type of tiny house foundation, you will have to pick a different approach. It’s also advisable to cooperate with a helper or a qualified professional in setting out concrete and other types of foundations. This is mainly because of your safety and the strength of the foundation.

FAQs

Can you put a tiny house on a permanent foundation?

Yes, you can put a tiny house on a permanent foundation. But this is only preferable if you don’t want to tow your tiny house from time to time. You can also have a basement foundation for the tiny house, especially if you have permanent land.

What is actually considered a permanent foundation for a tiny house?

The concrete slab is practically the permanent foundation for a tiny house. However, there are other types of permanent foundations which include concrete footings and wood pilings. Luckily, you don’t have to build a tiny house over the foundation because the cost can skyrocket. In this regard, build a foundation and get foundation-ready tiny homes from the main manufacturers.

How much does it cost to build a tiny home on a foundation?

If you have been wondering about the cost of building a tiny house on a foundation, the answer is here. It can cost between $51,000 and $53,000. Building a foundation can cost up to $4 per square foot.

What’s the biggest tiny house you can build on a foundation?

You can build as small as a 13.5X8.5 feet tiny house on a permanent foundation. This kind of tiny house can also be put on wheels. These standards will vary depending on the local regulations and the zoning requirements. If you want to build a tiny house on a foundation, then you can go a little bigger.

Conclusion

Installing a foundation for your tiny house is a major trend currently. The main cause is the increased publicity of the tiny house movement and the minimal cost associated with the tiny houses. Before we close the day, let me clarify the importance of hiring a qualified professional to help build the foundation. This is entirely not a good fit for DIY endeavors.