Winter is approaching fast, and it’s vital to winterize an RV to reduce any risks of damage. You don’t want to wait until the snow is already on the ground before you start prepping your tiny home, RV, or other modular structure, so these are some of our best tips to get winter ready.
Here’s how to Winterize a Tiny House or RV
Why Winterize an RV or Tiny House?
As winter hits and temperatures drop, the weather creates the perfect opportunity for frozen pipes and ice accumulation that can cause damage to your tiny home or RV. The potential for thousands of dollars in damage threatens those not prepared correctly.
As an investor or owner, the last thing you want is to find yourself in the middle of a freezing winter day with no heat. Like a traditional home, a tiny house needs regular maintenance and care.
Look For Damage
Before winter approaches, it is wise to look around the whole home to see if there is any noticeable wear-and-tear. Check window seals for any breakage, test for door and window air leaks, and look at the roof to ensure no holes or other damage.
Many builders will drill holes in the walls and floors to run plumbing, wiring, and propane lines; however, they don’t always fill these gaps before the sale of the home. Check for holes near the bathroom, kitchen sinks, and where the plumbing for the tanks comes in.
Heat Your Hoses
Heating your hoses under the tiny house RV is an essential step when you go to winterize. There are a couple of different ways to do this:
First, put pool noodles or other insulation around the hoses to ensure they do not freeze. Secondly, if the space under the house is closed off, a heater can be run on low to keep the temperature above freezing.
If the tiny house or RV is hooked up to potable water, you will need a heated hose or to insulate the hose with wired heat tape. A heated hose runs about $150 on average but is an excellent investment for keeping the threat of frozen hose lines and pipes at bay. You’ll also want to insulate the hose bib to keep it from freezing and cutting off your water supply.
Prep Your Propane
When the temperatures drop, it can be difficult for your propane to work properly and maintain optimal pressure. Low pressure prevents the gas from vaporizing, leaving your tiny home without propane.
To avoid this, grab your propane and a nice cozy blanket. Heated blankets can run around $100-$500 depending on what is needed for your climate.
Tiny homes often have several windows to allow for natural light and boost the feeling of spaciousness. While this is nice in the summertime, it can become quite costly in the winter if not appropriately insulated. Utilizing solar shades or black-out curtains can create an extra layer of protection from the chilly temperatures or blazing Texas summers.
Also, check the weather stripping on the windows and replace them if necessary. Re-caulking can also be needed on the inside if the caulking is cracked.
Skirt Your Underbelly
Adding a skirt around the exterior is one of the best ways to keep your portable home warm. This is a must, so that the wind doesn’t get underneath the house and suck warm air out.
Custom Skirts. You can purchase a custom-fit skirt designed for your specific RV or modular structure.
Foam Board. Many people will make their skirting using foam board. As with any underbelly, ensure that you create a tight fit and no air gaps.
Nylon/Banner Material. A simple nylon banner can be an easy way to wrap the exterior quickly and is easy to find at a local hardware store.
Add Insulation. Before the skirting gets put on, adding insulation under the house or in any storage compartments is perfect for extra protection from the cold.
Prepare Your Holding Tanks
Winterizing the potable water tank and your black and gray tanks is vital for your tiny home or RV. Start by putting insulation around the tanks. Adding a small space heater into the compartment where the tanks are located is also an excellent way to manage temperature control.
Cover Your Tires
If you keep your RV or Tiny Home stationary, ensure that your tires are covered for wintertime.
Covering tires with weather-resistant material and keeping the wheels off the ground will prevent dry rotting from weather exposure. Heavy-duty tire covers are necessary to keep tires in the best condition possible through freezing temperatures. If you plan to travel, invest in the best tires you can afford that are made to grip snowy, icy, or wet surfaces for safety.
It’s vital to have a backup generator available for the winter seasons. There may be times when a storm comes through or an icy winter hits (we’ve been known to have those in Texas!) when all power will be knocked out (another Texas classic!). A generator likely won’t make the entire home function as usual, but it will allow you to run some heaters and cook food while you stay warm.
How to Heat Your Tiny Home
It can be tricky to keep all home spaces warm during the winter. Tiny houses and RVs are relatively sensitive to the temperatures outside. If the home comes with a propane furnace, you should always use it when temperatures are below 50 degrees F.
Add a space heater to the rooms you frequent in the winter, such as the living room and bedrooms. Many people also like to add space heaters to warm up specific rooms or in tandem with their propane furnace. Close any doors that go to rooms that you are not utilizing often.
Have Your Tiny Home Built the Right Way
Turn Key Fabrication takes pride in the work and attention to detail we put into every home we build. By using SIP panels, our tiny homes will be ready to keep you warm through the winter months while still keeping proper airflow moving throughout the house. Contact us today to learn more about our building materials, and let’s start building your ideal home.
Texas is one of the most friendly states for tiny houses in the US. Still, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when deciding to invest or live in a tiny house. Below we will discuss where and how to buy a tiny home, how to get financing, the best investment tips, and showcase some tiny home communities in Texas.
Here’s how to own a Tiny House in Texas
Where to Buy a Tiny House in Texas
A pro to investing in a tiny home is that it can be shipped to pretty much anywhere. Turn Key Fabrication designs and builds tiny houses and rooms in Fort Worth and ships them across Texas. Our prefabs are constructed to maximize energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, leading to an excellent return on investment.
How to Buy a Tiny House in Texas
There are a few different ways to buy a tiny home in Texas. The first option is a fully built tiny home, meaning nothing needs to be added; it is move-in ready.
The next option is shell building. The home’s exterior will be complete, but the purchaser must build out the interior, adding plumbing and electrical, but that can often present many unforeseen challenges.
Turn Key Fabrication’s prefab kits can be built in as little as 24 hours. These kits provide all the materials necessary for the home; however, an individual must build the house independently. Kits are also available through other builders.
With many builders popping up around the state, it’s essential to know the right questions to ask to have confidence in the purchase.
How to Finance a Tiny House
Once a builder has been chosen, financing is the next step. There are two different options for financing a tiny house. Some builders have financing options, while others require the investor to go through a bank to get a loan. A typical 30-year mortgage is not an option with tiny homes; however, other options such as RV loans or personal lines of credit can be used.
Personal loans are a very common way to finance a tiny house. They require good credit and will have higher payments due to a shorter loan lifetime of 7 years. Personal loans are unsecured, which means no collateral.
If the Tiny Home is on Wheels, RV loans become a possibility for financing. RVs can be financed for 20-30 years which means lower APR and smaller payments; however, the home will be used as collateral against the loan.
How to care for a tiny house?
Caring for a tiny house is similar to a traditional stick-built home. As an owner, you’ll need to inspect the roof and siding to ensure nothing is rotting out or needs to be replaced, plus maintain the exterior and other essential maintenance.
Examples of special care specifically for tiny homes (especially if it’s on wheels) are:
Skirting around the home can help keep cold air from coming in from beneath the house and protect pipes from freezing. Using silver bubble insulation around the windows can also help keep the heat in during the wintertime.
Clean Exhaust Fans
Tiny homes tend to have high humidity, so owners must install exhaust fans to eliminate air moisture. The exhaust fan should be cleaned every six months unless the owner sees signs of mold; then, it needs to be cleaned more often.
Wheel Maintenanceand Replacement
This might seem obvious, but many people aren’t used to adding the cost of wheels onto their housing overhead. Similar to owning a pool (but much less pricy overall) wheels are an upgrade that comes with maintenance costs.
How to pick a tiny house builder?
Texas has many tiny home builders, so choosing the right one to order a house is a big decision. Our first recommendation is to ask the right questions. Understand the building materials used, if there are warranties and if the purchaser can customize the home. Read reviews from other customers. Check the lead time for when the house can be completed. The company should be very open about its process and willing to answer any questions the customer may have.
Investment Opportunities for Tiny House Owners in Texas
Purchasing a Tiny Home in Texas is a highly successful investment opportunity when used as an Airbnb or extended-term rental option. People love booking Airbnbs when going on vacation due to the privacy and ability to unique or themed stays.
With so much interest in tiny homes, several communities have popped up in Texas, including large cities like Austin and Houston. Not only are these communities great for finding space for a home, but they create a sense of belonging for people who desire tiny living. Amenities in the communities include community gardens, laundry facilities, pools, and more. There are communities for college-aged students up to 55+ neighborhoods, so there is something for everyone.
Since Texas is so welcoming of the tiny home movement, buying one is relatively easy. Turn Key Fabrication takes pride in getting to know our customers, what they are looking for, and helping them create their dream home. Contact us today so we can dig into all the details and start the smooth process of getting your home built.
Are tiny houses legal in Texas?
Yes, tiny houses are legal in Texas. Understand any building codes or requirements for the state, and work with your builder to ensure the home meets the guidelines.
Where can you put a tiny house in Texas?
You can put a tiny house almost anywhere in Texas. Research zoning laws and residential restrictions before placing a tiny home on any lot.
How much are tiny homes in Texas?
The price of tiny homes in Texas depends on what is purchased. A fully built tiny home can range between $40,000 – $100,000. A DIY kit will be cheaper, but the person building it must have a high skill-set to match the quality of a professional builder.
Do you have to pay taxes on a tiny house in Texas?
Yes, Texas does require you to pay property taxes on a tiny house.
What are the biggest differences between tiny homes vs. mobile homes, and how do you choose which is best for your needs? Below we will cover the top eight, as well as the pros and cons of each option.
What is a Mobile Home?
A mobile home is a prefabricated structure built in a factory. These homes are attached to a chassis before being transported to their final location. Mobile homes may fit the saying of a tiny house; however they come in single wide, double wide, and even triple wide options, so they can easily be over 2000 sq ft.
Mobile homes have a bathroom(s), living room, kitchen, and bedrooms allowing for more privacy.
What is a Tiny Home? DIYers can build tiny homes if they have the skills.
A tiny home is typically under 600 sq ft. It can be attached to a foundation or on wheels (THOW). They are also typically built in a factory and moved to their final location; however, they can also be left on wheels to be taken from place to place if the owner plans to travel.
Differences between Mobile Homes and Tiny Homes:
Up until 1976, mobile homes had low guidelines. During these times, mobile homes often had poor leaks, lousy wiring and insulation, and high energy bills. However, in 1976, the HUD Code created standards for Manufactured Homes which came with higher quality.
Tiny homes are well built, and although made in a factory, they are closer lined to a traditionally-built house when compared to mobile homes. Since the interest in Tiny Homes is at all-time highs, they are made with the latest building technology and designs.
The average cost of a mobile home is between $40,000 – $250,000. Prices can fluctuate depending on the size, materials and customizations, delivery, and the location where the home is being built. Used mobile homes are an option and can be as affordable as $10,000.
Both mobile homes and tiny houses will also incur the cost of land.
Despite their name, mobile homes are not very mobile. A moving permit is required to move one, and it can cost between $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the size, location, and if the company has to dismantle the home before moving. Mobile homes are usually only transported if the owner has purchased a new piece of land or the owner sells the house, and the buyer has to move it.
Tiny Homes, especially those on wheels (THOW), are made to move from location to location. They are much more versatile in the mobility aspect. It is advised to get the tiny house RVIA (recreational vehicle industry association) certified to move it to different locations to make sure that it is road worthy and meets uniform standards across the U.S. Many RV parks also require an RVIA tag to stay.
Mobility can be a deciding factor between Tiny Homes vs. Mobile Homes.
Mobile homes, on average, are expected to be 1,172 sq ft by 2023, making them larger than the average tiny home one of the most significant differences between the two.
Tiny homes are usually between 100-400 sq ft and typically have much smaller living and kitchen areas than mobile homes.
Mobile homes can change their look by being single, double, or triple wide but typically look very similar because they are built on assembly lines. While you may see a difference between builders, this option usually has a mass-production look.
Tiny Homes have a lot of flexibility when it comes to aesthetics. They can be single-story, two-story, square, or rectangle, and the options are almost endless! There is much more freedom with size and shape for a tiny home, as well as the finishings, furnishings, and fittings.
There can be some stigma around living in a mobile home, with old ways of thinking that people who live in them are poor. People may now choose to live in mobile homes as it is cost-effective and faster to get than a stick-built home, and their look has come a long way!
Tiny homes tend to come with the feeling of a community. They are trending right now, which makes them more “acceptable.” The movement around tiny houses is to live more simply, have more financial freedom, reduce your carbon footprint, and overall live more environmentally conscious.
Which Option is More Environmentally Friendly?
Mobile homes were not built with the thought of being environmentally friendly but instead to be cost-effective and provide a simpler way of living.
In contrast, Tiny homes are built with the environment in mind. Many are made using repurposed or recycled materials which helps with the amount of waste that goes along with building a home, and also use solar panels and wind power.
As long as mobile homes meet the requirements for HUD, they are easy to get financed. Banks will typically give a 30-year mortgage for a mobile home.
Tiny houses are not usually eligible for a 30-year mortgage, and the buyer will need to use a personal or RV loan. These loans are generally much shorter, which may create a larger payment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a tiny house be considered a mobile home?
A tiny house is not considered a mobile home. Mobile homes are larger, less expensive, and regulated by the government through the HUD code.
Is it better to live in a tiny house or an RV?
It depends on your wants and needs. A tiny house is more secure and customizable. However, an RV would be more suitable for your needs if you wish to travel often.
Is a tiny house cheaper than a trailer?
A tiny house is cheaper than a trailer, although you can find used trailers that would be more affordable than a tiny house. Prices also vary highly based on size, so that a small mobile home may cost similar to a large tiny house.
As you can see, there are many differences between tiny houses vs. mobile homes. When it comes down to deciding which is suitable for you, looking at budget and usage would be a great place to start. If a tiny house is the right option for you, contact us today so we can start planning!
With the Tiny House movement expected to grow by $3.33 billion between 2021-2025, it’s no wonder big-name companies like Home Depot are jumping on the building bandwagon.
Is buying a home kit from Home Depot safe? How are they built? Are they worth it? Let’s dive in!
Does Home Depot Sell Tiny Houses?
Yes, Home Depot sells a variety of Tiny Houses on their website now.
These homes range from a skeleton of a shed to a house kit up to 1,102.4 sq ft. Some options are made of wood, while others use a steel frame kit. Customers can go down to their local Home Depot and find some options in the parking lot and a fair amount of layouts on the company’s website.
What do Their Tiny Houses Include?
The Home Depot Tiny House options do not come with much.
The sheds that can be converted into tiny homes are, quite literally, a frame. Some have windows, a house door, and a porch, while others have only barn doors or a garage sliding door.
Another Home Depot option is a tiny house kit:
These are pre-assembled framing kits that are generally steel frames, walls, ceilings, roofs, and instructions. Once the kit is purchased, there is an option to customize it before the pre-assembly starts, including the roof pitch and any design changes within the scope of the size, purchased at no additional cost.
What do Home Depot Tiny House Kits Not Include?
The Home Depot Tiny House Kits do not include doors, windows, electrical, plumbing, or foundation. There is also no wiring, piping, drywall, flooring, cabinets, or appliances.
That means that the person buying the kit will be responsible for building the entire inside of the structure. This can create a considerable expense for the purchaser and difficulties if they’ve never done a building of this sort.
Who Else Sells Tiny Houses?
There are other companies that have also come up in the running as tiny house “builders” such as Lowes, Amazon, and plus some local farm and feed stores.
We recommend avoiding these companies as well, as they all fall into the same challenges that Home Depot Tiny Houses have. Although some kits do come with plumbing and electrical as well as windows, doors, etc. there is almost always something essential that you will need to purchase separately.
It’s important to really dig into warranty information and understand the building materials used if you decide to go this route because these ‘house kits’ don’t have everything that you need to build.
Here’s What to Consider before Buying a Tiny House from Home Depot
Are the panels pre-wired for electric and plumbing or will you need to add that yourself?
Price out Interior Necessities:
Go into the purchase with a budget in mind.
Add up the materials you choose to ensure you stay within that budget.
There is a wide range of finishes to consider, so look through all options.
Look into Warranties and Building information:
It’s important to know if the Home Depot Tiny House meets any building codes for the state it will be placed.
Does the tiny home come with any type of warranty?
Are there restrictions on the warranty (i.e. a licensed professional needs to do electrical)?
How comfortable are you with Construction?:
Do you have the tools and skills necessary to create a tiny home and make the interior?
Is there a time frame in which you need it completed?
Hiring out Plumbing and Electrical:
It’s vital to ensure that plumbing and electrical are done correctly, or else you face costly consequences down the road.
You need to know how to avoid any potential leaks or fires.
If you plan to get the home insured (which we highly recommend), you may need to show proof of the work being done by a professional for liability reasons.
Homes that will be placed permanently on land will need the proper water, septic and electrical hookups.
Does this building meet the zoning restrictions where the home will be placed?
Are there specific structures that can’t be built in that zone?
What are the general costs for build a tiny house?
Here is a general estimation of tiny house construction courtesy of FIXR.
With costs ranging from $21,500 – $61,200 you will want to understand what is included with the purchase from Home Depot (or other stores you purchase from).
Alternatives to Home Depot Tiny Homes
Home Depot Tiny Houses are an affordable option, but are they the best option?
No, these homes are built very quickly and typically not with the best materials, and the kits lack vital ingredients.
Overall, yes, Home Depot does have some very cost-effective tiny homes according to the sticker price over the price you may see from a builder. However pricing out the cost of everything you’ll need to do on your own or hire someone to do, you’ll see the average price is actually much higher when the final house is built.
Working with a Tiny Home Builder and knowing the right questions to ask is the best practice when purchasing any type of home. If buying one brand new is not an option, there are great websites that sell pre-owned tiny homes! These homes are generally still in great shape and can be more affordable.
At Turn Key Fabrication, we love getting to know our customers and customizing the tiny house of their dreams. Reach out to us today so that we can get started, and you can feel confident that professionals built the home!
At Turn Key Fabrication, we build individual rooms, a great addition to land that already has a traditional home. Our Turn Key Rooms can be used for wine cellars, cigar yoga rooms, rentable rooms, guest houses, or any single purpose.
Finding Land for Sale
Once a decision has been made on a tiny house style, financing has been secured, and zoning and regulations are understood, land should be secured.
Whether you want undeveloped land or a vacant lot that has power and septic, these are some of the best sites to look for land.
Farm and Ranch
Farm & Ranch allows for searches by state, price, and acreage and has property all over the county.
You will also find unique and historic properties like old businesses (wineries, farms, etc.) on Land.com.
Rural Vacant Land
Vacant land is available in residential areas or acres out in the county; this is a great site. You can run searches by state and county, making RuralVacantLand one of the most useful sites for finding properties in specialized areas.
LandFlip has land for sale, land auctions, leased land, and for sale by owner listings across the US.
Create a land buyer profile and get notified when things come up for sale that matches your requirements.
You know Zillow as the popular home buying site, but did you know that Zillow also gives you the option to search for land and lots?
If a package deal isn’t in the cards, Turn Key would love to work with you to create your dream home to put on that perfect piece of property. Contact us today, and let’s discuss options!
What Sites not to Use
Some sites should be avoided and most of them are big-box retail chains. Stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and Amazon sell tiny home DIY home building kits.
Here are just a few reasons not to use these sites
Most of these kits only include shells, meaning blueprints and the bare minimum needed to build a tiny home. Things left out of DIY kits include essentials like insulation or finishes like door knobs.
If you need help with troubleshooting or just have a quick question, who will you call? Big retail stores don’t set aside time or resources for helping you, their only goal is to get you to buy the shell.
Customization is not included, and customizing later can cost a fortune.
If you’re not an expert builder, constructing a tiny house from DIY home kits can be time-consuming, frustrating, and extremely difficult.
Have a question that wasn’t answered here?
Let us help you! Talking tiny homes is what we live for. Contact us today.
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