Shell Budget: Trailer/Floor

The second part of my budget is the Shell. It includes everything from the wall studs to the roofing material. When the shell is done, the house will look complete from the outside, with windows and siding.

The first category in my shell budget, Trailer/Floor, is all done and filled in:

My Trailer, from Warman’s Welding in New Brunswick, was over budget at $7015. Read about why it’s over budget here.

Gas was over budget at $402.50. I assumed I’d pick up the trailer, but then I found out they deliver. It didn’t save me money, but it saved me the stress and time of going to get it myself.

My budget for all-threaded rods was zero because they were included in the cost of the trailer, but then they ended up in the wrong spots. I paid a welder to grind them off, put rods in the right places, and add a few so the house is secured at more points. That cost $253.05.

For Insulation, I was way over budget at $1217.15. I had originally planned to use Roxul, but I wouldn’t have been able to get enough Roxul into the trailer frame for a high enough R-value. I chose spray foam instead and it worked out well.

For Glue, I was slightly over budget at $27.56. I used four tubes out of the six I bought, so I’m only including the cost of the four.

For Plywood, I was over budget at $248.66. I didn’t realize how expensive it is! Most builders use OSB because it’s cheap, but it also swells and it’s heavy. I decided that less weight and warping were worth the extra money.

For Metal Screws, I was over budget at $74.40. Specialty fasteners are of course more expensive, and I melted so many! There are less than 300 in the trailer, but I had to buy 500.

This was a painful category. I estimated I’d spend $6815 and I spent $9238.32. That’s $2423.32 over budget 😦 I’m jealous of tiny housers who found cheaper trailers and didn’t spend so much on insulation, but in the end, I’m okay with investing in the foundation of my house. The one thing I’d change is I would get the trailer delivered earlier so I’d have more summer build time.


Preparing Budget

This blog is 50% for myself, to keep track of the build and to be able to look back on, and also to keep friends and family updated ❤ The other 50% is for other tiny house hopefuls, looking for resources. There aren’t a lot of Canadian tiny house blogs that I’ve found, so I want to share the unique struggles and solutions that go with our climate. I have found so many tiny house blogs that share their build stories, but they don’t always share a lot about before and after the build. They also don’t tend to share difficulties they had or give any breakdowns for what they spent. I’ve found a lot of pretty pictures and grand totals, but with my blog, I want to share as much as I can. I want other people to be able to get the best idea they can of what building is really like, how much everything’s really going to cost, and what life living in a tiny house is like.

I started planning this build thinking I could do most of it by myself and for less than $20 000. That’s just not true anymore. Trailer companies are realizing that tiny houses are popular so they’ve raised their prices, and people are building bigger with new materials. Some people say that the heart of the movement is getting lost in all these “big” tiny houses with brand new materials and luxury items, but I disagree. The “founders” of this movement might have built micro houses with salvaged materials on used trailers, but that doesn’t mean that every tiny house has to be like that. I believe that tiny houses are about flexibility and freedom. If people want to build a bit bigger with new materials, that’s up to them. Still, I hope tiny houses continue to be unique. Every tiny house is a reflection of what the owner wants, but TH companies have already started building cookie-cutter tiny homes – that’s what worries me.

Back to being a resource… the first part of my budget – Preparing – is complete. In an Excel document, I estimated how much everything would cost and then filled in how much I ended up spending.

My first category is Preparation:

For Books, I was within budget at $179.21.

For Tiny House Magazines, I am over budget at $118.13. I continue to buy them, and the price has been going up.

For Videos, I was slightly over budget at $124.88, due to renting some tiny house documentaries that came out.

For Plans, I was a little bit over budget at $224.03. I originally estimated about $200 to buy the plans I wanted, but I didn’t take into account tax or currency exchange. I also ended up buying a $10 set of plans to get an example of corner porch framing. In the end, I drew up my own plans and consulted an engineer to make sure everything was structurally sound.

For Small Tools, I was under budget at $44.41. My parents gifted me almost everything I needed for Christmas 🙂

For Power Tools, I was very under budget at $294.84. I estimated a lot higher for this category because I wasn’t sure what tools Dad had or what he would let me use. He has more than I thought and gave me permission to use everything except his drill, so that saved me a lot of money. I did buy a table saw, which is the one tool my dad doesn’t have, but I ended up returning it. I didn’t expect to have to buy two impact drivers and a circular saw, but I had room in the budget. This category is going to get added to a little bit as I buy things like blades and drill bits. If I end up needing a nail gun, there’s a local place I can rent one from, so that cost will be added here. Any tools I’ll need for special tasks like plumbing will go into those categories instead of this one.

For Gear, I was within budget at $109.77. This category includes things like work boots, safety glasses, and ear protection.

For Wood Hobby Club, I was over budget at $195.30. That’s because I didn’t factor in the coming year’s membership, but I did save some money because Mum and I signed up together.

So, for the Preparation category of my budget, I estimated I’d spend $2345. I spent $1290.57. Overall, I was $1054.43 under budget. Yay for sales and gifts!

The second and last category in the preparing part of my budget is Tumbleweed Workshop Trip:

The closest Tumbleweed workshop to me was in Ontario, so I bought tickets when they were on sale for myself and my dad, and we did a road trip to Toronto 🙂

I estimated that my ticket, the hotel, gas, and food would cost me $1090. I spent $1060.42, which is under budget by $29.58 🙂

One thing I didn’t include in my budget was staying in a tiny house. For me, I didn’t want to spend the money to take a trip to the States to stay in a house that isn’t designed like mine. I was going to build a tiny house anyway because it’s bigger than a dorm. But if you live in a normal sized house, I recommend checking out a tiny house in real life to get a feel for the size. Some tiny house workshops have tiny houses you can visit, and there are several for rent across the U.S., but make sure to factor it into your budget.

I spent $2350.99 on tiny-house-related things before I was even close to building, and I think that’s something a lot of people leave out. Maybe the house you saw online cost $20 000, but that total doesn’t include any prep before the build, and that doesn’t usually include things like solar panels and appliances that are bought after the house is finished. Expect that things are going to cost more, but look for sales and other ways to save. Believe in your dreams, and take steps to make them happen 🙂

In my next post, I’ll share what I spent for the Trailer/Floor.


"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris