Tiny house kits and shells – a good alternative to building from scratch?

Building your own tiny house on wheels is a daunting task. Almost everyone reports that it takes longer, costs more, and is more difficult than they had expected. Sometimes the results are less than stellar, too — after all, construction takes skill and not all of us have the aptitude for it.

Understanding this, many companies offer partially built tiny houses to give you a head start. Do you have a preference for different materials than traditional wood framing — maybe steel framing or SIPs (structural insulated panels)? You can find all of those below.

But whether it’s called a tiny house shell or a tiny house kit, the package varies widely. Be sure to go over the details of exactly what is included with each company. Items like insulation, flashing or fasteners might not be included and could significantly increase your time and cost. In addition, if a shower is not included in an assembled shell, it could be very difficult to install later. If you have no building experience, instructions can be helpful, but even when provided, they might assume prior knowledge of construction terminology and how to use power tools.

Ask a lot of questions and if possible, get the answers in writing before making a purchase. Buying the right package will cost a bit more than buying your own raw materials and doing all the labor, but could save you a significant amount of time and effort.

Here are some tiny house kits and shells to look into:

  1. a flat pack of framing components (no trailer):
    Artisan Tiny House, Vancouver, Washington – uses SIPs
    Volstrukt Agile Framing Systems, Austin, Texas
  2. a flat pack of framing components and a trailer:
    Artisan Tiny House, Vancouver, Washington – uses SIPs
    Migration Tiny Homes, Winston-Salem, North Carolina – uses SIPs
    Robinson Plans, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada – uses SIPs
    Titan Tiny Homes, Elgin, Illinois
  3. a frame built on a trailer that you supply to the builder:
    Volstrukt Agile Framing Systems, Austin, Texas
  4. a frame built on a trailer that the builder supplies:
    AL Tiny Homes, Mount Olive, Alabama
    California Tiny House, Fresno, California
    Liberation Tiny Homes, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    Mini Mobile Mansions, Nashville, Tennessee
    Mitchcraft Tiny Homes, Fort Collins, Colorado
    Tiny Green Cabins, Lino Lakes, Minnesota
    Tortoise Shell Home, Cedarpines Park, California
    wood frame on a trailer

    California Tiny House frame on a trailer

  5. an open shell (frame, exterior walls and roof) built on a trailer that the builder supplies:
    AL Tiny Homes, Mount Olive, Alabama
    California Tiny House, Fresno, California
    Migration Tiny Homes, Winston-Salem, North Carolina – uses SIPs
    Mini Mobile Mansions, Nashville, Tennessee
    Mitchcraft Tiny Homes, Fort Collins, Colorado
    Rewild Homes, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
    Timbercraft Tiny Homes, Guntersville, AL
    Timberwolf Industries, Port Sydney, Ontario, Canada
    Tiny Home Builders, Georgia and Florida
    Tiny House Construction Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Tiny Houses of Maine, South Portland, Maine
    Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Wind River Tiny Homes, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  6. a closed shell (frame, roof, exterior walls including windows and doors and possibly siding) built on a trailer that the builder supplies:
    84 Lumber, Eighty Four, Pennsylvania
    Island Tiny Homes, Maui, Hawaii
    Jamaica Cottage Shop, South Londonderry, Vermont
    Liberation Tiny Homes, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    Migration Tiny Homes, Winston-Salem, North Carolina – uses SIPs
    Mini Mobile Mansions, Nashville, Tennessee
    Mitchcraft Tiny Homes, Fort Collins, Colorado
    Rewild Homes, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
    Seattle Tiny Homes, Seattle, Washington
    Timbercraft Tiny Homes, Guntersville, AL
    Timberwolf Industries, Port Sydney, Ontario, Canada
    Tiny Diamond Homes, Morrison, Colorado
    Tiny Home Builders, Georgia and Florida
    Tiny House Basics, Walnut Creek, California
    Tiny House Construction Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Tiny Houses of Maine, South Portland, Maine
    Tiny Portable Cedar Cabins, Spirit Lake, Idaho
    Upper Valley Tiny Homes, Pleasant Grove, Utah
    Wind River Tiny Homes, Chattanooga, Tennessee

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