9 Steps to Turn a Shed into a Tiny House – Not all sheds are tiny homes and not all tiny homes are made out of sheds. Some people order a pre-made shade believing that it is going to be ready to live in as a tiny home, but there are some things you will need to do to any shed before turning it into a livable tiny home.
Once you have an idea of the shed you wish to live in, it is a good idea to submit your plans for permitting on the property and get all of the utilities set up to the site. Get the water, power, and sewer set to go along with copies of approvals. Now you are ready to set up a foundation and get the shed going.
Setting the “Foundation” for your Tiny House
Before the shed is built, you will want to lay the foundation. In the simplest form you will want to at least level the land and spread out about 4-6 inches of gravel. You can also lay down a concrete pad foundation. We do not recommend a cement block foundation for living in a shed. This type of foundation is only really meant for storing items that are not incredibly heavy.
The foundation should extend 1-2 feet beyond the outside walls of the shed. Make sure to think about water run off around the shed and have the land slope away from the shed so that you do not end up with water damage in your tiny home. Now it is time for the shed to be custom built on-site.
Make Utility Connections to the Shed
Once the shed is in place, before the inside is converted into a cozy home, you will want to connect the outside utility hookups to the shed. Bring them from the outside to the inside and make sure to test them once you have inside access to them before the walls are closed up. If you are not handy yourself this would be the job for your contractor and his subcontractors such as a plumber and electrician.
The Importance of 2×4 Studs in Creating a Tiny Home
In some cases a shed is built with smaller framing than 2x4s. If you are converting a shed into a tiny home it is important to have 2×4 framing as most of the construction materials you will be using for the inside to finish out the shed and turn it into a home are made for standard home construction which all have 2×4 framing. This is also the optimal thickness to fit enough insulation to keep the house warm enough in cold weather. At Aurora, our sheds come standard with 2×4 framing.
Rough-in the Electrical, Water, and HVAC
Now that the studs are to the right thickness and utility hookups are coming from the outside to the inside, it is time for these systems to be run along the walls to the areas of the house they need to go. Don’t forget about electrical hookups on the exterior as well, such as a porch light. Consider all of the places you would want something plugged in and have an outlet installed.
Tip: Before the walls get closed in with insulation and sheetrock consider taking pictures so you know where everything in the wall is should something need to be fixed in the future. This way you don’t have to tear up more of the wall than you need to.
Seal Up all the Cracks
To ensure that you do not have a bug problem it is a good idea to caulk all of the seams, junctions, and transition points. Start from the outside and move to the inside. It is a good idea to caulk where the walls meet the floor as well and where wall studs meet the sheathing to completely ensure you are keeping out bugs, outside air, and water. Note: When sealing the tiny home make sure that you prepare for fresh air exchange and humidity control.
Insulate the Walls and Ceilings
There are two main options to insulate your tiny home: spray foam or bat insulation. Bat is the less expensive option and is generally easier to install. Since you are building a tiny home and the cost will be less because you will need less material, it is a good time to go all out and invest in high quality cell spray foam.
Insulate the Floor
Cold can come in through the floors as well. It is a good idea to lay down some foam board and then a layer of plywood before putting in the flooring. In-floor radiant heat might be a fun idea as well.
Drywall, Floors, and Trim
Now is a good time to finish off the walls with some sheetrock and mud in the joints. You can also apply the texture and paint the walls then install flooring so you don’t have to worry about paint on the floors. Once the flooring is in you can install trim along the bottom of walls and around the doors and windows.
Now is the time to put in the last touches on the home such as installing kitchen cabinets and appliances, putting in the bathroom vanity, etc. Once this is done you are ready to furnish and decorate and then enjoy your new tiny home!
There is so much more to living in a shed than just purchasing it and moving in.
For more information on our custom-built sheds in Snohomish County and turning a shed into a tiny home in Snohomish County, please come and visit us or contact us anytime.