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What Does A Tiny House Cost

What does a Tiny House cost? It’s one of the first questions we’re by clients looking to get into Tiny House living and it’s a great question. But not one that’s easy to answer.

Some Tiny House builders offer pre-designed models you can choose from with a base price, and then customize the home from there. You can add a bunch of options that increase the price or take stuff away to save some. A few builders even offer shell programs where you can finish the inside yourself. We’re a little different. Every Tiny House we design and build is completely custom. We don’t have any models or base prices. And we specialize in Modern design, Luxury options and Super High Efficiency Tiny Homes that go all the way up to the Passive House Standard. All of which are more expensive than your standard Tiny House.

As a Custom Tiny Home Builder, you tell us what you want and we build it for you. But there are some pricing guidelines we can provide you in advance that are very accurate. Stuff like a general price per square foot for what we typically build and the cost of different options.

Ahead we’ll discuss all sorts of pricing options and hopefully give you a good idea of what we generally build and what it costs. Although as a Custom Tiny Home Builder, the sky’s the limit. If you can dream it up we can build it for you.

Tiny House Models

At the moment all of our Tiny Houses are Completely Custom. But they break down into two main groups, built on a foundation or built on a trailer. These two options have a big difference in price.

The typical trailer we use costs between $8,000 – $12,000 dollars. We only use very high quality trailers because they make the foundation of your Tiny Home. You can buy smaller trailers for around $5,000 but we generally don’t built Tiny Homes that small. Even the larger homes are still on the small size so it’s worth spending a little more for the extra square footage.

If you plan on building your Tiny Home on a permanent foundation then you’ll have to hire a local mason and excavator to dig the hole. We’ll build your Tiny Home as a modular and have it shipped to you 100% complete but your contractor will handle the install onto your foundation. Because of this it’s generally more to build and install a Tiny Home on a foundation.

Here in New Jersey excavation and construction of the foundation including installing the home runs around $10,000 – $30,000 depending on the type of foundation you use. Slabs are the cheapest while full basements are the most expensive. A crawl space falls in the middle.

The cheapest foundation you can use are wood pilings although we consider those to be semi permanent since they’re easy to remove if you ever need to. They’ll typically run you around $5,000 which is the cheapest option of all.

Once you have your foundation selected you can move on to pricing the rest of your Tiny House.

Exterior

Pricing out the frame of your Tiny House should be next. This includes the floor, ceiling, walls, siding, roofing, windows, trim work, etc. This is sometimes referred to as the shell of the house. Everything you see what you look at your Tiny House from the outside would be included here.

The shell is actually a pretty tough thing to price out because we offer so many options. But it’s made a little simpler because we only build Tiny Homes that fall into the Luxury category. That means every Tiny House we build will come standard will the following:

  • High end Pella, Andersen or Marvin windows and doors.
  • Top quality fiber cement, metal, wood or vinyl siding.
  • Our roofs are modern which in most cases means means flat with a roof top deck. We typically use EPDM, fiberglass, metal or a roll membrane system with decking on top.
  • Trim coordinates with the siding material but is generally wood, metal, fiber cement or composite.
  • Framing is done with engineered lumber. It’s straighter, stronger and more durable.
  • We typically use spray foam insulation on all our builds unless the client requests something different.
  • Sheathing is usually OSB.
  • Our sheathing is wrapped with a near air tight seal which increases energy efficiency.

All this is included in pretty much every Tiny House we build and comes to around $16,000 – $45,000+. But what about our High Efficiency Tiny Homes and Passive Tiny Houses.

High Efficiency Upgrade

What makes a Tiny Home’s shell more Energy Efficient is simple. More insulation. This means even better windows and doors, and more insulation. But to get more insulation you need thicker walls, floor and ceiling beams. In a Tiny Home where space is already tight losing a few inches here and there can be a big deal. At this level it means changing the walls to 2×6 instead of 2×4 and framing the ceiling and floors out of 2×10 instead of 2×8. That extra 2 inches of insulation makes a big difference.

This is in addition to all the Energy Star appliances, renewable energy sources and energy efficient equipment we’ll discuss later.

Typically the High Efficiency Shell adds around $5,000 to the build.

Passive Tiny House Upgrade

Have you ever heard of a Passive House? It’s the most energy-efficient building standard in the world. Better than Leed, better than Energy Star®, better than every other standard we’ve got. It relies on three key but simple requirements: low air infiltration, low energy consumption for heating & cooling, and a low overall energy budget for the building.

What this means in terms of the shell is very high levels of insulation and thermal breaks. We build our walls out of double studs with a thermal break in the center and a total thickness of around 12″. We also bump up the floors and ceilings to around 14″. That’s a lot of insulation. Typically we try to use at least R-60 in the walls with R-90in the floors and up to an R-140 in the ceilings. In addition we also upgrade all the windows and doors to triple pane glass and add an even tighter exterior seal.

Typically an upgraded shell built to Passive House Standards will cost around $10,000.

Rough Mechanical Systems

The mechanical systems inside your Tiny House typically include things like the electric, plumbing and HVAC. In addition we add in a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) to most of our homes and renewable energy like solar and a home battery.

At this stage the foundation design will play a big factor in how you design your systems. Are you building a totally grid free Tiny House that has a composting toilet or one on a foundation with a septic system or public sewer. Will you have a water supply or do you need water storage tanks and a rain collection system with filters. Do you have public gas for the stove or do you want on board tanks.

Another thing to consider is the bathroom and kitchen because that’s where most of the plumbing is. We include a sink and stove in all of our kitchens and a full bathroom including a shower, sink and toilet. However we do offer lots of options like a double shower, double sink and even soaking tubs.

Electric is pretty standard because at this point it’s just rough. However we do use all LED lighting.

Duct work for the HVAC system and the GRV are done at this point as well as all the vents. This isn’t a very expensive part of the job but it costs a bit more that the standard Tiny House because we have the HRV and an air tight seal to deal with.

All of our Tiny Houses are designed to be very energy efficient but we go all the way to a Passive Tiny House. There’s a wide gap in price depending on the level of energy efficiency you want but in general the price for this portion of your build comes to between $3,000 – $7,000

Interior Rough Finishes

The interior rough finishes include everything in the home that’s not permanent. The flooring, walls, and ceiling are all installed at this point.

Finishes vary a great deal depending on the design of the home. Generally our Tiny Homes have a Modern style so that means lots of custom wood work. Wall paneling, wood floors, tile and masonry are all common elements in our Tiny Homes.

We also build the stairs at this point which vary quite a bit from house to house. Our stairs are generally very modern and include some sort of recessed step lighting which not only requires the rough wiring to be done but also the detail work where the LED strips tuck into.

Keep in mind this stage doesn’t include tile work in the bathroom or a backsplash as that’s all done last, after cabinets, sinks, fixtures and glass are all installed.

It’s hard to put a price tag on this stage because it’s so dependent on the clients choices but in general we end up spending around $10,000 – $20,000.

Keep in mind all of our Tiny Homes are not only Modern but also Luxurious and Energy Efficient. Which means high end, quality materials that are as Eco-friendly as possible.

Mechanical Systems Installation

This is the part of the job when we install all the working mechanical systems like the HVAC equipment, filters and the HRV. Essentially the lungs of the building. Because we only use high efficiency equipment that are rated Energy Star or better it can get pricey.

We also install all the gas and water tanks as well as the composting toilet rough work during this stage.

Additional option include rain collection and a renewable energy features as well as advanced equipment required to build according to the passive House Standard.

This stage averages around $7,000 – $18,000.

Interior Finish Work

This stage is where all the custom finish work and installations happen.

Stuff like your cabinets, countertops, interior doors, shower doors, bathroom tile, tub, toilet, sinks, backsplashes, shelving, custom cabinetry, TVs, appliances, etc. This is the stage when the inside of your Tiny House is nearly completed.

As you can probably imagine prices here vary more than at any other stage. Our homes are all energy efficient, luxurious and include high end finishes so the margin is a bit tighter. But there’s still a big difference between energy efficient materials and what we need to be a Passive Tiny House.

The amount of custom wood work that’s required adds a lot to the cost. Do you want custom made pull out cabinetry under the stairs? A bed that hides in the wall? Or some other ingenious space saving idea you’ve seen or dreamed up yourself. We can custom build anything our clients want but this type of work gets expensive.

At this stage we also install the stair railings and build the exterior stairs. The design will vary based on the type of foundation you select.

We also install the access point to the roof top deck, if you have one. The method we use depends a lot on your roof design. Typically because of height restrictions the finish railings are left up to the client to install because if we do it the home will be too tall to tow safely on most roads. We make it very simple to do and supply all the parts you’ll need.

In general we end up spending between $20,000 – $55,000+ on the interior finish work.

Keep in mind this is an all inclusive price. The beds, sofa, tables and even chairs are custom made and included in our Tiny Homes.

Final Touches

Every Tiny Home we build always needs some finishing touches.

Things like switch and outlet plates, doorknobs, locks, and cabinet hardware all get installed at this point. We also do any paint touch ups the house needs at this point.

It’s not a very expensive stage but it’s still important. We typically budget in around $1,000.

Paint

Painting happens at several stages through the build. We’ve found this gives us the best possible paint job inside and out.

We include $3000 for most paint jobs.

What Our Modern Tiny Houses Costs

Send us an e-mail or give us a call to get the process started. We don’t have pre-built Tiny Homes so every House we build is totally custom. Because of this, it takes a bit of back and forth to get an accurate price.

Send us your wish list along with all your ideas and any photos you have of Tiny Houses you love. The more details, sketches and pictures you send, the more accurate the initial quote will be. We’ll usually call you at some point during or after the estimating / design process to get to know you and talk over some of the finer details.

After you receive the quote, have a chance to look it over and decide you’re ready to build with us, a deposit will be required. Deposit amounts vary depending on what we have to build. In the weeks before we start building your Tiny House we’ll have a detailed design meeting or two by phone, or in person and go over every inch of your house with you. As the process moves along changes can be made which may adjust the price. You’ll be shown progress photos and have a chance to comment or ask questions along the way.

We typically book build spots a month or two in advance and a typical Tiny House takes 10-12 weeks to build from the time we start construction.

Our finished tiny homes can be built for anywhere between $80,000 – $200,000+. A few major factors that decide the majority of the costs include:

  • The overall design
  • Size of your Tiny House
  • Finishes, details and customization required
  • Amount of options including high end finishes

Each of our Modern Tiny Houses are completely custom so we can design one to fit just about any budget.

Cost Breakdown

Here’s a breakdown of all the average costs of what we put into our Tiny Homes.

Foundation. The trailers we use generally cost $8,000 – $12,000. A permanent concrete slab, crawl space or full basement foundation is between $10,000 – $30,000 and wood pilings run about $5,000. Every option other than the trailer is handled by us if your an out of NJ customer so check local prices. If your in NJ then we can take care of the foundation for you.

Exterior. The exterior work which includes all of your framing and sheathing, roofing, siding, windows and doors averages between $16,000 – $45,000+

High Efficiency. Upgrading the Tiny House to be extremely Energy Efficient costs around $5,000.

Passive House. Upgrading to the Passive House Standard costs approximately $10,000.

Rough Mechanical. All of your rough mechanical work like electrical, plumbing and duct work generally costs between $3,000 – $7,000.

Interior Rough. All your interior rough work like flooring, ceilings, stairs, trim and wall finishes cost approximately $10,000 – $20,000.

Mechanical. Installing all your mechanical systems like the HVAC, filters and HRV average $7,000 – $18,000.

Interior Finishes. This is where a Tiny House really becomes a home. Average costs fall within the $20,000 – $55,000+ range.

Finish. All the little finishing touches generally cost about $1,000.

Paint. Paint is done at various stages throughout the build and usually costs about $3,000.

Add it all up and what you get is our standard Tiny House build cost of between $80,000 – $200,000+. We build 100% custom, high end luxury Tiny Homes that are ultra Energy Efficient with only the highest quality materials from start to finish.

Summary: What Does A Tiny House Cost?

What does a Tiny House cost? It’s one of the first questions we’re by clients looking to get into Tiny House living and it’s a great question. But not one that’s easy to answer.

Some Tiny House builders offer pre-designed models you can choose from with a base price and then customize the home from there. You can add a bunch of options that increase the cost or take stuff features to save some. A few builders even offer shell programs where you can finish the inside yourself. We’re a little different. Every Tiny House we design and build is completely custom. We don’t have any models or base prices. And we specialize in Modern design, Luxury options and Super High Efficiency Tiny Homes that go all the way up to the Passive House Standard. All of which are more expensive than your standard Tiny House.

As a Custom Tiny Home Builder, you tell us what you want and we build it for you. But there are some pricing guidelines we can provide you in advance that are very accurate. Stuff like a general price per square foot for what we typically build and the cost of different options.

I hope some of the information found on the page helps you make an informed decision about which type of foundation is right for you.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

Raising Expectations

Because Gambrick is raising constantly expectations of what a Modern Tiny House Builder can and should be. Specializing in Custom Home Building, Contemporary Homes, Energy Efficient Buildings like Passive House and Modern Tiny Houses. With the imperatives of carbon reduction in the fight to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, our desire for energy independence, and our need to have greater building resilience, the meaning and logic of Passive House is clear.

I want to build a new Modern Tiny House – what’s first?


Because building a new home or remodeling an older one can be an overwhelming process. At Gambrick, one of our fundamental objectives is achieving the highest standards of architectural design and construction. Give us a call or e-mail and we’ll guide you through the journey of constructing your new, custom built Tiny House.

Let’s get started. Call 732.892.1386 or e-mail today.

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