Tiny House on Foundation

In this post: Tiny House on Foundation – what options are available and what are the pros and cons of each?

After sharing Cully’s and my next venture of living in a tiny house, questions came piling in. Some were questioning our sanity, lol, while others were regarding logistics. One of the most common logistics questions we get is “Can I build my tiny house on a foundation?”

The answer is yes! You can absolutely build your tiny house on a foundation. And that is exactly what we did. In fact, there are several different types of foundations you can use for your tiny house.

Gravel Foundation
An in progress shot of the gravel foundation we built for our tiny house.

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Tiny House on Foundation: Common Foundation Options

There are four common foundations for tiny houses. I’ll dive into each below.

  1. Gravel Foundation
  2. Concrete Slab Foundation
  3. Raised Foundation 
  4. Pier and Beam Foundation 

Gravel Foundation

Rock (aka gravel) foundations are extremely durable and will last for many years with proper care. They are very low maintenance since you won’t have to worry about repairing or re-sealing them like you would with a traditional concrete foundation. 

Rock foundations provide excellent drainage for your tiny house since water will be able to quickly drain away from the structure. They are also eco-friendly since they are made from natural materials that are readily available. 

Finally, rock foundations can be very affordable since you may not have to pay for a professional to install them. It’s a more DIY friendly project that does not require heavy machinery like a concrete foundation may require.

One of the biggest disadvantages of rock foundations is that they can be very difficult to level properly if you don’t have experience doing so.  If not installed properly, rock foundations can allow water to seep into your tiny house which can cause mold and mildew problems over time. 

Concrete Slab Foundation

A concrete slab foundation is exactly what it sounds like: a solid slab of concrete that serves as the base for your tiny house. Slab foundations are popular in areas with warm climates, as they don’t provide any insulation against the heat or cold.

They’re also relatively easy and inexpensive to construct. However, slab foundations aren’t always viable in colder climates, as they can cause your tiny house to freeze to the ground during the winter months. 

One potential downside of building on a concrete slab is that it can be challenging to insulate. If you live in an area with cold winters, this is something you’ll need to take into account when deciding whether or not to build on a concrete slab.

Another consideration is that concrete slabs can be susceptible to cracking, especially if they’re not built properly. This can be a serious problem if cracks form in the foundation of your tiny house, so it’s important to make sure that any concrete slab you use is properly reinforced.

Raised Foundation

A raised foundation is essentially a miniature version of a traditional home’s foundation. It consists of perimeter footing and walls, with joists and flooring added on top.

Raised foundations provide excellent support and stability for your tiny house. But they’re also significantly more expensive and time-consuming to build than other types of foundations. 

If you live in an area with cold winters, a raised foundation is a good option, as it will help to insulate your tiny house from the cold ground. Raised foundations can also be built on slopes, which can make them a good choice if your build site isn’t level.

However, one potential downside of raised foundations is that they can make it difficult to move your tiny house in the future, as they’re not designed to be easily disassembled and transported. 

Pier and Beam Foundation

A pier and beam foundation is similar to a raised foundation. But instead of perimeter walls, it consists of piers that support beams.

This type of foundation is typically used in areas with unstable soils, as it allows the tiny house to “float” on the piers, which helps to prevent shifting and settling. 

Pier and beam foundations can be a good choice for tiny houses in a variety of climates, as they provide excellent support and stability.

However, they’re also more expensive and time-consuming to build than other types of foundations. 

Pier and Beam

Benefits of Building a Tiny House on Foundation

One of the biggest benefits of putting a tiny house on foundation is that it makes the house more structurally sound. When a tiny house is on wheels, it’s constantly being jostled around and shaken, which can loosen nails and cause other damage. Putting the house on a foundation will help protect it from these types of issues.

Another benefit of putting a tiny house on a foundation is that it makes the house more weatherproof. When a tiny house is on wheels, it’s much more susceptible to damage from high winds and severe weather conditions. But when the house is anchored to a foundation, it’s much better protected against these types of things. 

Comparing the Cost of Building a Tiny House on Wheels vs a Foundation

When it comes to building a tiny house, there are two main options to choose from. Either building on a foundation or building on wheels. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but which one is more cost effective? Let’s take a closer look.

Building on Wheels

One of the main advantages of building a tiny house on wheels is that it gives you the flexibility to move your home whenever you want.

If you get tired of your view or your neighbors, you can simply hitch up your house and drive off to somewhere new. This can be a great option for people who like to travel or who don’t want to be tied down to one location.

The downside of this option is that it can be more expensive to build because you have to factor in the cost of the wheels and trailer as well as the extra reinforcements that are needed to make sure your home stays put when you’re driving down the highway. 

Building on a Foundation 

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, then building your tiny house on a foundation might be the way to go. One of the biggest advantages of this option is that it’s usually cheaper than building on wheels because you don’t have to worry about the extra costs associated with making your home mobile.

The downside is that once your tiny house is built, it’s pretty much there forever. Or at least until you’re willing to go through the hassle and expense of moving it. 

So, which option is cheaper – building a tiny house on wheels or building on a foundation? It really depends on your specific situation and what your priorities are. If you want the flexibility to move your home around, then building on wheels is probably going to be the more expensive option.

However, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, then building on a foundation might be the way to go. Make sure you factor in associated costs whichever route you go.

Tall tiny house with deck

Tiny House on Foundation Conclusion

There are a variety of different types of tiny house foundations available. It’s important to do your research before deciding which one is right for you. If you’re not sure where to start, consider consulting with a professional builder or architect who specializes in tiny houses. They’ll be able to help you determine which type of foundation will work best for you.

Thanks for reading!

Have a tiny house tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below.

Until next time,

Krista

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