Ever wonder about the possibilities of storage buildings that look like a small house? We’ll look at converting a shed into a tiny house, share tips, and consider the pros and cons of shed conversion.
In the tiny house movement, there are people converting a storage shed, garden shed, and even a tool shed into “livable sheds.” Some people call them their “shed house.” With the housing market going through the roof right now, finding living space with the right square feet is becoming a challenge.
I know two elderly people who have been forced to sell their homes and are having difficulty in finding adequate living arrangements. One of them is blessed to have a daughter who has opened her home to her mother.
They discussed the small space they had available and decided a good option was to create a tiny house shed. By adding a metal roof, the storage building cost less money. This was the most affordable way to provide her mother a cozy home of her own just outside their back door.
In This Article
Converting A Shed Into A Tiny House Is a Popular Option
Converting a suitable shed into a livable space is a great option for many people to have affordable tiny homes. From a pre-fab shed to a shed shell from shed manufacturers (try saying that phrase quickly), a lot of people are finding the overall cost for a livable tiny home makes this the best option to meet their need for personal dwellings.
In the spring of 2011, tornadoes ripped through west-central Louisiana over the course of several days. These storms left hundreds homeless. As a surprising solution, useable spaces were created by converting a backyard shed or prefab shell into a tiny new home.
I knew a couple of families who joined two sheds together to make a larger home for themselves.
Even a small shed can be turned into a pleasant living area for one person. Customizing them takes less money, less time, and less material than the traditional cost of building.
You can even add a front porch although many of them come with a porch already built on. You can create more natural light indoors by replacing or adding windows.
Before You Make the Initial Investment
- Sheds are just that, a shed. As they are, they are not suited as a residential building. There are a few things you will need to consider before you rush out and buy your own shed.
- You may need a building permit even on your own residential lot. Some zoning codes require a certain size building on lots.
- Most sheds come with open framing and an open floor area. This means there will be some construction time and costs involved above the base price of the shed.
- Once you have decided how you would like your own tiny house laid out, electrical wiring and plumbing must be done.
- The second project would be to properly insulate the entire structure from roof to floor.
- Unless yours is a turnkey shed, you will need to replace the doors and windows. This is an easy way to make a huge difference in build quality to meet the basic need of every person.
The tiny house movement sweeping across the U.S. means the tiny house of your dreams may be as simple or extravagant as your budget and dreams allow.
Pros of Converting a Shed Into a Tiny House
- Cost – The cost of new construction of a tiny home or purchasing a small house is probably the first reason someone would consider learning how to convert a shed into a tiny house. You cannot purchase the materials to build your own shed as cheaply as you can purchase the shells of most sheds. You can lower the price of upgrades to the shed by upcycling and recycling materials you have on hand or find cheaply.
- Financing Options – The upgrades won’t be part of the financing of course. Almost every lot I see that sells these cute sheds advertising financing options.
- Quick Completion – Once the shed is delivered and set up, the projects to turn it into a great place to live can be completed quickly. The finishing it out process can even be done quickly in your spare time. By planning carefully and having the professional help you need all lined up, you can speed up the process even more.
Cons of Converting a Shed Into a Tiny Home
As with all of life, there are pros and cons to everything, even in converting a shed into a tiny house.
- Small Spaces – The living space is limited. Unless you are familiar with or are willing to learn how to live in a tiny space, it will be a challenge. Learning to live with a mini refrigerator is a challenge, at least it was for me.
- Curb Appeal – The building materials used on the outside, the style, and the color options may be limited with pre-fab sheds. If you or a friend is handy with such things, this could be easily overcome.
- Quality of Construction – Before you purchase a shed, check it over well and have someone you trust check it over with you. Ask questions of the manufacturer or seller. The materials used in the construction of the shed are important for wind load design and the sturdiness of the shed.
- Amenities – You can of course have anything in the shed space allows. You’ll need kitchen cabinets of some kind, an air conditioner, and a functioning bathroom. Most people use a composting toilet to avoid having to have a septic system. You can recycle your greywater for many uses on the homestead.
- Portability – True tiny homes are usually built on trailers or wheeled frames to make them mobile tiny houses. Portable sheds aren’t truly portable as they are usually placed on a foundation of some kind. Because it is “ported” to the place you’re going to set it up, it can be called portable.
Ways to Use Sheds Converted Into Tiny Houses
- Converting a shed into a tiny house is becoming more popular with older couples looking to downsize.
- College graduates are putting them in their parent’s backyard as a way to be independent without having a high cost of living.
- Like I’ve already shared, it’s a great way for kids to have an “in-law” apartment and still be able to maintain some separate living room.
- They could be used as a guest house or cabin.
- I recently read about a town that was setting them up to house homeless veterans in their community.
- Remember to check zoning laws, and local codes for the area you plan to live in.
- Take a friend or someone you trust who is in the construction business when you go to look at a shed.
- Plan carefully to make the conversions smoothly and quickly.
- Weighing the pros and cons of converting a shed into a tiny house, do you think it’s an option for you or your loved ones?
- Do you live in one or know someone who does?
- Do you have tips or ideas on making livable sheds?