Online tiny house plans: I bought some, have you?

Earlier this year, I came across a cute, cabin-style tiny home with out-swing french doors that allowed the inside to open right up to the outside.

The exterior of the tiny home really stuck with me for some reason as well so I decided to buy the digital plans.

It really hasn’t been until recently that I’ve had the time to sit down and look over the plans and make changes so that they better suit my personal needs. This meant extending the original design from 8′-6″ x 16′ to 8′-6″ x 24′ while maintaining the cottage look/feel and foremost the out-swing french doors.

While reviewing the plans and using the exact measurements to design a 3D model in Sketchup, it struck me that the tiny home width was oversized and actually came in at 9′-2″ with the overhang as specified in the plans.  Keep in mind, the maximum width without a special permit allowed on most North American roads is 8′-6″.

I didn’t think much more about the tiny being oversized and completed the 3D model to get a better visual of what my modified design would look like.

There were a few other questionable details about the plans which actually took me to the LiveTiny Hub to pose one burning question. What product do tiny house builders, professional and otherwise, use to create a thermal barrier between the trailer and the actual tiny house frame?

Martin Bisson from Lumbec in Gatineau was quick to come to my rescue recommending that I use a neoprene sponge seal as the barrier. It was details like these that amateur tiny home builders and wannabes need to know that seemed to be lacking in the plans I purchased.

Martin also pointed out that when they, Lumbec, build their tiny home trailers they build them to a maximum width of 7′-10″ to allow for overhangs on their homes.

In the plans I purchased, again, the trailer specified a trailer width of 8′-4″ which allows for 1″ on either side of the tiny home for cladding and no clearance for eaves/overhangs.

I have to admit that I’m quite disappointed with the oversights in the plans that I purchased, especially considering that the plans came from a company with someone I consider to be a tiny home/living pioneer in a sense.

Maybe this is why there is a small disclaimer by the “Buy Now” button that says “Please note that all sales are final on digital products and returns are not available. Because, let’s be honest, there is no such thing as ‘returning’ a digital product.”

It’s very hard to know what you’re getting when you buy plans online especially when samples of what you get are limited to avoid people copying the plans from a website.

Fortunately the plans didn’t cost an arm and a leg like some out there but to those who sell tiny home plans – please pay attention to the details that are expected to be in the plans you sell. Many DIYer’s are first timers and take the word of a reputable “brand” or name to provide a product that is accurate and detailed – attributes I feel were really overlooked in the plans I purchased.

Have you purchased plans online? What has the product you received been like? Critical details missing or overlooked? All good to go?

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April 19, 2017
Matt Standen – Editor