Tiny Cabins or Cottages

roof onLots of talk these days about tiny houses, homes, cottages or cabins.  Companies like the very well known Tumbleweed and many others have some very nice looking product on the market - very pretty and quaint.  And I'm amazed at the prices they are charging for these - $30,000, $40,000 and even $50,000 for many designs that are sometimes less than 100 sf and often not larger than 200 sf.

The sad thing about most all of these cottages is that they are stick built.  While building code sometimes does not apply to very small structures (sometimes it does) to ensure structural integrity, stick framing is an incredibly energy inefficient way to build because of the volume of wood required to maintain structure.  Building scientists working for the US Dept of Energy have noted that stick-built homes are approx 25% wood frame that has R value of 1 per inch.  When you combine that with all of the windows and doors that often take up more than 20% of the wall surface area, you are looking at a weighted average R values of 4 or 5 for 50% of the walls.  That means that WHATEVER insulation is used, cheap or premium, you've still got 50% of the walls that are about R4 or 5.  And stick-framed flooring and roofing still has significant thermal wicking - it's simply a losing battle when trying to stay comfortable.

wall panels going up starting with front corner panelUsing Eco-Panels rapidly erected cam-lock panels and single piece corner panels this cottage was erected quickly by four persons.  It has LP Smartside (carries 50 year mfg warranty) on the exterior of the lower wall panels and Huber ZIP System on the gable end for later covering with shingles.  All wall panels are floor and wall panels up4.5" thick and offer a continuous R26.  The roof panels can be R26 or R40 and are OSB sided for covering by either shingles or a metal roof after the application of felt (tar paper).  The floor panels are also 4.5" thick and R26 rated and the top surface is a 5/8" thick flooring product and the underside is 1/2" treated plywood.  The interior would be trimmed out as you see fit at your own pace.  All door and window openings are pre-framed out as well, and electrical boxes with wire chases are pre-installed.

This almost 200sf cabin would typically retail for between $9,900 and $15,000 depending upon R values and finishes you are looking for, less windows and doors.  And if you are looking for other sizes, simply let us know!  This unit can be heated with a simple small electric heater from the drugstore.

Interior - note ridge beam in beam pocket gable panelSiding with shingles on gable end