Not long ago, the idea of using a metal building as a tiny home started to gain traction. Strong, affordable, and versatile, steel buildings and barns allow their owners to customize their home from the ground up without sacrificing on size or budget. We have discussed the benefits of building with metal here and here. Most recently, we wrote about the foundation and plumbing options that are available in converting a metal building to a tiny home. With budget-friendly and professional solutions available, your property can become a fully-functioning residence, perfect for guests or even tenants.
After making all of the plumbing and foundation decisions and having your metal building installed, the next step is to wire, insulate, and close the interior walls.
Here at Elephant Barns, we provide our customers with a high-quality building constructed to their exact specifications. Our building methods and materials allow for easy after-market customization and renovation. We do not, however, provide any of the foundation, plumbing, electrical, insulation, or drywall services discussed in this article series. When it comes to construction projects, we strongly suggest hiring professionals to complete plumbing and electrical work unless you are confident that you have the necessary skills to take on such a project. Hiring a licensed professional will ensure that the final product will be of the highest quality, and your health and safety will not be put at risk during construction.
Wiring Your Building
Electrical wiring is complex and there is a high risk associated with incorrect installation. For these reasons, we strongly recommend hiring a licensed electrician to complete this task. Also, you should check your state regulations and requirements when it comes to running utilities to a new building. Again, the end result will be of the highest standards while ensuring your safety.
If you do have the necessary skills and experience to complete a job of this nature, we have listed a few pages below that may help you. Consider utilizing the reference materials as well; they are likely to give much more exact instructions and specifications.
- Wiring Tips for a Metal Building Workshop
- Surface Mounted Wiring and Conduit
- National Electrical Installation Standards
The total cost to wire a home can range anywhere from $4,000-$25,000. The cost usually depends on labor prices, upgrades to service panels, the cost of opening up walls and insulation to reach wiring, and the cost of added switches, outlets, and materials. Luckily, by purchasing a metal building and wiring the structure before closing the walls, the time and budget needed to complete this task is significantly decreased. Prices at the upper-end of the spectrum ($25,000+) are typically old, larger homes that need to be completely rewired. A small, oen-framed building like one of our metal barns would likely be on the very low end of the spectrum due to the lower square footage and the fact that walls do not have to be opened to gain access. Once again, the versatility and adaptability of metal buildings allow owners to reap the benefits of such an affordable building.
Insulation Types and Installation
After the wiring of your new tiny home has been completed, it is time to decide upon and install insulation into the walls of your building. Before doing so, it is important to take into consideration the climate that your tiny home will be built in. Regional variations in temperature and precipitation can lead some owners to choose one type of insulation over another. It is also vital to take piping and wiring into account – certain types of insulation are easier to install around tight areas than others.
According to the Department of Energy, you need to determine two things before you purchase and install insulation. First, where you want or need to install or add insulation. Then, you need to take into account the recommended R-values for areas you want to insulate. The R-value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. The R-value is also very dependent on proper installation. Some types of insulation can be installed by homeowners, while other types may require a professional.
If you choose to install the insulation yourself, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions carefully and check local building and fire codes. This site goes into more detail and lists each type of insulation, along with its components and benefits.
Based on materials and installation methods, the cost of insulating your building can vary greatly. We recommend visiting here so that you can best educate yourself and weigh your options before making a construction decision.
Metal Barns are the Easy Choice
While it may seem like one more thing to pay for and cross off the to-do list, having total control over the installation, placement, and details of the wiring and insulation in your building can be extremely beneficial. You have total freedom when it comes to where you want to place switches, outlets, lights, fuse boxes, and other equipment. This also allows you to place appliances (like a refrigerator or washer and dryer) exactly where you want them. A completely customized building will not only fill all of your needs and desires, but it last for generations. Choosing a shelter from Elephant Barns offers supreme versatility and strength, unmatched by any traditional wooden tiny home.