There is nothing small about the tiny-home craze. From people looking to retire and downsize, to those exploring creative ways to enter the housing market in expensive cities — like Vancouver —to those wanting to go off grid, the demand is growing at a steady rate.
In step with this demand is the number of tiny-home producers on the market. From flat pack, self-assembly cabins, to repurposed shipping containers, to small homes on wheels, there is now something out there to suit every site and budget.
Delta’s Mint Tiny Homes make homes that range in length from 22 to 44 feet, all on wheels, for easy transportation and are RV certified. They range in price from around $75,000 to $100,000 and their certification makes things easier from an insurance and mortgage application perspective, and assures customers their homes are well built, says company spokesman Connor McBride.
Their most popular tiny home over the past few months is their Canada Goose model, says McBride, which is their largest offering, ranging in length from 38 to 44 feet.
“These are popular with families, those who want that extra space, and extra storage. Also with those who want the standup bedroom (quite literally a bedroom you can stand up in), and for those who don’t want to go really tiny,” he says.
Because Mint Tiny Homes are on wheels, they don’t require foundations or any hookups, says McBride. They can be used the moment they’re driven onto a property .
“Our walls are insulated to R21. We use a closed cell spray foam, and they’re very highly insulated. Much higher than a regular RV. As for heating and cooling and things like that, we have lots of options from air conditioning to heating. You can heat with propane, or you can heat with electric,” he says.
When it comes to the finishes they use, McBride says they’re designed to look like a home, not an RV, and this really translates in their resale value.
The demand for tiny homes, he says, is growing — from tiny homes in backyards, to people buying an acreage and putting a tiny home on it.
“If you look at the U.S., and California, there’s a new city every month opening up its bylaws for tiny homes. Even Oregon and Texas. More and more cities are becoming tiny-home friendly,” he says.
Speed of construction, and homes that are guaranteed to be good quality in terms of engineering, construction and insulation, is all part of the appeal of modular, factory-built tiny homes, says Daniel Engelman, president of Edmonton’s Honomobo , which makes prefab shipping container homes.
“Construction time is 10 weeks, start to finish, in the factory — so the construction time frame is substantially reduced,” he says.
Honomobo homes are 99 per cent completed in the factory, wrapped in plastic and transported by truck, and sometimes barge, to their resting site, says Engelman.
“From the time it arrives on site and is craned onto the foundation it generally can be up and running within a week,” he says.
From a sustainability perspective, it’s hard to beat shipping container homes, says Engelman.
“In Edmonton, I know we’re tearing down homes that are 100 years old, and rebuilding, because they’re falling apart. That won’t be the case with a steel-frame container build. They should last hundreds of years,” he says.
Honomobo homes range from 350 to 1,600 square feet, sell across Canada and the U.S., and Engelman says revenues have doubled every year, over the past three years, with the same projected this year and next.
Like most small homes, a foundation is required for Honomobo homes.
“We often partner with local contractors and we’ll get the client to work directly with that local contractor on the foundation work, and services (water, sewage, and electrical),” says Engelman.
Made from Douglas fir and recycled metal cladding, the cabins are manufactured in Courtenay, B.C., cost around $150 per square foot, and were released into the Canadian market in January this year.
This type of small home works well for those who want to be involved in the building process, appreciate good design , and care about the environment, say the pair.
“All parts of the hut and shell system are 100 per cent recyclable,” says Edgar.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019