Whenever someone mentions “tiny house,” people have a tendency to think of a house on wheels.

Tiny houses, due to the mobility benefits that they provide, are built on trailers in order to avoid the strict zoning rules and codes that some states require so that buildings meet certain standards in order to be considered habitable. Over the last couple of years, however, tiny houses have become very popular and many people are considering building a tiny house on a foundation in order to avoid legal issues.

Is it worthwhile to build a tiny house on a foundation?

Before this question can be answered, you need to be aware that local permitted will be required when a tiny house is built on a foundation and there can also potentially be placement restrictions as well.

There are building codes and zone that dictate the construction, placement, and standard size of all types of dwellings. Every city and state have their own regulations. Therefore, before you build a tiny home on a foundation, you need to make sure you know where you are allowed to build, what you can build, and what licenses are required.

Keep reading for a comparison of tiny homes on a foundation and on wheels.

Tiny Houses on Wheels Vs On Foundations

Unless you plan for your tiny house to go out on the road, for future relocation, or on a road trip, it can be completely worthwhile to build it on a foundation. The following are the reasons why:

Lower Total Ownership Cost

The largest expenses that you will probably incur when you make the decision to build a tiny house on top of a foundation are purchasing land (unless you already own it) and materials. However, depending on the specific city where you are planning to build a tiny home, your expenses can vary significantly. In some areas, vacant infill lots might only cost a few thousand dollars.

One of the most ways that you can save money is to build a modest house. Also, when you build it on your land, your long-term savings will be even greater.

It is not difficult to understand why building a tiny house on a foundation will have a lower total ownership cost. However, you will be responsible for paying property taxes as well.

It is important to be aware that small and tiny houses that are available in the real estate market have a tendency to cost two to three times more than what a professionally built, DIY, or tiny home on wheels will cost. Being detached from permanent land makes it possible to be free of volatile real estate market prices.

Simply put, a tiny house that is on a foundation can be a good investment since the land value can appreciate. If you are building on an existing foundation make sure to get a foundation inspection done. This would greatly reduce the cost of damaged foundation repair and waterproofing. If you are planning on selling the house later, it can bring in a good deal of money but will vary by location.

Flexible Design Options

A tiny house built on a foundation offers more flexibility when it comes to design. That basically means there are more designs for you to choose from. There will not be the same width, length, and height restrictions that tiny homes on wheels have. You will ultimately have more control over the floor plan of your home. A crawlspace can even be added.

You Can Make Use Of Utility Hookups

In terms of things like electricity and plumbing, a tiny house on wheels is often limited. You may not be allowed to hoop up to the local city grid, but instead come up with your own alternative, particularly if you would like to have a mobile-ready house. Therefore must invest in solar power, water tanks, and compost toilets (or rely on the hookups of others such as RV parks or someone’s backyard).

However, if you build a tiny home on a foundation, it allows you to connect to your city grid and have access to local WiFi service, traditional plumbing, and electricity.


The same financing process is used for a tiny home on a foundation as a traditional stick-built home. If your credit is good, it will be easy to find a lender for most of the common kinds of construction loans, including construction-only loans and construction-to-permanent loans.


Another reason why it is worthwhile to build a tiny home on a foundation is safety. No matter which kind of foundation you use – crawlspace, basement, or slab – your house will be rooted to the ground firmly and keep your house and its occupants safe in harsh weather conditions.

The Bottom Line

Building a tiny house on a foundation has become a major housing trend since it makes a great deal of economic sense for both municipalities and individuals.

Over the last year, there has been widespread adoption of IRC Appendix Q. It is a building standard that is used for tiny homes on foundations and provides a viable path for permitted placement in many communities across the country.

Although great flexibility offered by tiny houses on wheels, they do have a couple of drawbacks and are not the best option for everyone.

So, if you don’t need a mobile option, over the long run, a tiny house on a foundation will be more cost-effective.

First look for land that is properly zoned, research material and design costs, and contact a Toronto or other local area professional foundation repair expert to help you determine the best kind of foundation to use with your dream tiny home.