Learn to Build a Tiny House From Salvaged Building Materials

©. Tiny Texas Houses

It's pretty telling that there's a lot of interest these days in the tiny house movement, both as a way to save money and live with a smaller footprint, and also as a method of embracing the concept of living more simply. There is no shortage of plans on the market for building your own tiny house, and for those who want to live in a tiny house but don't want to (or can't) build their own, readymade micro-houses are available to purchase from builders, so there are plenty of options for those wanting to make the move to living more minimally.

However, building a tiny house out of all new materials (or purchasing one) can still be rather expensive, relative to many people's income, and it requires the same kinds of building materials and resources that go into building any other modern house, so it isn't necessarily the cheapest or most eco-friendly housing option. But there are already a huge number of houses and structures already built, but that aren't usable in their current state, either because of years of neglect or being located in an area that isn't desirable to live in, that could be "mined" for their building materials, which could be repurposed into a tiny house.

While we've previously covered Brad Kittel's Tiny Texas Houses, with some of the back story of how this tiny house business grew out of Kittel's architectural salvage business, there's a couple of upcoming workshops, as well a DVD set and on-demand videos, that can take you from a wannabe tiny house builder to a bonafide "salvage miner" and micro-house constructor.

Beginning on February 28th, and running through March 2nd, Kittel's Pure Salvage Living is offering a hands-on workshop, titled "The Ugly Duckling Salvage Mining Bootcamp," where participants can learn the ins and outs of salvage mining while actively working to harvest used building materials from an old ranch house near Luling Texas. Attendees will learn a variety of helpful tactics for salvaging materials for repurposing into a tiny house (or two), including:

  • How to identify materials and value them
  • The Salvage Mining Process (from “Cherrypicking” to Transporting & Storing)
  • How to remove doors and windows safely from other structures
  • How to use your tools effectively to not damage materials
  • How to De-nail wood safely and efficiently (And using a modern pneumatic “Nail Kicker”)
  • Safety Precautions and Salvage Mining Tips

Following immediately on the heels of the salvage mining bootcamp is a building workshop (March 3rd through March 9th) which will take participants through the process of designing and building a tiny house using the repurposed building materials from that deconstructed house. This tiny house bootcamp will work on building a 15' by 12' home with two floors (which is said to be "big enough to live in full time but small enough to get around building code in urban areas"), from start to finish, and give attendees the skills and the confidence to go back home and start building their very own mini house using salvaged building materials.

For those that can't get down to Texas for the salvage mining workshop, Kittel also offers five hours of videos on salvage mining either as a set of DVDs, or for rent via video-on-demand, which include a number of key skills, such as how to obtain the rights to salvaging a building and how to efficiently and safely deconstruct it, as well as "live" examples of the salvage process.

And if you're not interested in the bootcamps or the videos, but just have some questions you need answered, Kittel, who has 20 years of salvage experience and 7 years of tiny house building experience, also offers phone consultations about building tiny houses or salvaging building materials.

[Update: It looks like the salvage mining bootcamp is now sold out, but there are still spots available for the tiny house salvage building bootcamp.]