As we build more and more tiny homes we are starting to develop a selection of materials and components that work well in tiny house construction, these have become our standard options. As custom tiny house builders, we are always open to exploring new and alternative materials with our clients. What we look for are materials that are high-quality, light-weight, 'tried-and-tested', are readily available in New Zealand, have the lowest possible environmental impact, and come with a lengthy durability warranty. We favor New Zealand made products wherever we can. If you know of any great products we should be using then please get in touch. The following is a list of our current standard materials:
Our tiny homes are built onto ‘Split-Shift’ trailers made to order by our friends at Bay Engineering Solutions. They are fully road legal, with WOF and registration included. We go into depth about our trailers in more detail here, covering the componentry included, such as the jacks and the braking system.
The Sub Floor
The next step in the building process is to insulate the trailer deck frame with 40mm polystyrene underfloor insulation. We then cover the top of the steel frame with foam inseal tape which acts as a thermal break and moisture barrier between the steel and the plywood subfloor. This also prevents a squeaky floor too. We then lay the plywood floor, which is made from treated pine tongue and groove plywood.
We exclusively use steel framing to build our tiny homes. Steel is stronger, straighter, and crucially - lighter than traditional timber framing. Our steel is manufactured in New Zealand from locally mined iron-sand and a component of recycled steel. Due to the accuracy of roll forming technology, there is extremely low waste, as all metal is cut to length in the factory, and steel is 100% recyclable and the end of its lifespan. Build Tiny exclusively uses Axxis steel due to its suitability for New Zealand's environmental conditions and it’s 50 year durability warranty.
The Interior Wall Linings
Traditional gib plasterboard is not a suitable product for tiny house wall and ceiling linings as it’s heavy, and prone to cracking. Instead, we use a poplar core plywood with either a birch or poplar veneer. Both are a beautiful light coloured grain that looks amazing with a clear varnish, or can be painted any colour. We also use an architectural feature called ‘Negative Detailing’ on our walls, this looks sleek and modern, and gives the sheets room to move on the road without cracking any paint or varnish.
The Bathroom Wall Linings
Our standard material for lining the bathroom walls and ceilings is a product called Laminex Aqua Panel. It's specifically designed for wet areas, is super easy to clean, and comes in a few different colour and texture options.
For the walls and ceilings, we use high-performance Earthwool recycled glass insulation. It has an R rating of 2.9 for the ceiling, and R2.2 for the walls. It comes with a 50-year warranty. It is widely used by the NZ building industry and has excellent soundproofing and thermal properties.
We install our cladding over a 20mm air cavity as stipulated by the NZ Building Code. The window openings are all sealed with window flashing tape before the windows are installed.
We use made-to-measure aluminium double glazed window joinery from a local supplier. Larger panes of glass are toughened for road safety, and all windows are laminated on the external face.
Our most commonly used type of cladding is lightweight Vinyl weatherboards. There is a variety of options for colour, and it comes with a 50 year warranty. It's extremely light, requires almost no maintenance, and due to the speed of installation is an affordable option for cladding a tiny house.
The Roof & Gutter
The roofing, guttering, and flashings are made from colour steel, we use a variety of roofing profiles depending on the roof pitch and design aesthetics. Clients can pick from a range of standard colour steel colours to customise the look of the tiny house. The gutter is custom folded with a 50mm catchment depth, and a 40m PVC downpipe.
We build our kitchen carcasses out of poplar core HPL plywood - it's longer lasting, easier to clean, and much lighter than the MDF products used in most kitchens today. For the doors and drawer fronts you can select from our standard range of Melteca laminates over a lightweight particle board. We have a range of 10 standard laminate benchtops, or you can upgrade to another material such as Bamboo, or stainless steel.
The Custom Furniture Pieces
We have a team of cabinet makers and boatbuilders who love a challenge - whether it's a pull-out couch, folding table, or a custom staircase we can do almost anything. Because weight is always a consideration we use a poplar-core, white HPL plywood or a poplar core plywood with either a birch or a poplar veneer.
Hot Water Heating
You just can't beat on-demand, instant, gas hot water heating for a tiny house. We use the Rinnai Infinity VT26. The units are installed outside so they don't take up any of your precious floor space as a hot water cylinder does. They come with a dual gas regulator where you can connect two 9kg gas bottles. As with the Electrical work, we use a fully qualified & registered gasfitter and you will receive a Gas Certificate to certify all the gas work in your tiny home.
Because tiny homes are so small, and very well insulated, it doesn't take much to heat them. Select a heating option to suit your needs based on available power sources. Electric heating is suitable for grid connected tiny homes, and if your tiny house is to be off-grid, we recommend alternative heating such as a built-in gas heater or a little wood burner. Talk to us about your options.