Our Materials

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:

The Trailer

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 - there is even a video for those really wanting to go into depth about our trailers. 

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 19mm H3.2 pine tongue and groove plywood.  

The Framing

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 top of the range Euro poplar core plywood, it has 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

We all know that bathrooms are the most likley place you'll have moisture issues in your home, so our standard material for lining the bathroom walls and ceilings is a product called Laminex Aqua Panel. It's specifically designed for this purpose, is super easy to clean, and comes in a few different colour and texture options. 

The Insulation

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’s a BRANZ appraised product that comes with a 50-year warranty. It is widely used by the NZ building industry and has excellent soundproofing and thermal properties.  

The Cavity

We install our cladding over a 20mm air cavity as stipulated by the NZ Building Code. The steel frames are wrapped with building paper, and then we use a lightweight, thermally broken cavity product called CavibatR. The window openings are all sealed with window flashing tape before the windows are installed.  

The Windows

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. If you would like the best thermal performance for your tiny home, we can upgrade the Aluminium Joinery to be thermally broken, and you can even consider using a high-performance glass. 

The Cladding

Our most commonly used types of cladding are lightweight Vinyl Cladding, and corrugated Colour Steel. The larger 8m long tiny homes are heavy and necessitate using the vinyl cladding in order to keep the weight down. Our smaller tiny homes 7.2m long or less can have the colour steel or other types of cladding at the clients request. Depending on the expected overall weight of the house, we can sometimes incorporate feature panels of timber such as Cedar & Macrocarpa. 

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.

The Kitchens

We build our kitchen carcasses out of Eurolite Poplar-core HPL plywood - it's durable, easy to clean, and much lighter than the MDF products used in most kitchens today. For the doors and drawer fronts, you can select either the same white HPL, poplar plywood with a varnished finish, or select from our standard range of Melteca laminates over a lightweight fibreboard. We have a range of 6 standard laminate benchtops, or you can upgrade to another material such as Bamboo, or stainless steel. Our standard handle is the Enko 137, or you can upgrade to another type of handle hardware to suit your style.

The Appliances

Appliances can either be supplied by you or by us, we don't mind either way. We use a variety of different brands for different situations. If you have specific appliances you already own that you would like to incorporate into your design, we need to know really early on in the design process so that we can build the cabinetry to suit. We recommend gas ovens and hobs in order to reduce the electricity use which is limited to 16amps in a tiny house (or can be upgraded to 32amps if you prefer to run electric appliances)

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 tend to use the same poplar-core, Eurolite white HPL plywood as we do for the kitchens or the Eurolite poplar core plywood as we do for the wall linings, as its lightweight and looks amazing with some clear varnish. 

The Stairs

Storage stairs are an iconic component of our tiny homes. We build them with a lightweight poplar-core plywood carcass, and durable laminated pine treads. You can customise exactly what type of storage you'd like under the stairs, whether that be open shelving, cupboards, concealed washing machine, drawers, or cavities for large appliances like fridges. 

The Ladder

Some ladders are easier to climb than others. If you're young and fit - a vertical ladder fixed to the wall such as whats used in the Millennial tiny house, and Larissa & Tyler's tiny house is a good choice as they don't take up any space, but they are challenging to climb. So for those wanting something more comfortable, we have a detachable pine ladder built at a 4:1 ratio with alternating paddle treads, and grips along the side. . You can see it in more detail in the video tour of the Dance Tiny House.

Window Coverings

We don't usually supply window coverings but are more than happy to if that's something you'd like done for you. We have a fantastic roller blind company we work with, and can also do flyscreens - particularly useful up in the loft spaces in summer - just let us know what you're after and we can make it happen. 

Plumbing and Bathroom Fittings

We use high-quality, NZ made Aquatica tapware in our kitchens and bathrooms. Our most frequently used vanity is the wall mounted Nikau Hand basin, from Clearlite - another well respected NZ company. Our kitchen sinks are high quality brushed satin stainless Steel, and come from Totara Marketing - another NZ family owned business. And surprise surprise, our roller shower doors again come from a NZ owned and operated a company called Newline and are made right here in NZ. That said, you're certainly welcome to specify different products to suit your needs and taste. 

The Toilet

We love using good quality New Zealand made products and the toilet is no exception. Our default toilet is the Bambooloo composting toilet, handcrafted right here in New Zealand. We love it so much we did a video testimonial. That said, you're certainly welcome to specify a different toilet in your custom tiny house. To see a range of other composting toilets suitable for tiny homes click here. We can also install chemical toilets, incinerating toilets, and flush toilets depending on your situation. 

Lighting and Powerpoints

We use a variety of lighting in different situations, but we always use quality products from reputable brands. We make sure to select low energy, efficient LED fixtures. If you want to get creative with lighting we can do that too, incorporating recessed stair lighting, or concealed strip lighting to create a dramatic effect. Our standard switchgear is the classic PDL 600 Series. All electrical work is completed by a registered Electrician (one of the best in fact!), and inspected by an independent electrical inspector. You will receive both an Electrical Certificate of Safety, and an Electrical Warrant of Fitness. 

Solar Equipment

As a customisation/upgrade, solar panels can be installed on the roof of your Tiny House, making you fully off-grid for your power needs. We’ll tailor a solar package to your power usage/requirements, but the typical equipment is as follows: Inverter: Victron Easysolar 24/3000/70-50, Panels: 6 x Trina 270w Honey Poly Module, Batteries: 4 x C&D 12V 192Ah c20 FT Lead Carbon Cyclic Battery. Battery Monitor: BMV700 (Battery monitoring module) & 1 x Victron VE Direct Bluetooth Smart Dongle. You can see pricing for this system on our FAQ page

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. 

Heating Options

Because our tiny homes are so small, and so well insulated, it doesn't take much to heat them. The easiest way is to simply run a small electric panel heater mounted to the wall to save space. However, if your tiny house is to be off-grid, we recommend alternative heating such as a built-in gas heater (we usually conceal these under the stairs or under the trailer)

or a little wood burner. Keep in mind that wood burners (even the small ones) generally create an excess of heat for such a small space. It's important to ensure there is adequate ventilation when using a wood burner, gas hob/oven or gas heater in a small space. 

Contact us

07 549 2864 | Katikati 3129

Have you seen our FAQ page? Why not check there first and get the answer to your question right away!

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