Archive for the Tiny House Category

Where Are Tiny Homes Legal

Where Are Tiny Homes Legal

 Where Are Tiny Homes Legal

NAVIGATION

The tiny house movement is fairly new, so tiny homes are not yet legal everywhere. If you are feeling inspired to try tiny living for the first time, you’re probably wondering where tiny houses are legal, and if you can start building where you live.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I’ve learned a lot about tiny house laws in the past 10 years in the tiny house community. I’ve done a ton of research regarding where tiny homes are legal and want to share that with you.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

Where Are Tiny Homes Legal?

Where Are Tiny Homes Legal

In the last few years, the tiny house movement has grown immensely. During my time as a tiny houser, I’ve seen firsthand the way that the tiny home movement has changed people’s lives.

It’s given people an alternative way to live, and lawmakers are catching onto to this new trend that people love! The more time goes by, the more tiny houses are becoming legal all over the world.

what is the tiny house movementIt may seem weird that tiny houses aren’t legal everywhere by now. I mean, what harm can a 300-square-foot house really do to society? However, it makes sense when you zoom out and consider the bigger picture of what housing laws were created for.

Housing laws are created with the intention of keeping homeowners safe and happy, and keeping each municipality neatly organized. City planning is an entire ordeal that can be insane when you really start getting into the weeds of it. Housing, zoning, and building laws have to be tight.

Since the tiny house trend is so new, the allotted dimensions built into traditional housing laws don’t always naturally allow for tiny houses. To know if a tiny house is legal where you live, look into the building and zoning laws in your specific state.

What Are My State’s Building And Zoning Laws?

What Are My States Building And Zoning Laws

In a nutshell, building laws are the rules and regulations centered around things like house dimensions, safety features in a home, how many doors or sets of stairs you can have, and basically anything that has to do with the actual building or the way the dwelling was built.

Zoning laws, on the other hand, are laws specifically geared towards where you’re allowed to build or park your dwelling. Many states have not developed specific building and zoning laws for tiny houses yet. However, many other states have adopted a version of Appendix Q, which specifically addresses the legality of tiny homes.

You can find your states individual building and zoning laws with a simple Google search of “state building laws” or “state zoning laws”.

What Is Appendix Q?

What Is Appendix Q

The creation of Appendix Q was a huge game changer in the tiny house community. Basically, Appendix Q is an addition to the International Residential Code that was approved for inclusion in the 2018 version of the IRC.

Appendix Q was the first ever to create specific requirements for tiny houses. However, not all states use it in the same way or at all.

In some states, individual cities and counties use Appendix Q, but not all. Some states have adopted the full appendix into their own state codes, while some have decided not to include the IRC in their building codes at all. Check out our full guide to using Appendix Q:

making your tiny house legal with appendix q

Is It Legal To Live In A Tiny House

With anything involving legality, it’s really never black and white. Knowing whether or not it’s legal to live in a tiny house not only depends on where you live, it also depends on what you mean by “live in a tiny house.” This has more possible meanings than you may initially realize.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Is my tiny house my primary home?
  • Do I want to travel in my tiny home?
  • Is my tiny house an addition to my main home?
  • Is my tiny house a temporary vacation home?
  • Is my tiny house a guest house?
  • Is my tiny house a non-living space (like a studio)?
  • Am I using my tiny house as a rental property?
living legally in a tiny house on wheels

Different building laws exist not only in different areas, but for different types of dwellings and uses for dwellings. The main differentiation that comes up over and over again is that states often have very different laws for tiny homes on wheels than they do for tiny homes on foundation.

States typically classify tiny homes and THOWs separately. It’s pretty common to see tiny homes on foundation classified as a residential dwelling while tiny homes on wheels are classified as recreational vehicles.

It may be the case that it’s legal to make a tiny house on foundation your primary house but illegal to live full time and travel in your tiny house on wheels. Or it may be that you can use a tiny home as an accessory dwelling unit in your yard, but are not allowed to live in it as your primary dwelling.

tiny house builders directory

To decipher if it is legal to live in a tiny house where you live, you need to know the way your state, county, and city classifies your specific type of tiny home. I’ve spent a lot of time reading these kinds of building and zoning laws, and have created a directory to give you the information you need.

If you still feel like you’re missing some key info, try doing some research on your own about the building laws in your area. If you don’t know where to begin, just start with a simple Google search.

Include These Questions In Your Search

  • Does my state use Appendix Q for tiny homes?
  • Does my state use the IRC 2018 version?
  • Are tiny homes on foundation legal in my state?
  • Are tiny houses on wheels legal in my state?
  • Are accessory dwelling units legal in my state?
  • Building laws in my state, county, city
  • Zoning laws in my state, county, city
  • Recreational vehicle regulations in my state
  • Municipal codes in my state
  • Tiny house news in my state, county, city
cracking the code

Where Can I Put My Tiny House?Where Can I Put My Tiny House

Zoning laws are entirely their own can of worms. Again, where you can legally put your tiny house is going to depend on where you live and how you plan to use your tiny home. I bet you are seeing the recurring theme here!

tiny house zoning lawsIf you have a tiny house on foundation, it’s going to be in your best interest to look into the residential laws for traditional houses in your local jurisdiction and investigate the legal dimensions where you live. Look for residential codes for traditional dwellings and single or multi-family dwellings.

Basically, you should hunt for how small of a dwelling you can put on your land, how many dwellings you can put on your land, and, if your tiny house is an accessory, how far apart your tiny home needs to be from your primary dwelling.

If you have a tiny house on wheels, placement is trickier. The first thing you need to do is decipher how your state, county, and city classifies THOWs. If they classify them as a traditional dwelling, the same laws will apply to your THOWs that apply to your tiny house on foundation. This is, unfortunately, not the case in many states.

It’s much more common for a state to classify a tiny house on wheels as a recreational vehicle or travel trailer than a traditional dwelling. If this is the case, you’ll need to look into where you can legally park an RV or travel trailer in your area.

Is It Legal To Travel The U.S. In A Tiny Home?

Is It Legal To Travel The US In A Tiny Home

Unfortunately, it gets even more tricky on the road. As you travel and cross borders into different cities, different states, or different countries, you’re going to need to adapt to the laws of your new location. It may be that you can park your RV on a friend’s land for a month in one state, but have to stay at an RV park in another.

van lifeMy best advice for navigating this is to use the power of the internet. Meaning, do exactly what you’re doing by reading this blog post. I’ve done a ton of traveling in my day, but my work life tends to keep me pretty stationed in my home in North Carolina week to week.

However, there are a ton of nomadic bloggers, vloggers, and Youtubers out there who have mastered the art of life on the road, and have learned to do it legally. I would venture into this kind of content to learn more about where you can park your tiny house on wheels state to state.

Can I Put A Tiny House In My Backyard?

Can I Put A Tiny House In My Backyard

If you’re wanting to know if it’s legal to put your tiny house in your backyard, you probably aren’t planning to use it as your primary house. To know whether or not it’s legal to add a tiny house to your property depends on the laws for accessory dwelling units that apply to your state.

backyard aduAgain, poking around online to find the building, zoning, and residential laws for your specific state, county, and city is the best way to go to decipher if ADUs are legal in your area. Additionally, look into what requirements exist for building an ADU where you live.

Similar to all kinds of tiny homes, ADUs have become way more popular in the last five years for uses like home offices or studios, living spaces for relatives, or rental properties. However you plan to use your ADU, you want to make sure it’s allowed before you pour money, time, and energy into building your tiny home.

One way to make sure you know what’s allowed is to consult experts that know more than you. You can call a local government official to get more information on building codes in your jurisdiction.

Or, better yet, call a local building company that produces tiny homes and ADUs. Building companies help customers navigate building codes every day and are experts on the codes in the areas they serve.

Which States Allow Tiny Houses?

Which States Allow Tiny Houses

Again, every single state is different when it comes to where tiny homes are legal. Some states march to the beat of their own legal drum, some have adopted Appendix Q to centralize their tiny house laws, and others have yet to really address tiny homes in their building codes at all.

Most Tiny House-Friendly StatesMost Tiny House-Friendly States

These states are ahead of the game when it comes to the legality of tiny homes. Many of them have created some tiny house specific laws of their own that make life much easier for those who want to live tiny:

States Most Friendly To Tiny Houses

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Least Tiny House-Friendly StatesLeast Tiny House-Friendly States

These states are a little behind on the tiny house trend. They still use building codes that are extremely limiting to tiny homeowners. Hopefully, these states will do more for the tiny house movement in the near future!

States Least Friendly To Tiny Houses

  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia

Are Tiny Houses Legal In My State?Are Tiny Houses Legal In My State

Like I’ve said above, each state is really its own can of worms in terms of what is or is not allowed in the state. Each sets its own building codes and regulations.

Is Your State Tiny House Friendly?

The color key below will help you quickly determine if your state is tiny house friendly or not.

Very Friendly

Kind Of Friendly

Not Too Friendly

Alabama

What’s tricky about Alabama is that it has yet to develop or claim a statewide building code. This means that implementation of building and zoning codes is managed independently by each county or city.

Alaska

In Alaska, Appendix Q from the 2018 version of the IRC is used in many cities and counties, but not all of them.

Arizona

The legality of tiny homes in Arizona truly depends on which city or county you live in. Some are much more tiny house-friendly and have their own codes, while others are more restrictive.

Arkansas

When it comes to tiny homes on foundation in Arkansas, some cities and counties use the 2018 IRC and Appendix Q. However, it’s harder to live full time in a tiny house on wheels in Arkansas, due to their RV laws.

California

California is vast and diverse. Tiny house laws are regulated by the local jurisdictions in the state. With 58 different counties, it’s essential that you check the rules, zoning laws, and building codes before building a tiny house in California, but many areas welcome tiny housers.

Colorado

Like in many states, Colorado tiny house laws vary from city to city. Depending on the city’s zoning restrictions, there may be different rules and determinations on different types of tiny homes and their uses. Most jurisdictions are fairly accommodating to those who want to live tiny.

Connecticut

Connecticut uses Appendix Q in its state building codes for tiny houses on foundation in most cities and counties. Tiny homes on wheels follow the RV laws in Connecticut.

Delaware

Delaware uses Appendix Q at a statewide level for tiny houses on foundation. Tiny houses on wheels are categorized differently.

The State of Delaware classifies mobile properties based on size, not explicitly by feature. This means that the size of your tiny house is going to be what determines all of the building laws and codes that apply to your tiny home on wheels through the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles.

Florida

When it comes to tiny houses on foundation, Florida has adopted Appendix Q into its Florida Building Code, 7th Edition, Residential. As far as tiny homes on wheels are concerned, finding land for a tiny house in Florida is challenging, but many RV parks are becoming tiny house friendly.

Georgia

Georgia has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level for tiny homes on foundation. When it comes to tiny homes on wheels, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) regulates these vehicles for title and licensing purposes through the county’s vehicle licensing agency.

Hawaii

Hawaii has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level for tiny houses on foundation. According to the Hawaii Statewide Traffic Code 291C tiny homes on wheels are classified as house trailers by the State.

Idaho

Idaho was the first state to fully adopt Appendix Q. They have also added an additional appendix titled Appendix V for Tiny Homes into their own residential code for tiny houses on wheels.

However, the state of Idaho also has its own code through the Division of Building Safety that addresses regulations surroundings tiny houses and has additional rules for full-time living in tiny houses on wheels.

Illinois

Illinois leaves the legality of tiny houses up to its individual cities and counties.

Indiana

Indiana has fully adopted Appendix Q for tiny houses on foundation. They also have their own law called the Log Cabin Rule that makes it much easier for homeowners to live in a tiny house, regardless of size. For tiny houses on wheels, homeowners must follow the laws for RVs set by the state.

Iowa

It’s pretty difficult to live tiny in Iowa because the state uses the 2015 version of the IRC.

Kansas

Defer to individual cities and counties in Kansas to determine what is allowed for tiny homeowners.

Kentucky

Kentucky has added Appendix Q to the Kentucky Residential Code Second Edition, for tiny houses on foundation, making them legal across the state.

Louisiana

Louisiana has adopted Appendix Q across the entire state, making tiny houses on foundation legal in the state of Louisiana.

Maine

Maine is very tiny house friendly. The state has its own set of building and zoning laws specifically for tiny houses. Tiny house building laws in the state changed substantially in March 2020 when LD 1981, An Act Regarding the Regulation of Tiny Homes, was passed. They also have their own building laws for tiny houses on wheels.

Maryland

It’s hard to determine whether or not tiny houses are legal in Maryland. They aren’t explicitly legal in the state, but they aren’t necessarily illegal either. At this time, there is not any official statewide requirements or restrictions on tiny houses in Maryland — they just aren’t really addressed.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level for tiny houses on foundation. For tiny homes on wheels, it’s more difficult to live full time in the state.

Michigan

In Michigan, the legality of your tiny home depends on the specific county and city you live in. Building codes in Michigan are fairly flexible, but do include statewide regulations

The Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) and the ICC actually published a book together called the “2018 Select IRC Options For Use With The Michigan Residential Code.” This book was created to familiarize tiny home owners with the changes that the 2018 code includes so they can submit them to the enforcing authority for approval.

Unfortunately, the State of Michigan is staying with the 2015 version of International Residential Code, which does not include Appendix Q that legalizes tiny homes on foundation.

Minnesota

Minnesota uses Appendix Q to make tiny houses on foundation legal across the state.

Mississippi

There are currently no laws in place in Mississippi that regulate tiny homes.

Missouri

Defer to individual cities and counties in Missouri to understand if tiny houses are legal where you live.

Montana

Tiny houses are legal in Montana. Montana is right on track when it comes to the legality of tiny homes. In a ruling by the Montana Secretary of State, the Montana Department of Labor and industry has gone the extra mile to recognize tiny houses as their own dwelling category in the section 24.301.154 of the State’s official building code.

Nebraska

The Nebraska State Legislature gives power to local jurisdictions when it comes to what is legal or illegal.

Nevada

In Nevada, cities and counties have the authority to legalize tiny homes.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire uses its own house bill as a statewide regulation, House Bill 588, which legalizes tiny homes on foundation and tiny houses on wheels.

New Jersey

New Jersey uses Appendix Q to legalize tiny houses on foundation.

New Mexico

Tiny houses on foundation are legal in New Mexico thanks to Appendix Q.

New York

New York uses Appendix Q to legalize tiny houses on foundation. As far as tiny homes on wheels go, the New York City metro area doesn’t allow permanent dwelling in RVs or THOWs. However, many more rural locations, especially in upstate New York, welcome THOW living for permanent homeowners.

North Carolina

North Carolina has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level, legalizing tiny houses on foundation. The classification of tiny homes on wheels is going to depend on the city or county you live in.

North Dakota

Most areas in North Dakota are not tiny house friendly. The North Dakota State Building Code makes it hard to live in a tiny house full time.

Ohio

Tiny houses aren’t technically illegal under the Ohio State Building Code. However, the building laws do not necessarily make it easy to go tiny. They require a minimum of 950 square feet, which is not typical of tiny homes.

Oklahoma

It’s really easy to live tiny in Oklahoma due to the lack of building regulations. Oklahoma has yet to adopt a statewide building code that restricts houses to particular dimensions. As of now, anything goes in the state.

Oregon

Each of the 36 counties in Oregon has its own set of rules, but many individual municipalities are friendly to tiny homeowners. A 2018 amendment to the Oregon Reach Code granted local building officials the authority to relax or waive some state requirements on tiny houses as long as they can do so safely.

Pennsylvania

The Residential Code of Pennsylvania does not mention tiny houses explicitly, but there are several cities and counties that make specific accommodations to the tiny house community in favor of tiny homeowners.

Rhode Island

Tiny homes are legal in Rhode Island, according to RI HB 7352.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s tiny house laws are among the easiest to navigate in the U.S. concerning tiny house builders.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, individual cities and counties make the rules when it comes to tiny house legality.

Tennessee

Some Tennessee municipalities and counties have chosen to opt out of the Building Codes and Zoning Regulations as laid out in the International Residential Code (IRC), but not all of them have done so.

Texas

In true Texas fashion, building laws are not centralized and are independently regulated by each city and county. Whether you can build a tiny house in Texas depends on the city you live in, but there is usually a lot of freedom for tiny homeowners in The Lone Star state.

Utah

The State of Utah has been a little slow to hop onto the tiny house movement. It has yet to centralize regulations that specifically address tiny homes as residential dwellings.

Due to this, a lot of what you’ll need to know when building tiny in Utah comes down to city and county laws and the regulations set by those individual municipalities.

Vermont

Like many other states, Vermont has yet to address tiny houses as a legal dwelling or create statewide laws around their use.

It’s fairly difficult to live in a tiny home on wheels in most of Vermont’s major cities, though, as those areas tend to be stricter with zoning and building laws.

Virginia

Most regions of Virginia welcome tiny houses with local definitions and regulations stating where they are allowed to be parked.

Washington

Recently, Washington adopted new laws to make tiny house living easier and more accessible. The new laws allow local municipalities to approve multi-unit lots for tiny home communities, eliminates any single-family dwelling minimum square foot requirements, adds tiny houses and THOWs to the definition of factory-built housing so they can be included in RV and trailer parks, and clears a regulatory pathway to allow Eco-villages and tiny home communities.

West Virginia

In all honesty, it can get pretty dicey to live full time in a tiny house in the state of West Virginia. It’s already a bit of a feat to get a tiny house on foundation authorized for full time living in the state, let alone residing permanently in a tiny house on wheels.

Wisconsin

It’s not impossible to live tiny in Wisconsin, as many tiny house lovers have found ways around the lack of legal clarity.

The State of Wisconsin does follow a few regulations around tiny homes. Unanimously, tiny houses in Wisconsin must be a minimum of 120 square feet and contain at least one room considered habitable in the long term. After this specificity, most other regulations can get muddy and are extremely contingent upon where you live in the state.

Wyoming

Wyoming uses Appendix Q at the statewide level, legalizing tiny homes on foundation.

Your Turn!

  • What steps do you need to take to make sure your tiny house is legal?
  • What types of tiny homes are legal where you live?

On The Road Luxury With A Mobile Sauna

On The Road Luxury With A Mobile Sauna

mobile sauna

NAVIGATION

Mobile saunas seem to epitomize good health, less stress, and freedom all in one room. As a guy who has fallen in love with my tiny house over the last 10 years and everything that the tiny life represents, the idea of a mobile sauna is extremely appealing to me.

Not only could I take my whole life on the road like I do with my tiny house on wheels, but I could have the freedom to take a room devoted to healing and health with me. Talk about luxury.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

The Finns have got the right idea when it comes to relaxing. I remember on my travels being struck by how saunas play such an important role in their culture. Since that trip, I have been curious about mobile saunas to go along with my tiny home.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is A Mobile Sauna?

What Is A Mobile Sauna

A mobile sauna is exactly what it sounds like: a sauna that is fully portable, pulled by a trailer, that can be experienced anywhere.

They are pretty idyllic, and allow you to enjoy the immense healing properties of saunaing from anywhere you want to travel. They are a brilliant addition to a smaller, simpler lifestyle.

Where Did Saunas Originate?

Where Did Saunas Originate

Spending lengths of time in a sauna is a very ancient practice. It remains a mystery as to when the first sauna was actually created and put into use. However, its believed that the practice originated somewhere in northern Europe.

cave like saunaThe concept of saunas is thought to originate from ancient man-made caves that contained a fire burning underneath piles of rock. After the fire was extinguished and the smoke wafted out, the hot rocks would keep the cave dwelling warm for the entire night. Water was poured on top of the stones, and steam rose from the rock piles, warming those nestled in the cave.

The first electric saunas were invented by the Finnish and were then popularized in the United States between the 1930s and the 1960s. They really took off in the States in the 2000s when they were built into gyms and spas.

Sometime after, the mobile sauna followed suit and has taken over for those looking to lead a simpler, more relaxing lifestyle. They have been especially popular for millennials like me who are looking to escape traditional living while renting.

Sauna Inspiration From Finland

Sauna Inspiration From Finland

When people think about saunas, they often think of Finland. Why? Saunas are popular in other countries, but the Finnish have made the sauna part of their identity.

I don’t know who keeps track of these kinds of things, but the experts estimate that there are two million saunas in Finland supporting a population of 5.3 million people total. The Finnish have saunas in their backyards, as accessory dwellings on their personal property, and within their communities at local bathhouses.

Sauna Inspiration From FinlandIt doesn’t matter the type of dwelling— the Finnish can always integrate saunas into their space. Saunas are found everywhere from city apartments to quaint cottages to cabins across acres of rural land.

Even the most important people in the country have also taken to the tradition. The prime minister and president each have their own private, high-end sauna. Huge companies and state institutions also have their own private saunas for employees and visiting guests.

I think we can learn a lot from Finland and its devotion to saunas, among other things. After all, Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world by the United Nations for five straight years in a row. They must be doing something right when it comes to pursuing happiness and health, so we might as well follow their lead!

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Sauna?

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Sauna

As the Finnish know best, saunas come with immense health benefits for your body as well as your mind. The sauna isn’t merely a nice way to kick back and relax at the end of a long day. The practice of using a sauna has deep and long-lasting benefits on your health and life.

Saunas Reduce Stress

One of the main reasons people use saunas is as a stress reliver. We live very busy lives created by hustle culture. I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ways to relax and reset.

Saunas reduce stress through heat therapy. The heat in the sauna helps us to relax and naturally regulates the level of cortisol in our bodies. Sauna bathing reduces the levels of cortisol in our blood and increases the production of serotonin, replacing heightened anxiety with our feel-good hormone.

Saunas Reduce Stress

Using A Sauna Relaxes Your Muscles

Another highly common reason for sauna use is aiding our bodies after a major workout. The high heat provided by a sauna aids the body in releasing endorphins. This can minimize muscle pain after a hard workout.

The heat from the sauna also kickstarts the healing process by causing your body temperature to rise, allowing your blood vessels to dilate, and increasing blood circulation. This speeds the body’s natural healing process, which is super helpful when you are wiped from a hard workout.

Using A Sauna Relaxes Your Muscles

Sauna Use Can Improve Heart Health

There are a ton of studies to support the idea that saunas can improve your cardiovascular health. Regular sauna usage over time has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. This is because the heat from the sauna impacts your cardiovascular function.

In the high temperatures of a traditional or infrared sauna, skin heats up and core body temperature rises. In response to these increased heat levels, the blood vessels near the skin dilate and cardiac output and circulation increases, similar to what would happen in a workout, but all you have to do is sit there. This is incredibly helpful for the longevity of your heart health.

Sauna Use Can Improve Heart Health

Saunas Flush Toxins From Your Body

Spending an increased amount of time in an area with such a high heat concentration increases how much you sweat, which is very helpful when it comes to flushing all of those highly negative toxins from your body.

Sitting in your own mobile sauna can cause a heavy sweat that reduces levels of lead, copper, zinc, nickel, mercury, and other chemicals that we soak up from the environment around us. Releasing toxins frequently is a great practice for long-term health benefits.

Saunas Flush Toxins From Your Body

Using A Sauna Can Fight Disease

Saunas are also a simple way to intentionally prevent illness in your own life. As your body is exposed to the heat of a sauna and the increased steam from the water, it produces white blood cells faster than it does regularly.

This helps boost your immune system and kill viruses in your body. Not only can saunas boost your immunity, but they can also alleviate congestion and sinus symptoms from allergies or a common cold.

Using A Sauna Can Fight Disease

Sauna Use Can Clear Your Skin

Spend less money on expensive, fancy skin care and more time soaking in your sauna. Bathing in heat and steam is one of the most archaic remedies to clear acne and irritated skin. When your body starts to deep sweat, your dead skin cells replace themselves, which helps you maintain clearer skin overall.
Sauna Use Can Clear Your Skin

Using A Sauna Increases Quality Sleep

Lastly, time in a sauna can work wonders for your sleep schedule and can aid you in getting that deeper, higher quality rem sleep. Advanced research has shown that frequent sauna use often leads to deeper, more relaxed sleep.

The slow, relaxing decline in endorphins is key in facilitating sleep. Spending time in the intense heat of a sauna can help you release endorphins in a healthy and natural way. It’s similar to the way good exercise in the evening helps with sleep, only this way, you don’t have to go for a run to break a sweat.

Using A Sauna Increases Quality Sleep

Types Of Saunas For Your Sauna On A Trailer

Types Of Saunas For Your Sauna On A Trailer

There are two basic types of saunas that you can hitch to your trailer and take on the road. Many saunas follow the traditional heating method where water is poured onto rocks to create that steamy, humid room you’re likely envisioning. However, this isn’t the only method that exists for heating a mobile sauna.

Traditional Steam Sauna On A Trailer

Traditional Steam Sauna On A Trailer

Traditional saunas, also known as Finnish saunas or steam saunas, are the most common type of sauna used. There are several different types heating methods used to warm up a traditional sauna, but the end result of steam is the same.

Traditional Steam SaunaTraditional saunas have a single heating source that is warming up the air inside the sauna, and that warm air is what heats up your body. You are seated in a wood-lined room that is filled with rocks and heated via your chosen heating method. When the rocks become hot, you pour water over the stones to create steam.

This is the most common type of sauna because of the health benefits that come not only from the heat itself, but from the humidity that the steam creates. It’s super refreshing to feel surrounded by insulated hot steam.

Traditional Dry Sauna On A Trailer

Traditional Dry Sauna On A Trailer

Dry saunas are similar to steam saunas in that they heat the air around you and that warm air heats your body. Traditional dry saunas also use a heating source like a wooden stove or heated stones.

The main difference from steam saunas is that dry saunas do not use water, making the humidity in dry saunas very low. Traditional dry saunas are usually wooden rooms filled with hot air. It’s pretty much the exact same thing as a steam sauna, but without the steam.

Traditional Dry Sauna

Infrared Mobile Sauna

Infrared Mobile Sauna

The third type of sauna that gets attention these days is the infrared sauna. Infrared technology in saunas is a much more recent method than the traditional sauna, really only becoming popular in the last decade.

Infrared Sauna HeatingThe thing that’s special about infrared saunas is that they use advanced infrared technology to heat the sauna and your body directly, instead of heating up the air and then letting the air heat your body.

To do this, infrared heat waves are transmitted by carbon heaters to warm the sauna. Unlike traditional saunas, the air in the structure is not heated, the sauna itself is heated. Infrared sauna cabins are usually made of special softwood that is highly heat resistant.

Different Heat Types For Your Mobile Sauna

Different Heat Types For Your Mobile Sauna

Not only are there different types of saunas themselves, but you also have liberties when choosing a heating method for your personal mobile sauna. No one heating method is better than another, they just work differently.

Wood Fire Heat

Wood Fire Heat

Wood-heated saunas are the oldest type of sauna heating. It works by using burning wood to either create embers or heat stones. The wood burning method produces dry heat and a very low humidity. However, if you want to create a steam sauna, you can add water to the rocks to produce steam and increase the humidity in your sauna.

Electric Heat

Electric Heat

Most spas resorts, wellness centers, and gyms use electric-heated saunas. The low humidity and dry heat that comes from electric heaters is the same type as the wood-burning method, but electric heaters are more efficient and accessible for large companies and personal sauna users.

Infrared Lamps

Infrared Lamps

Infrared saunas do not use an external heating source, wooden or electric. These saunas specifically use lamps to generate electromagnetic radiation. This radiation heats the physical structure of the sauna as well as your body, instead of filling the room with hot air.

BZB Cabins and Outdoors

“We recommend the wood-burning stove set up, although there are other options. Wood-burning heaters are easy to use and also eliminate hard-to-find electrical connections that are required for operation.”

– Sigmar Sikk, BZB Cabins And Outdoors

Mobile Sauna Design Inspirations

Mobile Sauna Design Inspirations

There are many variations you can choose from when it comes to designing your mobile sauna in a fashion that works best for you.

If you’re going to invest a lot of money into your mobile sauna, you want the finished product to have all of the aspects you dream of, like a gorgeous glass window and luxurious wooden seats. You also want to make sure that the way you lay out the floorplan of your sauna aligns with your dreams.

Mobile Sauna Floorplans

Depending on what appeal you’re specifically searching for, there are a ton of options out there for anyone who wants to take their own miniature paradise with them on the road. Finding the right placement for your sauna windows, bench, and heater is a must.

mobile sauna design

mobile sauna floorplan
mobile sauna layout
mobile sauna plans

Design Ideas For A Sauna On A Trailer

Design Ideas For A Sauna On A Trailer

Designing your dream sauna is the fun part. I got a chance to talk with Sigmar Sikk from BZB Cabins and Outdoors about the numerous design options that are out there when buying or building your own mobile sauna.

As saunas become more and more popular for Americans, there are increasingly more designs available to create the perfect sauna for you.

BZB Cabins and Outdoors

“The biggest advantage to a mobile sauna unit is the capability to relocate it at will and necessity. It gives you the option to take it to vacation homes, or camping and lake retreats.”

– Sigmar Sikk, BZB Cabins And Outdoors

The Oval Sauna Design

The oval style mobile sauna is a classic design choice. With this design, the door and windows are nestled into the left and right faces of the sauna on the trailer.

This shape of sauna is a beloved favorite for those who want larger windows to look out from when enjoying their steamy sauna, as it’s much easier to add longer windows onto the trailer sides with the oval shape.

Example › Oval Sauna

oval style mobile sauna

Barrel Style Mobile Sauna

Barrel style saunas have become increasingly popular lately as far as saunas go. Many sauna users love the barrel style due to the way the design efficiently makes use of air space — less energy is used to heat the room. With the barrel style sauna, the doors and windows are situated at the front and back of the trailer instead of the sides.

Example › Barrel Sauna

Barrel Style Mobile Sauna

Igloo Mobile Sauna Design

The igloo style mobile sauna is another awesome option. With this design, the roof on the sauna is arched into a half moon shape. The doors and windows have to sit at the front and back of the trailer because the sides of the sauna are curved.

Example › Igloo Sauna

igloo style mobile sauna

Choosing The Right Trailer For Your Sauna On Wheels

Choosing The Right Trailer For Your Sauna On Wheels

Once you have a mobile sauna in mind that you really love, its time to start thinking about the trailer you’ll need. Most trailers that can mount a tiny house also work well to hold a mobile sauna as well.

First off, you’ll need to decide whether you want to mount your mobile sauna onto a flat trailer bed, or if you are wanting to design a sauna that is built into an enclosed trailer. If you want to mount your sauna to a flat trailer, you may have to purchase the sauna and the trailer separately. Some companies, like BZB, use custom trailers.

Flat Trailers Options For Mobile Sauna

  • Flatbed Trailer
  • Car Hauler
  • Gooseneck Trailer
  • Bumper Pull
  • Deck Over Trailer
  • Utility Trailer
Flat Trailer For Mobile Sauna

If you’re building your sauna into an enclosed trailer, you won’t have the option of buying your sauna separately from your trailer. You will either be purchasing a converted sauna or building your own sauna into your enclosed trailer.

Enclosed Trailers Options For Mobile Sauna

Enclosed Trailer For Mobile Sauna

What Trailer Specifications To Look For

What Trailer Specifications To Look For

From there, you’ll need to decipher what kind of trailer chassis is right for the sauna you have in mind. Virtually any trailer type can work, as long as it can hold your mobile sauna. The first thing you’re going to want to ensure is that the trailer you choose can hold the weight of your sauna.

cargo trailer conversionMost barrel and pod saunas weigh between 2,800-4,000 lbs. Make sure you check on the maximum weight limit before investing in a specific type of trailer.

You should also consider the design and style of your mobile sauna and the way that design will fit into each specific type of trailer.

If you’re using a barrel style mobile sauna, you may want a trailer with a lip on the side to hold the barrel base in place. If you are going with an igloo style sauna, you’ll likely want to invest in a flat trailer for your mobile sauna.

Another aspect you might want to look into before buying your trailer is the aesthetics of the trailer itself. Oftentimes, people focus on the design appeal of the sauna and choose the first trailer they find to support their sauna. They may end up disappointed that their trailer looks bulky or is without visual appeal.

What Style Of Trailer Is Best For Your Mobile Sauna?

What Style Of Trailer Is Best For Your Mobile Sauna

There isn’t one unanimous opinion on which type of trailer is the best for a portable sauna. I think it’s tricky to say that one type reins supreme as the best type because every mobile sauna has a different weight, style, and layout. However, there are pros and cons to each type.

For a much deeper analysis on selecting a trailer chassis, check out Sauna Build, From Start To Finnish by Glenn Auerbach. This read covers all the nitty gritty details of sauna trailer selection including the best recommended chassis options, weight dispersal, legal limits on trailer widths, surrounding decking, and more.

How Much Does A Mobile Sauna Cost?

How Much Does A Mobile Sauna Cost

Like anything, the overall cost of your mobile sauna will depend on the factors that apply to it. Your room count, the quality of wood, the heating source you choose, and the layout of your mobile sauna are all elements that will factor into the overall cost.

The cost of your sauna will also depend on whether you choose to buy or build your mobile sauna. If you build your sauna yourself, you can expect material costs and the cost of labor to affect your overall budget.

Material Cost To DIY Build Mobile Sauna

  • $2,800: 8’x12′ shed structure with exterior door and window openings
  • $2,200: Stove, window, aluminum side water tank, double heat shield, ash pan
  • $2,400: Cedar, insulation, foil vapor, two windows, interior framing, Durock, stove components, windows
  • $7,400: Total DIY Basic Sauna Cost
In addition to the material costs, you’ll also have to account for the cost of the land, tools you’ll use to build, and labor costs if you plan to hire out. A project like this can take around 100 or more hours of intense labor, so be prepared for that.

The cost of buying a mobile sauna is totally different. It will depend on the material your sauna is made out of, the size of the sauna you choose to buy, the company you buy from, and more.

Due to the fact that mobile saunas can be anything from a makeshift camper sauna to a high-end luxury sauna, the cost range is vast. One mobile sauna could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $25,000, depending on if you want one or two rooms and which features you want to include.

What Size Sauna Is Right For You?

What Size Sauna Is Right For You

Mobile saunas come in all shapes and sizes. The size of sauna that works best for your and your family will depend on the amount of people in your family, the amount of space you have, and how much weight you are able to pull on your trailer.

The typical traditional sauna is 6 feet by 5 feet, with upper and lower benches. This classic size can easily fit a family of four and is a good size to go with if you are looking for a medium sized room. Traditional saunas tend to be larger than infrared saunas because infrared saunas require you to sit nearer to the heaters.

One thing you should definitely keep in mind when choosing a sauna size is if you want the luxury of laying down in your mobile sauna. If you want to be able to lay down, you’ll need the length or width of your sauna to be more than your own height. 6 or 7 feet may be a safe bet.

If you are just planning to sit, you could more easily go with a tiny cubicle size sauna. A sauna can safely be as small as 3 feet by 3 feet and as large as 7 feet by 12 feet.

Mobile Sauna Designs For 1-4 People

mobile sauna design
mobile sauna layout

Mobile Sauna Designs For 4-8 People

mobile sauna floorplan
mobile sauna plans

Lastly, keep in mind that the size you choose may affect other things. For example, the size of your mobile sauna could affect where you can park it on the go.

BZB Cabins and Outdoors

“Because of their size, they may take up to three parking spaces. We highly recommend checking with the local fire department for regulations.”

– Sigmar Sikk, BZB Cabins And Outdoors

Ways To Use A Mobile Sauna On Wheels

Ways To Use A Mobile Sauna On Wheels

There are many different purposes you can give your sauna on a trailer. While some people merely dream of taking their mobile sauna on the road and enjoying the steam room with their family, others use their sauna on a trailer as a profitable side hustle.

Mobile Saunas For Personal Use

This most common way to use a mobile sauna is to make it into a personal haven for yourself or your family. Owning a mobile sauna for personal use is awesome because you can access to all of the amazing health benefits that come with using a sauna.

If you keep your mobile sauna on your own property, you’ll have constant access to heat therapy, a way to relax your muscles after a hard workout, or simply a place to relax after a hard day. Mobile saunas are also nice to have when guests come into town and need a place to unwind.

Mobile Saunas For Personal Use

Mobile Saunas For Business Use

While some people use their mobile saunas in their own house with friends and family, others have made their portable sauna into a side business. People can turn almost anything into a business these days, even portable saunas!

Turn your mobile sauna into something others can rent. You’ll be surprised at the amount of revenue you’re able to bring in from your mobile sauna side business.

Mobile Saunas For Business Use

Frequently Asked Questions About Saunas On A Trailer

Frequently Asked Questions About Saunas On A Trailer
Once your sauna is ready, you’ll want to know the ins and outs of how it can be used. I’m looking into getting my own mobile sauna to hitch onto my trailer, but there’s a lot I want to make sure I know before getting started.

Is It Safe To Use My Mobile Sauna Every Day?

Answer: It is not recommended. Use your sauna one to four times per week. Most spas and health facilities that offer sauna treatments recommend using the sauna three to four days per week for the best health benefits.

How Long Can I Spend In My Mobile Sauna?

Answer: Less than 20 minutes. Do not spend more than 20 minutes at a time in your mobile sauna, as this can actually damage your health. Professionals recommend that if it is your first time in a sauna, spend a maximum of 5 to 10 minutes inside. Give your body time to adjust to the intensity of the heat treatment.

When I’m In My Sauna, Should I Wipe Sweat?

Answer: No, don’t wipe sweat unless you have to. Sweat releases heat by evaporative cooling, which means heat is lost as the sweat moves from liquid on your body to gas in the air. Let your sweat evaporate on its own to experience the sauna’s full effects.

Can I Drink Water In My Sauna?

Answer: Definitely, always drink water in your sauna. It is actually super important to avoid dehydration while enjoying the benefits of your sauna. While using your sauna, fluids are rapidly leaving your body along with toxins, so it’s important to replenish fluids in your body.

How Do I Clean My Mobile Sauna?

Answer: Wipe and disinfect. After every use, you should wipe out your sauna with a towel. You want the sauna to be as dry as possible when you’re done using it to prevent mold.

Every once in a while, give your mobile sauna an even deeper clean. To do this, you can use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or disinfectant cleaning spray. Another thing you should do on occasion is lift up your portable sauna to see if there is any water buildup underneath it.

Can I Take My Phone In My Mobile Sauna?

Answer: No, do not take your phone in the sauna. The extreme heat from inside the sauna can do permanent damage to the internal components of a cell phone.

Take your spa-day selfies and aesthetic pictures of your mobile sauna before stepping inside of it. If you’re looking to add music to your sauna experience, invest in a sauna speaker made to withstand the heat of a sauna.

Will Using A Sauna Make My Skin Age Faster?

Answer: No, in fact, infrared saunas can actually reduce signs of aging. The red light in an infrared sauna stimulates collagen and elastin production which actually helps your skin look healthier and younger. Saunas don’t use UV rays like tanning beds or the sun, so they don’t cause wrinkles.

After learning so much about mobile saunas, I am seriously considering attaching one to my trailer alongside my tiny home! Or maybe I’ll just take some time to visit Finland.

Your Turn!

  • What design and style will you choose for your mobile sauna?
  • How will you make best use of your mobile sauna?

All About Appendix Q: Making Your Tiny House Legal

All About Appendix Q: Making Your Tiny House Legal

appendix q making your tiny house legal

NAVIGATION

In the tiny house world, there is a lot of talk about Appendix Q and what it has done for tiny housers. If you are new to tiny houses, you may not have heard about Appendix Q and everything it has done for the movement.

Before Appendix Q, whether or not your tiny house was legal was a total gamble. There wasn’t a lot of clarity surrounding building and zoning laws because the movement was pretty new.

The creation of Appendix Q in 2018 made life so much easier for tiny homeowners everywhere. It’s definitely worth celebrating and understanding if you plan to live the tiny life in the near future.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

About 10 years ago I ventured into the tiny house lifestyle by building a tiny house all on my own. There weren’t a ton of resources out there at the time, so I had to do a lot of research. Since then, the movement has grown with laws like Appendix Q that make living tiny easier!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

How Each State Applies Appendix Q

The color code below will help you quickly identify how each state incorporates Appendix Q into their building regulations.

Fully Integrated

Partly Integrated

Not Integrated

Tiny House Laws: What Is Appendix Q?

Tiny House Laws What Is Appendix Q

Basically, Appendix Q is an addition to the International Residential Code (IRC) that was approved for inclusion in the 2018 version of the IRC. It was the first appendix ever to create specific requirements for tiny houses.

The creation of Appendix Q was huge. Those who had been following the tiny house movement or living tiny already were thrilled at the Code Council’s decision to add Appendix Q to the IRC.

This is because Appendix Q directly addresses building features that specifically apply to tiny homes like smaller square footage, lofts, ladders, and more. It changed the game for the tiny house community.

What Is The International Residential Code?

What Is The International Residential Code

Appendix Q is an addition to the International Residential Code, also known as the IRC. The IRC is “a comprehensive, stand-alone residential code that establishes minimum regulations for one and two-family dwellings and townhouses using prescriptive provisions.”

tiny house contractsIt is currently being used in 49 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2022, Wisconsin is the only state that does not use the IRC building codes, and it is only used in some parts of Alaska.

The regulations outlined in the IRC apply to all single and multi-family dwellings and include safety regulations. For tiny homeowners, it’s important to keep in mind that your tiny house must be up to code with the entire IRC, and not just Appendix Q.

When I was first starting out, I didn’t entirely understand the way the IRC works. It’s easy to be misled into thinking that Appendix Q is the only section of the IRC a tiny homeowner needs to follow, but this isn’t actually the case.

Appendix Q is an addition to the IRC, meaning it lays out additional regulations the original version of the code doesn’t mention. This does not mean that the rest of the IRC does not need to be followed when building a tiny home.

What Is The International Code Council?

What Is The International Code Council

Before getting into tiny living and making the choice to build my own tiny house, I honestly didn’t know a lot about building codes. Ten years into my journey, I’ve really learned a lot.

International Code CouncilThe IRC was created by the International Code Council (ICC), which is a nonprofit organization that creates standards related to building safety and fire prevention safety that are used by legislative bodies all over the world.

The ICC has 340 independent chapters across the world, all connected to their origin chapter in Washington, DC. The codes created by the organization cover many forms of building and safety regulations that are followed by all 50 American states and many other foreign countries.

How Was Appendix Q For Tiny Homes Created?

How Was Appendix Q For Tiny Homes Created

It was quite the journey getting Appendix Q to where it is today. Appendix Q was first drafted in 2016 by educator, builder, and tiny house enthusiast Andrew Morrison with the help of architect Martin Hammer.

These two men who are extremely passionate about tiny houses got a group of tiny housers together to present their draft to the International Code Council (ICC). When the code was approved and added to the IRC in 2018, it led to huge changes in the movement.

Appendix Q Media Resources:

cracking the code

Do All Tiny Houses Use Appendix Q?

Do All Tiny Houses Use Appendix Q

How do you know whether or not you should use Appendix Q as your legal guide for your own tiny house? Appendix Q works wonders for the tiny house community as far as clarifying what’s allowed and giving tiny homeowners more wiggle room to build in ways that make sense.

However, there are a lot of different ways to live tiny, and Appendix Q doesn’t exactly cover all of them. The IRC lays out the type of tiny houses Appendix Q applies to at the beginning of the appendix.

Appendix Q Applies To:

  • Tiny houses on foundation
  • Tiny houses that are 400 square feet or less

Does Appendix Q Apply To Tiny Houses On Wheels?

Does Appendix Q Apply To Tiny Houses On Wheels

No, Appendix Q is only for tiny houses on foundation. If your tiny house is on wheels, you should not use Appendix Q as your legal guide. Tiny houses on wheels are regulated by each individual state in a different way.

Many states classify tiny houses on wheels as recreational vehicles, and thus, building regulations should come from your respective state RV laws. Some states have their own classification for a tiny house on wheels, some classify them as mobile homes, and some outlaw them altogether.

Defer to your local municipality within your own state for laws surrounding your tiny house on wheels. The IRC is only valid for residential dwellings, which does not include mobile tiny homes.

tiny house building codes

Does Appendix Q Apply To Tiny Houses As ADUs?

Does Appendix Q Apply To Tiny Houses As ADUs

Appendix Q can apply to ADUs, but it doesn’t always. The answer to whether or not Appendix Q applies to accessory dwelling units is a bit of a toss-up. The International Residential Code explains that Appendix Q applies to tiny houses used as single dwelling units.

backyard adusChapter 11 of the IRC defines a “dwelling unit” as “a single unit providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.”

With ADUs, this gets a bit tricky, because many people have dreams for their ADUs that go beyond a full-time living space. You might want to create a workout room, home office, or pottery studio as a secondary dwelling on your property.

My best advice if you are unsure whether or not to use Appendix Q to build your accessory dwelling unit is to contact your local government or the builder you are using for your ADU. Local municipalities and building companies tend to be experts on the building laws in the area they serve.

Don’t hold back when it comes to reaching out for legal help to build your tiny house! It’s much wiser to get your questions answered on the front end than to spend a pretty penny making changes to your structure after it’s already built.

Appendix Q Guidelines: Tiny House Building Requirements

Appendix Q Tiny House Building Requirements

So, what does Appendix Q actually say? Appendix Q lays out building laws for tiny homes that pay special attention to tiny house specific features such as compact stairs, stair railings, ladders, reduced ceilings heights, loft and loft guard requirements, emergency escape and rescue openings, and more.

Read Appendix Q Here (PDF)

The code is written with a lot of legal jargon, but the regulations are fairly simple. In a nutshell, these are the basic requirements that Appendix Q outlines for tiny homeowners.

Tiny House Requirements In Appendix Q

  • Be built on a minimum of 320 sq. ft. of land.
  • Be a minimum size of 120 sq. ft.
  • Have at least one habitable room which contains a closet and an openable window.
  • Have a ceiling height of at least 6’8”.
  • Minimum 70 sq/ft in rooms not intended for sleeping.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms don’t have a minimum floor space requirement, and the ceiling has a lower threshold and must be at least 6’4″ high.
Tiny House Requirements In Appendix Q

Tiny House Size Requirements

Tiny House Size Requirements

Appendix Q classifies a tiny house as a home with a minimum size of 120 square feet and a maximum size of 400 square feet.

tiny house dimensions

Tiny House Ceiling Height Requirements

Tiny House Ceiling Height Requirements

Section AQ103 of Appendix Q talks about ceiling heights in tiny houses, which are, of course, very different from ceiling heights in traditional dwellings.

Habitable space and hallways in tiny houses shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet, 8 inches. Additionally, bathrooms, toilet rooms, and kitchens shall have a ceiling height of not less than 6 feet, 4 inches.

Obstructions such as beams, girders, ducts, and lighting shall not extend below the minimum ceiling heights. Lofts may have ceiling heights less than 6 feet, 8 inches.

Tiny House Loft Requirements

Tiny House Loft Requirements

Addressing lofts and loft rails is probably the best good thing that Appendix Q does for tiny homeowners. Appendix Q lays out several requirements for lofts and loft guards.

Appendix Q Loft Requirements

  • Lofts may have ceiling heights less than 6 feet, 8 inches.
  • Lofts shall have a floor area of not less than 35 sq. ft. and shall not be less than 5 ft. in any horizontal dimension.
  • The loft guards shall be located along the open side of the lofts.
  • Loft guards shall not be less than 36 inches in height or one-half of the clear height to the ceiling, whichever is less.
  • Portions of a loft with a sloped ceiling measuring less than 3 feet (914 mm) from the finished floor to the finished ceiling shall not be considered as contributing to the minimum required area for the loft, except under gable roofs with a minimum slope of 6:12.
  • Stairways accessing a loft shall not be less than 17 inches (432 mm) in clear width at or above the handrail. The minimum width below the handrail shall be not less than 20 inches (508 mm).
  • The headroom in stairways accessing a loft shall be not less than 6 feet, 2 inches (1880 mm), as measured vertically, from a sloped line connecting the tread or landing platform nosing in the middle of their width.
  • The top tread and riser of stairways accessing lofts shall be constructed as a landing platform where the loft ceiling height is less than 6 feet, 2 inches (1880 mm) where the stairway meets the loft. The landing platform shall be 18 inches to 22 inches (457 to 559 mm) in depth measured from the nosing of the landing platform to the edge of the loft, and 16 to 18 inches (406 to 457 mm) in height measured from the landing platform to the loft floor.
  • Loft guards shall be located along the open side of lofts. Loft guards shall not be less than 36 inches (914 mm) in height or one-half of the clear height to the ceiling, whichever is less, but no less than 18 inches.

Emergency Escape And Rescue Requirements For Tiny Houses

Emergency Escape And Rescue Requirements For Tiny Houses

Appendix Q makes sure tiny homeowners know that their homes have to be up to code safety wise. Tiny houses shall meet the requirements of Section R310 in the One-and-Two-Family Dwelling Building Code for Emergency Escape and Rescue Openings.

Are tiny houses safe

Does Every State Use Appendix Q For Tiny Homes?

Does Every State Use Appendix Q For Tiny Homes

Not all states have fully adopted Appendix Q. The individual U.S. states have a lot of freedom to amend the rules that the appendix lays out, so some still do their own thing. Individual cities and counties within each state also have a lot of leeway.

Legal regulations are never this black and white, so a simple yes or no answer does not really suffice when it comes to understanding how to apply Appendix Q to your respective state.

This breakdown is a general explanation of which states use Appendix Q, but keep in mind it’s not an end-all-be-all. Within each state, cities and counties still have the freedom to amend or reject the Appendix on their own, even if it’s used in the state’s building codes.

How Each State Applies Appendix Q

The color code below will help you quickly identify how each state incorporates Appendix Q into their building regulations.

Fully Integrated

Partly Integrated

Not Integrated

Alabama

Alabama has not yet adopted the 2018 IRC or Appendix Q.

Alaska

In Alaska, Appendix Q is used, but it is not adopted statewide as a mandate. This means that “deferred cities” and individual jurisdictions in Alaska have the power to adopt or not adopt the IRC.

Arizona

Arizona has not adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level, but individual cities and counties within Arizona have adopted Appendix Q on their own accord.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, some cities and counties use the 2018 IRC and Appendix Q, but it has not been adopted by the State.

California

Building laws in California are regulated by local jurisdictions. With 58 different counties, it’s essential that you check the rules, zoning laws, and building codes before building a tiny house in California.

Colorado

Colorado has not adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level, but individual cities have taken the liberty to adopt Appendix Q on their own.

Connecticut

Connecticut uses Appendix Q in its state building codes.

Delaware

Delaware uses Appendix Q at a statewide level.

Florida

Florida has adopted Appendix Q across the entire state. Appendix Q has been included in the Florida Building Code, 7th Edition, Residential, which went into effect on December 31, 2020.

Georgia

Georgia has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level. This went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Hawaii

Hawaii has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level. This went into effect on December 16, 2019.

Idaho

Idaho was the first state to fully adopt Appendix Q. It has also added an Appendix V for Tiny Homes into their own residential code. Go Idaho!

Illinois

Individual cities and counties in Illinois can adopt Appendix Q, but its has yet to adopt a statewide building code.

Indiana

Indiana has fully adopted Appendix Q. This went into effect on December 31st, 2019.

Iowa

Iowa uses the 2015 version of the IRC with its own amendments, but has not adopted Appendix Q.

Kansas

Individual cities and counties have adopted Appendix Q in Kansas, but it is not in the statewide residential code.

Kentucky

Kentucky has added Appendix Q to the Kentucky Residential Code Second Edition, effective in January of 2019.

Louisiana

Louisiana has adopted Appendix Q across the entire state. This went into effect on December 20, 2018.

Maine

Maine does not use Appendix Q at a statewide level, but individual cities and counties have adopted it into their own codes.

Maryland

Maryland has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level. This went into effect in January of 2020.

Michigan

Michigan marches to the beat of its own drummer when it comes to Appendix Q. The Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBAM) and the ICC actually published a book together called the 2018 Select IRC Options For Use With The Michigan Residential Code.

This book was created to familiarize tiny home owners with the changes that the 2018 code includes so they can submit them to the enforcing authority for approval as an alternative to the 2015 version of the IRC code.

Unfortunately, the State of Michigan is sticking with the 2015 version of International Residential Code, which does not include Appendix Q.

Minnesota

Minnesota adopted Appendix Q into its statewide construction code in 2020.

Mississippi

There are currently no laws in place in Mississippi that regulate tiny homes.

Missouri

Individual cities and counties have adopted Appendix Q in Missouri.

Montana

Montana has adopted Appendix Q in its statewide building code, effective November 29, 2019.

Nebraska

The Nebraska State Legislature has adopted specific sections of the 2018 IRC, but they have not adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level. However, local jurisdictions have the freedom to adopt Appendix Q on their own.

Nevada

Nevada adopts specific sections of the 2018 IRC and has integrated them with their own building codes, but does not use the entire code.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire uses its own house bill as a statewide regulation, House Bill 588, instead of the IRC.

New Jersey

New Jersey has adopted Appendix Q across the entire state in the New Jersey State Building Codes. This went into effect on September 3, 2019.

New Mexico

New Mexico uses Appendix Q across the entire state, effective January 15, 2018.

New York

New York has adopted Appendix Q at a state level. It took effect in March of 2020.

North Carolina

North Carolina has adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level.

North Dakota

The most updated version of the North Dakota State Building Code went into effect on January 1, 2020. This building code adopts some elements of the 2018 IRC, but does not yet use Appendix Q.

Ohio

The Ohio State Building Code was created in 2017. Ohio rejected Appendix Q when it was created in 2018.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has yet to adopt a statewide building code.

Oregon

The Oregon building codes that cover tiny homes are complex, and each of the 36 counties has its own set of rules. Some individual cities and counties use the 2018 IRC, while some have created separate regulations.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania added certain elements of Appendix Q to its own Residential Code of Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has yet to adopt a statewide code.

South Carolina

South Carolina uses Appendix Q at a statewide level.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, individual cities and counties have adopted Appendix Q, but it has not been adopted at the state level.

Tennessee

Individual cities and counties in Tennessee have adopted Appendix Q, but it has not been adopted at a statewide level.

Texas

In Texas, independent cities and counties have the freedom to adopt Appendix Q, but it has not been adopted across the entire state.

Utah

The Utah Uniform Building Code Commission added Appendix Q to the Utah State Building Codes, effective on July 1, 2021.

Vermont

Individual cities and counties in Vermont can adopt Appendix Q, but the state still uses the 2015 version of the IRC.

Virginia

The state of Virginia uses Appendix Q at a statewide level.

Washington

Washington adopted Appendix Q at a statewide level in February 2021.

West Virginia

West Virginia still uses the 2015 version of the IRC which does not include Appendix Q.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin does not use the IRC and does not use Appendix Q.

Wyoming

Wyoming uses Appendix Q at the statewide level.

Appendix Q is honestly one of the best things to have ever happened to the tiny house community because it centralizes building laws and makes it much easier to have a cut-and-dry answer about what is or isn’t allowed. Hopefully more states will get on board in the coming years!

Header image source.

Your Turn!

  • What aspects of Appendix Q have made your life easier?
  • How can you build your tiny house to make sure it’s legal?

Tiny House Interiors: Simple Stylish Design Ideas

Tiny House Interiors: Simple Stylish Design Ideas

tiny house interiors

CLICK TO JUMP TO A STYLE

CLICK TO JUMP TO A ROOM

Building a tiny house is no easy feat, but once the construction is over you can begin the fun part: designing a space that’s unique and comfortable. Living the tiny life is all about doing more with less. Whether your personal style is simple, boho, or something else, the goal of creating a simple tiny house interior is to maximize space while minimizing clutter.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

A huge advantage of tiny homes is being able to build your dream home just as you’d like. With so many options to be had, it can be tough to determine what’s right for you. I’ve put together a few ideas for you here!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

When you’re just getting started, it can be overwhelming trying to plan out the perfect design. I’ve put together some tiny home interior design ideas to help guide you through the process. Check out these styles and layouts to see what options might work for you. Remember, your personal touch is what makes a tiny house a tiny home.

Tiny House Farmhouse Style

Tiny House Farmhouse Style For a tiny house style with a welcoming appeal, try a farmhouse design. Sliding barn doors allow for more room since they don’t need to open outwards, giving your layout plans more flexibility. White or light-colored wood for walls and cabinets can make your interior feel more spacious, and lots of shelf space maximizes storage potential.

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Tiny House Modern Style

Tiny House Modern StyleModern interior design ideas tend to work very well with tiny houses because they are already focused on space and minimalism. Sleek lines, open spaces, and lots of light are all modern design elements that make a small space feel bigger. Minimalism and tiny living often go hand-in-hand. When you move into a tiny house, decluttering your life is often a necessity.

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Tiny House Boho Style

Tiny House Boho StyleThe bohemian lifestyle is all about creativity and non-traditional living, so a boho interior for your tiny home is a great design choice. Loft beds are a popular option for this aesthetic and can maximize your storage and living space. If you like to incorporate plants into your bohemian décor, make sure you pay attention to the way you use natural light in your building plans.

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Tiny House Coastal Style

Tiny House Coastal StyleThis tiny house style is all about color choice. White and pastel walls with bright accents of yellow and blue can make home feel like a day at the beach. Luckily, coastal designs are an excellent color palette for small spaces because they brighten dark corners, making your house feel bigger on the inside. Windows will also make your home feel spacious as well as allow for a beachy breeze.

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Tiny House Cozy Style

Tiny House Cozy StyleWhile minimalism is often an approach to tiny living, it doesn’t have to be. You may be happier in a tiny house that makes you feel cozy. You can maximize space while still creating a homey aesthetic by designing cozy nooks around your home for reading and relaxing. Consider getting creative with your storage space. Under sitting areas, above cabinets, and tucked away in recessed nooks are all good places to organize your things.

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