How Not to Die While Building Your Tiny House

or 5 Tiny House Construction Safety Precautions

When you are building a tiny house, there are many potentially dangerous situations that will come up during the construction process. Don’t get discouraged – with a few tiny house construction safety precautions and some properly paid attention, you will be a pro, build a beautiful home and actually live to tell about it. Here are five Tiny House Construction Safety Precautions that will help you know how not to die while building your tiny house.

Ladders

One of fastest way to get hurt is to fall from a height. Even falling the 2-3 feet of the trailer deck height can be enough to turn an ankle or worse. Always make sure to have your ladders secured, that you use scaffolding properly and if you need it, ask for help. Don’t lean way out from the ladder; simply take the extra time to move it. If it even feels the slightest bit uncomfortable, move the ladder. Yes, it will take an extra few moments, but it can save you a lot in the long run. Or you can be like Dan, and learn the hard way.

Read More: Face Your Fear: Tiny House Heights

Tools

Tiny House Builder - toolsProper safety equipment should be worn when even working with hand tools, but there is no more important time to wear it than working with power tools. Take off jewelry, wear closed-toed shoes and makes sure to wear proper eye, ear and hand protection. And take it from me; if you would like to save your hands, nothing beats a good pair of work gloves.

It is always good to have a healthy fear of power tools. Accidents happen when you start to get too comfortable. One of the best ways to keep safe is to give yourself a routine. For instance, if you are using a miter saw you might do this: safety glasses, ear plugs, align board, check cut line, hands clear of saw, quick visual check of surroundings, cut. If you make this a habit and say it to yourself each time, you will never forget to be safe. You will be so surprised when cutting all of your linear lumber for framing at one time how easily it is to get complacent.

Read More: Tiny House Tool Guide

Electrical

I have three words for you: Unplug your house. There you go, no one gets shocked. You can’t make it simpler than that. But seriously, this comes down to two things: have the right tools for the job and have good reference materials. Even Dan who has been doing electrical work for over 20 years still keeps a reference book (it just happens to be his since he originally wrote it for himself) around for weird cases such as wiring up a light to two three-way switches.  There is nothing worse than making a compromise when you don’t have the right tool for the job. Stripping wires with a utility knife instead of a pair of wire strippers is asking for trouble.

Read More: Face You Fear: Tiny House Electrical Wiring

Rushing

Dan talks about this at his workshop every year. Most safety issues that people have building their tiny house is because they are is rushing. Trying to scoot a ladder down or over-stretch instead of getting down and moving the ladder. Or maybe you are trying to cut too many boards at once or pushing the circular saw through the wood too fast. Building a house is no small task, and certainly will not be done in a day. I get a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know how long it will take them to build their tiny house because they need to get it done as soon as possible. This is a red flag for safety. If you try to work 18 hour days, you are going to lose focus and start to make mistakes that will cost you money and if you are not careful, maybe cost you an injury as well.

Common Sense

In the words of Voltaire, “Common sense is not so common.” Your gut will tell you a lot of the times if something is unsafe. You just have to listen to it. If you are feeling uncomfortable, then there is probably something amiss.  If you think something looks risky or crazy, it is probably not safe. And by all means, just because you saw someone do it like this on Youtube does NOT mean you are ok to try it. Stick to the professional opinions that come with years of experience.

What safety issues did you have with your tiny house build? What safety advice would you like to pass on to the up and coming builders? Let me know in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “How Not to Die While Building Your Tiny House

  1. Thanks Tom ! All very good suggestions and things to be mindful about. I hope everyone reads this and build their tiny home without injury.

  2. Adam said:

    I once took a manufacturing class that advised to *not* wear gloves when using a band saw. If your naked hand slips into a band saw you slice your hand. If your gloves hand slips into a band saw it gets caught, pulled into it, and sliced one layer at a time like ham at a deli. Does that rule follow for miter saws and table saws?

    • Tom Bastek said:

      Adam, Band saws have a up and down motion where as miter and table saws have a circular motion. I know that there is never a 100% chance of not getting caught using those saws, I will tell you that I use gloves on the worksite almost every day and do not have any issues.

  3. Sandy said:

    I am 75 and doing research for a downsizing in the future (?) years. I downsized from a 6,000 ft house to a studio apt when I divorced 25 years ago. Then I met a man who would be a domestic partner for 18 years. I later moved to a small rental house, met my current husband and we’ve moved to 2500 ft. I don’t know what the future holds but I’m trying to look into possibilities like tiny houses, especially if I ever end up alone. That’s my reason for asking questions.

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