Pontoon Tiny House: Considerations Before Building
Intrigued by owning or building a pontoon tiny house?
They could be your answer to low-cost houseboat living. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Especially when you can’t afford bigger liveaboard boats, don’t like the idea of marina living or want something more customized than cheaper boat living options.
With the tiny house trend on the upswing, growing interest is spreading across the world. (Check out this pontoon tiny home video.) While they seem practical and break the cuteness scale, there’s a lot to consider before investing in one. So let’s weigh your options.
What’s a Pontoon Tiny House?
Pontoon tiny houses are custom homes designed to fit onto a pontoon base (tubes). You can enjoy all the comforts of home on the water, without the huge cost (and labor) of owning an enormous houseboat.
You can buy one pre-built or have one custom designed, which all depends on your budget, desired size and how you plan to use it.
Investing in a Pontoon Tiny House
You love this idea, and I’m right there with you! But, like me, you still have questions: Is it safe? Are there special rules and regulations involved?
And then there’s the biggest question of all: How much will it cost?
This guide can help you with all that. You can read on to find information on state law and permit guidelines, types of tiny houses to consider, costs, transportation, and more.
If you’re as intrigued as I am (mine’s already built in my head!), read this guide to get answers and maybe even get started.
Types of Pontoon Tiny Houses
How do you plan to use your pontoon tiny house? Will it be solely for recreational and entertaining purposes, or do you plan to use it for extended fishing trips? Or both? Either way, there are a few considerations to think about.
Pontoon Tiny Houses for Leisure
If you plan to use it for leisure and fun, consider these optional accessories and features:
- An ample deck for lounge chairs, tables, umbrellas, and accessories (think coolers and grills)
- Extra storage (for those fun accessories above!)
- A portable/hidden clothesline for drying clothes and towels
- Or you can go big and install a stacked washer and dryer, like this Kenmore 1.6 unit(check price on Amazon)
- Ample windows for lots of light
Pontoon Tiny Houses for Fishing
If you plan to use your pontoon tiny house for fishing, there are various pontoon fishing accessories. Some of which may take pre-planning and/or installation during the building process. Consider these accessories and features for a tiny house built for fishing:
- Large deck for fishing chairs, accessories and equipment
- Ask your builder/dealer about installing a trolling motor, like this Newport Vessels brand (check price on Amazon)
- Install a live baitwell or cleaning station, like this Keepalive Tank with aerator(check price on Amazon)
- Specially-installed railing for fishing rod holders
- Downrigger for trolling, like this Cannon Manual Downrigger (check price on Amazon) that comes in six types and sizes
For a better idea, look at these series of custom pontoon tiny homes by, Le Koroc, which come in two designs: Fishing Series and Holiday Series.
Additional Pontoon Tiny House Features and Ideas
Interested in a kit? Check out these clever pontoon tiny house kits and ideas.
Solar power is another option to consider: Check out this solar-powered pontoon tiny houseboat. It’s awesome!
All these options are features you might wanna think about, depending on your needs and plans. But you absolutely need to plan ahead to avoid later regrets.
Building and Customizing Pontoon Tiny Houses
Once you decide how you intend to use your pontoon tiny house and have chosen some of the features mentioned above, you’ll next need to consider these basic underlying features.
Will you float in freshwater or saltwater? Will the house be used year-round or only in summers? These are important considerations before building or buying.
Saltwater vs. Freshwater Materials
Water types are an important consideration.
Plan to sail your pontoon tiny house in oceans? Make sure it’s saltwater worthy. This includes all hardware, electrical connections, plumbing, and even motors, which can all be affected by saltwater brine. Since saltwater causes erosion, you need to ensure your pontoon tiny house is saltwater worthy throughout. To do so, here are a few must-haves:
Use maritime paint and maybe corrugated steel roofing (check price on Amazon) to withstand the elements.
You can even install solar panels for the roof (if there’s room in your budget). Yes, these cost more up front, but save you money in the long-run. Not to mention, it’s these small investments that help protect your bigger investment.
Discuss this with your builder or dealer. Before making the final payment, or signing any final documents, consider having your new tiny house inspected to be certain it’s saltwater worthy. This is crucial if you’re sailing year-round. Your boathouse baby will be exposed to the elements for longer periods, so plan ahead for this to avoid later problems.
How to Choose the Right Pontoon Base
Your pontoon base and tubes will be determined by your pontoon tiny house’s weight and length.
It will also be determined by your budget. Can you afford new tubes or used tubes?
Consider a used pontoon tubes age and condition. Older tubes need to be thoroughly inspected for holes, dents and drainage problems. Generally, also, how it currently floats.
If it fails the test in any of these areas, it’s a major safety issue. This is when you should consider buying new bases for better safety and security. (Not to mention the investment in the house you might’ve already built!)
How Many Tubes?
Two tube or three tube pontoon?
Ask your builder or dealer to determine this. An assessment of your needs, along with the house size and weight, can help the builder/dealer make this call.
And here’s a pre-fab float system to consider: Look at this Pontoonz Modular Float System, created in New Zealand. This is an innovative option you may wanna think about. (For cost, you’ll need to contact the dealer.)
Attaching Your Tiny House to Pontoon Tubes
One overlooked cost is the cost of setting your new pontoon tiny house onto its new base.
Locate someone local who can do it and is willing to do it. But make sure to:
1) Get a quote
2) Ask for proof of insurance
Avoid working with someone who isn’t familiar with this procedure. And especially avoid someone without proper insurance to cover your boat, just in case.
Find a reputable company or individual. It’s worth the hassle to be worry-free and you’ll sleep better, too!
Legal Questions and Guidelines
State Laws and Permits
Just like regular boating, houseboat laws and permits vary from state-to-state. Even in each country.
Certain bodies of water, such as lakes and reservoirs, frown upon houseboat living, regardless of it being a pontoon tiny house. Although smaller than some yacht-like houseboats, they’re still considered houses in the eyes of the law. So restrictions vary.
Before building or buying, check with governing state authorities to verify precisely what’s allowed and what permits are needed. If you can’t have your tiny pontoon houseboat in the closest, most-convenient waters, it may not be worth pursuing.
To check your local laws, here are two places to start:
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — information on regulatory permits, and more, for each state.
- United States Coast Guard (USCG) — helpful information for each state.
Check these sites for your state information, then check with the governing offices to ask any additional questions.
Houseboat insurance, big and small, varies from state to state. (Not to mention from agency to agency.) But, you’re required to buy it.
Your costs will be determined by many factors, like size and investment.
If you’re unsure who to contact for insurance quotes, check with the United Marine Underwriters for advice.
Additional Building Costs
If you’re handy with DIY projects, build a pontoon tiny house yourself. It may help protect your wallet.
But whether you plan to hire a builder, buy a custom-designed tiny home or use a kit, there are additional costs to consider.
When planning a budget, you need to determine costs for many areas, not just basics.
As with any newly-built house, you’ll have these initial building costs: Foundation, walls, flooring, roof, heating and air. (These costs can vary greatly depending on what you choose.)
Then you’ll need to purchase appliances, such as sinks, a shower and a toilet.
And then there’s decorating: Paint, cabinets, hardware and mirrors.
You’ll need special furniture: Hidden bed/storage beds, chairs with storage and folding tables.
Then there are annual costs: Yearly maintenance, as well as fees, permits and storage costs.
Oh, and then there’s this…
Transporting Your Tiny House
You new tiny boathouse will need to be transported, whether it’s on the base yet or not. You’ll have to transport it to the base to be attached, and you’ll have to transport it to its final destination. (Geez… so much to think about!)
So, like I said before, locate a reputable company who can transport it for you, including a transportation quote and proof of insurance.
Then, you’ll need to transport it to either a storage facility, dock or it’s base to be attached.
And it’s best to keep that transport company in your contact list to transport your pontoon tiny house to a service provider for maintenance or repairs. (Hopefully not, but it’s best to plan.)
Transportation costs and fees can all add up, so get quotes first to include in your budget.
Inspecting Your Pontoon Tiny House
Just chock it up. You may not want to pay those few final inspection costs, but it could protect your investment. And even protect lives.
When having a tiny house built, you’ll need it inspected for proper building codes, laws and permits—just like a regular house. Don’t forget about saltwater compliance inspections, as I mentioned earlier. If you’re not doing the building yourself (or hiring it out), ask your dealer about the final inspections. Are they included? Who’s responsible for handling it?
Check the fine print in your contract. Once your tiny house leaves the dealer, you may have no recourse if proper codes haven’t been met.
Before transporting your tiny house, have it inspected to make sure it’s properly attached to the bases/tubes. If it isn’t, it can become damaged during transit. And you sure don’t want any problems on the water.
Inspecting Each Phase
A smart option is to pay licensed inspectors for each building phase up until the point of base attachment. Safety is never worth saving just a few pennies.
Storing Your Pontoon Tiny House
You might need tiny house storage, either temporarily or in the winter. So start your search to locate a storage facility who can (and will) safely store it.
Most likely, they’ll need the weight and size before providing a quote. Once you get a quote, ask for proof of insurance. (Yep. I’m a broken record, but you can’t forget!)
If you can’t locate a viable storage facility close by, you’ll need to consider transportation costs to a neighboring city for storage.
This is a big deal, because safe, secure storage can protect your investment and give you peace of mind.
Pontoon Tiny House Ownership
This is an awful lot to consider before building, or buying, a pontoon tiny house. But when you consider that it’s truly a house (even though it floats), there are many costs and considerations to think about.
Who knows? Thorough planning, research and a simple financial plan can guide you on your way to tiny houseboat living on your pontoon.
Won’t that all be worth it?
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
What Do You Know About Using Household Cleaners On A Boat?
Keeping your pontoon or deck boat in showroom-like condition usually isn’t accomplished by using your run-of-the-mill household cleaners. For example, did you know that common dish soap can eat into gelcoat, remove wax and polish, and bring on early aging and oxidization? That’s why Shurhold Industries offers a set of Clean-N-Simple Tips to ensure you don’t use a product that’s not safe for your boat.
Shurhold's marine-specific concentrated Brite Wash is safe to use anywhere on board and still cuts through dirt, grease and salt residue. There’s no need for re-waxing or cleaning away water spotting. Environmentally friendly, it's completely biodegradable and can be rinsed overboard.
Rather than using bleach, which is effective but quickly dulls gelcoat, changes vinyl color, degrades fabrics, and corrodes fittings (even stainless steel), SMC Spray is the bleach-free and environmentally friendly alternative that removes the toughest of stains and is safe to use on all surfaces.
Likewise, the ammonia in home glass cleaners can make isinglass, Plexiglas, plastic or touchscreen electronics material brittle. Shurhold's Serious Shine is a one-stop detailer that cleans, polishes and protects any surface commonly treated with glass cleaner or spray wax in one breezy step. UV inhibitors and anti-static and water-repelling properties makes it an ideal marine maintenance product.
A great companion to Serious Shine, Microfiber Towels are very absorbent and can gently lift away dirt, moisture, grease and stains without scratching delicate surfaces.
And when a strong restoration compound is needed, Shurhold's Buff Magic is designed to do the job well; formulated with jewelers rouge, it actually breaks down as it's being used, effectively becoming finer with use until it's a polishing agent. Thus, this product gently and thoroughly removes oxidation, stains, rust, and surface scratches.
And last but not least, the Pro Polish Wax is designed to seal the pores of fiberglass with a long-lasting UV- and water-resistant finish – and, as a bonus, leaving a deep shine behind.
Price ranges are as follows: a 32-ounce bottle of Shurhold's Brite Wash is $11.98; a 32-ounce spray bottle of SMC is $11.98; a 14-ounce aerosol can of Serious Shine is $17.98; a 3-pack variety of Microfiber Towels is $18.98; and a 16-ounce bottle of Pro Polish Wax is $22.98.
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
4 Tips for Restoring Your Pontoon Boat | Pontoon-Depot
It may be more affordable for you to restore your old pontoon boat instead of replacing it with a new one. This article discusses the components that you should pay attention to during that restoration project.
The deck is arguably the most essential component of any pontoon boat. Inspect the deck carefully so that you identify any defects that can shorten the service life of the restored pontoon boat. Check for signs of rot, such as sponginess. Use a flashlight to look underneath the deck to identify damaged sections on the lower side of the deck. You can even pull up parts of the carpeting to take a closer look at the areas that seem to be affected by rot. Replace the damaged sections with marine-grade plywood.
Check each of the pontoons carefully for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Remember that a previous owner may have masked a corroded section of a pontoon by painting over it. You should, therefore, be keen and spot any painted areas that don't look identical to the surrounding areas. Use an appropriate material, such as putty, to fix any holes that you see in the pontoons. Weld any areas that are corroded.
Pontoon boat furniture plays a vital role in the aesthetics and functionality of the boat. You should, therefore, give this feature sufficient attention during the restoration project. Pay special attention to any furniture that has wooden frames since wood rot may have affected them. Check the upholstery for rips and tears. Base on the inspection results to decide whether to replace or conduct repairs to the furniture. Remember that it may be easier and less costly to replace the degraded furniture instead of trying to fix numerous defects in it.
The restoration project should be regarded as an opportunity to add the features and adjustments that will make that pontoon boat to be better suited to your needs. For example, you can add ladders, an audio system and extra table space to make the boat more user-friendly. A lot of careful planning and budgeting should be done before the restoration project begins. This will save you from spending more money trying to restore an old boat than what you would have spent if you had opted to buy a new or used pontoon boat.
Consult experienced pontoon boat owners or repair professionals about the suitability of each major decision so that you don't make a mistake during the restoration project.
For all your accessories and/or vinyl flooring visit Pontoon Depot's shop site.
Hot Springs Expanding Pontoon Boat Production
Pic By: Xpress Boats
JONES MILL, Ark. (KATV) — There's an abandon plant of highway 270 in the small community of Jones Mill.
But it was announced early Monday, that that's about to change.
"When I moved out here a long time ago, there was all kinds of stuff," Throne said.
Like the General Cable plant, which shut down production a few years ago.
"I was hoping we'd see something go in there," said Throne.
Well, Monday morning, it was announced that Xpress Boat Company will be bringing roughly one hundred new jobs back to this plant and jones mill, to help with production of their Veranda Luxury Pontoon Boats.
"It's an exciting opportunity for our company, it's an exciting opportunity for the community," Rory Herndon, president of Xpress Boat Company, said.
"Any time you have the expansion of a local business, it's a great day," Pat McCabe, mayor of Hot Springs, said.
Mayor McCabe says the Garland County based company will drive more revenue for the area, after investing nearly $10 million in the General Cable Plant.
"We're going to have people coming from Hot Springs, Malvern are going to have people employed," McCabe said.
Something Throne says will put the abandon plant back into good use.
"I think they'll do really good right there," she said.
General Cable had left Jones Mill in 2015.
The plant itself in over 375,000 square feet.