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Explained: Tiny house window placement, costs, and more!

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The exterior of the Robin tiny house with three double windows and three single windows, lit up with internal light.

Windows are one of the most important factors in a tiny house build.

Not only will they contribute up to 15% of your total cost, but their placement has a significant impact on the look of your home, along with comfort, lighting, and temperature.

Continue reading to explore the cost of windows in a tiny home, step-by-step instructions for self-installations, and the best tiny house window placement options to suit your small space.

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How much do windows cost for a tiny house?

The cost of your tiny house windows depends on the quality you want to receive, and in general, you’ll get what you pay for.

If you opt for the cheapest windows you can find, you’ll likely end up with a flimsy and inefficient product.

In total, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $6,000 for a complete window fit-out in your tiny home.

On the other hand, the most expensive windows can make a severe dent in your budget, and the benefits they offer might not align with the purpose of your tiny home.

The best thing to do when purchasing windows is to choose one that suits the design of your tiny home, has reliable quality and is within your budget range.

You may be able to source reclaimed or secondhand windows at a very attractive price, but it’s almost impossible to find reclaimed windows that are tempered.

Not only does the law require tempered glass in many states, but untempered glass is also a major safety concern for the inhabitants of your home.

The average window will cost around $120 for stock sizes or $250 for a custom-built piece.

If you want to save money on your windows, opt for self-installation instead of a low-quality product because your windows are an integral part of the build, and their quality will affect life inside your home.

When it comes to budget, you’ll want to allow at least $2000 to $3000 for a complete fit-out, but be prepared to extend that to $5,000 upward, especially if you outsource the work.

How many windows should a tiny house have?

A tiny house should have about 12 windows.

Windows are one of the most important factors to consider when building a tiny home and can account for 10-15% of the total cost of your build.

While the average home is around 2,600 square feet, a tiny home is closer to 150 square feet – but, surprisingly, both have about 12 windows.

Tiny houses have so many windows because they are essential for making a small space feel open while maintaining proper ventilation and airflow.

The Thoreau tiny house exterior by Indigo River Tiny Homes
The Thoreau tiny house by Indigo River Tiny Homes

Window seats in tiny homes

Installing a window seat in your tiny home comes with an array of benefits:

  • It provides extra seating space for when you entertain guests.
  • It can create more storage space, and you can store items out of view.
  • It can transform “dead space” in a tiny home, allowing you to make the most of every inch.
  • You can install them anywhere, and they can frame a beautiful view.

The configurations and options with a tiny house window seat are limitless. One idea is to use a corner suite as an open area for lounging like this tiny home in Sacramento.

Your space doesn’t have to be huge either; even a single-window seat can liven up otherwise dead space such as this soft-teal variety. And you don’t have to install any fancy furniture; adding cushions or a throw to an existing storage unit can provide you with a rustic-looking nook.

On the other hand, if you are looking to add a touch of luxury, there are plenty of tiny house window seat options on the market to meet your needs:

Amazon Basics Rectangular Storage Ottoman Bench

Ready-made furniture is abundant to slot into your home, providing comfortable seating and ample storage space, such as this affordable but stylish option from Amazon.

JeogYong Bay Window Cushion Seat Indoor.

If you already have existing window furniture that you’d like to convert into a seating space, try adding a comfortable cushioned topper.

RiverRidge Book Nook Collection Kids Cubbies Storage Bench

Perfect for kids, this bench cushion provides a cozy place to read or play while making the most of the natural light and views. This unit also offers ample storage space for books, toys, clothes, or anything else you can think of.

Windows are an integral feature of your tiny home, and it’s worth investing a little time and money into getting the right ones. Not only will they allow you to live a more comfortable life, but they could save you money on your energy bills and improve the airflow through your property.

Where are the best options for tiny house window placement?

When deciding on the tiny house window placement in your small space, consider the individual purpose of each one.

For example, a picture window (one that doesn’t open) is a cheap investment and may suit your exterior wall, but a room such as your bathroom will require a more expensive window for optimal ventilation.

Also, consider cross breezes; if you set up two casement windows opposite one another, they will provide you with a cross breeze.

Getting the correct tiny house window placement is also about considering your property’s design and the size of your tiny house windows.

A home with a tall ceiling allows you to place your windows high up, allowing natural light to flood your space.

In contrast, the windows for a lower ceiling may be more suited to wide windows that stretch across the walls.

The tiny house window placement in this small space is four windows in the front of the house.
The Shearwater tiny house window placement – Rewild Homes

It’s also important to consider the location of your tiny home. Those based in cold climates or at high altitudes will benefit from windows positioned toward the sun to catch as much of its light and warmth as possible through all seasons. 

Another consideration you may also want to make is if you’re keen on using a tiny house window air conditioner to heat and cool your home.

Whereas a house in a hotter climate will benefit from eaves and overhanging awnings on the windows to restrict the amount of direct sunlight – and heat – that enters your home.

South-facing walls have the highest level of year-round sunlight (depending on where you live), and rooms typically occupied during the daytime, such as the lounge or kitchen, can benefit from this natural light source.

How window placement will affect your tiny house

Lighting is a particularly important consideration when building a tiny home.

Due to the walls being closer together than those in the average house, they limit light diffusion. For this reason, it’s easy to end up with dark, gloomy corners if you don’t have the correct window placements.

To overcome this issue, many tiny house windows are placed high up, allowing natural light to stream in and fill your space from the top down. You can brighten up a particularly difficult corner using a casement window.

Your tiny house window placement is also an integral factor in your end-of-month energy bill. If you harness the natural light of the sun whenever possible and make use of its natural warmth, you will use far less electricity in heating and lighting.

Window placement can make or break the feel of your tiny home. The correct tiny house window placement can transform a gloomy corner into a bright and breezy nook, while optimizing the sun’s power allows you to live naturally and reduce your energy costs.

How do you install a window in a tiny house?

Before you begin building your tiny home, you’ll need thorough and complete design plans; these plans will inform the layout of your house and allow you to accurately mark out where you will be placing your windows.

Once you figure out the location of your windows, there are a set of steps to follow to complete the window installation.

  1. You need to know the specific measurements of your window before you begin to cut openings.
    1. A great rule of thumb is to add around ⅜ of an inch to each side of your window.
    2. You don’t want to allow the window to touch any side of the frame before installation, as this means the fit is too tight, and it could lead to cracks.
    3. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave so much space that the opening becomes too wide for your nailing fins, as this can make it challenging to secure the window in place.
  2. If your tiny home is covered in house wrap, cut the holes where the windows will be. Fold the house wrap inside the window frame and secure it in place with staples or flashing tape. Cut away the excess wrap.
  3. You’ll need to pay particular attention to the area where the window meets the frame as it’s the perfect point for rain to seep through into your living space. To seal your joints, apply a self-adhering waterproof membrane.
    1. Cut a strip around 20 inches longer than the width of the window. Center this underneath your rough opening and apply directly to the house wrap.
    2. Then, cut two strips of the membrane around a foot longer than the side openings of your window, center them, and attach, ensuring they overlap with the bottom strip of the membrane.
    3. Finally, cut a strip of membrane about a foot longer than the width of your rough opening, center along the top and attach, ensuring that it overlaps the side strips.
    4. This creates a square border of self-adhesive waterproof membrane around the rough opening of your window.
    5. Do this around the interior and exterior of your window opening.
  4. Install your window in the rough opening.
    1. Place the window bottom first into your rough opening.
    2. Fold out the nailing fins and centralize your window to the opening.
    3. Tack the corners of your window into place using roofing nails (don’t drive these all the way in).
    4. Measure your frame from corner to corner to check that it is square – the frame should sit within 1/16″ If your window does not meet the correct measurement, you may need to adjust the stance of the frame.
    5. Once your frame is sitting correctly, nail the top, bottom, and sides into place.
  5. When you get to this point, you may be dealing with flashings or sealing strips that your manufacturer has provided. These should have their own set of instructions for you to follow.

Once you’ve completed the manufacturer’s instructions, your window is complete.

Final thoughts

Tiny house windows are an essential part of your small space. They take up a larger percentage of your overall space compared to regular sized homes.

Consider your tiny house window placement carefully, as there are a ton of different options. 

Choose window styles that you like and that fit well in each room. You’ll want to make sure you have access to lots of natural light in the living and dining area, as well as some small windows in your loft and bathroom too.