When Following the Plans Goes Wrong

For a long time, I’ve been putting off writing about the Tumbleweed plans I purchased because I really didn’t want to throw Tumbleweed under the bus. Even now, I feel a little bit bad writing this. However, I feel it is important to let people who either now own or are thinking about purchasing tiny house plans from Tumbleweed know what they are really purchasing and what pitfalls to look out for should they choose to use those plans.

I wish I could recommend the plans. I really do. I wish I could tell you that you can give $750 to Tumbleweed and receive something that you could easily build a house from. I wish I could say that, but I really can’t. I have discovered that nearly every page in the entire set of plans I purchased has at least some kind of mistake in it and some pages have multiple mistakes. Some of the mistakes are obvious, some are annoying, some are expensive and some are just plain dangerous.

I previously wrote an entry titled, “Stick to The Plans” and in general, I still subscribe to that idea since deviating from the plans can sometimes create unexpected consequences. However with Tumbleweed, I have discovered that even following the plans can get you into trouble. Here are some examples of the mistakes and inconveniences that have nearly or completely gotten me in trouble with my plans. These are mistakes that you should expect and/or watch out for if you own or decide to purchase similar plans:

  • First of all, the ridge beam in my plans has three different dimensions, depending on where you look in the plans. On one sheet, the ridge beam is a 4 x 6, on another sheet it is a 2 x 4 and in the materials list, it is a 2 x 6. That’s crazy! The ridge beam is a very important structural component of the house. It’s not the kind of component whose dimensions you can be ambiguous about. It needs to be right and it needs to be consistent. Not only does the ridge beam size affect the structural stability of the house, it also affects the dimensions of other things, like the rafters. Because I did not know which of the various ridge beam sizes matched up with the rafter dimensions listed in my plans, I ended up having to calculate my own rafter dimensions. While I was doing this, I found myself wondering why in the world I had purchased plans if I was going to have to calculate my own rafter dimensions myself. If somebody can calculate their own rafter dimensions, they can probably create their own plans.
  • The plans I purchased specify drilling holes for air ventilation in the bird blocking underneath the eaves. However, if you follow the plans exactly, these holes end up being useless, providing no ventilation under the roof whatsoever. That’s because the plans fail to specify anything to continue the ventilation path up between the rafters and out of the peak of the roof. The plans don’t specify any kind of holes in the nailing blocks that connect the rafters in the middle of the roof, nor do they specify any kind of holes or ventilation in the peak of the roof. If you build the house to plans, you will most likely end up with zero ventilation under your roof and you will most likely also end up with mold in your roof. One of Tumbleweed’s own employees, Ella, ended up with just such a mold problem. You would think that having an employee develop mold in their tiny house would get Tumbleweed to care about an omission like this in their plans, but I guess not. Maybe they’re waiting to do something until somebody develops mold in their tiny house, get sick and sues them. For more information on ventilation, see my other roofing posts, “Watertight!” and “Ventilation, Insulation (and some Frustration).”
  • When I was trying to figure out how to build the side walls for my tiny house, I was shocked to find out that it is impossible to tell from the plans how far apart the studs need to be. That’s because the dimensions listed on the plans for the spacing between the studs are completely wrong. I know the dimensions are wrong because if you add up the dimensions for all the spacing between the studs and add the width of all the studs, it adds up to a total length that is greater than the length of the wall. That means that at least some of the dimensions for the spaces between the studs have to be incorrect. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell from the plans which of those dimensions are right and which ones are wrong. To figure it all out, I had to start with the basics of wall construction. Once I realized that you need a stud every 24” on center and that you need a stud on either side of each window and on either side of the wheel well, I was essentially able to design all of my walls from scratch by myself. At that point, I could finally compare my design to the Tumbleweed design to see which dimensions in the Tumbleweed plans were right and which were wrong. However, just like having to figure out your own rafter dimensions, what is the point of paying somebody for plans if you’re just going to have to re-design the walls yourself?
  • The front wall of the Elm is constructed primarily out of four large, vertical beams. The drawing for the front wall specifies these as 6 x 6 beams. In general, 6 x 6 beams have an actual dimension of 5.5” x 5.5” and if you use that dimension, the overall width of the front wall works out correctly. However, in the materials list, the beams are specified as Parallam beams which I discovered after purchasing have an actual dimension of only 5.25” x 5.25”. That means that each of my beams on the front wall was ¼” smaller than what is in the drawing, producing an extra inch of space within my front wall. This isn’t that big a deal. I made up for the extra space by adding a ¼” strip of plywood to the side of each beam. It’s just another example of how the plans are inconsistent and ambiguous. Building any kind of house comes with enough problems and inconveniences. I don’t need extra ones embedded inside the plans I paid good money for.
  • Although there is a pretty good materials list at the back of the Tumbleweed plans, this material list is almost impossible to use because Tumbleweed makes no effort to indicate what any of the items are for. For example, the framing list specifies quantities of 3/8”, 5/8”, 1/2” and 3/4” plywood without making any indication where the different thicknesses go within the house. Somehow, you are supposed to just know that the 3/8” goes on the walls, the 5/8” goes on the house roof, the 3/4” goes on the floor and the 1/2” goes on the porch roof of the porch. The plans also specify multiple different dimensions of 1 x 6 and 2 x 4 cedar without specifying which is for window trim and which is for fascia. The plans specify a long list of various length screws and nails without making any attempt to tell you which ones should be used where. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that it is up to you to figure out where every single item goes and what it’s for. How hard would have been for Tumbleweed to add one more column to materials list giving at least some kind of hint about where each item was supposed to be used?
  • For that matter, it would also be nice to know where to purchase the more unusual items that appear in the materials list. A significant number of the materials you need to build tiny house are not available in your local Lowes or Home Depot store. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to figure out where to buy turned Cedar posts for my front porch. In the end, I found some nice posts on the Internet that look so identical to the ones shown in the picture that appears on the front page of my plans that I’m sure they I ended up using the same supplier as Tumbleweed. Wouldn’t it have been great if Tumbleweed could have simply listed that company on the plans so I would know right off the bat where to get my posts and not have to spend hours looking for them? Why is it necessary for every single person who purchases plans from Tumbleweed to have to waste time doing the same research over and over again?
  • Just so everyone knows, the plans come with no instructions whatsoever. They contain drawings and nothing else. I know that architectural plans don’t usually come with instructions. However, I still held out some hope that for $750, my plans my come with some kind of instructions. Tumbleweed knows that the people they are selling the plans to are generally inexperienced home builders. It seems to me that at least a few notes or hints could have been provided to help people figure out how to turn the huge materials list at the back of the plans into something that remotely resembles the tiny house pictured in the drawings.
  • The final mistake I will share here is by no means the last mistake I found. It’s just the one that upsets me the most. It has to do with dimensions of my front door and the rough opening for the front door. In general, the entryways for tiny houses are small enough that they do not fit the standard door dimensions found at your local hardware store. That means the tiny house builders are required to either find a door that is too big and cut it down to size, build door themselves or pay somebody a lot of money to build a custom door. Even though it scared me, I decided to build my own door. I thought it would be a good experience and something I could be really proud of. Tumbleweed does provide plans for a custom-made door. The problem with the plans is that Tumbleweed specifies the door that is 74” x 28” while only a few pages earlier specifying a rough opening for that door that is only 73” x 29”. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that 74”door is not going to fit in a 73” tall opening. I knew what was shown on my plans didn’t make any sense, so I referred back to an old set of Walden plans that I had originally purchased before I swapped it out for Elm plans. The door and rough opening specified in the Walden plans seemed to make more sense with a 29” x 73” rough opening and a 28” x 72” door. A rough opening 1” wider and 1” taller than the door was same amount of extra space provided for the windows and my windows had installed just fine. I had already built my rough opening to be 29” x 73”, so, a friend and I proceeded to spend 30 hours building a custom-made door that was 28” x 72”. Unfortunately, it was only after I had finished building my door that I discovered that there is no way to install a door into a space that is only 1” wider and taller than the door itself. Generally, you need a space that is at least 2” if not 2 ½” wider and taller than the door you are installing. As a result, I am now stuck with the horrible decision of either shaving down the sides, top and bottom of my custom-made door or somehow making my rough opening bigger, both of which kind of suck. Of all the mistakes I have found in the Tumbleweed plans, this is the one that upsets me the most. Building a custom-made door was the most complicated woodworking project I have ever tackled. However, I did it. I successfully built my own front door (see post on “Building a Front Door“) and it would have been perfect except that now I have to mess up the geometry of that carefully built door because Tumbleweed couldn’t be bothered to specify plans for a door that can actually be installed.
  • Update 7/22/15: it turns out that my problems with scale factors on the plans mentioned earlier in this blog entry (now removed) were due to me not following the instructions. If you are printing your own plans, be very sure to select “Do not scale” before you print. The default is to scale the drawings to the size of the paper which will throw off the scale factor. Today, Tumbleweed clarified the issue for me and mailed me a brand new hard copy of the plans, printed correctly

I might be able to forgive Tumbleweed for all of these mistakes if they showed the slightest indication they actually cared about them. At the workshop and in the video, they repeatedly talk about the customer support line that you can contact if you need help. My experience has been that if you ask them for help on something they know the answer to, they will eventually respond to you (although it will frequently take so long that you will have solved the problem by the time they get back to you). However, if you try to ask them about a mistake in their plans, they simply ignore you. Early on in my build, when I first started to find mistakes in the plans, I offered to send all of the errors I found to Tumbleweed so they could fix them. I thought I was being helpful, but I couldn’t find anyone at the company who was remotely interested. When I discovered the problem with the rough opening for the front door, I e-mailed the support folks at Tumbleweed, but never heard anything back from them. Over the course of two months, I contacted them several more times and they repeatedly ignored every single one of my e-mails. Eventually, I spent a good deal of time drafting and sending what I thought was a very nice e-mail to the president of the company, Steve, letting him know the problem and asking for help. Unfortunately, like everyone else at the company, Steve also ignored me. That’s when it finally became apparent to me that nobody at Tumbleweed cares about the mistakes in their plans or about the effects that those mistakes have on the their customer’s builds.

If I had to guess, I would say that Tumbleweed feels they have to focus most of their time and effort on things that actually make money and that unfortunately, the few people who actually build tiny houses from their plans don’t actually make them very much money. I think Tumbleweed makes most of their money on the workshops they put on all over the country. Of the hundred or so people that attend each one of those workshops, I’m guessing less than five actually start building a tiny house, less than two actually finish building a tiny house and less than one actually successfully manages to live in it for an extended period of time. So in reality, that’s one out of 100 people that Tumbleweed deals with who actually try to make full use of their plans. Tumbleweed probably feels it’s better to spend their time on the 99 people willing to pay them for a workshop than it is to spend their time on the one person who manages to successfully use their plans. While I can understand why Tumbleweed would set their priorities this way, I find it kind of unfortunate that Tumbleweed will readily take money from people they know will probably never build a tiny house, but can’t be bothered to provide real support the few people who actually try. Maybe Tumbleweed feels this is the way they have to operate in order to exist in the tiny house market. Maybe they’re right. I just think it’s kind of sad.

I hope I have not been too unfair to Tumbleweed in this blog entry. That really was not my intent. My intent was simply to let people who are interested in Tumbleweed plans know what to expect and what to look out for and perhaps, if I’m lucky, inspire Tumbleweed to improve the quality of their plans. I really do like what Tumbleweed is trying to do within the tiny house community. Some of their products, like the instructional video, are actually very good. I just wish they would give their plans the same amount of work and attention, if for no other reason than to keep other people who try to build tiny houses from their plans from suffering as much as I have.

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22 Responses to When Following the Plans Goes Wrong

  1. Molly says:

    I don’t usually post comments that just pile onto what’s already been said, but I feel like, in this instance, it’s totally warranted. I think you’re being very fair to Tumbleweed- they’re a company with great PR/marketing, but when it comes down to it, their plans just aren’t very helpful, and in many instances are actually hindrances to DIY builders. Here are a few issues that we’ve struggled with in our build:

    1) Materials List Issues: We’re using SIPs for our build, so we having used the framing plans much, but we did use the materials list to help us place bulk orders with the Home Depot Pro Desk. If you place orders over $2500, you get a discount, so we figured that we could recoup some of the cost of the plans through this discount. Even leaving out the lumber in the “framing” portion of the materials list (which we didn’t buy because we used SIPs), we ended up with several hundred dollars worth of wood that we won’t end up needing. I have no earthly idea of what it’s supposed to be used for (because of the issues with the materials list that you describe above), but we sure can’t find a place for any of it . Fortunately, Home Depot’s robust return policy will keep this from being too much of a financial burden.

    2) Trailer Prep Issues: We purchased a Tumbleweed trailer, and while we were thrilled with the trailer itself, the Tumbleweed issued instructions on trailer prep left some things to be desired. In the “Tumbleweed Trailer” plans, you’re told to fasten the fascia boards to the trailer with 2 3/4″ screw self tapping screws. However, the “Elm 20″ materials list specifies you buy three hundred 2 1/2″ self tapping screws. I was really frustrated when I learned that I bought 300 screws that were 1/4″ too short. I suppose it’s possible that the 2 1/2″ self tappers were in fact for something other than trailer prep, but I really, really doubt it (and hope not, because I didn’t end up using them for anything…) I ended up returning the 2 1/2″ screws, and having to order longer screws online.

    3) Porch Issues: On the Roof Framing page of the Elm 20 plans, the porch roof width is called out to be 5′ 7 3/4”, and yet draws it in line with the walls (which are closer to 7.5′ apart). Looking at Tumbleweed’s photos, it’s clear that the porch roof is no where near two feet narrower than the rest of the house. We just ended up working out how to build the porch ourselves without referencing the plans further after that one.

    I am so glad that we weren’t relying on Tumbleweed’s plans to frame our house. Between our inexperience and the plans frequent errors/inconsistencies, it would have been a nightmare. I think that there are many things that Tumbleweed does well, but their plans are not one of them. The plans contain mistakes, and are really really unsuitable for novice builders.

    • Thanks for sharing your own experiences, Molly. Sorry to hear that your Tumbleweed plans are also full of errors. If more people are willing to share the mistakes they have found in their plans, maybe I will create a page dedicated to Tumbleweed plan errors. That will create a one stop shop where people who purchase plans can see what kind of errors might be in those plans and where Tumbleweed can look to see what needs to be fixed.

      • Molly Pieri says:

        Maybe a Wiki or something similar where people can update it with their own observations/fixes/hacks? I definitley feel like that sort of resource would make the plans more useable. Too bad that’s not the function the “community forum” section of Tumbleweed’s website serves.

      • I agree – a community forum on Tumbleweed’s site would be by far the best place for it.

  2. Juli says:

    Please, don’t apologize for doing the right thing; which is letting other (potential) consumers know the problems you’ve encountered with Tumbleweed. One of my favorite models is sold by this company, and, like most of us out there interested in THOWs, I have NO construction experience whatsoever (unless you count putting IKEA furniture together by myself). These are egregious, costly errors, and, easily fixed, should the principals of Tumbleweed find their way to do so. I’m appalled (but sadly, not surprised) by the completely dismissive way your concerns and inquiries were treated. IMHO, true customer service is a thing of the past; when it happens now, I’m pleasantly surprised!
    Thank you for stepping up to the plate and disclosing your unfortunate experiences with Tumbleweed. Now, I’m going to hold my breath and wait for a response from them, and hope, if and when you get one, you’ll share it with us.

  3. P. Isom says:

    I think your assessment is well written and am thankful for your sharing. This is a terrible situation for someone trying to build their own tiny house, which is the backbone of the tiny house movement. I couldn’t be more disappointed in a company I have followed since Jay Shafer started it so many years ago. I purchased plans from Four Lights and haven’t drilled down to the details. I expect that my plans are on point. Too bad Tumbleweed doesn’t understand that the reputation of their company will be affected by all aspects of their business and what kind of service and responsiveness they provide to all customers. If one can’t count them, how are they to be trusted as experts in their field? It matters, Tumbleweed. Your reputation is at stake.

    • Thanks for the supportive reply. I am crossing my fingers that your Four Lights plans are on point. However, I wouldn’t take anything for granted. I’m pretty sure that the Walden plans that I started with before I exchanged them for Elm plans were Jay Shafer’s original Walden plans. The Walden plans had plenty of mistakes on their own, including the bad dimensions for the front door rough opening. I think Tumbleweed introduced some new errors when they morphed Jay’s Walden plans into their own Walden plans, but I think many of the errors started with Jay.
      For a first hand perspective on the state of the Four Lights plans, you might want to check out this article from Casey Friday.

  4. Tumblewewed says:

    Russell,

    Your blog post was recently brought to my attention. As the President of Tumbleweed I wanted to respond—and to offer you a heartfelt THANK YOU.

    By sharing your experience about the issues you encountered while building your tiny house you have provided us with invaluable feedback. Tumbleweed does care deeply about any and all errors and we want to correct them. In fact, we have been hard at work updating all of our Tiny House DIY Building Plans with additional detailed and accurate instructions and hundreds of new drawings to accompany them. We will announce their release later this year on our website and social media channels.

    As you noted in your post, you emailed me asking for help. I happened to be out of the office that week and I immediately forwarded your message to the appropriate person on my team to follow up with you. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen, but it absolutely should have. All I can tell you at this point is that I am very sorry. During the coming days I will be taking a very hard look at where our customer support process broke down. I want to understand the chain of events so that we can learn from this experience and make the necessary fixes.

    At Tumbleweed we strive to deliver the best possible experience and customer support that we can for every single one of our customers (workshop attendees and people like you who buy our plans to do it yourself). Like all humans, sometimes we fall short. Still, that is no excuse for what happened here. You expected more from us—and we expect far more from ourselves.

    For us it’s not enough to pay talk about great customer service–we want to ensure that we deliver on that promise. At the end of the day, we will learn from this experience and improve because of it. During the next few days you can expect to hear from me personally so that I can offer you my apologies directly and find out what I can do to help make this right.

    Respectfully yours,

    Steve Weissmann, President of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

    • Thank you for the response, Steve. I really appreciate it and am encouraged that Tumbleweed is serious about improving their plans. That’s great news and I’m happy to help with that however I can. Looking forward to talking with you more soon.

    • cinemanaic says:

      My wife and I attended your workshop and Jay’s workshop as well and I felt both were valuable in numerous ways. However, we walked away from both not confident of the plans — which for those who haven’t attended were on display and substantially discounted if you bought them that day. We decided to forego the purchase. The deep discounting of the plans at the workshop felt a bit like the pitch from gyms that offer cheaper memberships at the beginning of the new year; they know full well that people are gung-ho due to new years resolutions and that by February they will likely lose their resolve. It is part of the business plan that the gym will at least get a couple months of revenue until the client realizes in May they haven’t worked out in months and cancels. It is the same principal that late night TV infomercials use. But why stoop so low? You have a potentially awesome product with just a little more customer care and attention to detail. For God’s sake, you have a licensed architect on staff and team of builders!

      Steve, I encourage you to respond in like fashion to the way another Steve (slightly more famous) that made the right moral and PR move to right wrongs that his company made. When Apple released an iPhone with dubious antenna issues the company responded by remedying the problem with free cases that mitigated the problem. For Russ and other TW plan buyers clearly the remedy won’t be to repay lost time and frustrations like a $10 case did. But, here are some suggestions for potential olive branches to extend to your customers and the TH community at large:

      * Consider opensourcing your plans and hosting a public wiki and version control system where builders/purchasers can contribute both fixes and modifications.

      * If you don’t opensource the plans, then at least provide them free to workshop attendees with the caveat that these are a work in progress.

      * Offer subscription support plans to cover your costs and instill confidence in customers that you are behind your product and they are less likely to fail.

      * Given that the Amish brothers in the DVD are pros, and no doubt found errors in the plans, get their input on how to fix things. It amazes me that these guys didn’t “bitch-slap” you when they built the Cypress for the video.

      * If you don’t opensource or provide free the plans, then offer to the first person who actually purchases a set of plans at each workshop and starts to build it, stellar support and an open line of feedback to help perfect the plans. Maybe provide occasional on-site visits by a TW rep or Skype calls for support to ensure that their build (and your product) goes as smoothly as possible and incorproate that feedback into making better products. You could film these interactions and further repair your tarnished image.

      * You are missing a golden co-marketing and partnership opportunity by having dodgy plans. For example, imagine if they were spot on you could market tiny house kits from Lowe’s or HD and others that ensure that what is delivered both in materials and building instructions would work from the get go. It would eliminate very real concerns about costs and viability of the project.

      We start this July 18th building our tiny house based on our own plans and almost three years of research and workshops. I don’t know if it will go any smoother than Russ & Shiela’s build. However, I can honestly say that after spending over 150 hours researching and drafting our house in SketchUp, we have thought many times that we would have preferred to buy plans from you or Four Lights and would have gladly done so to save us the collective weeks of toil.

      • Thank you for joining the conversation and for the great thoughts and ideas. In Steve’s comment yesterday, he said that he would make this right. I found myself wondering as I went to sleep last night what he could do to make this right. My favorite idea of yours was the one about Tumbleweed providing stellar support to the first person trying to use a set of plans. That is what I wish I had received from Tumbleweed and what I would most like to receive for the rest of my build. I would love to have ready access to somebody at Tumbleweed who would promptly and expertly respond to my questions so that I wouldn’t have to struggle for weeks trying to solve problems with my plans or my build that people at Tumbleweed have already solved. I know providing stellar support like this would take some time and resources, but I can’t think of a better way to make things right. In the long run, such support will pay off not just for Tumbleweed, but for the entire tiny house community.

        I can’t wait to see you get started with your build. We are all rooting for you!

  5. It makes me uncomfortable that you only got a response from Tumbleweed after you wrote this blog post. Steve is up there saying that things “fall through the cracks,” but Russell, you made it sound like you contacted them several times about all of these issues (and by issues I mean: MASSIVE ERRORS) with no response. Then you go public and “suddenly” the owner of the company puts a public apology paying lip service in the comments? Eh…I’m not buying it.

    I mean, really. The errors you’ve listed in the Tumbleweed plans are so *glaringly* obvious once you start building, and like someone said above, they claim to employ architects and builders; it should not be the consumer’s fault or job to re-write building plans. Come. On. (Not mad at anyone here other than Tumbleweed, by the way). And to the person above who commented on the “up sell” of the plans at the workshops that most people will never use, it’s those “slick” marketing tactics that have put me off Tumbleweed and most tiny house companies completely. Follow that up with zero support for the plans, and it all screams “sleazy” to me. Like some sort of Boiler Room marketing scam for tiny houses.

    The suggestions above for Tumbleweed to make the plans open source, or for customers to start a webpage compiling what errors there are in the plans so other people can know are all well-intentioned. But you paid a LOT of money to have them be right; it sounds like it would have been quicker to make your own house plans in Sketch Up, which is ridiculous! $800 plans should not have errors in them. Period. You should receive a full refund. This is insanity! (Don’t get me started that they haven’t addressed the venting issue considering what Ella talked about on her blog. Wow).

    I’m Casey Friday’s wife, so maybe it’s just that I’m incredibly put off by our own tiny house experiences at this point and I’m really cynical. Your blog post is a thousand times nicer than mine would have been, so don’t worry about apologizing. My SEO-optimized title would have been something like “Buyer Beware: Why You Should Never Buy Tiny House Plans from Tumbleweed.”

    Thank you so much for your honesty; you’re saving a lot of people time, money, and heartache by going public. I’m always happy when TH people come forward with real, honesty experiences. Sorry your build was so rough due to someone else’s errors. Just know you aren’t alone! Good luck with the rest of your build. 😀

    -Jessica

  6. Lynette says:

    Couldn’t be more right about the plans than if you were walking around in my head for a day. Horrible and tons of tears. I’ve got a copy of the new plans and they are every bit as bad as the old ones. I just keep sending up lots of prayers the whole house doesn’t come down like cards when I get ready to move it. I’ve had to invest a lot of extra time and money to figure out the errors and redo the completed work. I plan to share this far and wide.

    • Hi Lynette,

      So sorry to hear that your build has been as difficult if not more difficult than mine. Thanks for sharing, though. Somehow, it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who struggled with the plans. I would love to hear more about your tiny house. Do you have a blog or some photos you would like to share?

      • Lynette says:

        I do not have a blog but can share photos via email jeangordon @yahoo:com or you can send me a friend request on Facebook.: Lynette Hammer in Spokane.

  7. MJ Waldschmidt says:

    I am in the process of down sizing now and getting ready to sell my house so I can get my own Tiny House. I have been reading blogs and doing research and I came across this sight. I am glad because I was thinking of getting Tumbleweed to build for me. I am going to one of their workshops on Nov.17 I know some things of building even though I am a female and I am not 100% sure I want to go with them. I am looking to move to Florida and I have questions on how they handle the tie downs to keep stable during high winds etc. I wish I could build myself but the body says can’t do it all. I live in PA and live in a small town I do not have the confidence in the people here to build one. Also I think Tumbleweed would charge me 3000. to deliver. What to do what to do. Any ideas would be appreciates.
    MJ

    • Hi MJ,

      While the plans may have some errors, my gut feeling is that the quality of the houses Tmbleweed builds themselves is actually pretty good. I have watched the Tumbleweed construction video and my impression of their construction team is that they are expert builders who have no problem working around deficiencies in the plans that would flummox someone like you or I. I also think that the price you pay for a tumbleweed house is fairly reasonable. They charge about $60 K for a house. The materials alone cost about $25K and it takes somewhere between 1500-2000 hours to build a house yourself. That means you’re basically only paying them about $20 an hour to build your house for you. I think that is a pretty good deal.

      My recommendation would be to go to the workshop and see how you feel afterwards. If the Tumbleweed staff makes a good impression on you, then go ahead and buy one of their houses. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if that is what you choose and it feels right to you.

      • MJ Waldschmidt says:

        Thanks for the reply. I just got my conformation for workshop, good idea to wait and see how I feel about them building for me.

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