7 Great Tips for Making Your Very Own Houseboat

by Sarah Ruhlman

Houseboats are a blast to own. They are technically houses, that are built on top of maneuverable floating platforms. This gives them the ability to float and travel through bodies of water. Most houseboats are built for traveling through rivers, but some are robust enough for the sea. It goes without saying that houseboats make life an adventure. But if you want to have a houseboat of your very own, you should know how to build it, and what owning one really entails. Here are 7 great tips for making your very own houseboat.

  1. Know the costs first

Before you start the construction process, it is important that you know how much it will cost you. Remember that building a houseboat is like building a house. It will usually have all the fixtures and amenities that a house has. The only difference is that it is built on top of a floating platform. 

The cost usually varies in size and the materials used. The larger the boat and the better quality of materials used, the more expensive it will be. If you build a small houseboat, with fewer fixtures the cost would be within $2000 t0 $5000. But if it’s a larger houseboat, the overall costs can start from $10000 to$35000.

The cost of building materials such as wood, glass, aluminum, and other materials can run from $15000 to $20000. This usually depends on the quality of your materials and other factors such as logistics and the distance from the nearest hardware depot.

There a lot of floating platforms for sale online. Their cost depends on the materials, and whether you buy it used or new. If it’s used pontoons usually cost around $3000. But if it’s new, it could cost around $10000. The motor can cost around $4000 for a medium-sized one and around $10000 for a large-sized motor. 

  1. Find a wide enough space to build your houseboat

Aside from the cost of materials, you should also find adequate building space. Remember that you are technically building a house. So if you just work at it in your backyard, you’ll have a hard time moving it to the water once you’re finished. 

Having property near the river would be ideal because you will be able to build and store your houseboat there. You can also make a personal dock where you can park your houseboat during storms. The building process can also be quite loud, and if you build it within a community, your neighbors might get annoyed. Overall it’s much better to find a private and secluded area where you can build to your heart’s content.

  1. Know the legalities of building a houseboat

Owning a houseboat can take a lot of paperwork. A houseboat is technically a boat. So in order to operate it, you will need a boating license. You will also need to contact the coast guard for permission to build your boat. You should also check houseboat regulations. You don’t want to start building your houseboat only to find out you broke some regulations.

  1. Choose a workable houseboat design

Before you start working on your houseboat, you should have a design. There is a myriad of detailed houseboat designs online. They are affordable so you can buy a lot of them. That way you have a lot of options to choose from. They are also very easy to understand, so whether you are a veteran woodworker or a newbie, you can still understand them. 

Never attempt to build a houseboat without a set design. You’ll just end up getting confused and making a lot of mistakes. So just take the time to find great houseboat designs, and follow them to the letter.

  1. Assemble all the materials you will need

Building a houseboat can be pretty stressful. It is a very work-intensive task, and you will need to focus on the task at hand. This is why you should assemble all the materials you will need during the building process. Remember that your construction site should be near the river and far away from communities. So if you buy your materials piecemeal, you’ll have a hard time once you start building your houseboat. 

You might run out of materials, and this will force you to stop construction just to buy more. Do yourself a favor and make a detailed list of everything you need. Then you should buy them in bulk, and have them delivered to your worksite. That way you can fully focus on the building process without any interruptions. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help

You might be a master woodworker, but you may have limited experience in certain areas like wiring, plumbing, etc. You will need to have a very wide skill set in order to make a sturdy and safe houseboat. So don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. You can look around for a contractor to help you. Just make sure that the contractor you hire is licensed and has experience working on houseboats.

  1. Create a schedule for your houseboat construction

If there’s one thing you should know about building a houseboat, is that it will take a long time. The usual time it takes to finish a houseboat is 3 to 6 months, depending on the work and help you have. This is why you should have a set schedule to follow. So when you make your schedule, you should set it during times where you are already done with your other tasks. That way, you can fully focus on the construction process a hundred percent.

Conclusion

Building a houseboat is a huge undertaking. You are building a floating house,  so it will take a lot of money and elbow grease to finish. Don’t worry though, with these tips you can get started the right way. 

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