First We’d like to welcome you to the CTH website and blog! Thanks for your support. If you’ve made it this far then you’re probably somewhat interested in a van build and looking for as much information as possible. There’s a TON of information out there, and it can be quite a whirlwind. We hope to help separate the wheat from the chaff through these blog posts by answering and writing about common themes in the build process and about this lifestyle in general. We don’t know everything, but we have a lot of experience in construction, design, and the mechanical systems that are common to these builds. Whenever you’re researching a topic ask yourself “does this guy really know what he’s doing?”
So you’ve bought a van, or maybe you’re thinking about buying one, and you want someone to build it out for you- you’re in a great spot. You have a totally clean slate! The possibilities are endless and you’ve probably spent hours laying a tape floorplan, looking at dometic fridges, solar panels, etc. This is great, a solid idea of what you want is the first step to a successful build. I wanted to lay down our approach to a project from the initial emails to when you drive away, as well as some FAQ to give you an idea of how it all works. We keep it simple at CTH, because isn’t that what the tiny life is about?
Full builds are our most common request. This includes everything plus the kitchen sink (literally). We take a great deal of pride in our craft, and work with you remotely to create a beautiful and functional design to fulfill your needs. The process starts with your set of ideas or vision which we use as the project’s foundation. The greater the amount of ideas the better: pictures, links, and drawings are all fantastic media to work with.
I take these ideas, draft a quote, and run it by you. If you agree to it, I ask for a non-refundable $500 deposit that comes off of the projects total. This holds your place in line and covers design time and time spent gathering materials.
Once we have a design set, you are responsible for bringing the vehicle to the shop where we spend some time going over the logistics, laying tape on the floor and further ironing out the details of the build. But don’t feel like everything is set in stone after you leave! Changes can be made during the process if requested in writing and in reasonable time. Half of the balance is due at drop off. We accept cash, check, cashiers check, and all major credit cards (2.6% fee)
Full van builds with kitchen, bed, storage, bench and basic creature comforts take around 4-8 weeks to complete. Major changes in design mid-build may add time to the project. We handle projects one at a time allowing us to focus all of my energy on your build, minimizing mistakes and ensuring quality.
Rough ins are a great way to have a big part in your project if you don’t have the means or know how to take on the trivial first steps of a build. A rough in usually involves installation of the subfloor, wall and roof framing, wiring, electrical panel and plumbing. Wool insulation, vent fan, air conditioning, windows, finished roof and solar are also installed at this time, if applicable. Though the extent of the build is totally up to you. The build process from start to finish is similar to a full build, but with far fewer details. All that’s really necessary to know is the scope of your plumbing, electrical, and solar systems as well as your floor plan and the direction you want to go once we hand the vehicle back.
As with the full builds, I ask for a non-refundable $500 deposit that comes off of the projects total. This holds your place in line and covers design time and time spent gathering materials. Once we have a design set, you are responsible for bringing the vehicle or trailer to the shop where we spend some time going over the logistics, laying tape on the floor and further ironing out the details of the build. Half of the balance is due at drop off and the remainder at pickup.