A Houseboat on the cheap

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Janemarie, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Janemarie
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: USA

    Janemarie Junior Member

    Hello! I am looking into moving and considering building a houseboat instead of buying a house or (god forbid) paying outrageous rental fees. I do not need a lot of space (maybe 25' x 15') but would like to have a rooftop garden for vegetable and would not need the structure to be operational as I plan to tow it.

    I want to build something like this... http://www.simplicityboats.com/coolwater.html (yes I know $70 was only the price in the 50's...not now)

    This is a hard project for me to wrap my head around...even in the contemplation stages.

    I am curious what the low end cost for building such a structure would be and how much of the building materials I can reuse from other projects (like my friends construction company).

    Thanks for the help.

    Jane Marie
     
  2. MoeJoe
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    Location: Stockholm, Sweden

    MoeJoe Junior Member

    I've seen a setup with 2x old military floating bridge sections +an old caravan used as a low budget houseboat. Was pretty neat, it had a big BBQ, a hammock and an outboard engine to move around.. I'd think this cost less than building the whole thing with wood but maybe not..
     
  3. Janemarie
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    Janemarie Junior Member

    That's a good idea! I have heard that in the Bayou they use a 55 gallon drum for every 200lbs to float with. I am willing to makeshift anything. In my mind the more I can recycle materials the better as long as it is not at the cost of stability.
     
  4. Janemarie
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    Janemarie Junior Member

    I mostly just want to live in it: cook, shower, paint. garden on the roof and fish off the back. I will be moving to Oregon where it is fairly cold so I would need maintain warmth of course.
     
  5. Janemarie
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    Janemarie Junior Member

  6. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Also, ask your construction friend the same question.
     
  7. rberrey
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: AL gulf coast

    rberrey Senior Member

    Buy a 20' conx ( shipping container) about $2000.00 . Lighten it up by cutting in windows and doors, sky lights, or top hatches.Another option would be an old rental office trailor,call around rental places and see if they have one they want to get off the books. You would have to strip out the drywall and insulation, also floor insulation as well and maybe the floor depending on the material used. Go back with foam insulation and fiberglass wall board. Build your pontoons to extend fore and aft. Rick
     
  8. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    why build from scratch, you can buy a old travel trailer cheap and just mount it on a deck supported by those plastic drums, here are some cleaver examples:

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  9. Janemarie
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Janemarie Junior Member

    OOH! I like the third one down
     
  10. Janemarie
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    Janemarie Junior Member

    what do you mean by not working?

    I have several financial ventures. My husband and I operate a company that grows organic gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. I can do this in a fairly small space and plan to move to make our company more profitable.

    Perhaps I misread your comment but I never even implied that I would not be working.
     
  11. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    That third one down looks like they got an old barge hull or perhaps a tug hull salvage, and than built a house from salvaged building materials on it.

    There are many houseboats around Seattle, the are not really "boats" but some rather nice and very conventional looking houses on floating platforms. I see no reason that normal house building materials and methods could not be used for such a project, but being on the water would indicated you should spend a bit more on using all galvanized nails and screws, lots of sealant and extra care to prevent trapped moisture, and selection of especially moisture resistant materials, and lots of extra coats of paint, sealants and finishes. Do not use the normal gypsum wall board inside, but perhaps cedar planks stained white, or all "green board" (moisture resistant wall board used in bathrooms). If you salvage building materials, buy a suitable hull and refurbish it, building it in the conventional way you will not have to spend too much to have a nice floating living space. You also might look at a used one and restore it, compare that cost to building cost. Also, look for abandon projects, those you can pick up cheap and finish it yourself. Do not get one that is too big for your needs, even if it is cheap (or free), restoring and maintenance costs really add up over long term.

    Also, make sure you go find people living in them now in your area and talk to them about the laws regarding moorage, anchoring, etc. There may not be any places you can anchor for free, and the space rental more than renting a house.

    BTW, I do not think WestVan was implying you are not working, but was referring to the time you spend building or restoring a house boat is not free, but takes away from earning income else where. The "cost" of undertaking such a project is potential income earning time.

    sounds like a fun project, good luck.
     
  12. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Location: Vancouver

    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    "Cheap,low end cost,scavenge,willing to makeshift "

    You'll see.
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    As Petros mentioned, in the northwest, there are quite a few waterside living arrangements available. You'd be best advised to look at what's there first. You can find anything from a floating condo, with no resemblance to a boat, except that it's berthed, to converted working craft, that still can operate as a boat occasionally. In the current market, you can get real deals, especially if you're willing to make a conversion or renovation.

    Yeah, I tried calling them medicinal mushrooms too . . .
     
  14. Janemarie
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Janemarie Junior Member

    I grow Oysters, Lion's Mane, Portabellas, Shitake, Turkey Tails, Crodyceps, as well as brewing Kombucha. I sell the edible varieties at the local farmers market as well a locally owned Co-op. I have never grown anything remotely questionable.

    Thanks.

    Addition...to be honest, I find the type of fungi you are referring to as pretty boring. I am more interested in integrating a paper recycling company with the intent of growing edible mushrooms to gourmet restaurants (most specializing in vegan and vegetarian cuisine) for top dollar.
     

  15. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    are there any rules in oregon about the construction and appearance of houseboats. i know if the house boats pictured above were here on our lakes they would be told to move on from most places. there is one going cheap at the moment for that reason. it may be worth your time to ask the relevant authority.
     
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