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There are many types of teardrop trailers available on the market. Their prices range from $5,000 to $16,000. The difference in prices is because of variations in design, comfort level, and features. Teardrop trailers worth around $5,000, for instance, have very basic designs and include only a handful of features. In contrast, more expensive teardrop trailers have advanced designs and include many amazing features and amenities.
Because the cheaper teardrop trailers are worth around $5,000 and are very basic, many DIY enthusiasts are opting to build their own teardrop trailers for around the same price but with many more features. Many are also opting to build their own teardrop trailers for less than half the price of the cheapest teardrop trailers on the market.
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In this post, I will share with you everything you need to know about the cost of building a decent and functional teardrop trailer. The information will help you to decide whether to build your own teardrop trailer or just to buy a new one.
DIY Teardrop Trailer Cost
One of the things you should have in mind if you want to build your own teardrop trailer is that it is not going to be an easy job. Moreover, it is not necessarily going to be cheap. You need plenty of time and money to build a decent teardrop trailer. But that said, you can build a very basic trailer for as little as $2,500. This is the bare minimum you need to spend to put together a safe and functional teardrop trailer.
However, what you build with this amount will probably be lacking in terms of comfort and utility. Moreover, if you have ever done a major DIY project then you know how time and costs can snowball. What you expect to take you three thousand bucks and about 12 hours every week for several weeks may end up costing you much more money and making you spend a lot more time.
So if you are not really committed or prepared to do things the right way you should stop right now. Get out your credit card or checkbook and buy a new teardrop trailer. But if you are ready and committed to building your own trailer, then read on.
Cost of Components for a Simple 4 BY 8 Teardrop Trailer
As mentioned, you can build a teardrop trailer for as little as $2,500. You can even spend only one thousand bucks to build a really frugal one. However, if you want something that is functional and relatively comfortable, be prepared to spend around $3,000.
A decent DIY teardrop trailer is made up of multiple components. Some of them are essential while others are not. The essential ones are the ones that you must buy to build your trailer. While the non-essential ones are “luxury” features.
Below are some key essential and non-essential DIY teardrop trailer components and their costs:
The Trailer Chassis – Approx. cost $500
The trailer chassis is an essential teardrop trailer component. It is the frame on which you will build your trailer. A number of companies sell this trailer component online for between $300 and $500. A new one from a reputable company such as Harbor Freight or Northern Tool will cost you around $600.
However, before going for a new trailer chassis, you should check on social media and any other place where you can buy a used one. You could find one much cheaper than $600. However, you should remember that whether you are buying a new trailer chassis or a used one, the axle capacity is the most important thing to look at. What you are buying should have the capacity to carry the weight of the other components you want to include in your DIY teardrop trailer plus yourself.
The Floor – Approx. cost $80
The trailer chassis you buy will come with its own bare floor or metal floor. To make it livable, you need to add a floor. Two layers of plywood should be enough. The layers of plywood plus a waterproof sealer and bolts should come to about $80.
The Roof and the Hatch – Approx. cost $140
Most DIY teardrop trailer builders use sandwich plywood to build the roof and the hatch of their trailers. The number of plywood sheets you will need to buy and their sizes will depend on the size of the teardrop trailer you want to build. However, if you want just a decent-sized teardrop trailer, it should not cost you more than $140 to buy the plywood and the other items you need to put everything together.
The Galley – Approx. cost $150 (depends)
The amount you will spend on the galley will depend on what you want to include in it. If you want a full galley, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money. If you want a simple galley with storage, you will probably spend a lot less.
A simple galley is a countertop kitchen that only has storage cabinets. It does not include any extras. It is easy to build such galleys if you have the right expertise. It is also cheap – it should not cost more than $150. Alternatively, you can order a countertop galley from a specialist woodwork workshop. However, I must insist that it is a much better option to build your own rather than to order if you have the right skills. Because even when you order with the “right” measurements, you might still need to make adjustments during installation.
Some of the extras, you may have to consider to make your galley more convenient include a cooler, a stove, and a sink. It is such extras/ features that have the potential to increase the total cost of building the teardrop trailer several times.
The Teardrop Camper Door – Approx. cost $900
You may be wondering, “Why should a mere door be so expensive?” “Can’t I make one on my own?” Well, there is no problem if you want to make your own teardrop trailer door. However, many people who have tried to do so in the past have ended up disappointed and wishing they could have simply bought a door. This is because of how tasking it is to build such doors and all the things that have to be considered. New teardrop doors cost around $900. However, you do not need to buy new ones. You can get a used teardrop door on eBay or Facebook for much less.
The Teardrop Hatch Fan – Approx. cost $150
To save on costs, you should include windows in your teardrop door or doors. With the windows, you will not need to install vents or an expensive ventilation system. However, to make sure the air is flowing in your teardrop camper, you should buy a teardrop hatch fan. There are several models and brands available on the market. The cheapest will set you back about 150 bucks.
The Electric System – Approx. cost $450
For your camper to be complete, you need to build an electric system. Some of the things that you will need to buy to ensure your camper is electric and modern enough include a power inlet, a battery, a converter, wires, a fuse box, lights, and outlets. Purchasing these electric components will set you back about $400.
You may want to include a TV and maybe an air conditioning system to your teardrop trailer. However, these are not necessary. Because a teardrop trailer is for traveling and exploring the outdoors; not a traveling hotel room.
Waterproofing – Approx. cost $150
You could simply waterproof your teardrop hatch by applying a couple of coats of outdoor paint. This will probably be good enough for a couple of months or even years but it is not a permanent solution. An example of a permanent waterproofing solution that many DIY teardrop trailer builders are considering right now is Poor Man’s Fiberglass (PMF). This solution is effective and affordable. Other solutions include the use of aluminum or real fiberglass.
It is not a must to use just one of these solutions. You could mix them. You could have an aluminum roof and fiberglass or PMF sides. If you implement a PMF waterproofing solution, you only need to spend approximately $150.
Total Cost and Final Thoughts
The total cost of building a DIY teardrop trailer according to the approximate costs above is $2,370. However, to be on the safe side and considering any extras you will include, you should be prepared to spend about $3,000 to build your own teardrop trailer.