How to Build a Floating Home

Eli Laurens

Building a floating home can be challenging, but building a wave-going house can be very rewarding. The ideal house on the water is efficient, independent and can weather as well as a land-based house. Using common materials, a floating house can be built by the average person in about one month.

Custom floating home built on a single "pontoon" style boat
    Pontoon platform arrangement
  1. Connect the four "pontoon" style boats together, two abreast and two long to form a rectangle. Remove the engines and steering hardware from the front two boats before placement. Weld the connecting platforms, then weld in support braces from measured lengths of steel frame bars across the pontoon frames. Do not weld the pontoons themselves because they are sealed and should not be ruptured. Be sure the boats sit within one inch of each other at the platforms and are level once connected.

  2. Link the steering hardware from the rear two boats to a single location. Both engines can be left in place (normally outboard type motors are on pontoon boats), or one can be centered in the rear of the connected boats. The steering hardware will be easier to modify with one engine, but might lack enough power to maintain speed.

  3. Remove the boats' roof and supports from the decks. With the four pontoon platforms united, there is a large mobile surface area that serves as a foundation for a home. With the roofs removed, the rail around the edge of the platforms can be cut and welded to conform to a single outside edge.

  4. Remove the front two boats' gasoline tanks and lines, leaving the rear two tanks in place. The rear tanks can be linked with a switching valve.

  5. Build the exterior of the home onto the platforms. If the entire surface is not going to be used for the house, be sure to center the home so the weight will be distributed evenly. A simple, lightweight house will perform better in all areas, and the electrical conduit pipe can be welded up from the unused roof mounts in a variety of shapes. Geodesic domes or square framed homes can be welded together and then covered with a marine quality fiberglass. Windows can be salvaged from marine vehicles as can kitchen and toilet appliances.

  6. Wire the electrical interior of the house. Ideally, an economical form of electrical generation, such as solar or wind driven generators, should be installed.

  7. Install the desired walls and appliances. Several small rooms or two large rooms can be created from the area provided by the large platforms.

  8. Tip

    Leaving enough space between the edge of the house and the rail will give a wrap-around deck. More pontoon boats can be added to create a truly large home


    Do not build a house that is too heavy or not centered. Observe custom boathouse regulations for your state.