An A-frame house is a type of home that is easily identified by its triangular, “A” shaped structure. It has a steep, pitched roof that stretches to the ground on either side of the home. A-frame houses are often found in mountain towns or more remote areas due to their cabin feel and durability in heavy snow.
People like to build A-frame houses on their own from prefab-kits, but you may also be able to buy one. While they are cheaper to build than your standard house, they may only work best as a vacation home rather than as your first home, given their size and other limitations, like lack of storage space.
Almost everything about A-frame homes is unique. For that reason, it’s no surprise their popularity is surging in the post-pandemic world. Many people are looking to build or buy their own A-frame property as they begin work remotely, travel to new destinations, and stay in unique vacation homes.
An A-frame house is a great choice if you’re looking for somewhere unique to vacation, rent out, or even relocate to. Its features include:
If you’re considering buying or building an A-frame house, review the advantages and disadvantages that come along with this type of property.
You are most likely to find an A-frame house for sale in mountainous or wooded areas. This is because they have a cabin feel that fits those regions and they are extremely durable against large amounts of snow. In the United States, you’ll find A-frames in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, or the mountainous regions in the West.
You are also likely to find A-frame houses used as ski chalets in tourist areas because they are relatively inexpensive to buy or build, so they make great vacation homes or rental properties.
Just because A-frame homes fare well in cold climates does not mean that is the only place you will find them, though. You can build an A-frame house just about anywhere, so if you are looking to buy one, look in a variety of areas. Work with a real estate professional to locate A-frame properties near your ideal destination.
Although the process of building and designing A-frame houses is relatively straightforward, there is still a fair amount of preparation and research required. Read this overview of the process to get an understanding of what it will look like if you decide to build.
Before you start the build process, get familiar with the many types of prefab kits that are available. You can also build and design A-frames from scratch, but kits provide all of the materials and instructions you need for assembly so they are worth considering. Identify the size you are looking for and ensure it is within your budget.
Identify the land you want to build on and submit your plans for a building permit. Location is an important factor if you plan to sell or rent the property. Resale values vary widely depending on the location. For example, since A-frames are smaller and lack privacy, it will be more difficult to resell the property if you build it in a residential, family neighborhood instead of a remote vacation destination.
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Determine whether you plan to build the A-frame yourself or hire professionals. If you’re using a kit, select one suited to your lot size and the features you are looking for.
Make sure your foundation is ready when the kit arrives so that you can begin building. Your foundation should be dry and you may need to consult with an expert to make sure your soil reading before you pour the foundation.
Use the materials in the kit to build the structure of the home. Follow the instructions in the kit and use the drawing of the home to guide you. You will need a drill, screwdriver, clamps, and other basic building tools to assemble the structure.
Ensure the insulation is air-tight when you install it. This is what will keep the home warm in cold conditions. Install electricity, plumbing, and heating throughout the home. Add the remaining interior elements like flooring, appliances, and windows.
Related: Baseboard heating vs. forced air
If you’d like, you can paint the exterior of the home and landscape the surrounding area. The home is ready for you to furnish and move in. If you plan to use the home as a rental property, consider hiring a vacation property manager to oversee your online listing.
→ Learn whether you should sell or rent your home
Yes, A-frame homes are cheaper to build than other houses. They cost $100 to $200 per square foot on average, so you can expect to spend around $150,000 on a 1,000 square foot home (not including land or additional labor).
They tend to be less expensive because they require fewer materials and are smaller than most family homes.
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