The cost of building an A-Frame home is relatively low compared to other housing options. With the right contractor and materials, your cozy and charming house can be built within a reasonable budget. So, whether you’re looking for a full-time dwelling or a weekend getaway, an A-Frame house is worth considering.
If living in an idyllic A-frame cabin is your dream, you may be wondering what it would cost to build one. Thankfully, building an A-frame house isn’t out of reach. Whether you’re using a prefab kit or looking to save money by building a tiny A-frame, these home models are reasonably affordable compared to other styles.
In this article, we’ll explore what goes into budgeting for creating your perfect sanctuary — from permits to labor costs — so you can make an informed decision.
What is an A-frame house?
An A-frame house, or A-shaped house, is a type of structure featuring steeply angled walls that come together to form the shape of the letter A. Although the concept of A-Frame houses has existed for centuries, their popularity rose in the 1950s when architects started exploring various shapes and designs..
Typically, this style of house has walls that extend from just beyond the eaves of the roof all the way to the ground, giving it a symmetrical triangular look from the outside. The interior of an A-frame house typically features high ceilings and large windows that allow plenty of natural light to shine in.
With their distinct features and charming aesthetic, A-frame homes are popular among homeowners looking for something that stands out from traditional architectural styles.
How much does it cost to build an A-frame house?
Building an A-frame house is relatively affordable compared to other types of homes. The cost of constructing an A-Frame house with an average size of 1,000 square feet ranges from $100,000 to $200,000, with an average cost of $150,000. However, this cost could increase or decrease depending on the location, the materials required, and whether you’d need professional help.
Below, we’ll provide a detailed breakdown of the costs associated with an A-frame home construction project.
Site prep is the work you do before building a house. It includes getting rid of trees and bushes, leveling the ground, getting a building permit, etc. Here’s how much these steps could cost for one acre of land:
- Land survey: $1,000 to $2,000
- Land clearing: $500 to $5,000
- Soil testing: $700 to $1,800
- Building permits: $150 to $1,500
- Underground utilities: $500 to $5,000
- Residential site plan: $600 to $1,200
Utilities and services
It’s important to consider potential costs associated with installing and connecting utility services before beginning construction on your dream home. The average cost to set up utilities on land is around $20,400, though this number may vary depending on your land’s soil type, topography, and location.
Here’s a more detailed look at what you can expect to pay to set up essential utilities:
- Sewer line: $1,300 to $5,000
- Electricity hookup: $1,000
- Natural gas: $120 to $1,350
- Drilling a well: $5,500 to $12,000
- Telephone/cable TV: $100 to $200
Building materials and labor costs
The average cost of building a 1,000-square-foot A-frame house (including labor and material) is $150,000. Apart from hiring a general contractor to oversee your entire building project, you’ll also need help from multiple professionals who specialize in specific areas such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, and drywalling.
Let’s take a look at how much you can expect to pay for their services:
- General contractor: 10% to 20% of total project cost
- Electricians: $50 to $100 per hour
- Interior designer: $50 to $200 per hour
- Plumber: $50 to $200 per hour
- Landscape architect: $50 to $150 per hour
- Construction manager: 5% to 10% of total project cost
Interior and exterior finishing
The final step in constructing an A-frame house is the interior and exterior finishing. This can range from a simple paint job to elaborate decorations, depending on the design of the house. Here are some common interior and exterior finishing projects and their costs:
- Window installation: $3,000 to $10,000
- Flooring: $3 to $22 per square foot
- Countertop installation: $2,000 to $4,500
- Interior furnishing: $1,500 to $20,000
- Interior house painting: around $3.50 per square foot
- Exterior siding: $5,000 to $15,000
Even though A-frame houses are more affordable than other types of homes, you’ll probably still need to apply for financing to complete the project. To get the best loan terms and interest rates, compare your available options before deciding on a mortgage loan.
Using an A-frame house kit
Consider using A-frame house kits if you don’t want to shell out a huge chunk of your savings to build an A-frame home. These kits cost significantly less than building from scratch since they come with all the materials you need, such as pre-cut wood and other essentials. All you have to do is assemble it. However, you’ll still need to prepare the plumbing, foundation, and electrical on-site before installing an A-frame kit.
If you’re an experienced builder or like to do it yourself, going this route can save you a significant amount of money since most kits start at around $20,000 and rarely go over $60,000.
Pros and cons of A-frame houses
Interested in living in an A-frame house? Here are some pros and cons you should consider before taking the plunge.
Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.
- Cost-efficient. A-frame houses are known for their cost-efficiency since they can be built quickly and require fewer materials than traditional homes.
- Lets in lots of natural light. Often boasting high interior ceilings, wide open floor plans, and large windows, A-frame houses are designed to allow ample sunlight to illuminate the space and create a bright and airy living area.
- Prevents snow buildup. Due to the steeply angled roofline, snow accumulates much slower on an A-frame roof than it would with a flat roof structure.
- Unique design. A-frames offer a unique aesthetic look not found with other housing designs — making them great as a vacation home or weekend getaway.
- Lack of convenient storage space. The interior design layout of an A-frame house often has limited wall space due to the angled walls, making it difficult to install built-in cabinets or shelves. However, this lack of internal storage can usually be solved with additional external structures like detached sheds or garages.
- Limited space on upper floors due to roof size. Since the roofline of an A-frame house is so steep, there isn’t much space available on the upper levels. This makes it difficult to create additional rooms on these floors.
- Awkward interior angles. The awkward interior angles associated with an A-frame house can also be a con for some people. Since the walls are slanted up towards the steep roof peak, they create unusual corners and angles that can make decorating challenging.
- Susceptible to termites. Because many A-frame houses use wooden construction materials, they’re more susceptible to termites and other pests which can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.
Is building an A-frame house a good idea?
As mentioned above, A-frame houses have many advantages. However, there are various factors to consider when deciding whether an A-Frame house is a good idea for you.
Matt Teifke, real estate investor and founder of Teifke Real Estate, points out that while A-frame houses may be cheaper upfront, necessary exterior and roof repairs may cause you to spend those extra savings.
You should think about the climate of where you want to build the A-frame house. An A-frame house is not typically well suited to tropical climates or areas with high levels of winds and precipitation. These conditions can cause the walls and roof of an A-Frame house to break down over time, leading to costly repairs or replacements,” says Teifke.
Apart from climate and weather conditions, be sure to consider the other potential downsides of an A-frame house before constructing one, such as the lack of storage space and awkward interior angles.
Is it cheaper to build your own A-frame house?
Due to their simple triangular structure, A-frame houses require fewer materials and labor hours and can be completed more quickly than ordinary houses. So yes, A-frame houses are generally cheaper to build than other types of houses.
You can expect to shell out anywhere from $100 to $200 per square foot to construct an A-frame house. On the other hand, a traditional house may require over $300,000 to build — not including the price of land.
How much does it cost to build a simple A-frame house?
A simple 1,000-square-foot A-frame house could cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000. Of course, the exact cost of the construction varies depending on the materials you use and how much professional help you need. And if you want a custom-designed A-frame house instead of a simple one, prepare to pay upwards of $300,000 over even more.
How long does it take to build an A-frame house?
Constructing an A-frame house typically takes four to eight months to complete — though it could be longer depending on the complexity of the design and scale of the project. Many factors can influence the amount of time it takes to construct an A-frame house. This includes the complexity of the design, additional features you may have requested, and weather-related delays.
If you work with a general contractor, they should be able to provide an estimate that outlines the approximate construction timeline and completion date.
What is the cheapest style of house to build?
The cheapest type of house to build is a rectangular tiny home, which typically only costs around $97,500. Because tiny homes are less than 400 square feet, they require far fewer materials, making construction rather affordable.
- Building an A-frame house is relatively affordable, with the average cost ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.
- The costs associated with building an A-frame include site prep, utilities and services, building materials/labor costs, as well as interior and exterior finishing.
- Using an A-frame kit could save you money since they start at around $20,000. However, you’ll still need to prepare the plumbing foundation and electrical onsite before installing it.
- Pros of living in a frame house include cost efficiency, lots of natural light due to high ceilings and large windows, as well as snow buildup prevention. Cons include a lack of storage space, limited space on upper floors, and susceptibility to termites due to wooden framing.
View Article Sources
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- Energy-Efficient Home Design — U.S. Department of Energy
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