"A" frame houses...thoughts anyone?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by glocknut, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    "A" frame houses....cheap to build, but do they provide the cheapest bang for the buck when it comes to getting maximum square footage for the least ammount of money? I'm not sure they do....
    Several people have told me the cheapest cost per square footage is to build a 2 story thus reducing the ammount of foundation needed.

    I understand ideas like building a simple design...ie a rectangular box type house and keeping the roof line simple reduce the cost of the home as well as keeping other things simple as well can keep costs down?

    Opinions anyone? Whats the cheapest type?

    mike
    gn
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  2. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

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    Mike the under ground house is the best in my book. If I was in a place that I could do it all but one simple great room would be under ground. just dig a big hole build the house and then fill with twice as much drainage as needed to prevent flooding and the energy cost will be greatly reduced.
  3. 22WRF

    22WRF Well-Known Member

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    A frames have have a lot of wasted space especially on the 2nd and 3rd floors unless you are vertically challenged. Hard to heat and cool.

    I think a dome house is a better concept.
  4. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    There was an A-frame up for sell for a LOOOONG time near us... Someone finally bought it and made it a used car dealership. I don't think they use space very wisely either.

    My wife and I had a simple two-story built, and added an unfinished basement with concrete floor for just $12/sq. ft. extra. Now, I thought this was a good idea, until a guy at work did something similar, but in a subdivision and dealing with corporate greed/idiocy... They wanted $36/sq. ft. extra to add an unfinished basement... :confused: I think that's because the standard house that the company built had no crawl space and was on a slab. To add the basement, they had to build support for the first floor...
  5. Willie

    Willie Active Member

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    I am a electrical contractor,mostly residential for over 30 yrs....I keep seeing people trying to come up with a "new" way of building but they always have trade-offs and don't do something well. The best design IMHO is the simple and often overlooked "ranch". Single story,no stairs or need for a expensive elevator(as we age) easy to build and live in. We even built one on pilings by the beach and it was a good home to live in and sold quickly when we were done. They are energy efficient when insulated well and quality windows and doors are used. If framed correctly the interior walls can almost all be removed for remodeling or expansion. The roof lines can be extended without it looking like a addition if desired. I would suggest a big lot,with room to expand. Also the humble ranch is real easy to maintain. No tall ladders to reach a peak on a second story to paint or repair. Roof can be a pitch to allow us to walk on and repair also. Dome homes,all that I have been in all seem to leak or sweat and mold etc. A-frames waste space and are hard to maintain. 2 or 3 storys have stairs etc and are hard to move furnature etc. Go for the ranch on a slab and build in a safe room for storage and also a storm shelter. Also back-up gen-set and your all set.:cool::cool::cool:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  6. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth New Member

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    Straw Bale!....

    I've seriously always been intrigued by these. :D

    Crpdeth

    Attached Files:

  7. An A-frame is probably the simplest and easiest of any design to build, Glock, and they are great for country where it snows a lot because you don't have to be concerned with the weight of a snow pack on the roof. In Arkansas though, that is probably not a primary concern. ;)
  8. Donny, wouldn't you be just a tad concerned about fire in one of those???? :eek:
  9. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Plus water retention, insect infestation and mold... :eek:
  10. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

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    Not to mention those pesky horses. Worse'n termites on a straw bale house...
  11. catfish83861

    catfish83861 New Member

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    I understand where Willie and others are coming from on maintenance and in ease of building. Old age be damned,:eek: I would if I had the money definitely have a basement. Matter of fact after I turn 62 which is this December/08 I may, the following year build me a basement in front of our small shack here in North Idaho. That would give me a daylight basement plus add another 1000 or so square feet onto the old house. Basements are relatively cheap when you consider most of the time there is a minimum 24" crawl space required then about another 16/24 inches below that for the footer. Heck go another 48 inches and you have the basement walls, add the concrete slab and you have great room that is very easy to heat and cool. They make absolutely marvelous rooms for family get together or just to have the extra space for junk you don't want upstairs. Ok now for elevators and the such. Unless I get really sick I don't think I need to worry about an elevator (heck I need to get out and walk anyway) and IF and when I do need that elevator it would be easy to build in the lift area for adding at a later date. Oh yea one other item on the daylight basement that I have wanted for a long time but couldn't afford. When it is built it will face the South, which just happens to be my rifle range,it when built will give me a neat 300 yard indoor rifle range.:eek: Well I will be shooting from indoors.:D;) catfish
  12. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    To elaborate on the heating and cooling aspect... Like I said, our house is a 2-story with a basement... It's 1000 sq. ft. on the first floor, about 850 on the 2nd floor, and 920 I think in the basement... If you lay your rooms out correctly, you can heat this ~2700 sq. ft. house like a 1000 sq. ft. house. The basement needs little to no heat. It regulates temperature pretty well because it's below the grade... The first and second floors are laid out such that we are on one floor until time to go to bed, and then we move to another floor. The thermostats are 7-day programmable so that the floor that we know we're not going to be used stays at a more energy friendly temperature until time to go to the next floor. It works out pretty well. We have NEVER had a power bill over $120 (average bill is more like $80), and electricity is the primary heating and cooling method here... Just some food for thought...

    It's VERY hard to make a ranch style home this energy efficient for the same floor space. The reason is that you can't lay out the rooms well enough to know when you will or will not be in a room and there's no defined barrier between the areas... :)
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  13. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    Oh i would never waste good money building here in Arkansas!!!!! :D

    I'm looking at several possable states... Iowa, South Dakota, or North Dakota are the primary possabilities at the moment. I'm looking for a town that is between 80,000 to 120,000 in size and has a fairly good economy but not to hot of one either....things get expensive when that happens.
    I need to have some kind of Tech college nearby where i can take some business, accounting, and computer classes....and a nudie bar also. Can't be without that don't ya know.... :D:D:D:D

    Nebraska is just too darn expensive to live in!!!!! To liscense a car there takes about $2500 on average for the first year if its a new car and then $2100 the next year and maybe $1800 the year after that. They have what they call a wheel tax that is based off of the value of the car....
    The last time i liscensed a car there it was a 13 year old chevy impala that the state itself valued it for tax purposes at $250 in value....but they wanted $290 to liscense it for 1 year!!!!!! Too many crooked politicians there also....

    mike
    gn
  14. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    I was bit by that bug a few years back. I bought 2 books on the subject and left them in the office and somebody walked off with them!!!! :mad:
    Nebraska style is supposedly the best way to do it. Alot of people go with the post and beam type that actually causes more problems than it allegedly solves....
    I think that i would rather go with conventional construction and have that blown in spray foam insulation put in the walls. Up in north country 6" walls are code...i was thinking about making 6" walls and then coming along with those metal 4" studs and lining the inside of the walls with those making a
    10" thick wall and have the spray foam insulation sprayed in to it. They claim the foam insulation is R30 at 6" thick so a 10"thick wall should almost be R50?.... not as impressive as the R180 that strawbales can do but much much better than standard Bat insulation....
    Resale of a straw bale house concerns me a bit...as well as insurability. It might be insurable but i don't know? My cousin just finished up a really nice house and wham bam he got hit by high winds that may or may not have been associated with tornado and half his house dissappeared.... 2 weeks later he had a massive heart attack and had to have surgery for a tripple bypass. He had insurance and it took care of him... So, i would never have any kind of home without having insurance on it. You just never know.

    Not once it is covered in stucko. Not enough air to keep it going if its been coated properly....The electrical is supposed to be in conduit anyways with strawbale houses.

    Not if its done right! The authors of a book i bought on the subject found one that had been built up near seattle washington "rainy country" that was in perfect condition and was actually over 100+ years old.

    Also...they have a thing for wrapping the bales in a kind of shrink wrap that seals the bails airtight if you choose to do so...

    Straw bale...not hay bail!!!! :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  15. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    This is basicly what i have been thinking lately...i just needed someone to say it.... ;)
    I like the idea of slab type foundation...i think its the cheapest and if i run the plumbing in some kind of tunnel or larger pipe underneath the slab foundation it will be easier to change out pipework down the road later if something goes wrong with it. Most builders who build a slab foundation do not plan for the "what if" when it comes to plumbing and wind up jack hammering out the floor when something does go wrong... not a good thing...especially considering it can be avoided by planning ahead.

    mike
    gn
  16. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    I hear where you're coming from but one of the places i'm looking at "ND" the freeze line...frost line..whatever its called it 6 Foot deep!!!! Admitedly everyone in that part of the country does indeed have basements but they do indeed heat them....
    Also...i have learned from past building projects that there is no such thing as "just go another X ammount" of this or that and you'll have this or that....
    It ALWAYS winds up increasing costs of other items...if not imediately..then down the line.
    I cannot conceive the idea of having a basement without a bathroom down there... and that would definately increase the cost of the plumbing either up front somewhat or more significantly if done down the road....
    And basements really do need de-humidification and there again another problem....dehumidifiers do not work well if the room temp is too low so it really does need to be heated for the dehumidifier to work right. And if you don't do it a musty smell can set in the basement and wind up getting upstairs as well.... afterall the furnaces are usually located downstairs when there is a basement!!!! Been there done that.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  17. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Depends on Uncle Sam's whim every 3 yrs.
    Or cattle eating it!!! lol
  18. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    You're in a warmer climate than i'll be in... i'm not sure a basement up north would stay warm enough?
    Plus i like it colder when i sleep than i do when i am awake. My experience with 2 story buildings is that the upstairs are much much hotter than down stairs...thus the opposite of the way i like to sleep.

    Your life sounds more stabe than mine. Even if i get a job up there with stable hours i have a bad tendancy on my days off to sleep an afternoon away and stay up during the night...so preplanned cycles with me are no there.... even if i only take a 1 or 2 hour nap in the afternoon on a day off i'd still like the room to be at a tolerable temperature....

    Admitedly it might be harder but thats where the "super insulating" comes in nice. Plus...i am dreaming a bit when i talk about having 1100 to 1200 square feet. I really don't need that much...in fact i'm debating the idea of initially building it with just one bedroom and then building a much oversized living room as to allow for the addition of a second bedroom if necessary down the road... i may well wind up with a building that is 950 to 1000 square feet in living size. Combine that with a degree of super insulating the whole thing and i think it might be pretty efficient? AND leaving out items like sliding glass doors which i ABSOLUTELY DESPISE those d*md things!!! and having fewer but more strategic window placements...and buying BETTER windows like the lowE and Argon filled ones will also add to the ease of heating and cooling it as well as stability of the overall temperature of the house? I think anyway??

    mike
    gn
  19. Bruce FLinch

    Bruce FLinch New Member

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    A 2 story house is cheaper to build per sq ft because of reduced cost in building foundation & roof. But if you only want 1000-1200 sq ft, then a 2 story doesn't make much sense.

    Check out www.icfhomes.com

    My brother built a 2 story house pretty much by himself in Michigan.
    2200 sq ft. Takes 60,000 btu to heat & 30,000 btu to cool.
  20. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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    Crpdeth took the thought right out of my head.

    Those straw houses are warm, inexpensive, fast, the biggest bang for your buck than anything else. The hay bales are not layed on the ground, but rather on a 6” tall footer (depending on your local code), just like adobe. This ensures that the product never gets wet.

    But if that isn’t your style for some reason. One might look at something that has concrete walls. The prices for materials adds up to about the same as a wooden frame, but then subtract all the labor that it takes to frame it up. Months worth of money saved.
    Stronger than almost anything mother nature can through at it. Depending on the type of doors and windows that are installed and how they are installed, you can actually make a “cop proof” house.
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