Anyone know about house Kits?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by freedom-rider, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. freedom-rider

    freedom-rider Member

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    Does anyone know about or have experience with house kits? Stick built? Log? Steel?

    I know that 84 Lumber and Carter Lumber have home kits where they drop off many of the materials needed for the "shell" and you are responsible for building or sub-contracting the construction.

    I know the same can be said for lots of log cabin companies out there. The problem is that there are SO many to sift through online. I've heard/read that it's a bit of a gamble when it comes to log home kits too in terms of quality, ease of building, etc.

    I've heard about a company in Texas that has steel home kits and that one can build for real cheap but I cannot find it.

    Not sure if this is the right area to post this question but any help, advice, insight is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    My ex and I built a kit house and figured that we could have done it from scratch for about a third of the cost. That's paying someone a lot of money to draw up a materials list and do some cutting for you. Study some home-building books from the library, and then do a couple of smaller projects, like a shed, garage, or barn. You'll be able to tackle building a house from scratch and save a lot of money.

    Kathleen
     

  3. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Steel home kits? There are page after page of them in the "Thrifty Nickel" advertising papers. At least the local ones hereabouts in e Texas.
     
  4. survivalpro

    survivalpro Active Member

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  5. survivalpro

    survivalpro Active Member

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  6. KMA1

    KMA1 Well-Known Member

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    You can take any demensioned house plan to just about any quality building supply company and they will owkr up a materials list for you for free if you agree to buy all or a percentage of your materials from them. They will also usually give you a discount price (contractor price) on the materials. That is the way I would go. You may also get better quality materials than in a big box store kit deal. I have done that. Still get the discount even though the house I built was 18 years ago.

    All log kits are not equal, and some are trash. Most use small pine logs, which create lots of future problems. Most dont have the overhang need to protect the wall logs. There are very good companies out there, but you pay for what you get. I live in a log house that my wife and I built except for the logs and stacking them, and I am still very happy with it. But it was from one of the most expensive companies. Their guarentee convinced my. It was simply this, "If you have a problem with any of your log structure for any reason, we will fix it for as long as you or your wife live." No problems after 17 years.

    Can't help with the metal.
     
  7. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you that my brother in Vegas built his two story Tudor style home from a kit. This thing contained EVERYTHING, including an attached garage. Arrived in sections of course, as needed.

    This is a nice home but that was 20 years ago. My bro did it for the most part by himself with help from family when needed. It's a beautiful home still today.

    He did remodel the master bath and put in a sunken tub and larger shower about 5 years ago and other improvments over the years.

    Good luck on your search. If it helps I can find out where he ordered it from. At least you'd know if they were still in business.

    This sounds really exciting. LQ
     
  8. roachhill

    roachhill Well-Known Member

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    I bought a small log kit. It was affordable but a lot of work to assemble by myself. I bought it from The Original Log Cabin Homes. I probably could have built a cheaper house with cordwood construction or stone but the kit with engineered blueprints makes getting permits easier. The kit was pretty nice but they were a pain in the butt to deal with. Several times they tried to violate the contract and I would have to read it to them to get them to back off. Twice I called the company owner and read the contract to him to fix things which solved the problem in under 5 mins both times. He seemed to care but his customer no service dept. was intolerable. I really like the shelter-kit out of New Hampshire for affordable housing. Does anyone have experience with them?
     
  9. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The words kit home can mean just about anything.
    Several lumberyards around here offer kit homes. They are really a collections of boards, sheeting, windows, siding and shingles. Everything to close it in from the weather.

    It sounds like a good deal, but that's not the expensive part of a house. Electric, plumbing, heat system, foundation, insulation, tubs, sinks, flooring, trim, on and on.

    You do get a set of prints and you know right up front what it'll cost up to that point.

    Twenty years ago, we had a guy selling log home kits. He sold many homes. The logs weren't dry enough. As they shrunk, there were window popping out all over the state.

    A log home kit still requires a lot of work. For example, running wires through logs takes planning and requires many hours of drilling.
     
  10. johnghagen

    johnghagen Well-Known Member

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    Wausaw homes out in Wisconsin has a great kit.The first house i built was a kit house had everything you need from A to Z.After building three more houses and helping build four more and that one being the only kit i would say that stick built is alot cheaper and gives you more flexabilty on what you put in it.The bank has a hard time loaning money for the aversge person to build thee own home so get a contractor friend to write it up.
     
  11. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Years ago (70s) built a "kit home" ... Capp Homes was the company name and don't know if they are still in business or not. Everything was included, we did all the sub-contracting locally, did almost all the interior finish work ourselves.

    It simplified the permits, etc. and also made getting the mortgage a lot easier. It was still a nice house 20 years later when I sold it ... and I understand the buyer did some remodelling and it has since sold again.
     
  12. freedom-rider

    freedom-rider Member

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    Sounds like a good company. I went to their website and unfortunately, they don't do business in our state.

    Please keep the suggestions coming.

    I'm definitely leaning away from the log cabins just because it seems so much more complicated. Maybe it isn't and I'm jumping ship too quick but it seems that they are more expensive, at least the ones worthwhile, and that there can be more complications not to mention trying to discern who to purchase from....Just what I'm thinking right now anyway....
     
  13. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many of the 84 lumber "kits" are just a list of materials needed to build a house. Many are far from complete list and usually dont include doors and windows or atleast doors and windows you would ever want to really use in a house.
     
  14. freedom-rider

    freedom-rider Member

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    I just found that Menards has "kits" that are more encompassing in terms of including the fixtures, cabinets, and more....Will continue to investigate.
     
  15. Toads tool

    Toads tool Well-Known Member

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    Most kit's around here are spec'ed to the minimum requirements.
    2x4 walls with 24" centers, the cheapest appliances they can find.

    You also want to make sure that the house kit has standard size windows.
    We ran into that problem with our 70's built Wausau home. All the windows would have to be reframed when replacing causing one to either have to cut the siding or have a goofy looking window inside a frame that the siding, which you can't find, won't cover.

    We found it was cheaper to hire a local contractor to build our house, than to buy a kit and hire help. We were also able to have a beefy 2x6 on 16" center frame, real 5/8" sheetrock instead of 3/8" that is installed in most double wides.
     
  16. artificer

    artificer Well-Known Member

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    Menard's "Kit Homes" are basically a plan set, a material list, and a pile of raw materials. They are not a "kit" like some of the others that have cut parts. You can get a decent deal with them. Not a bad way to go, as long as you do your homework before hand, and can do the work yourself. (or hire the work done). You become your own general contractor.

    Michael
     
  17. freedom-rider

    freedom-rider Member

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    Thank you artificer. I spoke to the Menard's rep on the phone today. He said that they will act as the contractor if we would like free of charge, since we'd be spending such a large sum of money. Said it's part of their service with a "package."

    We'll continue to explore options but do you, or anyone, know of kits that would have cut parts or more guidance/direction?
     
  18. artificer

    artificer Well-Known Member

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    I think you need to do an accurate assessment of your abilities. The cheapest thing you can do now is to get several books on homebuilding. Read the books, and decide if you can do each step that they talk about.

    What style of home do you want? What size? Why are you going to build with a kit? The style of the building is going to make a big difference in the ease of construction. A ranch with a simple 2 facet roof is probably going to be the easiest. Single story, simple square walls that are easy to build. A Victorian on the other hand, with dormers, towers, widows walk, etc. would be a nightmare for an inexperienced builder. Unless the house uses something like SIP's, I can't see a "kit house" where they do some of you cutting for you to save all that much time. Its going to cost a lot for that little bit of time savings.

    If you do build your house, don't scrimp on tools. A compound miter saw may sound expensive, but considering almost every 2x is going to be cut by it, its cheap in the long run. Faster, more accurate cuts, better quality for inexperienced people.

    So, as a recap... DO MORE RESEARCH! Read a bunch, and then ask yourself "can I do this?" Remember, drying in the building means you're only half way done. (roof on, windows/doors in, siding on) You'll still have a long way to go with the interior and trim/finishing. People find it stressful enough to build a house when someone else is doing the work, doing it yourself is going to be even harder.

    Michael
     
  19. freedom-rider

    freedom-rider Member

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    I found this site regarding steel homes. It's in Arkansas. I would think there'd be one like it in the midwest.

    If anyone has insight and/or experience with steel structures/homes please let me know.
     
  20. beowoulf90

    beowoulf90 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm not sure that the steel building meet code of residential homes.
    I know they do for industrial and offices, but have never seen them for residential homes..

    So make sure that the building codes in your area allow them..

    This is just from my experience and I am in the building industry as a draftsman/CAD Operator. Granted I do HVAC and Plumbing drawings for both Residential and commercial buildings. Like I said in this area I've never seen a residential home that was a steel building


    YMMV