We really don’t want people to build an A-frame house… unless they are totally in love with it.
As in relationships, things end up badly if one is not in full-hearted and for the long run.So, this time, instead of praising A-frame buildings, I am going to give you five reasons you should keep clear of them.
1. You can build it by yourself
Yes, a small A-frame home kit (SOLO or DUO for example) is so simple that two people can put it up without extra help.
Larger kits might require more people but the music is the same: you can get it up by yourself.
Why is this bad?
Cause people can get overconfident and face the installation without due preparation.
Here is the hard truth:
without doing proper homework and without involving the right people for help, you are setting yourself up for failure.
A few words of advice:
- read as much as you can on the topic of self-building before you start the project
- talk to people who have done it already or who work in construction
- get a feeling for what you could be overlooking (our Guides can help with that).
If you do these things right, then self-building can become a big plus.
2. It has no external walls
Except for the front and back walls, there is no vertical external surface in the house.
Is this a problem?
Well, this is highly subjective.
The inclined ceiling and the ample interior spaces are what gives A-frame their characteristic feeling. Some like it, some don’t.
To compensate for the inclined interior surfaces you have the large open-space interior areas.
In the TRIO series, the width of the living room is 6.2m (over 20 ft)… that’s a big plus you get for not having exterior walls.
3. It has 20% more exterior surface
That’s right… compared to a regular house offering the same living space, it has about 20% more surface exposed to the elements (yes, we did the math… more than once).
However, the length of the connections between construction components (floors, slab, walls, roof), is about 10% shorter than what would you would find in a regular house.
- you need 10% less material to build the connections
- you get better air-tightness
- you get less heat-loss from the connections.
Yes, the materials you need for the building envelope are still 20% more (read extra cost on materials) but, as it is mostly roof we are talking about, the degree of insulation is generally better than the one you find in regular walls.
Overall the A-frame consumes less energy than a regular house of an equivalent living area (read lower energy bills).
…and does it cost more to build?
Generally, it doesn’t.
In fact, installing a metal roof costs way less than installing exterior cladding on a wall… without counting the maintenance over the lifespan of the house.
4. You cannot step on the roof
Yeah, there is no way around this… you cannot step on the roof. It is simply too steep.
But hey, as you cannot stand straight on the metal cover of your house, so cannot the snow or the heavy rain.
Everything falls down to the ground. No questions.
…even the wind has a hard time getting a good grasp on this roof.
So what seems like an issue (who wants to walk on a roof anyway???) comes to be quite handly.
And you know what? …the steep angle of the roof makes it perfect for generating your own electricity with solar panels!
…and no, you don’t have to clean them from snow in the winter cause snow still follows gravity.
5. No conventional storage space
Ok, here we are tight.
If you have a big family and you are used to having several wardrobes, you might get in trouble by getting yourself an A-frame.
We already confessed that there are not many vertical walls inside an A-frame house, therefore space for installing a traditional wardrobe is quite limited.But hey, there is plenty of unused space close to the floor, both on the ground and on the first floor.
For a TRIO 100, we are talking about 15 cubic meters (530 cubic foot) of hidden and empty space at the ground floor…
…all you need is a little bit of creativity and you can turn most of this space into proper storage.
I tried to make you hate A-frames… but the more I dig deep into every aspect of it, the more I don’t see why people should build a regular “cubic” house.
A-frame homes are not for everyone but, for those that love this super-efficient concept, A-frames can be (and will be) a deep satisfaction.