With over 5500 subscribes on YouTube and tens of thousands of monthly visitors on our website, we get a lot of questions.In this article, we list the most popular ones and we provide a brief answer.
List of questions
- Is there a walk-through video of each model?
- How much does an A-Frame house cost?
- Why the prices for the U.S. are higher?
- Do you know what kind of taxes will you pay in the U.S. for a new construction?
- Where can I get a copy of your budget template?
- Can you alter the floor plan?
- Can you customize my AVRAME house?
- Can you ship to my location?
- How much does it cost to deliver the kit to my location?
- How long does it take to receive my kit?
- Which heating system can I use in an A-frame house?
- What kind of ventilation system is recommended?
- Do you offer assembly service?
- Which is the level of complexity of building an a-frame kit house?
- Which kind of foundation is required for the house?
- Can I build a basement under the house?
- Are special parts included in the kit?
- What is the expected lifespan (+warranty) of the houses and how often do they need maintenance?
- Can the houses stand my climate?
- Is living off-grid really affordable? Can I have all my energy and heating needs and also keep a job with this lifestyle?
- Where can I find real life pictures?
- What should I do to get preliminary approval from my local planning officials?
- What are the financing options?
- What are the payment options?
- What are the things to think through before going off-grid?
- How are the houses shipped?
- Would it be possible to purchase plans and do the cutting locally?
- Can two houses be joined together?
- What type of insulation is used with Avrame houses?
- How insulation works?
1. Is there a walk-through video of each model?
We get a lot of comments asking for more walk-through videos on our finished houses. We understand that photos don't always help put the actual size into perspective, so we are definitely planning to roll out video walk-throughs of each model soon.Right now we have walk-through videos for two models:
More videos are uploaded each month. Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss them.
2. How much does an A-Frame house cost?
This is by far the most asked question ever.
How much does the house cost?
What is the total cost figure for Trio 100 or another model?
There really can’t be one answer for the total cost of a finished building.
In our Budgeting Guide, we dig deep into this topic and we provide a reliable method and a tool to answer this question for your specific project.
- we ship worldwide and shipping costs depend on location
- extent and cost of groundworks depend on the soil on your location
- the type of foundation you can use depends on the conditions of your ground
- the price depends on the level of customization
- the price depends on your preferences on interior decoration and the materials you choose
As a rule of thumb, the final cost of the houses we have shipped so far been between €800 to €1200 per square meter ($80 to $120 per square feet).
So a 100 square meter house or (1000 square foot) should be budgeted at about €80,000 to €120,000. That’s roughly $90,000 to $130,000.Again, our Budgeting Guide contains more precise answers to this question.
3. Why the prices for the U.S. are higher?
We made a video that explains this in detail.
You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FQbihWgQcQ
In short, several US states have very strict building regulations that require the use of stronger wood material + steel hardware.
These components increase the overall cost of materials in the kit.
Also, still due to the more strict regulations, the step between the frames of the structure is about half compared to the EU version... which results in about twice the material for the framing of the structure.
4. Do you know what kind of taxes will you pay in the U.S. for a new construction?
We cannot say this exactly as it varies case by case.
There are some import taxes which are not expensive.
I believe the last one we sent, the customer said he had paid USD 400 or something. So these are not really high.
For more accurate information, I recommend to check out our local partner’s website www.avrameusa.com for your taxation queries.
They know better about such details.
5. Where can I get a copy of your budget template?
We made a video about budgeting a while back to give you some pointers on budgeting for a prefab A-frame house. It shows you the tools you need to create your own budget for your build.Today, we discontinued that budget template as we have built a more comprehensive and helpful resource: the Budgeting Guide.
6. Can you alter the floor plan?
Yes, we can alter floor plans. The only load-bearing element in an A-frame house is the A-frame itself. It doesn't need additional support or any load-bearing interior walls, so we can play around with the floor plans quite a lot.
It is also possible to make changes to any of our model’s interior design.
If you want a balcony looking down into the living room, we can do that for you. We can add decks, door mirrors, balconies skylights, and other design elements as well.
7. Can you customize my AVRAME house?
Yes, we can change a lot.
Here are a few ideas of what you can customize
- the floor-plan layout (we can move interior walls as you like)
- add dormers
- add terraces
- add skylights
- add balconies
- make the houses longer
- join multiple units together (with galleries between them)
- leave the ceiling open (for double height living rooms)
...pretty much endless variations to play with.
8. Can you ship to my location?
We can ship practically anywhere - Australia, Canada, US, and worldwide.
A-frames are flat back so they are very compact and convenient to transport. In the past, we have shipped houses to South Korea and Azores Islands.
We have a partner for manufacturing in the US for US, Canadian, and Mexican customers. From our factory here from Estonia, we can ship to almost any location.
Transportation cost is not included in our kit prices.
9. How much does it cost to deliver the kit to my location?
The exact sum of shipping depends on the house size and distance from the factory to your site.
Generally, shipping is up to 10% of the kit cost.
Shipping smaller kits might be more expensive as they do not fill one entire truck and we end up transporting air (expensive and useless exercise).
10. How long does it take to receive my kit?
Production time is 6...8 weeks.
Shipping in Europe takes 2...6 days.
Shipping to North and South Americas takes about 4...6 weeks.
Shipping to Asia takes up to 8 weeks.
11. Which heating system can I use in an A-frame house?
A-Frame is a regular timber frame home, so all heating systems are possible. It really depends on the fuel source you have available.
On our YouTube channel, we have a video covering this topic.
12. What kind of ventilation system is recommended?
You can install any kind of ventilation system.
We prefer to use natural ventilation (skylights, window ventilation strips, etc.).
In some building regulation, mechanic ventilation is mandatory therefore it is recommended that you check which is the ventilation option you should go for (we cover this in the 100 Questions Guide).
13. Do you offer assembly service?
No, we don’t.Avrame houses are meant to be assembled with local labor.
Our drawing sets are so precise that local carpenters can do the job without mistakes, usually at a lower cost too.
14. Which is the level of complexity of building an A-frame kit house?
A-frame is a very simple construction.
It is more like putting together an IKEA furniture than the traditional house building process.
You will get very detailed drawings with step by step instructions to help you on your every step of the build.
15. Which kind of foundation is required for the house?
The most economical (and practical) way to go is the stripe foundation (up to 60% cheaper than the slab and has the same kind of durability and functionality).
You can also do the post foundation.Please keep in mind that the type of foundation you can actually use depends on the condition of the ground on your location.
16. Can I build a basement under the house?
Yes, a solution with full basement is easily doable.
A-frames need just 3 support points. They can be supported by a metal beam in the middle and by the stone part on the sides.
17. Are special parts included in the kit?
We sell worldwide and each Country has different regulations for technical installations, therefore we focus on supplying the structural part of the house and all the special parts have to be sourced locally.
Here is a list of the parts you will have to source locally:
- heating system
- electric system
- ventilation system
- kitchen furniture
- tiles and tiling
- interior finishes
IMPORTANT: this list is not complete nor exhaustive. For more information on what you shall take into account, you should consult our Self-building Guides.
18. What is the expected lifespan (+warranty) of the houses and how often do they need maintenance?
Wooden structures can last for centuries. We have a wooden church here in Estonia on one of our islands standing there for more than 370 years.
If the foundation is solid and raised (min. 30 cm) from ground and roof covering is tight, your home will outlast your grandchildren.
The wooden parts we sell have 2 years warranty.
Ruukki classic c has 50 years of technical warranty and 20 years of aesthetic warranty.
The Velux skylights have 10 years warranty.
The builder has to give its own final warranty for the final build and product (5-10 years usually).
We use only high-quality materials (see this video).
Maintenance is very low.
You have to service the gable walls. Depending on the conditions repainting the cladding once in every 5-10 years.
That is pretty much all you have to do from
From inside it is like any other house - the maintenance depends on your choice of materials and usage.
If maintained properly then the house will last for many generations.
19. Can the houses stand my climate?
Compared to a traditional timber frame buildings a-frames are very well insulated.
The total energy performance of the house depends on the insulation material and heating system.
Avrame houses are designed to perform well in the Nordic climate and it can withstand very harsh winters.
Snow is not an issue: it will simply fall off the roof because of its steep angle.
The houses can also do very well in hot temperatures (rock wool works in both conditions – keeps the house warm in winter and
cold in summer).
The insulation material has to be sourced locally since there is no point of transporting it (high volume and no cost saving).
The thickness of insulation material in the different model is:
- SOLO series: 150 mm / 6 inches
- DUO series: 250 mm / 10 inches
- TRIO series: 300 mm / 12 inches
20. Is living off-grid really affordable? Can I have all my energy and heating needs and also keep a job with this lifestyle?
Yes, you can.
Indrek (Avrame CEO) has been living off the grid for already four years and he obviously has a job.
Living off-grid will make your life easier and will less financial burdens. It will grant you more time to enjoy the things you really like to do.