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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Anybody Remember A-Frame Houses?



Whatever happened to A-frame buildings? There are still a few around, mostly as camps in the woods. I don't think I've seen a new one in a long time.

They are pretty simple. They really do look like a giant “A.” You have two pitched roofs that go all the way to the ground and the ends are closed off. That's it.

There are some advantages to the design. They are fairly inexpensive to build. Construction is easy. A small crew can put one together in a short period of time. They are great in places that get a lot of snow. The design is strong and snow slides right off the steep pitched roofs. If you have a cabin way out in the woods, that's a good feature.

Like anything else, they have disadvantages. Heat tends to rise and get trapped in the upper level, making a second floor super hot. Adding additional rooms on one is a pain and when you are done it's really not an A-frame anymore. My guess is that banks and those who issue building permits aren't very fond of them either.

I'm thinking knowing how to build one could come in real handy in an emergency. Being able to build a solid and simple shelter with limited resources is a good skill to have.

One of the guys I used to work with built a few of them as camps. During the winter of '68-'69 we got record setting snowfall. A lot of buildings collapsed under the snow load. Since the woods roads were impassable, people could not get to their camps to shovel off the roofs. A lot of camps were lost that winter. The guy with the A-frame buildings didn't have a care in the world and his buildings are still standing today.

-Sixbears

8 comments:

  1. A lot of wasted space it would seem unless on planned well ahead.

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    1. Head room could be an issue, as is furniture placement. Often they'd place beds against the sloping walls and put storage under them.

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  2. One out our way is a beauty shop, and has been as long as I can remember. Set towards the road in the front lawn of a fairly remote area.

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    Replies
    1. I guess they were mostly built during the 50s through the 70s.

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  3. If you sleep in the loft, they're good for families and young couples, but not old folks. I've thought of making a couple small ones for utility sheds, though.

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't mind a small one for a remote camp in the wilderness.

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  4. I like the idea of A frames but have zero experience staying in one. The walls are also your roof and I'm guessing reflect the sun's heat away from the building, especially if you have shade from the nearby trees hiding the structure.

    In the South, having that high ceiling can be advantage if you have an open vent high - low vent to promote air flow. A raised floor deck also worked well for keeping cool in summer (many old homes had raised floor joists resting on interior piers, the crawl space approximately 3 - 4 feet high.

    Thank you for the post.

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    Replies
    1. Ventilation is the key.

      You are welcome.

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