What to Know About A-Frame Houses

August 8, 2023

If you’re trying to narrow down what style of custom home you’d like, you’ve probably encountered a lot of different choices. If you’re looking for a home that feels like you’re living in a cabin in the middle of the woods, an A-frame home might be the right fit for you. Here’s what to know about A-frame houses:

What is an A-Frame House?

Because of their unique shape, A-frame houses make a statement. Just like the name implies, the exterior has a triangular shape or an A. Four walls begin at the foundation and meet to form a triangle with a pointed roof. These steep roofs often touch or almost touch the ground, as well.

4 Classic Design Features of A-Frame Houses

A-frame homes have a few key design features. These are things to consider when planning your own custom home. Here are a few classic design features of A-frame houses to consider for your custom home design:

1. Plenty of Windows

A-frame homes often have plenty of windows. These windows offer wonderful natural light and great views of the outdoors. And, if you have a spectacular view from a particular side of your home, you can even try an entire wall of windows.

This will maximize the amount of natural light in your home and will make quite a statement. Thinking about all these factors is important when planning window placement in your custom home.

2. Open Concept Floor Plans

To keep things feeling light and airy, open-concept floor plans are most often utilized in this home design. Open floor plans can maximize your square footage, which is useful in an A-frame home.

They also offer a lot of flexibility for the layout of your home. Since there are so few walls, you can really play around with a variety of great room layout options. And if a specific layout isn’t working, it’ll be easier to change things to your liking.

3. Deep-Set Eaves

Another common design element in A-frame homes is deep-set eaves. These deep eaves offer great protection to the gables of the home. They also can offer some sun protection to windows. This design feature also offers some interesting depth to the home.

4. Vaulted or High Ceilings

Due to the A-frame shape and how tall the home is, ceilings are very high, as well as sloped. These sloped ceilings give the home plenty of natural light, especially when paired with plenty of windows.

Pros and Cons of A-Frame Homes

Just like with any home design, there are a few things to think about before deciding on building a particular one. Here are some pros and cons of A-frame homes to help you determine if this home design is right for you:

3 Pros of A-Frame Homes

Here are a few pros to building an A-frame home:

1. A-Frame Homes Are Architecturally Stunning

A-frame homes stand out and make a statement. The sharp, geometric lines of the triangle shape make these homes unique, especially when surrounded by other homes. If you’re looking for a home that is unique, this design could be perfect for you.

2. Their Sloped Roof is Beneficial in Snowy Climates

There’s a reason A-frame homes are popular in cold climates and in ski towns. The sloped roof of an A-frame home is certainly beneficial in snowy and icy climates. The extreme slope eliminates a build-up of heavy snow and ice, which can cause other roofs to have damage.

Pairing these sloped roofs with metal ensures ice and snow can easily slide off the roof. Metal is a common roofing material to consider for your custom home, and is especially useful in home designs such as A-frame homes.

3. A-Frame Homes Are Sturdy

Because of its triangle shape, this home design is very sturdy. This is great in areas with a lot of wind or rain. However, it’s important to note most A-frame homes don’t typically have gutters. Because of this, it’s necessary to divert rainwater away from the home’s foundation.

3 Cons of A-Frame Homes

Here are a few potential cons to choosing an A-frame home:

1. You’ll Have Less Square Footage on Higher Levels

While the main floor of an A-frame home might be quite spacious, you will lose the square footage on upper levels due to the sloped roof. This can make layouts on upper-level floors a bit more challenging, but it’s possible to find the right layout with some creativity.

You can just embrace the small spaces and make things extra cozy and minimalist. Or if you want extra space, consider adding dormers to rooms on the upper levels. Adding dormers offers extra space without disturbing the design of the home.

Multi-level lofts, adding storage where you can, using the architecture to your advantage, and more are attic bedroom design ideas that you can use to make the most of the upper-level floors in A-frame houses.

2. They Can be Difficult to Cool or Heat

Due to the open and multi-story layout, it can be difficult to heat your home. Since heat rises, it’s hard to cool upper levels in warmer months while heating the lower level will be difficult in cooler months.

However, with proper ventilation and ceiling fans, it can be possible to distribute heating and cooling throughout your home properly. Radiant heating is a smart choice in homes with high ceilings and is a transformational heating innovation to consider in a new build.

3. Stairs Can be Complicated

Accessing your upper levels is important and it can be tricky in an A-frame home. Many A-frames choose spiral staircases because they save space. However, this type of staircase can be hard to navigate, especially when moving furniture.

Some opt for a second set of stairs that align with a wall leading to the second or third floor. Or, make this your main staircase and forgo the spiral staircase. To maximize the space under the staircase, turn the bottom of the stairs into storage, which is just one idea for staircase storage.

These are just a few design elements and pros and cons to think about when choosing a custom home design. A-frame homes are eye-catching and offer an airy layout. If you’re ready to get started on your dream home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!