Need to an extra room for an office, or a shed or barn for storage? Wondering how to do it inexpensively?

One strategy for meeting your need for space is to consider the great variety of building kits on the market.

We know: How Building Kits Work

What is a building kit?

A building kit can be a simple, cost-efficient way to get the additional space you need without hiring a designer or contractor. By using a kit, you can often construct the structure you want without having go to the lumber yard and hardware store for the materials, or end up buying excess materials you don’t need.

Kits come with instructions and are made for do-it-yourselfers, or people who want to save money by buying a kit, but want to hire someone else to do the labor.

What kinds of buildings can be constructed from kits?

The buildings range from dog houses to people houses, and almost everything in between. You can find kits to build sheds, gazebos, studios for an office or art room, small barns for storage or horses, tractor and car garages, log cabins, and regular cabins that can be used for vacation or permanent homes.

Structures range in size from a few square feet to thousands of square feet.

What do building kits cost?

Here are some sample prices from various companies:

KitApproximate Prices
6’x6’ shed made of red cedar$1,400
7’x7’” gazebo $2,700
14’x16’ cabin (2 rooms, 4 windows)$9,000
36'x24' 2-stall barn with 12'x24' hayloft $16,000
24’x30’ cabin (great room, kitchen, bath, 2 bedrooms)$22,000
1,775 sq. ft. cabin on two levels $57,000

What is included in these kits?

Each kit differs. For example, some kits come with foundations and some don't. Some include roofing shingles and some don't. Some include all hardware but the nails. You need to ask about each kit separately, but here is a list of common items to look for and ask about:

  • Blueprint or design print
  • Building instruction manual and or video tape
  • Lumber, precut and often labeled for assembly
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Foundation materials
  • Roofing materials
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical

Pre-cut versus preassembled?

Some kits come with the lumber pre-cut, but you can also often get a kit where portions of the structure are pre-assembled. This may increase the cost, but reduce your labor.

What else should I ask about?

If you're checking a manufacturer's website or talking to a customer representative, be sure to ask about delivery costs and taxes.

Also, ask about building permit and code issues. Many of these structures are designed to meet codes throughout the U.S. Even so, you may need a local building permit.

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