Building a shouse includes many advantages compared to building a standard house, including the option to build it yourself. A shouse building kit includes everything needed to start construction on your new home.
So, is a shouse building kit worth it? Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of using a shouse house kit.
What Is a Shouse House Kit?
A shouse kit is designed to simplify the process of building a shouse, which is a modern shophouse. Most shouses are built with a metal frame featuring large steel posts using post-frame construction. While post-frame construction is considered a simple form of construction, building a home requires precision. You need to ensure that every post and beam is cut to the right length and anchored or bolted using the correct fasteners.
Cutting steel posts and preparing other building materials also requires tools and equipment that you may not have access to. Buying a kit saves you from these hassles. Shouse building kits are typically called “metal home” building kits. You can find them from a variety of building companies that specialize in the construction of metal homes.
Companies that offer building kits often provide a wide range of designs and optional features. After you select a design, you specify the dimensions and any accessories you want to be included, such as windows and doors. The company compiles the kit based on your specifications. It is delivered to your building site on a large truck.
A shouse building kit typically includes materials for the following areas:
The foundation and interior furnishings are not typically part of a building kit. The kit covers the construction of the shell of the shouse. Most shouses are built on a slab concrete foundation, which involves pouring four to six inches of concrete on a layer of sand. After pouring the foundation, builders can start erecting the frame provided in the kit.
Shouse building kits also come with instructions and blueprints to help complete the project. However, if you lack construction experience, you may want to hire professional builders. Any mistakes could impact the structural integrity of your new home.
Advantages of Using a Shouse House Kit
Building kits provide several important advantages compared to the alternative options. Instead of buying a kit, you could work with a building company or contractor to complete your home.
You could also choose to purchase the materials and supplies yourself and handle fabrication and installation yourself.
Here are a few of the reasons to consider using a shouse house kit instead:
- Save time and energy
- Save money on materials
- Have less need for specialized equipment
Buying a kit saves time, as you do not need to buy materials individually. Ordering the steel posts, metal sheeting, and fasteners is a complex task. You need to ensure that you select the right materials with the right specifications. When you order a kit, the company preparing the kit ensures that you receive the correct materials based on the design that you choose.
If you plan on building the shouse yourself, buying a kit also saves energy. Everything needed for the frame is delivered at once, instead of requiring you to make multiple trips to the nearest building supply company.
Purchasing a building kit also saves money compared to buying the parts individually. You save on the materials and delivery, as everything arrives on a single truck instead of requiring multiple deliveries. The materials that you receive are also pre-cut to match the specifications of the design that you select for your shouse. You do not need extra equipment to cut steel posts or metal sheets.
Disadvantages of Using a Shouse Kit
Using a shouse house kit saves time and money in the long run. However, you must also deal with a few potential drawbacks, including:
- Parts not included
- Fabrication errors
- Higher initial cost
Building kits do not include everything needed to complete your shouse. You receive the materials needed for the shell of the structure. The materials for the interior, including drywall, flooring, and light fixtures, are not provided. However, the interior items are also easier for the average person to prepare and install compared to the large steel frame.
One of the risks of ordering a kit is receiving materials with fabrication errors. For example, some of the steel posts may be too long, short, or defective. Unfortunately, fixing fabrication errors on site is difficult without the right equipment and experience.
If you come across defective materials, you may need to request a replacement, which may delay your construction project by several weeks. If you were to build a home with a wood frame, you could easily replace or fix defective materials using commonly available equipment.
Buying a kit saves you money compared to buying materials and handling fabrication on site. However, the metal home kits also tend to cost more compared to constructing a wood frame from scratch. The cost of a steel frame is 10% to 20% higher compared to a wood frame. Yet, steel offers increased durability. A properly constructed shouse with a steel frame may withstand winds up to 170mph.
How to Choose the Right Shouse Building Kit
The advantages of buying a building kit outweigh the potential disadvantages. The hard part is selecting the best kit based on your specific needs. Some of the details to consider as you shop for shouse house kits include:
- Size of the shouse
- End wall material
- Roof style and materials
- Windows and doors
You may also want to compare options from multiple companies. Building kits are available from a variety of manufacturers. Some companies may offer a better deal or faster delivery of your kit.
Size of the Shouse
The first consideration is the size of your shouse. When you shop for a shouse house kit, you can select from a wide range of designs. However, you still need to decide how big you want your new home to be. Try to plan the size based on your needs. Think about how much space you require in the workshop area or garage. Decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. You should also consider how much space you want for the living area, dining room, and kitchen.
The average size of a rural home is about 1800 square feet. However, shouses typically include a large area that can be used as a workshop or garage. Depending on the space you need, your shouse may exceed 2000 square feet.
End Wall Material
The outer walls of a shouse are often comprised of metal sheets. The sheets may be covered with metal siding or other materials, especially on the end walls. The end walls are the walls that face the front and back of the property.
Many shouse owners decide to add brick or stone facades to the end walls to give the exterior of their homes a more homely appearance. Instead of brick or stone, you could also add aluminum siding or wood shingles. The material that you choose can be included in your building kit, helping to save more time and money completing the shell.
Roof Style and Materials
Along with the walls, you can choose from a variety of options for the roof. The first consideration is the pitch of the roof. Most shouses include roofs with tall pitches. Flat roofs are less stable, which may require you to add load-bearing walls inside the property.
You can also choose from various styles and materials, including aluminum, copper, or steel sheets. Other common options include metal roof tiles and corrugated metal roofing.
Metal roofing varies in price from $5 to $14 per square foot. Corrugated metal roofing is the cheapest option while copper roofs tend to cost the most. Copper roofs are highly durable and fire-resistant, but corrugated metal roofing provides increased strength-to-weight ratios that may work well in regions with harsh weather.
Windows and Doors
The windows and doors are often provided by third-party suppliers but can still be included in the kit. As shouses typically use post-frame construction, you can install larger windows than in a standard home. Choosing windows and doors allows manufacturers to provide the necessary framing and precut the outer walls. You can also choose to add skylights.
After selecting these details, a manufacturer can begin fabricating the steel parts needed to construct the shell of your new shouse. They also cut material for the siding and roof. The materials are then loaded on a truck and delivered to your building site.
If you are thinking about building a shouse, purchasing a building kit may make your life a little easier. Shouse building kits are especially helpful for DIY builders. The materials come precut. You also receive the right types of anchors and bolts for securing everything.
Keep in mind that a building kit does not include everything needed to complete your shouse. You still need to deal with the interior. However, getting a kit allows you to quickly build the shell of the home without the need for specialized equipment or tools.
Gail currently spends her free time geeking out about what’s new and trending in the world of barndominiums.
She is the former executive editor of BarndominiumLife.com and loves working with the team and members of the barndominium community. She now contributes to the blog on occasion, but only when she feels like it!