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Building Homes


  • A detailed, customized construction manual is written for each kit, accompanied by easy-to-read drawings. ​In other words, we help you to build your own home step-by-step.

    Every part of the kit is labeled with a part number for ease of identification.

    Our kits are precut (we do not precut siding). Cost factors include the size of the house, options selected, dimensions of the building, siding sheathing, roofing options and design features.

    Prices for many of our kits can be found at Our Kit Designs-Popular House KitsGarage/Apartment Kits and Barn, Garage, and Workshop Kits.

    Please contact us with questions about our house, barn, or garage kit pricing for a more comprehensive estimate which will save you a lot of planning, measuring and cutting time, and prevent errors. Cost factors include the size of the house, options selected and design features.

    YES! And we're here to help!

    Over 80% of our kits have been built by people with NO PRIOR BUILDING EXPERIENCE. So if you've ever asked, “How can I build my own house,” we've got answers for you.

    We offer free support before, during and after construction.

  • Shelter-Kit® buildings include all of the materials required to construct a weather tight shell on your foundation: hardware, fasteners*, framing and sheathing for walls, floors and roof, siding and exterior trim, roofing, flashing, drip edge and underlayments. We use 2 × 6 studs and 2 × 12 rafters. Our kits do not include windows and doors. All materials are hand selected, carefully cut to precise dimensions, labeled, and packaged in easily identifiable bundles. We do not precut siding. An illustrated Construction Manual describes each step, from the installation of the sills to the roof, all in simple, easy-to-understand language. Depending on the kit, options include stairs, dormers, loft floor openings, porches and decks and a variety of trim and soffits. We will gladly work with you on the design of your kit.

    *Common nails for framing, sheathing, siding, and trim are not included with the kit. If you choose to use hammers to drive all of the nails, we can provide bulk common nails. However, we recommend you use pneumatic nailers to drive the nails. We can provide a list of sizes, types, and quantities required that you must purchase separately for the nailers that you are using.

  • We ship to all the lower 48 states. 

  • Your foundation can consist of a series of concrete piers, a continuous concrete wall with a crawl space or full basement, or a concrete slab. A plan for your specific foundation will be provided well in advance of the delivery of your kit.

  • Our kits vary in size from small cabins to large barns and houses. Many factors will affect the time and effort required for their assembly. Weather, terrain, and site conditions can be mitigated but are not entirely within your control. The number of people working, their abilities, and their organization and direction will have a greater and more controllable effect on the assembly.

    Assuming reasonable site conditions and some level of organization and direction of two or three capable amateur workers, a building like the ‘Darrell’ might take two hundred man-hours or eight to ten days for three workers. An ‘Ella’ model is much larger and has many more individual parts and might take four hundred and fifty man-hours or twenty to twenty-four days for the same three workers. These numbers are approximate, and reports from clients of assembly time over the years have varied on buildings of similar size and complexity.

  • Our kits meet the latest International Residential Code, as well as state and local variations of the Code. We suggest that you talk with your local building officials about permit requirements, including wind and snow loads for your site.  If required, we can also provide detailed engineer-stamped drawings and calculations for the lower 48 states. Engineer-stamped drawings may be ordered when you order your kit, or at a later date. Please contact us about drawing prices.

  • Our lead-time are generally 5-8 weeks, but will be longer in our busier seasons. Lead time for our Popular House Kits  and Garage/Apartment Kits  may be shorter. We encourage you to contact us early in your planning process, to meet your building schedule. We suggest you contact us for current lead times. We will do our very best to meet your schedule requirements.

  • Our kits allow for a wide variety of floor plans, however, you may create your own floor plan to meet your specific needs. While custom designs are available, choosing one of our Popular Kits is a great way to save both time and money. If you plan on building soon, we highly recommend that you select a Popular Plan.

  • Your kit is shipped by truck. Our shipping partners have worked with us for many years and guarantee competitive prices and the assurance of a safe, on-time delivery. Shipping costs are in addition to the price of the kit. We will be glad to provide a shipping quote during our conversation regarding your house kit. Once arrived at your site, you are responsible for unloading your kit with a forklift and a trained operator.

  • No. Construction Manuals and plans are only available as part of the kit. They describe in detail the assembly of the individual parts that have been manufactured for your specific building.

  • We only use high quality materials.

    We carefully select each piece of lumber to be sure it's square and true, ensuring that your kit is as easy as possible to construct. Shelter-Kit designs and materials meet or exceed all International Residential Building Code (IRC) requirements for floor, wall and roof designs, fasteners and spans.  Floors are designed to a minimum 15 PSF dead load and a 40 PSF live load, and can be increased for specific needs.  Roofs are designed to a minimum 15 PSF dead load and to a snow load that meets specific site conditions.  Wind loads are determined by exposure and site location.  To meet these requirements, only Graded, Kiln Dried Lumber, Rated Structural Sheathing and Engineered Lumber are used in our building kits as these materials have been approved by IRC.  Other design and material requirements such as those found in Wildfire Zones are also considered.  If required, drawings stamped by a licensed structural engineer can be provided at an additional cost.

    Our kits are pre-cut [we do not precut siding] and specifically designed for owner assembly. They are unlike other kits, for the following reasons:

    • They are easy to assemble and are error free. The required construction techniques are easy. All joints are designed for an easy fit. 

    • All of the terms in the instructions are easily understandable by amateurs. Our customers will work from our drawings and step-by-step instructions, instead of difficult to read blueprints.

    • All of our kits are a complete, weather tight shell, except we do not offer doors or windows. Customers can choose to delete components, including windows, doors, roofing, etc., and buy those locally.

    • All materials are selected for quality and ease of assembly and fit. The weight of each piece is limited to what two individuals can handle. The kits are made of individual pieces, and are not “panelized”.  No cranes or lifts are required.

    We have been in business for over 50 years!

    We have a lot of experience designing buildings. We also have a very clear purpose and mission: To design and manufacture kit buildings primarily for assembly by owners with no prior building experience. We continuously refine our instructions and kit details to make every project more efficient. You will be provided with information and assistance to make your project successful. Customer service is very important to us, therefore, we are here to help you before, during and after your building project.


  • Make sure that you know how to safely operate the required tools.

    Find out what prior building experience will be required.

    Be sure that you can properly read and interpret any drawings that are supplied, and that the instructions are geared to someone with your level of experience.

  • You should determine the level of finish.

    You should read the materials list very carefully so you know exactly what is included.

    Are the materials ready for assembly, or do they require cutting and fitting? What will the completed kit yield…. The frame? The frame and sheathing? Or a weather-tight shell?

  • You should check to see if you have to hire a crane to lift large components into place.

    Check for a list of required tools, which for some kits could include circular saws, a table saw, sabre saw, reciprocating saw and a variety of hand tools.

  • Make sure that you will not need heavy equipment to unload the delivery truck.

    Make sure that you and your helpers can handle the kit components safely. Panelized components can be very heavy, especially at the end of a long day.

  • We suggest that you carefully look at a sample set of each, to make sure that you can follow them easily. Make sure that they are for YOUR kit, not a generic kit.

  • Make sure that the kit complies with the requirements for wind and snow, seismic and live loads for your site.

    You should talk to your local officials before you order a kit.

    Make sure that engineer-stamped plans are available, if they are required.

  • You should make sure that support and advice is available before, during and after your project. Make sure that the company has been in business for several years.

We would love to have you as a client, but more importantly, we want you to be happy. That is why everything we do is centered around your satisfaction. We take great pride in our work and our product shows that, but don't just take our word for it—please check out our many customer testimonials.

Before buying a building kit from any company...

It's very important to understand what you'll need to know and do in order to assemble a kit building. You'll also need to clearly understand what's included in the kit. We suggest you gather as much information from each company you're thinking about working with. And ask lots of questions.

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