We're frequently asked whether or not amateurs can really build a house from one of our kits. So, what's the honest answer?
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.
Our kits are precut, which will save you a lot of planning, measuring and cutting time, and prevent errors.
Every part of the kit is labeled with a part number for ease of identification.
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.
We offer free support before, during and after construction.
*Your experience may vary.
What's included in a kit? 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. 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 cut clapboard, or other horizontal 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.
Where do you ship to? We ship to all 50 states.
What kind of foundation is required? 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.
How long will it take to assemble? Most of our kits can be assembled by two people in about 5 to 25 days, depending on the kit. We would be glad to discuss this with you in more detail. No cranes, lifts or power tools are typically required.
Will your kits meet building codes? Our kits meet the latest International Building 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 all 50 states and all Canadian provinces. Engineer-stamped drawings may be ordered when you order your kit, or at a later date. Please contact us about drawing prices.
What is the lead-time? Our lead-time are generally 5-8 weeks, but will be longer in our busier seasons. Lead time for our Popular House Plans and Garage/Apartment Plans 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.
Are other floor plans available? 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 Kit Plans 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. What does shipping cost? Your kit is shipped by truck. We use private carriers that we have worked with for many years. Our shipping partners guarantee competitive prices and the assurance of a safe, on-time delivery. Shipping costs are in addition to the price of the kit and range from $1,000 [in our immediate area] to $4,000 or more [for areas on the West Coast]. Some specific areas may cost more. We'll be glad to provide a shipping quote. When the truck arrives at your site, you are responsible for unloading it.
Can I buy just the Construction Manuals or plans? 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 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: 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. We provide you 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.
Our kits are pre-cut 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. Customers can chose 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 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.
We custom design nearly every kit for your specific requirements- We offer distinct types of cabins, houses, barns and garages each of which will be custom designed to meet your requirements. Options include many styles and brands of windows and doors, dormers, loft floor openings, Tees and Ells.
We would love you as a client, but more than your business, we want you happy. We know that there are other companies offering house kits, and Shelter-Kit® is just one company you could choose to work with. As you look through our website for information, please notice the many customer testimonials. We take great pride in our work and our product shows that, but don't just take our word for it.
It's very important to understand what you'll need to know and do to assemble any 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. What skills and experience are required to assemble the kit?
Find out what prior building experience will be required.
Make sure that you know how to safely operate the required tools.
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.
What materials are included?
You should read the materials list very carefully so you know exactly what is included.
You should determine the level of finish.
Are the materials ready for assembly, or do they require cutting and fitting? What will the completed kit yield…. A frame, a frame and sheathing, or a weather-tight shell?
What tools and equipment are required to do the job?
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.
You should check to see if you have to hire a crane to lift large components into place.
What do the components of the kit weigh, and how do they have to be handled?
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.
Make sure that you will not need heavy equipment to unload the delivery truck.
How complicated are the instructions and drawings?
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.
What does your local building code require?
You should talk to your local officials before you order a kit.
Make sure that the kit complies with the requirements for wind and snow, seismic and live loads for your site.
Make sure that engineer-stamped plans are available, if they are required.
What support is available from the manufacturer?
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.
1 East Main Street - P.O. Box 111 - Warner, NH 03278 Email: email@example.com Phone: (603) 456-3801