learning about Lindal kits

To build small, let’s check out a large kit house provider named Lindal Homes. Some 50,000 homes have been built through Lindal over 70 years. While best known for cedar prow-deck designs, the company has expanded to warm modern styles designed in-house or via architect collaborations.

These "Taliesin" Lindal homes range from 470 to 800 square feet, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Options include cedar or cement board exteriors, with adjustable interiors to suit your needs. (Lindal.com)

These “Taliesin” Lindal homes range from 470 to 800 square feet, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Options include cedar or cement board exteriors, with adjustable interiors to suit your needs. (Lindal.com)

Lindal explorations

Explore Lindal’s styles, create a folder to see house plans, and join a conference call to learn more. We dialed into a call last weekend and were surprised to hear Michael Harris, former CEO/President of Lindal, who shared architectural styles and other build information:

  • Project design cost – “A disciplined use of our building system’s most efficient components and assembly details [will] dramatically reduce design time.”
  • Higher home value – “Lindals resell for handsome amounts of money. They get financed like conventional houses [unlike modular homes]. Appraise for more than typical houses because of finishes.”
  • Time to build – “Total length is 6-9 months total, comparable to the typical modular producers. We use local labor, so it’s 9 months to a year.”

Kits and pre-fabs

Lindal is a kit house company which sells finished Post and Beam plans and delivers materials to individual building sites. The company adjusts designs based on the buyer desires, lots and area conditions. There are 100 U.S. Lindal dealers who guide local customers through home planning and builds.

Remember there’s a spectrum of pre-fab homes, from kits to partly or fully-built homes delivered to your site. Do you want to make changes to designs and materials? Do you have a specific budget or time frame in mind? Answer these questions and it may set you down the right path.

sweet definition of a kit house

Typical kit house: A house design and all building materials available for sale. Separately requires land purchase, building permits, site preparation, foundation and utilities. Constructed by local contractors. [Tiny House Joy]

Here’s a sweet 550 square footer from Seattle-based FabCab. The estimated cost without land is $165,000 for this high quality house. Let’s take a peek at the exterior and floor plan, and then learn how kits get built.

This TimberCab 550 kit home is located on Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille. The owners added an extra deck and porch to expand outdoor living on the hillside. (Fine Homebuilding)

This TimberCab 550 kit home is located on Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille. The owners added an extra deck and porch to expand outdoor living on the hillside. (Fine Homebuilding)

The floor plan of the TimberCab 550 features a separate bedroom, great room with kitchen, bath and entry. It's possible to build on any foundation for storage. (FabCab)

The floor plan of the TimberCab 550 features a separate bedroom, great room with kitchen, bath and entry. It’s possible to build on any foundation for storage. (FabCab)

Kit house companies provide materials

With a kit house, you rely on experts to design a home as well as source, order, manufacture and pre-assemble materials. The kit company will handle and deliver everything to meet its building plan specifications.

We picked FabCab as an example since it offers modern looks, in single-floor living. The company also specifies efficient materials, notably structural insulated panels which deliver R-24 efficiency for walls and R-40 for the roof.

After finding a kit you love, check for “strong bones” and longevity. There should be easily-maintained internal/external finishes — and natural wood, double-paned windows and a long-warranty roof are good indicators.

Many kit companies also have interior packages for kitchens and bathrooms. It’s enjoyable to start making your appliance and fixture selections upfront, especially in a smaller square foot home where everything gets noticed.

Your responsibilities for a kit house

Starting with the house plan, you may want to make adjustments due to your preferences, site or local permit requirements. Kit companies vary in their support, though FabCab offers architectural and engineering services.

Searching for the right general contractor becomes an important step. Check previous jobs and references, and make sure individuals are credentialed through your state’s licensing board. Review small builds: five key things to do.

You should decide on a foundation, whether using pilings (least pricey), slab, crawl space or full basement. Consider your geology, local environment and municipal requirements.

Utilities access must be addressed for a primary or secondary dwelling unit. Do you have a line for water, access to electricity and gas, and connections to city sewer or septic? What are the costs for installations?

Keep in mind that your general contractor will oversee the build and sub-contract plumbing and electrical work. He or she handles municipal inspections along the way, plus getting final approvals.

The rest of the FabCab kit house tour

Now that you know what’s involved in bringing a kit house to life, we want to complete the TimberCab 550 model’s tour. Here are sweet interior photos of the Idaho lake home, which reveal its rooms and finishes. Learn more here.

What a shining example of a great room, overseeing the lake! We love the lighting and furniture, though might arrange more seating in our own place. (Fine Homebuilding)

What a shining example of a great room, overseeing the lake! We love the lighting and furniture, though might arrange more seating in our own place. (Fine Homebuilding)

This attractive galley-style kitchen, located within the great room, includes a tall fridge-freezer, dishwasher, cook-top and microwave. (Fine Homebuilding)

This attractive galley-style kitchen, located within the great room, includes a tall fridge-freezer, dishwasher, cook-top and microwave. (Fine Homebuilding)

The bedroom is accessed through modern-day, sliding barn doors. It takes up one wing, with plenty of room as well as open views towards the lake. (Fine Homebuilding)

The bedroom is accessed through modern-day, sliding barn doors. It takes up one wing, with plenty of room as well as open views towards the lake. (Fine Homebuilding)

Next to the house entry, the spa-like bathroom shows off with its elegant sink, toilet, cabinet storage and a modern shower reflected in the mirror. (Fine Homebuilding)

Next to the house entry, the spa-like bathroom shows off with its elegant sink, toilet, cabinet storage and a modern shower reflected in the mirror. (Fine Homebuilding)