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Trends4 min

Design Focus: A-frame Homes

Over the years, A-frame house designs have become an icon for getaway vacation homes stowed away in the mountains or nestled next to lakes. Marked by its distinct triangle shape formed by the steep angles of the roof, this style quickly gained popularity for its strength against northern climates and ability to prevent large amounts of snow from accumulating and causing structural damage. 

The steep, angled roof is just one of many advantages of an A-frame house. Known as a “roof hut” in the South Pacific Islands, A-frame homes were common throughout Europe and China before gaining popularity in the U.S. in the early 1930s. The roof begins at or near the foundation and meets at the top in a sharp peak, resulting in a relatively inexpensive build made almost entirely from shingles.

The low-cost factor played a huge role in its national craze of the early 1950s when Americans took to this style to build second homes for vacations. Its unique and modern design offered a sense of differentiation from their primary residence. The interior appeals to homeowners looking for a simple and minimalistic layout. However, this often results in less living space than traditional homes. There is typically very little storage, and unless bump-outs or dormers are added natural light is only allowed in through the front- or back-facing walls.

Reinventing the A-frame House Design

Bill Owens, residential contractor and founder/president of Owens Construction, challenged the norms of A-frame homes on a recent remodeling project with Professional Remodeler. As head builder and design contractor on the Model ReModel West project, Owens was tasked with remodeling and expanding a 900 sq. ft. A-frame home in the mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Building on Durability

To further build on the durability of the distinguished triangle roof design, Owens re-sided the home with LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® Trim & Siding, a new prefinished siding option available in an array of 16 versatile colors. Competing against the clock to beat the fast-approaching winter weather in Flagstaff, the prefinished treatment allowed for a quicker installation process by eliminating the painting phase. 

A Modern Exterior Refresh

While Owens was nearly doubling the size of the home with three additions, he wanted to create a “mountain modern” look by maintaining the minimalist design seen throughout the original build and paying tribute to the classic style of A-frame homes. A-frame homes often look to the siding for a subtle complement to the sharp lines formed by the roof. Owens attributes his ability to achieve this look to the versatility of LP SmartSide ExpertFinish Trim & Siding. 

“One thing we were amazed with is the ability to work with LP’s longer 16-foot trim lengths to create a better aesthetic with less seams,” says Owens. Owens selected LP SmartSide ExpertFinish Trim & Siding in Quarry Gray because of how it complemented the natural colors of the mountainous property and played into the overall exterior appearance.

While everyone may not be ready for a large expansion, a simple re-siding can provide a fresh appearance and added durability. If you have an A-frame vacation getaway in an area that experiences extreme weather, consider siding products that can help to stand up to these harsh conditions. LP® SmartSide® siding products provide added piece of mind with an impressive limited warranty that protects against strong weather elements such as hail damage (up to 1.75˝ in diameter) for 50 years.

If you’re looking to upgrade your A-frame home’s siding before your next winter vacation, take a look at this guide that compares various siding options.

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