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Cabin, Barn & Small House Kit FAQs

Research Cabin, Barn & Small Home Kits

If I don't have a cabin, barn or house plan, where do I look?

Pennypincher's offers many off-the-shelf plans. If you don't see the plan you want on our site that doesn't mean it isn't available. Send us a photo or a sketch and we'll match it to a design. You may also conduct an internet search using keywords such as: barn plans, barn kits, horse barn plans, cabin kits, building kits, garage kits, barn homes, small houses, tiny homes, micro cabins or cottages.

What is included in Pennypincher's Cabin, Barn and Home Kits

We include:

  • Lumber, Hardware for the basic shell and loft (in loft style design).

  • Detailed Design Engineered Plans for the Do-It-Yourselfers or Builders with moderate carpentry skills. We recommend that at list one person have the ability to read plans and has experience building.
  • Material List.
  • Expert Technical Support.
  • Any Accessories you have ordered.
  • "Wet Stamp" on engineered plans available when required, for addtional charge.
  • Appropriate stair for loft barns and cabins.

What are the advantages to materials being purchased locally?

  • Reduced trucking expenses depending on lumber company.
  • When changes or add-ons occur, the lumber and roofing can be matched locally.
  • Contributes to the local ecomony.
  • Environmentally friendly.

What is Pennypincher's experience level?

Pennypincher's building are designed by a leading barn and cabin designer with over 40 years experience with barns, barn house, barn kits, cabin kits, cabins, sheds and energy efficient home building. We are fortunate that he shares this experience with us.

Can you really Quick Quote a cabin, barn or small house from just a photo, sketch or plan?

Yes, Of course, we hope you will send the appropriate dimensions of the building in your photograph or sketch. Even if you don't send the dimensions, we will estimate the length and width to determine square footage and loft size. Then we multiply the square footage by the price per square foot for that building type. We count and price out the accessories shown, calculate a Quick Quote total and email it to you. Final quotes are given after you have made a final decison about style and size.

What has been done to ensure that my cabin, barn or small house as been designed to last?

Our lasting designs, features and methods were incorporated into our packages after extensive studies of old houses to see why some lasted and some failed. Our packages included good quality materials similar to those in homes built today.

Will Pennypincher's plans satisfy my building department's requirements?

Yes. Here are a few tips to help make the process run smoother:

* Call the county and make an appointment.

* Get the directions to their office while you've got them on the phone. Most building deparments are organized and efficient. The courtesy of an appointment will get you off on the right foot.

* Before going in decide if you will be plumbing or wiring it now or using a flashlight and a garden hose for a while.

* Take a book and wear a smile. It will make the wait and the process go a lot smoother.

* Take any paperwork you have about the site, and the following list of information you will need to gather from your meeting:

  1. Tax parcel number

  2. Site Address

  3. Property owner's name and mailing address

  4. Ground snow load

  5. Wind load

  6. Wind Exposure

  7. Seismic zone

  8. Soil bearing pressure

  9. Frost depth

  10. Loft loading requirements

  11. Number of plan sets required

  12. Do they require an engineer's "wet stamp".

  13. Will they need structural calculations & notes? How many copies?

  14. What are the setbacks, front, sides & rear? Fire Access?

  15. Get a copy of the site plan requirements. Do they have any site plans and as-built on file?*

  16. What will the permit cost?

An as-built is a record of what they did when they varied from the original plan.

Still Smiling? Be patient. The majority of plans submitted are accepted and approved and very few turned down, mostly due to wetlands, endangered special and right of ways. Good Luck!

What is the difference between engineered plans and "wet stamped" engineered plans?

An engineered plan means that the designer has checked the calculations and determined that the engineering of the plans is acceptable. Some countries and cities now require that an engineer licensed in your state "wet stamp" or "seal" your plans. In these cases, generic plans won't work. "Wet Stamped" plans must be site specific, listing your tax parcel number, name, site address, and all other pertinent information (such as wind load and ground snow load).

Designing a Cabin, Barn or Small Home Package

What are my choices in design styles?

Pennypinchers's provides all classic styles including gable, gambrel, monitor, shed style, New England, western classic, chalet and cottage. We can also match your sketch or photo with a design.

What are my choices in framing styles?

Pennypincher's provides engineered package quotes for most framing styles, including post frame, stick frame, timber frame and post and beam, and combinations of these. Beams and supports are good quality mill cut timbers or finish sawn lumber mill. We also offer peeled log posts for interior and exterior beam supports at extra cost.

How wide can my alleyways be?

The most common is 12' but can be from 10' to 14' wide.

How large can my stalls be?

The most common sizes are 12 x 12 and 14 x 14.

How tall can my barn be?

It varies. 20' to 35' is common.

What are my choices in roofing?

Any roofing may be used on a Pennypincher building including shingles, shakes, metal and tile, 20 or 25 year shingles are the most common. Standing seam and ribbed metal roofing is often used in snowy areas. Pennypincher's recommends specifying shed style dormers when using metal roofing. Roofers find it difficult and expensive to flash around the angles and valleys of gable dormers. When using tile roof there will be an additional cost to support the weight. Extra high snow and wind load kits cost a little more.

What are my choices in siding?

Any siding may be used on a Pennypinchercabin, barn or small home.. Our standard siding is an engineered T1-11 plywood siding or LP Smart Siding with 8" grooves. Our standard siding is a paint grade siding. We can provide upgrades for stain grade, fire ratings or other preferences.  With the addition of cedar battens, this siding is cost efficient and replicates old style board and batten siding. Other sideing are quoted and purchased in your locale. All our standard barns are set up with a beltline feature. This feature enables use of any number of skirtings, from stone, brick, lap siding, log siding, stucco, heavy rough sawn fir or metal. These 4' skirts can be added now or years later at no inconvenience. The  beltline feature also enables very fast and very accurate installation.

Are Pennypincher barn, cabin and garage kits energy efficient?

Yes, with an extensive background in both fiberglass batt insulation and SIPS panel foam core stress skin panels (structurally insulated panel) in Alaska the designs are energy efficient. Because air exchange is a major factor in energy efficiency, proper installed air barrier, vapor barrier, and fiberglass insulation provides better energy efficiency that SIPS panels with poorly installed air and vapor barriers. Too tight houses are unhealthy. After installing a vapor barrier, Pennypincher's recommends conducting a blower door test to locate and measure air leakage. If necessary, a heat exchanger warms incoming cold air while providing fresh air to each room of your house.


Does it matter if my barn is energy efficient?

Yes and no. Most animals do better in non-heated spaces. In areas of extreme cold, temperature and wind is an important consideration. All of Pennypincher's barn and cabin kits are designed with air movement in mind. Except in backrooms and club rooms energy efficiency in most barns is not a factor until you convert it to a home. At this time you will be happy to find that your barn can be converted to an energy efficient barn home. Our post frame barn kits will require the addition of 2x6 lumber to fully support the eventual conversion barn and garage. From kit to barn home will require additional framing at nominal cost for maximum energy efficiency. Energy efficient framing can be added to your Pennypincher Barn Home Kit package.

Can I change the barn plans that I have?

Pennypincher's offers standard off-the-shelf kits. We do have the ability to provide design changes.

Will condensation be a problem?

Very little condensation shows up in all wood barn. If you ride hard and put your horses away wet, you might see a little condensation beading at the inside peaks at the gable ends. Gable end vents and functional cupalas stop condesation stop condensation build-up.


Can my metal building be made to look like a Pennypincher barn?

Yes, we can alter your metal building to look like a new Pennypincher barn.

Purchasing a Barn or Cabin Kit

Is it necessary to purchase the barn accessories from Pennypincher's?

No. You may purchase them elsewhere or build your own. Pennypincher's offers a variety of rustic barn style accessories meant to add character to your building. We recommend that you consider recycling windows and doors to save cost, add character and make it more earth friendly.

Are gable dormers more expensive than shed dormers?

No. Each method has its own best applications. The biggest issue is that because of the angles, gable dormers are best served with composition roofing, while metal roofing is great for roofs with shed dormers.


What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, cashier's checks, personal checks and wire transfers. Wire transfer are inexpensive ($20 nationally), save a week or more and avoid the 2 % credit card fee. Naturally we prefer that you pay by wire transfer especially on the larger transactions.

Assembling a Barn Kit

How long will assembly take?

Some kits can take a couple of weeks to several weeks to build. The assembly time is affected by many factors. The design and engineering process takes time. Clearing, leveling, driveways, wells, wetlands, right of ways and septic design might all affect the permitting time. Weather conditions have a major effect on construction. Builder availability can be a problem. Builder experience is very important. Don't forget the holidays. Winter working hours are shorter. Crew size and distance traveled, shipping times and material shortage are factors. Change orders seriously impact completion schedules. Foresight and planning will shorten the length of the project considerably. 

Usually, plan a month for medium projects once you have started excavation. Choosing a good reliable builder goes a long way towards shortening the time. If you have a deadline, make it clear in the beginning to all involved and write it into your agreement. Good planning and patience will help keep everyone's blood pressure down.

What carpentry experience is needed to assemble a Pennypincher's barn kit?

Any experienced carpenter can assemble a Pennypincher's Kit.  Most do-it-yourself home owners and handymen breeze through assembly. If you have trouble please consult Pennypincher's or an experienced barn builder.

Can I erect the building myself?

Many people do. Previous building experience and moderate carpentry skills are helpful. Pennypincher's recommends that you have at least one experienced carpenter available on your crew. Safety experience is a must.

Insurance: Licensed, insured general contractors are required to have insurance in most states. Many do-it-yourselfers overlook the importance of insurance. Homeowner's insurance usually will not cover your building project. Go to your state government website to find out specific insurance requirements and availability. Licensed contractors are required to be insured. Check your state government to verify contractor registration, liability insurance and worker coverage. Do not hire workers or invite family and friends without insuring them. In some states you can buy a one time business license to "Build my own barn, one time, on my own property". You can hire up to two subcontractors. When your box of information arrives, fill out the quarterly reports, determine the premium insurance rates, mark on final report which comes in the information packet, include your payment and mail. Each state's requirements are different.

Can standard methods be used to assemble Pennypincher's barn kits?

Carpentry experience is necessary but if you get stumped, an experienced carpenter or builder may be needed for help.


Can we add different features?

Yes. Pennypincher's offers a variety of accessories to add to the character of your barn or cabin.


What sizes and styles of barn windows can I get?

We have most standard sizes. Our windows are glazed with "Lexan" or an equivalent. If you prefer real glass, use the Lexan as a pattern for your local glass shop. Remember that most building codes require tempered glass in and near doors and near stairs.

What sizes and styles of doors do you have?

We have a variety of styles and sizes of rustic doors.

What are castle doors?

They are round top barn doors with a castle door effect. Choose swing-in or out-swing?

What about stairways?

Pennypincher's includes a standard stair with loft barn and cabin packages. Mini Cabins and tiny houses come with a pre-manufactured pull down stair.

What are Ride Thru doors?

Extra tall doors that are designed to allow the rider to pass in and out of the barn freely without dismounting. A portion of the loft above the alley is left out for wide open space to the roof peak. A full sized hay truck can pass right through to stock the lofts if you choose.

What is a sky bridge?

If you choose the Pennypincher's Ride Thru door features, installion of an elevated sky bridge will allow you to cross between lofts while maintaining a 14' clearance. The sky bridge makes room for large equipment and motors homes, as well.

Why are Pennypincher's stall doors, paddock doors and single carriage doors all 52" wide?

This style of door most often overlaps the building frame. When overlapping 2" on either side of the door the remaining 48" rough opening is still wide enough for both horse and owner to pass through at the same time. 48" doors are a little tight.

Why is Pennypincher's Rustic style People Door 40" wide?

This was done so a wheelbarrow can pass through.

Will Pennypincher's barn kits fit any suppliers accessories?

Yes, however we will need their specifications.

Contact Us

Pennypincher Barn Company, Inc.

1-360-273-9470 Sales@PennyPincherBarns.com


Pennypincher Barn Company specializes in providing good quality small house kits, small cabin kits, small houses, tiny houses, and barn kits that are affordable, versatile and durable. Our kits can be used as timber frame houses, little homes, 4H horse barns, barn homes, rv garages, kennels, chalets, cabins, arenas, utility buildings, storage barns, carports, studios, workshops, home based offices, small animal barns, wineries, hobby or craft rooms, and much, much more.  We're confident that after you compare the value, quality, service, and durability of our home, and cabin kits to any other professional kit company you'll agree that Pennypincher’s provides a great product for the best price in town.  We are a small company.   Please use E-mail rather than calling.  Sales@pennypincherbarns.com

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