How to Build a Small A-Frame Cabin

A-frame cabin construction is ideally suited for areas that receive a heavy accumulation of snow. The steep roof design of the cabin allows the snow to slide off the roof, rather than accumulating and creating a heavy weight load that can damage or break other roof designs. Building an A-frame is an easy project for the experienced do-it-yourself home-builder. An A-frame provides space to build a large loft, expanding the use of the structure. The loft offers the cabin considerably more usable space than a single-story cabin built on the same-sized foundation.

A-frame cabin

Step 1

Clear and level the cabin building site. Remove trees, rocks, roots and any other building obstacles from the site. Secure a building permit if required. Draw out a sketch of your building design to determine the amount of lumber and other building materials required.

Cabin Foundation

Build the cabin foundation from concrete blocks, foundation stone or four-way deck blocks. Set the foundation blocks or stone on a 8- to 10-inch layer of level, compacted gravel.

Step 3

Build the floor frame from 2-by-8 pressure-treated lumber set on 16-inch spacing. Nail the floor joists together using joist hangers and 2-inch spiral shank nails. Position the frame in place on the foundation. Cover the floor frame with 5/8-inch pressure-treated plywood. Secure the plywood to the floor joists with nails or wood screws positioned no farther than 8 inches apart.

Step 4

Build the A-frame for the roof from 2-by-8 pressure-treated lumber, using 16-inch spacing. Nail the joists together with joist hangers and 2-inch spiral shank nails. Make sure all measurements are true. If the A-frame is not built with precision, the cabin will settle and construction problems may appear.

Step 5

Position the roof frame squarely on the cabin foundation and secure by nailing to the floor joist with 2-inch spiral shank nails driven at a 30 degree angle. Cover the roof joist with 5/8-inch pressure-treated plywood secured with nails or wood screws placed no more than 8 inches apart. Cover the plywood with weatherproof plastic sheeting or tar paper. Nail or staple the covering to the plywood and tape the ends.

Step 6

Build the two end wall frames from 2-by-4 spruce lumber set on 16-inch spacing. Position the cabin door and windows to allow for cross ventilation. When the wall frames are built, raise them one at a time and secure by nailing them to the roof and floor joists with 2-inch spiral shank nails. Cover the exterior of the wall frame with treated 5/8 inch plywood. Cover the plywood with tar paper or plastic sheeting prior to finishing with wood shingles or siding.