Quonset Hut Homes Kits & Plans: Pros and Cons

Last Updated on December 3, 2020 by Kimberly Crawford

Have you ever heard about Quonset hut homes before? If you are looking into an outdoor storage shed or mechanical equipment storage, then you must have encountered this name at least once.

Ideal for all kinds of storage, even as a metal house or airplane hangar, Quonset huts are excellent shelters.

What is a Quonset Hut?

what is quonset hut home

Quonset hut homes is a semicircular prefabricated structure of corrugated steel. It is, basically, a metal shelter in a semi-cylindrical shape with end walls. Today, people mostly refer to Quonset huts as lightweight galvanized steel structures.

The most Quonset homes you can find today are prefabricated metal buildings you can use for a wide variety of living and storage purposes.

History of Quonset Hut Homes

The beginning of Quonset hut homes was during the Second World War. It was when the U.S. took over Guam and construction started to transform the island into a military base. The goal was to create a strong base that can raid the Japanese mainland for war efforts. There were going to be sizable troops to arrive, meaning they needed temporary structures.

The U.S. then imitated the British’s Nissen huts during the First World War and created the first Quonset huts. Quonset turned out to be the structures they needed to house the troops. It was easy to assemble the sheds and did not need any skillful expertise. At that time, the standard measurement of Quonset huts was 16 feet x 36 feet with an 8-foot radius.

The name of the huts came from Quonset Point, the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center, in Davisville, Rhode Island. During World War II, the U.S. constructed and used around 170,000 huts. Their popularity eventually declined because of the many problems that came with them.

Quonset Hut Homes Pros and Cons

Quonset Hut Homes Pros and Cons

Having been around for so long, you can now find all kinds of Quonset hut homes better than what they used to be during World War II. However, they still have unique benefits and drawbacks that you must want to know. Learning what these pros and cons are will help you decide whether an arched style building is something to your preference.

Pros of a Quonset Hut

There are several advantages to an arched-style building like a Quonset:

They have efficient builds

Arched-style buildings are highly efficient with very little waste. They are also incredibly flexible, particularly when it comes to sub-styles. These make Quonset huts ideal as retail shops, small warehouses, and storage.

They have a long lifespan

They usually use galvanized steel for Quonset homes, which is corrosion and rust-resistant. That means they will not quickly wear down due to rain and snow. That long life span equals savings.

They are quick and easy to build

Erecting Quonset hut homes, especially those to be assembled, is easy. You often only need four people to build it and complete it in just a few days. You also only need basic tools, while the maintenance is also minimal.

They have a clear span

Quonset huts span up to 80 feet. Although this is not ideal for multi-story buildings, having this much span means less hassle. Building Quonset hut homes is not much of a trouble compared to bigger, straight wall structures.

They are generally cheaper priced

Building Quonset huts come with other hidden costs like insulation. But even with that, an arched-style building is still generally cheaper.

Cons of a Quonset Hut

The disadvantages associated with Quonset huts include:

They are less durable

Arched-style buildings are less durable than rigid frame buildings. As such, you cannot expect Quonset huts to be that much resistant to heavy elements and wind. It is true even with modern styles modified with straight walls.

They reduce headspace

Unfortunately, the rounded construction of Quonset huts means they have less usable square footage. They have less headspace because of the roof curvature, which means you also have limited storage space. 

They are less versatile

Quonset huts do have a great clear span. However, a rigid frame structure has a better one at up to 300 feet clear span space. Moreover, these structures have a completely column-free interior.

Consider these pros and cons when you think about whether to erect Quonset hut homes or not. You can see that even though Quonset looks great and all, it has limitations. Think about whether those disadvantages are not a problem for you or possibly remedied.

10 Quonset Hut House Plans

When it comes to shapes and designs, Quonset huts are highly versatile. However, that depends on you being able to find the right option. There are various designs available, mainly the Q-model, P-model, and S-model, which have simple floor plans.

  • Q-Model – the most popular type in terms of durability and economy; has a width between 20’ and 100’.
  • S-Model – has a domed roof and straight sidewalls with stronger design; ideal for workshops and barns; has a width between 16’ and 60’.
  • P-Model – the style most popular for homes, workshops, and garage; has a pitched roof and straight walls and width between 16’ and 30’.

If you decide to build or buy an assembled Quonset hut, it is a good idea to know what plans and designs are available these days. Below are 10 of the Quonset hut house ideas popular for home and business owners.

1. Traditional Quonset Huts

1 quonset hut home ideas

For those who like the aesthetic of old homes but with a beautiful exterior, this design plan is perfect. The outside of the hut looks old, but the inside is complete with amenities for your comfort.

2. Modern Quonset Hut Homes

Modern Quonset Hut Homes

Modern Quonset homes look amazing. Both the interior and exterior are contemporary in style with simple color combinations yet still interesting. They use high-quality materials that make the home warm enough, plus the expansive windows let natural light in and fresh air circulate. These houses are expensive but are a good value for your money.

3. Desert Themed Quonset Huts

Desert Themed Quonset Huts

There are also Quonset homes ideal in the desert and similar places. Even though this type of structure is known for its excruciating heat, there are also unique design plans that make them work even in the desert.

4. Wood-Based Quonset Huts

4 quonset hut home ideas
Image credit: southernliving

Most Quonset huts are metal, but there are also others made of wood. If it’s a wood-based Quonset hut, you need to work on what would suit your design. Either way, you will get the best visuals with an entirely distinct experience.

5. Nature-Like Quonset Huts

5 quonset hut home ideas
Image credit: tinyhouseblog

You will find various designs under nature-like Quonset huts. One of the most common is the swamp-themed home, meant to blend in with nature. They also have a good lighting system plus a bit of a personality in terms of appearance.

6. Backyard Quonset Homes

Backyard Quonset Homes

When it comes to backyard Quonset homes, you will find many attractive designs all around. You simply need to find the one suitable for your needs and preferences. In Quonset homes for backyards, maroon and red are the most popular combination.

7. Quonset Hut Homes with Stairs

Quonset Hut Homes with Stairs
Image credit: Southernliving

If you want a Quonset hut with a much more exciting look, one way to do that is by adding some stairs to it. Stairs are a great way to customize your Quonset home, which also increases the value of your property.

8. Military-Style Quonset Huts

Military-Style Quonset Huts
Image credit: militarytrader

Although military-styled, these Quonset huts have a ton of space. They are the best options if you want a spacious and good-looking arched-style building. 

9. Colorful Quonset Huts

Colorful Quonset Huts

In this Quonset plan, the design is not simple but not complicated either. What sets it apart is the color chosen for the Quonset hut homes. It can be bold and bright or more subdued – it all depends on what you want.

10. Simplistic Quonset Homes

Simplistic Quonset Homes

It’s the simplest Quonset plan out there with no huge design focus. The main feature is the massive window in the center that provides good lighting. It’s ideal if you want to live in a simpler, smaller home. 

How to Insulate a Quonset Hut

Your Quonset hut homes have metal arches, which has a unique nature that makes inside the structure extremely hot. That makes it critical to insulate your hut to prevent the unbearable heat when the sun’s rays hit the metal surface. 

You also need insulation during winter because the cold winter temperatures become exaggerated due to the metal sheeting. Because of this, the inside of the hut becomes frigid cold. For your Quonset home, look for durable insulation reinforced with nylon mesh or fiberglass scrim.

Here is how installing installation on a Quonset hut generally goes:

  • Use double-sided tape and glue or super metal sealant to attach the furring or spacers (1” x 3”) to the length of the building. You should do this for every 2 to 3 feet.
  • Use double-sided tape (short-term hold) and glue (long-term hold) to attach the insulation to the spacer.
  • Install the insulation from the ground up, then back again to the floor.
  • Use a big-headed screw in every four feet of the insulation to keep it attached to the furring, as a precaution.
  • You can also screw or attach the furring from the top of the sheeting.
  • Use reflective tape or 10 M to tape the seams.

Where Can I Buy a Quonset Hut?

It is easy to find where you can buy Quonset huts if you look online. Many shops sell pre-planned Quonset hut homes that you can tweak or customize to your liking. Most of them come prefabricated. Others provide you with a plan that you can work on together with them to create a design that suits your needs.

Nissen Gut vs. Quonset Hut

Nissen huts and Quonset huts share some origins, specifically how Quonset was based on Nissen. However, the British developed Nissen huts during World War I while the U.S. developed Quonset huts during World War II, for the same reasons. In terms of construction, Nissen huts have an internal framework of either wood or metal while Quonsets don’t.

When it comes to sizes, the scale varies. However, both Nissen huts and Quonset huts can go as big in scale as needed. Nissen huts are also different from Quonset in terms of style as they didn’t stray from arch-profile. Meanwhile, Quonsets have successfully evolved over time. They are different from each other but both highly versatile, durable, and cost-effective.

Can You Live in a Quonset Hut?

You can definitely live in a Quonset hut, especially as it is customizable. Its inside is entirely usable and transformable to the way you want it to look. You can also design and paint the exterior however you want, meaning you have full creative freedom over it. You can live in it, but you will likely face some issues such as functionality and cost.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Quonset Home?

The cost of building Quonset hut homes vary. But here are the average prices you will find in the market:

  • Small to medium kits – $1500 to $1500; with workers, the cost increases to about $3000 to $25000.
  • Medium huts – $5000 to $35000, which can increase to about $10000/$50000 depending on size, accessories, and location
  • Complete and fully built Quonset hut – around $40000
  • 80’x400’ Quonset hut – as much as $100000

How Long Will a Quonset Hut Last?

Since you build Quonset hut homes with steel, they have an extended life span. If well-cared, the average lifespan of a Quonset is as close to 100 years. But of course, that has to do with the quality of materials used to build it.

Do Quonset Huts Leak?

Quonset huts are durable for the most part. However, they are not entirely impervious to damage. After some time, they may be susceptible to water damage, meaning they can leak. On that note, repairs and maintenance are crucial.


Quonset hut homes are incredible structures that look great, durable, and long-lasting. They do have limitations, particularly when it comes to headspace. Nevertheless, they are great if you are looking for a unique home, store, garage, or storage facility.

best quonset hut homes