Kit Houses

ID Block 3

Marked lumber: Kit house companies labeled their lumber to make it as easy as possible for buyers to follow assembly instructions for their homes. Companies stamped rafters, floor joists, wall studs, sub-flooring, and other lumber to match blueprints. These stamps could be letters, numbers, or a combination and were typically on the wide side of the lumber about two to ten inches from the end of the framing member. If the boards were stamped on the ends, it would not be visible.


Courtesy of


Grease pencil notations might include the name and model number of the house, and the customer order number. These markings could be concealed by alternations or new construction or behind walls. Courtesy of



Finding stamped lumber or grease pencil notations is one clue that your house might be a kit, but once again, not definitive. A builder or owner may have ordered the lumber only from the kit house company. Many continued to provide separate catalogs for material supplies.





As always there were exceptions. Sometimes lumber was bundled and only the top piece was labeled. Courtesy of Gordon-Van Tine Company.


Courtesy of


Shipping Labels: Paper shipping labels on the back of mill work, such as baseboards and door and window trim, is another clue. Again, this is not confirmation, as the lumber may have arrived as a separate order and not as part of a kit.



Fixtures and hardware: Electrical, plumbing, and heating fixtures, and hardware on doors, windows, and cabinetry, may hold clues to a kit. As with other features, it is also possible appliances and fixtures were ordered separately from the company.

Some companies added a logo or initials. or a distinctive design to hardware. Aladdin, for example, offered this doorknob. Courtesy of Oklahoma Houses by Mail.