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Cheaper option for a shop building?

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So I've been thinking about what I want to do when I finally build a shop. I'm not trying to do anything fancy, probably dirt floors. I was wondering though. What would be cheaper in terms of material, I would end up building it myself or maybe have a little help. Would a wooden frame and walls or one of those metal garage like ones be cheaper. I know the metal garages are fairly cheap as far as garages go but for a fairly small workshop what do you guys think  

Also I have a big stack of 2x3s but I'm not sure that would be sufficient for an outer frame. I could use them if I wanted to section off a room though. 

Any input is appreciated, just looking for a rough idea. I know I'll have to go and do some of my own homework to know for sure. 

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What does the building code in your area require?  

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Not really sure, nothing I've ever had to think or worry about. I guess I will need to find out if I'm wanting to wire up electric to it. Although even then I'm not sure there would be much or a problem honestly. I've seen some pretty janky garages around here. 

Is that something available online? I'm gonna look but if not I'll surely find how to find it. 

Well after looking it up I'm only finding stuff for Morgantown and that's only talking about having to pass inspections before during and after when hiring a contractor. It all seemed really vague. I guess I'll just have to call that office and see who to get in contact with. 

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It's highly dependent on location and building codes.  For much of the country, an outbuilding that has 120 square feet under roof or less can be built without the full permit process as long as there is no wiring involved...but there are still issues like setbacks from the property line and of course an "unsafe" outbuilding may still be on the radar.  In other places, that limit is 240 square feet but that larger number seems to be a bit amorphous...not just localized but also good one year and not the next (as local governments change).  It's rare but there are still some areas that don't require building permits--for instance, if you are outside city limits in Montana, you can build without permits (still with some restrictions).  I doubt that WV would work like that.

So...to the real question.  I'd personally do one of those metal buildings that are effectively carports with sides.  Not the cheapest version but one which was good for snow loads and wind loads (including pinning it down against uplift forces in winds).  They go up in half a day usually and aren't that expensive:  By the time you do a wood building, the costs can add up pretty fast.  Electrical is the issue and unless you are drawing a ton of current (welders and such), you can probably get away with a temporary extension cord set up only when you are working (that's cheap and the officials can't complain much).  But that is all a minimalist kind of shop situation and you may have bigger dreams and ambitions.

For me, the next step up from there would be doing it right...and that takes a lot of money.  Basically, if you are going halfway to right, you are putting in so much time and money that you might as well go all the way...permits etc.

Obviously, it's just one crackpot's opinion....YMMV.

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Those little tin: garage, garden, tool, etc. sheds won't take much of a snow or wind load without reinforcement.

Frosty The Lucky.

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You said you have a bunch of 2x lumber. If you go with an aluminum shed you can frame the inside to stiffen it up a bit. 

Pnut

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Take a look at shipping containers. Four walls and a roof, sturdy construction, if you have lots of rain in your area you may want to add a sloped roof on top, nothing fancy needed. Also, once you don't need it anymore you can sell it, or move it if you need to.

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I'm gonna be doing it on my parents property and we have our own underground electric coming to a box we own. So I could just get an electrician friend to help with wiring and if I needed the company to come I'd just say I'm wiring up a shed. Which is basically true. I'm not planning on going half but I can't afford all out. Eventually I can just tear out a wall and expand it if I wanted. My grandma and grandpa got a metal garage built up on the top of a giant hill and it gets bad weather compared to here and it's held up well. I would make sure whatever I did wouldn't get blown away. Also I'd definitely put a wooden frame in regardless since I have the material and I'd be able to put up some perforated board walls to hang tools and such. Plus metal reverbs sound too much.

Mainly I'm able to do everything myself other than serious electrical stuff and I have a friend I can call.

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I'm in New Mexico, USA and in a rural area---farms have great latitude in the code out here.  My 20'x30'  steel roofed, steel walled, dirt floored, shop extension cost very little as I scrounged all the materials except the 2 used steel trusses, the purlins and a large number of SDST metal screws, oh yes I bought a 10'x10' roll up door , used, from another smith and 2 pieces of fiberglass roofing to use as skylights.  So something like $300 for the trusses, $75 for the roll up door,  fiberglass panels, + screws.  So a bit over US$1 per sq foot of shop.  Getting the walls as hail damaged propanel replace on a friend's roof was a help as was the roof made from overruns from reroofing the local town's schools---*bad* hail storm out here back then! The uprights were utility poles, 2x40' poles == 4x20' poles; our local Electrical CoOp would give used poles away to members, though the wait was a year or two.  Mine were 10 years old, replaced when they redid the RR for two sets of tracks.  Good for another 80+ years out here in the desert!

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3 hours ago, G-son said:

Take a look at shipping containers.

I was looking into those and found that my county prohibits the use of those containers for anything other than storage.  We also have restrictions on how many total square feet of buildings can be placed on residential property.  If it's zoned for farming then the rules are different.  The bottom line is you have to research your local regulations on buildings if you want to stay within the laws.

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Heres a other point of view, and im at that point as well, so its not a talk the talk kinda thing.

Theres a few threads here asking those esotheric questions such as "why are you a blacksmith". And the answers span the whole philosophical spectrum 

Consider this: whats the first thing you, or anybody else, sees when coming up to your shop?

The shop of course.  ;)

Its a nice place to express to one and all, just what your work is all about.

 

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A cheap 20' x 20'carport is what I have, and it seems to work fine. Size might be an issue with one though for after 20' wide, the snow load would be an issue. As mentioned as well, wind is another factor. I bought mine used, just two weeks old, for it had been ripped out of the ground and rolled across the yard. Had just been staked down with rebar stakes. I anchored it with bolts in concrete and never had anymore issues. As well it has carried some 12" snows and survived. At 20' deep,  the two end walls carry a lot of the load. As for permits, there are still places around with no building codes. Fortunately I live in one of those areas.

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Snow load carports have 4’ OC studs vs 5” OC studs and can be had 36’ wide. The snow load ones are best because 4’ R11 white milar faced steel building insulation will fit in the walls. Insulation is a good idea as radiant heat in the summer and condensation in the winter is an issue. 

6F8781EF-7A05-4FC0-A069-A27E5AE1395A.jpeg

This is one converted to a horse barn, and I know one that is bricked in up in Newcastle OK that is an insurance office.

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nice looking building. a little hand forged hardware would set it off nice!

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On 5/31/2019 at 3:11 PM, anvil said:

Consider this: whats the first thing you, or anybody else, sees when coming up to your shop?

The shop of course. Its a nice place to express to one and all, just what your work is all about.

Well said Anvil. If you wish to do business you can NOT ignore appearance and an efficient shop space is generally attractive. Arranging it with a degree of artistic expression is icing on the cake.

No, don't look at my shop, it's a perpetual mess. Like me.:ph34r:

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well, mine is to! But theres hope.

Also, i make a sample piece as part of my bid, and I keep these. After a while, they start to look pretty good on the walls. 

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If I hung a sample of everything I did on a wall my place would look like the inside of a scrap pile! :lol:

Oh MY, all I have to do is look at the floor since the quake and envision it as a 3D view! :o

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Frosty,

Hath said, three posts above this one, and I quote. " …  No, don't look at my shop, it's a perpetual mess. ".

He has requested so many times of others over the years, to wit,  "please post pictures we like pictures.

Now it's your turn?

I'm most interested in seeing how you fashion a mess.

Regards,

SLAG.

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Well. . . First I cover every flat surface to the point of instability, with propping. Refine the technique for about 20 years then give it a good mag. 7.0 shaking. 

Viola!

Heck, I've found things I haven't seen for a decade!

Frosty The Lucky.

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So even earthquakes can have a silver lining.

(especially so in the land of he midnight earthquake?).

SLAG.

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Haven't found any silver. <sigh> 

The real silver lining is living where earthquake codes are the highest in the country. We suffered a mag. 7 quake centered shallow less than 12 miles from the center of Anchorage Ak. No fatalities and only about 40 runs to the hospital. One fatality later but that was a heart attack doing clean up. NO buildings collapsed though some are beyond repair but most predated the 64 quake.

Only a few serious road failures and only one made impassable temporarily. Our road, Vine Rd. That one was almost visible from out back deck. The vine road failure was the result of a low cost construction method okayed by politicos rather than engineers. No comment on that one except it was bound to fail in a quake. Heck, all but one road failure was the result of that particular fill technique.

More damage showed up as snow melted and ground thawed a lot of subdivisions are rife with foundation failures, slab of grade over FS soils. Liquefaction floated some houses is several directions at once. 

Building and emergency response codes are being redesigned as we speak. So yeah, there are silver linings. My shop only got stirred and not too badly at that, it was already a mess.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I used 55 gallon drums for walls - no roof, just windbreak walls. They are self supporting and add storage space. I used my deck-over trailer as my welding bench because it is the only flat spot on my property. Stood five up next to each other and welded, offset another four and welded them to the first five. Did another run of five aligned with the first run, and another four after that. Once stood up with the forklift I have a 3' thick wall that is 8' tall and 10' long that is open on one side like big honeycomb, and has withstood 50mph winds. Snow here is a rare dusting, wind is a lot more of an issue, and during the summer it is just too hot to be out by a forge when it is 115F outside. It will be 90F-100F until midnight during some portions. The cool part is between 3am and 7am because it will be 100F by 9am. Now I know what the roast feels like in a crockpot...just one 3 month long simmer.  The UV, and dryness (4" of rain a year) is tough on wood, so I am looking at other options.

Personally I like the idea of alternative construction techniques like Earth berm, rammed Earth using old tires, straw bale, etc... There is a steel company that if you use containers you just tell them how far apart they are, and they will make an arched roof to span them that just bolts on.

Where I work now we go through thousands of "Super Sacks" of rice a year. The sacks hold 2,000# of milled rice, are around 3' square, and being that these are single use sacks they have a 5 to1 safety rating. A cubic yard of gravel is around 2,900#. I want to run my idea past a structural engineer, but my idea is to fill the sacks with the sand and gravel on my property , set them side by side, then stack them 3-5 high as I have seen them done in storage areas. Run some rebar, then shoot the whole mess with shotcrete. This would give me walls over 3' thick and enough thermal mass to help keep the heat at bay. The expense would be rebar and shotcrete. For a roof maybe do the arch roof mentioned above, and either shoot a couple feet of expanding foam inside, or some other super insulation. The local museum rebuilt the old adobe homes the local indians used, and they are surprisingly cool with walls that are only a bit over a foot thick.  My ultimate shop here would be fully subterranean. We have subterranean homes in Las Vegas up to 17,000 sqft, so they are not unheard of to the building dept.  Once you have 4' of dirt over you the temperature will remain constant all year.

For a shop space the rammed Earth walls only cost the time to ram the dirt into them. The walls will be as thick as the tires used. Some leave the tires exposed, others cover them to help protect them from the weather.

If you have straw bales-not hay-available they are easy to work with as they are like big blocks.  My local high school farm did an outbuilding using straw bales as a student project.

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Another decent hot country building trick is double walls and especially roof. A second shiny galvy steel roof about 6" above the shiny galvy inner roof shields the living space from direct sun and provides space for air flow. Doing the same on the walls works the same but not as significantly. Insulate the inside as well of course. 

Double wall construction used to be common here, before modern insulation and it's good insulation. Sub zero weather is as harsh as extreme high temps and the solutions are often the same.

I'm a huge fan of earth berm or subterranean, straw bale not so much, too much desirable territory for vermin. I wonder how mixing adobe clay and straw with the sand gravel super sack fill would work. Adobe to bind the sand gravel and ease the strength requirements on the super sacks while straw would provide rebar component And dead air space while lightening the load. 

It's not an option where you are Bigguns but I like soddies too. Cut and stack construction with good thermal mass. Doorways and windows are the only structural issues and nothing special. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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6 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

The sacks hold 2,000# of milled rice, are around 3' square, and being that these are single use sacks they have a 5 to1 safety rating. A cubic yard of gravel is around 2,900#.

Kinda sounds like a hesco bastion. 

Pnut

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Similar, but these can be moved after filling with a forklift or similar equipment.  The ones I can get measure 35"x35"x52".

 

Frosty, I have thought about doing a double roof and side curtains for the house. Mother Nature will win, so I figure why fight her and instead , work with her. I knew I was moving into a harsh environment, and I also know I don't need a huge AC bill every month during the summer. I know people who pay $600 a month during the summer. The swamp cooler works until the monsoons hit in July.

 

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