20x30 or tuff shed?

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Forum topic by slipcovershelley posted 11-07-2012 06:21 AM 32043 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2228 days

11-07-2012 06:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Here’s the deal, I sew custom slipcovers and have outgrown my workroom…so my idea is to convert our garage to my new work studio with carriage doors. That way I can load and unload the furniture directly into my work space instead of hauling it through the house and down the stairs to my current work room in the basement.

Great Idea right? Except now my husband needs a garage. We have room to build one on our property. My dad just moved into town and is a civil engineer and would love to get his hands on a new project. My question is it worth all the work and effort to build ourselves or would the price be the same to go with Tuff Shed (they assemble prefab garage for you)

Tuff Shed’s quote was $13,000 for the garage and about another $4500 for the concrete and footings. No electrical. We don’t need anything fancy…just a shell to park the cars, and store some stuff. What do you think? Would we save very much doing on our own- or is it not worth the hassle.

We live in Utah.

12 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3115 days

#1 posted 11-07-2012 10:57 AM

I went with a 24’x30’ metal building on a slab. In my case the brand was “MetalMart”. I paid to have the slab poured and put the building together myself, with a single additional helper. All said and done, with slab, insulation and wired (myself) I spent just under $12,000 about 8-years ago. I personally see fewer issues with a metal building than I would with traditional stick-built structures.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 11-07-2012 01:46 PM

shelley, you mentioned your father is a civil, what does he suggest? I just went down the same road you are considering. I am looking to build a 24’ x 24’ garage with gambrel attic trusses. I sort of had my mind set on a pole barn style with some modifications. The pole barn builders could build my garage in 3-4 days and purchase lumber etc in bulk. I had to consider how much the materials would cost to me as a non-discounted buyer as well as the labor including paying for additional help.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 3036 days

#3 posted 11-07-2012 03:42 PM

Although it might be easier to have a company come in and do it there is something to be said for handing the job over to your father in part and letting him have some fun if that is what he is looking for. Won’t be as fast but might be prettier, probably sturdier and it’ll keep him occupied.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2402 days

#4 posted 11-07-2012 05:17 PM

Being stick built, I bet it could blend in with your home very easily. If I was in your situation I would turn it over to your dad and let him do his thing and I bet you will be pleased.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3492 days

#5 posted 11-08-2012 01:27 AM

You ought to be able to get the concrete work cheaper. Try to pay about $5 per square foot for flatwork – unless you’re going 6” thick, then that’s a pretty good price. Tuffshed will subcontract it out, so why not deal direct?

If your dad is a civil engineer, he should have no problem doing a quantity takeoff and pricing the materials. Add to that an honest estimate of what your own time and convenience is worth to you, and you should have your answer.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View hamburglar's profile


42 posts in 2300 days

#6 posted 11-08-2012 04:29 AM

I’d build it… but I’m a carpenter by trade and a little biased on the subject.

If you have the time, equipment, and motivation I’d say full steam ahead on building it yourself. At the very least weigh out your options. Take a look at what your dad has to offer and price it and go from there.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2487 days

#7 posted 11-08-2012 12:39 PM

I’d build it. I built my workshop which is essentially a 1 and a half car garage without garage doors. By building it I was able to place windows and doors where I wanted them based on how we’d be using the building. In your case that’s less of an issue because you’re using it as a garage.
Sub out the concrete, stick build the walls (flat on the concrete and then stand ‘em up), and order trusses for the roof just because it takes out a lot of guesswork and it goes up fast.
Trusses: Not sure where you live or what your house’s roof style is, but you can specify “Attic Trusses” and they’ll be engineered so that you can store stuff up in the trusses AND there will be a space in the center rather than a complete webwork of wood.
You’ll still want electric out there even if it’s just for a light and a plug.

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3266 days

#8 posted 11-08-2012 12:56 PM

If you have the skill and equipment to build it, the decision comes down to time and money. Which do you have more of? If the investment in time is worth those savings to you, then do it. If you have the ability and the time as well as the money, then it is a question of how you like to spend your time.

When I built my shop I hired a contractor to do only those things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Mainly cement, framing and siding. I did electrical, heating, plumbing, insulation, sheetrock, painting, landscaping, which saved enough to cut down the cost by about half. The contractor also agreed to hire me as an assistant to help on anything that I wanted to, so I learned a lot and was involved to make sure that no shortcuts were taken. Overall it was a great experience.

-- PaulMayer,

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3492 days

#9 posted 11-08-2012 01:21 PM

“Not sure where you live or what your house’s roof style is, but you can specify “Attic Trusses” and they’ll be engineered so that you can store stuff up in the trusses AND there will be a space in the center rather than a complete webwork of wood.”

Good tip. I remember being pretty mad about seeing some of the houses in my development getting the attic style, after mine got the more solid kind. I’m sure the builder’s only motivation was low price, but still.

I agree on the electric. You’re sure to want an automatic door opener at a minimum.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11064 posts in 3629 days

#10 posted 11-08-2012 01:31 PM

Like Mike, we went with a metal bldg, also. It’s well removed from the house so integrating the styles wasn’t a real issue. It was basic, quick and cheap. There’s a 14’ wide rollup door on one end and the other is solid with a man door. No windows except for the small one in the man door. No insulation and no electricity. Just a shelter for vehicles, mowers, etc.
Wife and I stick built our shop as an addition to the house. Had plans drawn by a draftsman friend, used pre-made trusses and had the floor poured by pros. Every thing else, the two of us did ourselves.
We always said that the test of a good relationship was a canoe trip. We can add that a building project is another.
Have fun, which ever way you decide to go.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4326 days

#11 posted 11-08-2012 06:12 PM

We started out with a TuffShed quote, looked at what it would take to put a slab in for it, priced out materials, and ended up building a heavily insulated (both for sound and temperature control) workshop with a living roof. Not counting labor (which, admittedly, was a lot of work), we ended up with a building that’s got 2 hour fire wall construction, full Title 24 compliant insulation and climate control, an exterior wall assembly that should be good for hurricanes (we live in California, so this is actually kinda silly), and extra space to grow strawberries, and wiring, for not a whole lot more than it seems like TuffShed was going to charge us.

If I were going cheap, I’d do a metal pole barn on the slab. But we wanted sound control so I could run the router table without pissing off the neighbors, needed fire walls because of setback rules on our small lot, and once we got there decided that the living roof (which was the hardest part to get the city to sign off on) was a bonus. But even if I was going to go with T111 siding and single-faced walls and all the other compromises that TuffShed will bring you, once the slab was poured I’d just invite a couple of friends over and throw a barn raising. Though as others have noted, pre-made trusses are kinda nice, and for the ultra-heavy roof like we built the fact that they give engineering drawings to the city inspector is a bonus.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View clrcopy's profile


43 posts in 2293 days

#12 posted 11-08-2012 10:28 PM

We are looking at building my woodshop this spring. I’ve looked into the “kit” garages from Menards, and many other home centers. Obviously me doing the work, but the 2 car version I’m looking at is only $4800, and I’m going to add the $1000 for in floor radiant heat. I still have the concrete cost in there, but still seems lower than some. My goal is to be under $10k with all electrical, insulation etc. and that’s allowing a $1500 cushion for, oops, I didn’t think of that :)

I like the idea of stickbuilt, to match to the design of the house. Our house is 140 years old and I want to design this to blend nicely. Although this isn’t exactly stickbuilt, it’s as close as I’m going to get :)

-- Doug Rowan, am I working the wood or is the wood working me!

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