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Old 10-14-2010, 04:31 PM   #41
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What amazes me is how prices are still so high in this economy. We thought prices would be rock bottom since so many in the remodeling/construction business need work these days.
Tradesmen are still employed (and busy) here (NJ). It's the white collar guys who are collecting unemployment at this time.

We have two neighbors who are general contractors, and they are managing to squueeezzzeee in our roof, house paint, other improvements (basically for cost - to keep their guys from getting snagged by other contractors!) around their other projects...slowly but surely!
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:42 PM   #42
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As a suggestion and it might be worth the phone calls...see if you can find a good appraiser or perhaps you know one. Ask him or her when he or she does appraisals what factor he uses for a garage finished the way you have specified and is brand new. I doubt he uses $123 dollars a square foot which is what your quote suggest.
Your quote is exactly why I get mad at price gouging ...when in the past I have looked at additions and end up doing nothing. new kitchen (only about 150 square feet additional and renovating current was $85,000). So I spent $7,000, put in hard wood floors, granite counter tops, moved the island around, repainted...etc. instead.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:59 PM   #43
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As a suggestion and it might be worth the phone calls...see if you can find a good appraiser or perhaps you know one. Ask him or her when he or she does appraisals what factor he uses for a garage finished the way you have specified and is brand new. I doubt he uses $123 dollars a square foot which is what your quote suggest.
I'm not sure the appraised value of a garage necessarily has much to do with the cost of having one constructed. For example, it costs much more to have a pool installed than the pool adds to the value of a home.

Some additions/changes do add as much value as they cost, but most do not.
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:27 PM   #44
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That's right. Still be curious to know what kind of factor the appraisers put on it as that is the value added...depending on location and the market. Just might help make the decision.
I suppose after this financial crisis and housing bust ...and now the foreclosure freeze..have my eye on what it's going to continue to do to home prices. Of course with the 2nd round of qualitative easing the Fed is talking about..it may be they inflate us out of this mess ...which will cause another set of issues.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:22 AM   #45
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Thing is, DH wants the garage for his "playroom". Ham radio shack, tools and other things necessary to support his nerdy interesting hobbies.
Ah, yes. Man cave.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:52 AM   #46
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Have you considered a pre-fab garage?
A 20x20 2 car garage with raised roof delivered to my zipcode is $11k:
Prefab Garages: 2-Story | 2-Car Garages by HorizonStructures.com
Add $5k for the slab (Our HfH pays ~$3k for house size slabs, so $5k for 21x21 slab should be doable), $2k for electrical & plumbing and you can have it for $20k total maybe?
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:02 AM   #47
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Have you considered a pre-fab garage?
A 20x20 2 car garage with raised roof delivered to my zipcode is $11k:
Prefab Garages: 2-Story | 2-Car Garages by HorizonStructures.com
Add $5k for the slab (Our HfH pays ~$3k for house size slabs, so $5k for 21x21 slab should be doable), $2k for electrical & plumbing and you can have it for $20k total maybe?
That's exactly what we're looking at now! I talked to Horizon Structures this morning and they're getting details to me. Base price for a 24' x 28' 2 level, 2 car garage $20,888. It will be extra since we want then to special order siding to match the house instead of using what they have in stock. I'm looking at companies to do the concrete/foundation/excavation work and have talked to the County about permits.
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You guys are gonna freak...
Old 10-27-2010, 05:33 PM   #48
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You guys are gonna freak...

Got a second estimate for our garage....$110,000 to $120,000. Are you kidding me?? While we were waiting for this second estimate, we checked out modular garages from two reputable companies - both quoted about $21,000 including custom siding to match the house AND delivery AND set up. Add about $5K for the foundation for a total of about $26K, which is about exactly what DH's brother paid for his garage. Difference is, he lives in rural VA while we're in Northern VA (DC suburbs). What the heck is going on
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:39 PM   #49
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... we're in Northern VA (DC suburbs). What the heck is going on
I think I'm beginning to see the problem.

Sounds like you're being taken advantage of by living in the greater metropolitan area. At this point if you get a cheaper quote you're going to wonder if they know what they're doing.

With the trouble you're having finding a reputable contractor, is it worth paying up for Angie's List? You might be able to Google "Angie's List free trial" or "Angie's List promo code".
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:01 PM   #50
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Got a second estimate for our garage....$110,000 to $120,000. Are you kidding me??
I don't think you ever mentioned what the market value of your house is, maybe these contractors are sizing up your estimate relative to the cost of your house...like brakes on a Toyota cost $300, but a Mercedes is $600 at a repair shop, just because they know you paid a lot more for the car.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:12 PM   #51
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I think I'm beginning to see the problem.

Sounds like you're being taken advantage of by living in the greater metropolitan area.
That has to be it. Everything is so shockingly expensive in the DC suburbs in comparison with New Orleans. When I was w*rking, I had to travel to our HQ there often. I was appalled at how much the simplest things cost there.

I did some skillful dodging to keep from being picked up by our HQ in that area. Even with a promotion, I would always have been pressed for money there IMO. I could never have been able to buy and quickly pay off a house there, as I did here.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:16 PM   #52
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Or, get a quote from a builder in a rural area. If they are reluctant to bid a job as far away as you are, let them know right up front that you know they'll be on the road for 2 hours extra per day, and that you expect that to be included in the bid.

Heck, you could afford to put 4 workers up in a hotel for the whole time and you'd be money ahead.

Two things you already know:
- Office workers in DC think nothing of driving over an hour to work each day, the concept probably won't be alien to tradesmen in VA.
- Metro DC is one of the few areas that has suffered very little increase in unemployment (go figure), so construction crews are probably still as busy as ever. You might get better prices and responsiveness from tradesmen out in the sticks.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:36 PM   #53
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Or, get a quote from a builder in a rural area.
We did. Two companies - one near Lancaster, PA and one in Luray, VA. They'll build a modular garage, truck it in and set it up for $21K. We think we can get the foundation work done for about $5K. We now know having a local builder do on-site construction is way crazy too expensive. What's the story about people in the construction business needing work in this economic downturn

Stay tuned. DH needs his man cave in the worst possible way. If there's a way to get it done within a reasonable budget, we're all over it.

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Old 11-08-2010, 09:21 AM   #54
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Purron,
How have the bids turned out for the foundation? Some random thoughts:
- It'll be getting cold shortly, and the concrete won't set up as strong if it's freezing when/shortly after they pour. Yes, they can put chemicals into it to accelerate the curing, but this adds a little cost and some of the chemicals can accelerate corrosion of rebar, wire, and other metals in the job.
- Be sure to specify that you want air-entrained concrete. This greatly reduces freeze-thaw cracking. In many places this is standard, but I'm not sure about DC. It adds very little to the cost and is very much worth it.
- Rebar: Whether required by code or not, you want to include rebar in the footers under your foundation. Again, it costs very little, but if/when the foundation cracks the rebar will help hold everything together so that your walls and other supported structure stay put.
- Wire mesh in the slab: many contractors don't want to put this in for a garage slab, and it may be overkill. I had it put in so that any cracks that develop stay small. Concrete with anti-crack fiber is fine, but it is only meant to reduce small cracks and will not hold a slab together.
- See my previous nagging about radon control.
- Under the slab: Don't let them use gravel, even if it is permitted by local code. The gravel stones are rounded and easy to rake around, which is why some contractors like it. Because they are rounded, they don't "lock together" as effectively and so your slab won't be supported as well. Go with "chips and dust" or whatever goes by a similar name in your neck of the woods.
- Slope: Everything should drain out the large garage door. Floor drains are good in theory, but not as nice in practice.
- Also specify inclusion of a vapor and moisture barrier directly under the concrete. 6 mil plastic is fine.
- Apron: It's nice to have a place outside the garage to drag out your tools and do some work when the weather is nice. Concrete is nicer than asphalt in many ways for this (smoother, not materially affected by gasoline and oil, etc), so if you are going to have an asphalt driveway, consider adding 6-10 feet of concrete apron leading to the garage.
- Specifically mention all the underground services that must be put in before the pour and where you want the lines to terminate. Electricity, phone line, water, natural gas, data cable, empty conduit for future use, etc. They'll already have the backhoe on site to dig the foundation, so this is the time to get the other stuff done.
- Block vs concrete foundation: I think concrete is less likely to crack, but a well laid block foundation, properly reinforced, can be fine.

I'm sure H-Town Harry and other CE types will weigh in with corrections and better ideas.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:44 AM   #55
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Got a second estimate for our garage....$110,000 to $120,000. Are you kidding me??
I can pick up a nice 4 BR, 3 car garage foreclosure in Phoenix for less than that.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:37 AM   #56
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Purron,
How have the bids turned out for the foundation? Some random thoughts:
- It'll be getting cold shortly, and the concrete won't set up as strong if it's freezing when/shortly after they pour. Yes, they can put chemicals into it to accelerate the curing, but this adds a little cost and some of the chemicals can accelerate corrosion of rebar, wire, and other metals in the job.
- Be sure to specify that you want air-entrained concrete. This greatly reduces freeze-thaw cracking. In many places this is standard, but I'm not sure about DC. It adds very little to the cost and is very much worth it.
- Rebar: Whether required by code or not, you want to include rebar in the footers under your foundation. Again, it costs very little, but if/when the foundation cracks the rebar will help hold everything together so that your walls and other supported structure stay put.
- Wire mesh in the slab: many contractors don't want to put this in for a garage slab, and it may be overkill. I had it put in so that any cracks that develop stay small. Concrete with anti-crack fiber is fine, but it is only meant to reduce small cracks and will not hold a slab together.
- See my previous nagging about radon control.
- Under the slab: Don't let them use gravel, even if it is permitted by local code. The gravel stones are rounded and easy to rake around, which is why some contractors like it. Because they are rounded, they don't "lock together" as effectively and so your slab won't be supported as well. Go with "chips and dust" or whatever goes by a similar name in your neck of the woods.
- Slope: Everything should drain out the large garage door. Floor drains are good in theory, but not as nice in practice.
- Also specify inclusion of a vapor and moisture barrier directly under the concrete. 6 mil plastic is fine.
- Apron: It's nice to have a place outside the garage to drag out your tools and do some work when the weather is nice. Concrete is nicer than asphalt in many ways for this (smoother, not materially affected by gasoline and oil, etc), so if you are going to have an asphalt driveway, consider adding 6-10 feet of concrete apron leading to the garage.
- Specifically mention all the underground services that must be put in before the pour and where you want the lines to terminate. Electricity, phone line, water, natural gas, data cable, empty conduit for future use, etc. They'll already have the backhoe on site to dig the foundation, so this is the time to get the other stuff done.
- Block vs concrete foundation: I think concrete is less likely to crack, but a well laid block foundation, properly reinforced, can be fine.

I'm sure H-Town Harry and other CE types will weigh in with corrections and better ideas.

Interesting post... I can barely remember the slab that my dad had poured back in the early 60s for a garage that we built... (I was maybe 5, so my memory of how much work I did probably is a lot different than what my dad would have remembered now that I have a 6 YO girl that wants to help all the time... and everything takes longer with her help.. )

But.... I do remember him having rebar, having the edge with a footing (I think it was 12 inches) and the slab 5 (maybe 6) inches thick with some kind of chemical to make it cure better... to this day, there are no cracks in the slab... the driveway that did not have these extras is all cracked do to a large oak tree that is right next to it... the house that was built before we got there has three major cracks... (it is on gumbo which expands/contracts a lot)....

From the few folks who we had talked to, they think it is the only slab in the neighborhood that has not cracked....
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:43 AM   #57
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Purron,
How have the bids turned out for the foundation?
Still working on the bids. We may put off the project due to cold weather. Thanks for all your tips and advice. Some of this we've heard, but much was news to me.

BTW, we took a trip up to PA to see the factory where the modular garages are built. We were very impressed with the quality and workmanship.

Here are a few pics of sample buildings and the factory where they're constructed.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:45 AM   #58
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More pics....
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:48 AM   #59
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And a few more...plus a bonus pic of an Amish buggy going by - taken from upstairs in one of the garages we were viewing.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:00 PM   #60
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BTW, we took a trip up to PA to see the factory where the modular garages are built. We were very impressed with the quality and workmanship.

Here are a few pics of sample buildings and the factory where they're constructed.
Those structures look very nice. The plywood wall sheathing is a step up from the OSB used by most contractors (though the PA guys appear to use OSB for the roof decking, which is standard.)

Building things in a factory and on jigs makes it easier to get everything straight and tight. Dry, good light, it's got a lot going for it.

If you plan on heating/cooling this place, you might want to check on how much it would cost to add 1" of EPS rigid foam outside of the sheathing (under your housewrap and whatever you put on the outside of the walls). Though it only technically adds about R-4 of insulation, by eliminating the thermal bridging through the wood studs it can make a significant contribution to thermal efficiency.

Best of luck!
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