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$76,600 to build a garage?!?
Old 10-11-2010, 03:43 PM   #1
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$76,600 to build a garage?!?

DH and I just got an estimate to build a garage of $76,600. It's 24' by 28' with stairs going up to a small loft/storage area. The estimate includes electric work. I've attached a copy of the drawing he gave us.

We were stunned at the cost. This is a local builder we checked out thoroughly. When we first met with him, he thought it might be around $35,000 to $40,000 which we would have been OK with.

It turns out the foundation would require extra work due to soil conditions (expansive clay), but that should have added maybe $5,000 tops to the cost. His only explaination was it just added up to be much more than he thought.

This is way, way too high so we're going back to the drawing board. I found a local builder who does modular/pre-fab garages including all the foundation work so we may talk to him. I'm also looking at have a local company do the foundation work then purchasing a pre-made garage from a company like this:

Garage Builders | Garage Buildings of Metal and Steel

I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:55 PM   #2
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DH and I just got an estimate to build a garage of $76,600. It's 24' by 28' with stairs going up to a small loft/storage area.
Wow! That's nearly double the current value of my condo.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:57 PM   #3
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Wow! That's nearly double the current value of my condo.
Will you let Purron park her cars over at your place?
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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Will you let Purron park her cars over at your place?
I think i'd rather live in her new garage
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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Maybe your garage guy is related to the roofer who quoted Amethyst $58K to re-roof her house.

Sounds crazy high to me.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
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I have a friend who bought a lot and an old but sound house elsewhere, had a foundation laid, then had the house moved to the new location. That was at least 40 years ago, and that old house has held up just fine. Could you do this with a garage? Might be worth thinking about.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:50 PM   #7
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Get two more estimates, and you'll have a better idea.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:08 PM   #8
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Get two more estimates, and you'll have a better idea.
Yeah, I know. Thing is, we talked to 2 other companies and all of them gave us a "ball park". To get a full blown estimate on a big job like this, you need to lay some money down. It's not like getting an estimate for carpet or painting where the cost is pretty easy to calculate.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:21 PM   #9
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I was quoted a rough estimate to add a rec room over our garage for 50K using the existing foundation. So your estimate doesn't seem out of line compared to that.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:37 PM   #10
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I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions.
I built (as in a buddy and I poured the concrete, framed the building, etc.) a modest 1 car garage + shop on clay. In 35 years the slab never cracked, or even checked. I think you could almost pour a slab on a peat bog if you did it right. There are books to read. Concrete work is very hard physically, but it only takes care and attention to detail, not any particular skill. My friend was a laborer on industrial building projects who was temporarily out of work, and he had the skills and taught them to me. We did a few small projects with a Sears electric mixer, then went to ready mix for the bigger job. There is a moment of fright when you realize how much concrete you are going to have to finish before you can rest.

Another posibility is pole structure. Then the concrete only has to support your cars, not the stuff you build on it. It is more a heavy duty floor than a foundation. The poles are the foundation and structure both. For the kind of money you were quoted you should be able to build one large enough for modest airframe assembly.

Ha
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:58 PM   #11
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Think we were more in the $25k range for our 24x36. Fully insulated & sheetrocked, but using a used ceiling hung gas heater, barn siding, and old windows and doors we wanted. Eleven years ago and in Oregon with me "helping". Costs have gone up, but still...
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:02 PM   #12
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You're right - 76k is way too high. I built my last one 22'x24 for around 20k 10 years ago. Your contractor giving you the price might have a bunch of $ figured in in case the soil presents a big problem during construction.

I would have a soils engineer do some tests and make a recommendation for foundation/slab if you suspect soil problems. And I would not pay anyone to give me an estimate.
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:20 PM   #13
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Wowser! That is almost as much per square foot as my (very nicely appointed) home in central California, just a few years back...also on expansive clay soil, and with a secondary electrical system for backup from solar power. I am also looking to build a secondary garage along with a MIL apartment, total square footage around 1200, and have been estimating at less than $100k. Contractor prices should be way down now, not up. I think I would have the plans drawn up by someone, including engineering for the clay soil, and then get several estimates. Another option is for you to be the general contractor, and have the project managed for you. The project manager will cost you some, but the profit that you would be paying the contractor would stay in your pocket (as would the risks a contractor undertakes).

Let us know what happens.

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:43 PM   #14
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You're right - 76k is way too high. I built my last one 22'x24 for around 20k 10 years ago. Your contractor giving you the price might have a bunch of $ figured in in case the soil presents a big problem during construction.

I would have a soils engineer do some tests and make a recommendation for foundation/slab if you suspect soil problems. And I would not pay anyone to give me an estimate.
We had a soils engineer do tests and received a full report with recommendations. This added about $5,000 to the job since the foundation will need to be deeper.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:20 PM   #15
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DH and I just got an estimate to build a garage of $76,600. It's 24' by 28' with stairs going up to a small loft/storage area. The estimate includes electric work. I've attached a copy of the drawing he gave us.

We were stunned at the cost. This is a local builder we checked out thoroughly. When we first met with him, he thought it might be around $35,000 to $40,000 which we would have been OK with.

It turns out the foundation would require extra work due to soil conditions (expansive clay), but that should have added maybe $5,000 tops to the cost. His only explaination was it just added up to be much more than he thought.

This is way, way too high so we're going back to the drawing board. I found a local builder who does modular/pre-fab garages including all the foundation work so we may talk to him. I'm also looking at have a local company do the foundation work then purchasing a pre-made garage from a company like this:

Garage Builders | Garage Buildings of Metal and Steel

I would be grateful for any comments or suggestions.
Your problem is the storage loft

You have a 24 foot span that needs to support at least 100 in some places 125 PSF for storage
I also dont see any intermediate columns, which would reduce the span

I used steel beams on the distance at that load, You then need to carry that load below the frost line to footings.

Forget the storage area and re price it with lightweight trusses tied together to beat the local wind load.
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:09 PM   #16
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We built a 24' x 30' shop 5 years ago and the total cost was approx 24K. I insulated the walls and ceiling and also finished the interior myself, so that's no included in the cost. We also have expansive clay soil, and that simply doesn't need to add much to the cost (it just means you need to assure the fill near your foundation is well drained, and that you dig your footer deep enough to get below the frost line, which is required in any location). We didn't have a second floor or storage in the attic, but I went with 10' high walls (so I could have 30" deep storage "shelves" all around the walls and in an island in the middle) and our roof was slightly more complex (hip vs gable), so I'd figure our costs should be close to yours. Costs included running water, natural gas, and electricity to the new building and wiring inside.

Other comments: It's very cheap to lay a set of 4" dia perforated pipes in the chips and dust before you pour the concrete for the slab. This can be used later to very inexpensively remediate any radon problems (via sub-slab depressurization) that show themselves after you've got the building finished. If there's any potential for radon problems, be sure to put these pipes in. It might just be a garage now, but you don't know what you (or a new buyer) might want to use it for later.

I'm pretty happy with the decision I made about storage (high shelves all around the walls and in the middle). It's easy to see/get at everything, and the low pitch hip roof is in keeping with my house.

No matter what you think the garage will be used for, run water, electricity, and natural gas (if you've got it at your house) to it while you are doing the build. Also, run an empty conduit in the same trench and terminate it somewhere near your house (you never know what you might need to run out there later -Cat5 cable, coax, some new thing we haven't invented yet, etc). It's a fairly trivial cost while you've got the backhoe on site and your yard is torn up anyway, it will be more expensive later.

I was also glad that I decided to sheath the walls with 1" expanded polystyrene (EPS= "beadboard" outside of the studs, under the siding). 1" of polystyrene doesn't sound like much, and by itself it only provides about R-4 of insulation. The important thing is that it:
1) Provides a thermal break outside of the studs. The studs are the "thermal weak point" in most conventional walls--no matter what insulation you cram into the stud bay, the wood still provides a handy expressway for heat to the outside. The polysterene significantly improves the situation.
2) Adds another water barrier (in addition to the housewrap). EPS is slightly permeable to water vapor, so you don't risk trapping water that gets past the housewrap, but it is another barrier to wholesale liquid water penetration.
3) Can help prevent condensation inside the wall cavity. In a "regular" wall with fiberglass bats in many parts of the US, the dew point of the ambient air is reached at a point near the outside wall but within the fiberglass batt. Water therefore condenses inside the wall (there are no perfect vapor barriers--water vapor WILL be inside the wall). By adding the EPS, the fibergass stays warmer and the dew point is never reached on most days (instead, it is reached inside the EPS, where there's no trapped air and very little water vapor).

EPS for sheathing is cheap (7 bucks per 4x8 sheet).
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:17 PM   #17
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Thanks Samclem. Some good tips here. I'd love to see some pictures of your garage.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:49 PM   #18
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Thanks Samclem. Some good tips here. I'd love to see some pictures of your garage.
It's just a plain ol' garage/shop.

RE: the inside view (taken from just inside the roll-up door:
- You can see the shelves.
- The windows are small. This was a conscious decision, as I didn't want to spend a lot to heat/cool the structure (thousand-dollar windows leak more energy than even the crummiest stud wall). In retrospect, maybe I should have made them bigger just for appearances sake. Wall penetrations: 4 small windows, one walk door, one large (18' x 8') insulated roll-up door, one opening for a window A/C unit, and one "knock-out panel" for a future dust collector unit. etc.

- Heat: I bought one used 30K BTU home furnace and it is overkill even with temps down to 0 deg F.
- Cooling: One 10K BTU window AC unit easily keeps things below 70 deg when it is 100 degrees outside.

- Insulation: Walls: R-13 in standard 2x4 stud walls, also 1" EPS sheathing
Ceiling: The ceiling is made of Dow THERMAX Polyisocyanate (closed-cell) foam sheets with white metallic/mylar faces (this stuff has fire retardant included in it, is allowed to be left exposed--of course, check with your own building department.) I just screwed them to the underside of the trusses with sheathing washers you see in the photo, then taped all the seams with white aluminum tape. This gives an R-8 ceiling. Then I blew in about 12" (approx R-42) of cellulose on top of that (cheap and effective).

Side and rear walls are covered with vinyl siding, small front walls (either side of roll-up door) are stone veneer. Roof is "40 year" (ha!) architectural shingles.

Unfortunately, the whole structure is now a big storage room while I am working on the house's basement. But, soon I'll get my shop back!

BTW, the way you've got your present attic designed (with "bonus room" trusses) shouldn't add significantly to your total cost. Yes, the bottom of the trusses will need to be beefier and of cours eyou'll need to add some flooring, but that shouldn't add much to the expense. Here's what one site says about the small incremental cost of adding a storage room or even a full-height attic room using specialized trusses:

Quote:
The cost of these wonderful space creating trusses is very modest. . . A regular common truss with a 24 foot span and a 10/12 roof pitch with no storage space costs $69 in my market at this time. This same truss framed as a light storage truss costs just $87. If you want a full blown attic truss with a room, the cost of a single truss is just $158.
So, each specialized truss adds less than $100 to your cost, and you need one truss every 2' of roof (you'd need 13 of these for your project, the gable ends would be standard "web" trusses).
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:00 AM   #19
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Purron,

Check out this forum for more than you would ever want to know about garages:

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Old 10-12-2010, 01:38 AM   #20
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You can get a 10X20 garage tent from Costco for $219.99. It takes two people only part of an afternoon to set it up. Get rid of all the stuff you want to store on the second story. Less stuff, more money.
Just an idea.
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