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Thread: 16x20 or 12 x 16 ish build or buy

  1. #1

    16x20 or 12 x 16 ish build or buy

    Hey guys. I live in south Louisiana. I am toying with building an outdoor shed /shop. I'm thinking 16x20. Given our water table and how everything here sinks I'm pretty set on concrete foundation. The question is should I buy a building or stick build it
    I could probably do everything myself minus the roof. I have zero experience with framing but I'm pretty sure I can handle the walls windows and doors I got enough you tube education for that. since it would be concrete no subfloor to worry with . I am concerned that I can't adequately do the roof and over hand etc. So I would have to have someone do that portion. From a cost perspective would it be better to buy a decent building and make it great or stick build knowing I would have the roof expense trying to stay under 5300 dollars
    I think I could look at smaller to stay 8n that 6000 range
    Last edited by mat price; 04-11-2019 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    I'm in S. Florida so water table is about the same. I got a 12x18 shed in my back yard that I put a workshop in that is adequate for my needs. But if I could have I would have gotten a bigger one I would have. But our county code only allows you to transport 12' wide before it's considered over sized. So 14'-16' wide would have added an additional $1K to the price of the shed and the 20' length would have put me in violation of county setbacks. Buy the 16x20 if you can.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Matt, be sure you carefully check with your local building/zoning folks relative to requirements around things like storm protections. There are sometimes requirements in the geography "down south" that we don't have up here in the great unwashed northeast. That's going to affect your construction design and cost. As always, larger is better than too small, so do what maximizes your space relative to the available budget. And if necessary, even wait a little longer to increase your budget if that gets you what you actually want/need.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Yep I got tge same issues here. I have to permit above 12 x12 and supply drawings with fastener spec. But I don't have set back code like yall do. I'm seriously considering scaling down to 12 x16 and it would cut cost a good bit and make permits alot easier. I'm going to be just under 2k in concrete at 16x20. The whole point of this is so I can get better saws and get away from the portable stuff. Lol choices...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Quote Originally Posted by mat price View Post
    The whole point of this is so I can get better saws and get away from the portable stuff. Lol choices...
    Indeed. So be sure that you feel that your workflow will work with the size you settle on taking into consideration larger "stationary" tool...which will likely be mobile, but...

    It's easier to add "bells and whistles" to a larger space over time than to "stretch" a building. I'm constantly in the "stretch the space" thing at this point because of workflow changes and the addition of one tool about a year ago. It's the nature of the beast.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Eastern Iowa
    I chose to build. I could have purchased a pre-built for less than my material costs, but I wanted some things that a pre-built wouldn’t accommodate.

    With the temp swings in Iowa, I wanted an insulated sandwiched floor, r-19 walls, r-25 ceilings.
    I wanted a beam to attach a hoist to lift 1000 pounds or so.

    I wanted a wood floor to reduce leg/foot fatigue, but sturdy enough to support my cabinet saw, radial arm saw, and lathe.

    I wanted the interior wall sheathing to incorporate an electrical chase for any modifications...

    And I wanted it to match the decor of our house.

    In the end, I thought if I went with a pre-built, then I had to plan my “shop” around the building. If I built it, then I would plan the building to conform to my idea of a shop. Maybe not a lot different, but the additions made pre-built a custom job and cost prohibitive, and now I know exactly the quality of the build.
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  7. #7
    You could check local lumber yards for trusses. These are Menards, not in Louisiana as far as I know but same thing should be available near you.
    Or build a lean to type, higher on one wall than the other. TJIs ---> another easy solution if you don't want to try framing a roof.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Thicket, TX
    I would go with the 16x20 now and look at metal building, even if it mean postponing tool purchases. When I was looking the metal building was cheaper than I could build with wood, plus they put them up very quickly! I would have it Insulated with a roll up door. I am building a workshop that is 12x26 and that 12 ft gets narrow very quickly! Original plan was to be 16x26, but had to give up the 4 feet to the apartment...I am focusing on hand tools so I can make it work, if you are building out a typical power tool shop you will be tight.

    this is what 12’ looks like even without all of the tools in it.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    NE Connecticut
    I bought a shed (not for woodworking) about 3 years ago. I originally planned to build it but I couldn't come close to buying all of the materials for the price of buying a pre-fab. My shed has vinyl siding, barn doors, side door, and two windows. I spent half a day shopping and half a day watching it be delivered. Build quality is excellent. There were lots of customization options (stronger floors, higher ceilings, door and window locations, etc.) with minimal price differences. I bought it from a local place but I'm pretty sure it was built in Pennsylvania. I have a compacted stone foundation but I could just as easily have had it set on a concrete slab.

    I like the metal idea, too.

    I would think very carefully about building it yourself, especially if you've never done it before.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    Quote Originally Posted by mat price View Post
    I got enough you tube education for that.
    How's that work on a resume? LOL I've watched all the Superman movies, hmmmmmmmmm.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 04-12-2019 at 10:56 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    A stick built roof with real lumber is the same cost as trusses if it is your labor. A real roof gives you storage space above the ceiling.
    In your location you will have to tie the roof down to the foundation. All that steel adds up fast.
    I think the biggest consideration is the doors into the shop. Many go with garage doors or french doors. garage doors leak air and rain. French doors are smaller and cost no less then a bigger garage door.
    Bil lD

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Central North Carolina
    A framing contractor crew could put the frame and roof up on your shop in less than a day, and do it right. Then you could finish it yourself, but get the roof shingles on as soon as possible to protect the framing under it.

    A framing crew of 4 just put up the frame of a 1800 sq ft ranch style house just down the road from me in a day. They had the roof (not trusses) on the next day and shingles the following day.

    Last edited by Charles Lent; 04-13-2019 at 8:51 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Blog Entries
    Be careful if you buy pre-built.
    I bought a portable garage from the Amish and an advertised 8' wall turned out to be 7'10".
    I'm still waiting for a responce from them on that. And the windows will be junk.
    I wish now I'd had someone build on site.
    20/20 hindsight.
    But it looks nice and neighbors like it.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Greater Manor Metroplex, TX

    I am in Central TX and was in the same boat as you in 2010. I was looking at 16 x 24 and was trying to decide to build or buy a prefab.

    I decided to build it myself. The prefab was $8k without the foundation, electrical or interior finish (basically, it was going to be an unfinished box).

    It took me 2-3 months working evenings and weekends to build it (my father in law "helped" some). I contracted out the concrete foundation and the rough in of the electrical, but did everything else myself. I watched a lot of youtube, made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot in the process.

  15. #15
    Thanks yall got alot to think on. I will be putting the slab down at the end of the summer I think. Then I will have to decide I am really leaning towards stick built but man steel looks good to now didn't consider that

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