Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Guide to Options When Ordering Your Custom Shouse

Now that I have officially settle on a Shouse, I have begun research on the Shouse of my dreams. I really did not know there were so many options when it came to having a custom shed built, but I think I now have a good grasp on what will be needed to build a structure that will serve as a house for many years to come. Here are things I took into consideration:
  • Construction: Many sheds are built using cheaper materials. Since sheds don't have to meet code requirements in most cities if they are under 200 sq. ft., builders can get away with this. Let's face it, most folks don't look at a shed and think, "Wow, that would make a great house!" So I set about looking and comparing construction techniques to try to find a shed builder that would build one as close to normal framing for a house since I know that will stand for many, many years. I found that 2 x 4 construction with 16" on center studs in the floor and 24" in the walls were the way to go. This allows for insulation, just as in normal house construction. Plus it allows for easy drywall, paneling, or wall board installation.
  • Roofing Material: I have decided to go with a shingle roof. Where I will be living has the potential for hale storms. I think that asphalt shingles absorb the impact a little better. Plus, roofing material comes in a variety of colors as well. I am going with red. Combined with the stained building it will look great and keep out the rain for many, many years.
  • Interior Options:  I opted to increase one of the lofts from 4' to 10'. This allows a ton of room for a bed and storage. The shed I am going with has quite a bit of space in the loft, so it is actually usable. Use caution if you decide to go this route as not all buildings are created equal. Be sure the loft space is actually functional if you plan to use it. In  my Shouse, one loft will be a bedroom and the other loft will be storage. 
  • Door: I chose to get a quote for what is known as a "Tall Barn" shed. This means the walls are 7' tall and I can install a standard size front door. The buildings often come standard with 6' double-doors that open to allow for riding lawn mowers and other suck larger items to easily enter and exit, but I definitely don't want them. I will consider adding a sliding door in the future when I get around to building the back deck, but for now the standard front door is all I need. 
  • Size: I was pleasantly surprised to find that you can order some quite large prefab shed buildings. I have decided that I will go with the largest I can get in the area I am looking at because I am not interested in having to up-size later. I have chosen the 12' x 36' size. That is 432 sq. ft. of very livable Shouse plus the 120 sq. ft. in the loft and another 48 sq. ft in the storage loft. This allows me to have a large pantry/office area, in addition to room for the washer and dryer, all under the loft, with the rest being open to the high ceiling. This will help create the illusion of space. I will eventually add a staircase to the lofts, but for now will use a ladder that can be moved. I will be posting the floor plan I have designed in the future, so, if you are curious, stay tuned.
  • Windows: The company I am looking to order my Shouse from will install windows at my request, They have several sizes available and each window opens and closes along with having screen to keep flying insects out. I toyed with buying and installing my own, but in the long run this seems to be the best option since they will guarantee installation, install matching trim, and paint the trim to match. I will give the builder placement information once I confirm the layout I am going with. 
  • Finishing: You can choose three options with regards to finishing your Shouse externally: Paint, stain, or unpainted. I am going with staining. If you enjoy painting and have access to the painting supplies, you may wish to just order it unpainted and finish out the outside however your wish. I am ordering my building stained because I like the cabin-like appearance of the building. I don't want to mess with having to finish the exterior so I find the extra $300 or so dollars it cost to order it stained a worthwhile investment.
  • Other Options: Many shed companies offer insulation, electrical, and limited plumbing. If you have the budget, they can do the work. I don't know what that runs since I will be doing all my own electrical and plumbing, but you can bet it isn't cheap. 

Ok, so dear reader, wondering what this beauty is gonna cost me?  $7,485 for the prefab 12 x 36' Building,  9 Lite Steel Door: $275,  Windows (5 @$65 each and 4@$75 each) $625, plus the cost to increase the lofts of $375. Estimated total:  $8760 plus tax. Insulation, wall board, electric, and plumbing will be an additional cost. Even so, tell me where I can buld a house for under $14,000? A sweet deal if you ask me.

So now that you know a little more about the construction of one of these sheds, do you think a Shouse is a good idea or bad?