gee-dub

New Shop Build - Metal or Wood?

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Living in sunny SoCal we get to build structures, to code, that wouldn't last through one Nebraska winter. My planning so far has been for a typical wood stud structure (like a Tuff Shed) in the three-car-garage size. My wanderings led me to metal buildings which seem to offer a good value. My lack of experience makes me favor the familiar wooden build but, this is just habit.

Can those of you who have experience with wooden and metal buildings for shops comment? I trying to compare costs/difficulty of insulating, running power and plumbing. workability as a wood shop and so forth. I just have visions of a metal box in our 105 degree summers as being unpleasant. 105 degrees in a wooden structure is unpleasant as well but, I grew up here and it is normal-hot to me, a not hella-hot ;-)

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I've had both..  Pros and cons to both!

Pure metal building's biggest con IMO is insulating it and regulating the temperature inside.  It's biggest pro is it's so cheap to build.  If I were building another today, I'd do like the one I had in WA and sheet the outside with OSB, wrap, and then add the metal.  This extra layer really made the insulating and heating portion a lot easier!

Stick built buildings like my current one are great!  Easy to insulate and heat for sure!  Biggest downside is the cost.  My current shop was more than 10 times the cost to build and is only about 10' longer than the old shop.

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Are you planning to buy a prefab building? Or are you going to build it yourself? Post frame or stick frame?

Personally, in your climate, I would optimize for cost and appearance, and divert as much cash as I could stand into insulation (and insulated things like rollup doors, windows, etc.). Now, that said, I have only stick framed buildings myself (though basic post frame techniques are not rocket surgery) so I would be biased towards stick framing on slab-on-grade and installing a metal roof and siding. Bugs don't eat metal.

I don't think the choice of exterior skin is going to significantly change the difficulty of plumbing etc. 

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Great stuff so far.  I should have been clear that this will be built by others whether pre-fab or site built.  My skills lie elsewhere :).

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I have worked for years in both (in 105 degree+ Texas) and I prefer the feel of wood. A little insulation in the right places and a mini-split are well worth it, IMO.

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If your shop is in California, fireproofing should be a consideration. Concrete block can't burn. I don't know what or if any considerations offer protection. But if there are things then they should be considered...

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@gee-dub, what is your site like? If you have a hillside to work with, an in-ground structure would virtually eliminate issues with heating & cooling. And forest fires.

Otherwise, wood framed or metal framed probably won't differ that much in cost, for a fully insulated and interior-finished building. Personally, I lean toward wood, because well, wood. Of course, wood wrappings work with metal studs, too. I'm not a fan of metal siding, though. Roof, sure. Walls, not so much.

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On 10/29/2019 at 6:19 PM, curlyoak said:

If your shop is in California, fireproofing should be a consideration. Concrete block can't burn. I don't know what or if any considerations offer protection. But if there are things then they should be considered...

Concrete block is also potentially suboptimal without a ton of steel in Southern California from a seismic perspective. :) Also, concrete block may not burn (easily), but it can definitely spall...with potentially explosive results...if heated by fire. That all said it could be an economical way to go.

So far as steel siding is concerned, it doesn't all look like rural pole barn standing seam stuff (if one's trying to avoid that look), for example: https://www.qualityedge.com/siding/board-batten/

I still like the idea of steel siding and a steel roof for an outbuilding in SoCal given the fire-resistance relative to wood products. I'd still use wooden framing materials though.

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What is the fire risk of your particular location?  The seismic thing is less locally variable.

Given the lower cost factor an all metal structure is going to be hard to ignore, despite the lack of charm. 

You do want to be compare the total cost of a habitable building (e.g. insulation, windows, wooden interior cladding).  And the cost of ownership and comfort level of the end result (noise, easier to AC, cheaper to paint, etc.).

As an alternative I wonder if a factory built wooden structure might be cheaper than a stick built on site wooden building?

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The thing I like about stick structures, is that you can have your electrical outlets at a height that works better than down near the floor.  All mine are above bench height.

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I'll second the standing seam metal roof.  I'll never put an exposed fastener roof on anything again.  I put standing seam on our chicken coop house, not too long ago.  

I get called to find leaks on metal roofs, more than I want to, even though I charge double my normal rate.  18v impact drivers, and screws from China have ended exposed fastener roofs for me.  I have it on our dog porch, that I built in 2006, and I've been back to replace all the fasteners with larger, stainless steel fasteners, but still don't expect it to last anything like as long as the rest of the roof, which is standing seam.

The exposed fastener roof on our barn, which I built in 1980 is still good, but that's with USA made fasteners.  I do need to replace those fasteners, from visible rust, but it has not shown any leaks yet.

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The shop I had (pre-divorce) had those exposed fasteners. It was built in the mid-80s though. I was up there too often with tar and fasteners :( But I did love the way it shed snow. Not that snow is a huge concern in SoCal :) 

The good thing is now it’s the ex’s problem! 

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Wood is expensive, because it takes a lot of time.  That Cypress Shingle roof you were talking about, with the fantail hips, cost about $100,000.  That was mostly our time, but I can't afford our time.  A lot of people think I can do work for myself for nothing, but if I'm working for myself for nothing, we're not making any money, and going backwards.  It also needs to be pressure washed here, every 10 or 12 years, or lichens grow on it so thick that it ruins the roof, if it's under any trees.

Metal itself is not the cheapest, but even the standing seam wraps something up really fast, if the roof is not too complicated.  It's also maintenance free for probably over 50 years-guaranteed for 40 years.  We did our 12 x 24 porch roof one afternoon, with standing seam.  Actually, a couple of hours to get it on late one afternoon, and then another hour or so the next morning folding the edge.

 

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It's not possible for a standing seam roof to start leaking until the metal has holes rusting through it.  I expect that would be 60, or 70 years, but it would be pretty ragged looking by much past 50 years, I expect.  Hopefully, by then, there will be good coatings for it, so it doesn't have to be replaced.

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