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The wife and I are looking at building a steel building as a residence. Our thought is that in a couple of years we could sell our current home and clear enough to build and nearly completely pay for a 3-4K sf home. We would spray foam insulate the entire thing and frame up the living space within the exterior walls. Everything would be on one level, the living space would be wide open, I'd have a huge attached garage and if part of the ceiling was joist for it, there would be plenty of storage above the living area. Retired, big, energy efficient home and little to no mortage. Anyone have experience with this, ideas, or thoughts?
 

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I suggested something similar to my in laws who were trying to find a second home and have an RV. All the steel building would need would be a bath and kitchen area and they could pull the RV right in.
 

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As long as there's nothing in your local codes or zoning that would prohibit it for some reason, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. A lot of commercial buildings are steel buildings. My piano teacher when I was a kid had their home built in a steel Morton shed like what you're proposing. It wasn't any different than any other house.
 

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My daughter dated a guy here in AZ whose parents lived in a steel building converted to a home. If one didn't know, it looked just like any other home in the area. The exterior was covered with something, can't remember what, and the interior was framed, just the way you would like. It was out here in rural AZ, I can see it from my home, so there were no city codes one had to worry about. What they had to do through the county, I don't know, but they are not as restrictive as the city.
 

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My neighbor got bids to spray foam his 30x40 garage and it was $12k! The spray foam insulation (cost) is the only thing I see as a hurdle. Most steel buildings use giant rolls of fiberglass laid on the beams before the exterior metal is screwed on.
 

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My neighbor got bids to spray foam his 30x40 garage and it was $12k! The spray foam insulation (cost) is the only thing I see as a hurdle. Most steel buildings use giant rolls of fiberglass laid on the beams before the exterior metal is screwed on.
It was $5700 to sprayfoam our unfinished second story, which is probably 850 square feet; it was two inches of closed cell foam in all the exterior walls (2x6), 6 inches of closed cell in the ceiling angles, and 8-10 inches open cell on under the roof inside the knee walls and in the attic space. It's a completely closed system, but the efficiency and racking strength it adds is far superior to anything else you could do.
 

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My Mom did this when she thought she wanted to live deep in the piney woods. Wish i could find a pic, it was simple yet sweet. 42x30 I think so not overly big. The steel building contractor added 3 doors and about 15 windows. It went from slab to weather-tight in about 3 days.
The posts were 6x8 and about 12' apart. The used the big roll insulation with a vapor barrier then when we framed the inside out with 2x4 we were able to use 6" thick pink fiberglass for a total of 8-10" in the walls.
I dont think Id use the spray stuff in the walls for future access. And those prices mentioned, WOW.
 

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Ive done it, and live in it currently (going on 2.5 years now) Its a 40x60 with 880 sq ft dedicated to the "shop apartment" This was set up as a temporary house while get ready to build a normal one, but made it nice enough to keep as a guest house / dog house. I didnt do the spray insulation and wished I would have but was too expensive. Honestly though, traditional insulation down stairs has been more than enough with the mini split I installed. Its a little different upstairs as its very close to the metal roofing and wasnt able to insulate as well as I did down stairs.

It would take me hours to post all the pics here but I did a build thread at Garage journal.


Brownlee's Shop / Apartment - The Garage Journal Board
 

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sounds like a neat concept/plan. I don't have experience with metal bldgs. but have built a garage and additions to my place on what were steap grades and talked to various engineers before starting so my advice comes in form of making sure to focus on the foundation and when getting bids requiring contractors to specify every detail so you can compare and then hold them to all the details when its actally going down. sometimes people don't think about what size rebar, spacing, psi, etc. I like to double up on whatever industry standard is for securing beams, etc to founfation its cheap up front insurance. making sure the ground is properly graded and compacted.is also ultra important. The building itself will be pretty straightforward (basic erector set stuff) yet these other 2 aspects can really screw you up if corners are cut.
 

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I think that's a great idea. The only neg I see is just getting past what a "conventional" house is suppose to look like. I wouldn't have any issues doing it. Lots of people live in old commercial buildings. I know one house that's a converted gas station.
 

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If you put foam insulation pink or white depending on insulation number under the concrete floor it prevents the cold from penetrating through the concrete.
 

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The wife and I are looking at building a steel building as a residence. Our thought is that in a couple of years we could sell our current home and clear enough to build and nearly completely pay for a 3-4K sf home. We would spray foam insulate the entire thing and frame up the living space within the exterior walls. Everything would be on one level, the living space would be wide open, I'd have a huge attached garage and if part of the ceiling was joist for it, there would be plenty of storage above the living area. Retired, big, energy efficient home and little to no mortage. Anyone have experience with this, ideas, or thoughts?
Rose,

This is what I do. I use a spray foam company that can spray 2" foam that is equivalent to 4" of normal stuff. It also sound proofs pretty good.
Let me know when you ready, I cover all of Atlanta...9.50 per square foot for the roof and 7.50 sq ft for the walls. I can clear span 30' wide...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Another Thought

Tossed this by the wife. Since we intend to live in our current home for several more years, perhaps we could build the structure now, and go fairly big with the steel building, maybe 70x100. Then for several years, rent space for storage of RV's, Hot Rods and Classics, boats, etc. to help pay for the thing and then stop leasing space when we're ready to build it out. There are lots of storage warehouses nearby but none large enough for that kind of item. Before building, have an architect draw up our plans and have the plumbing set in the floor and capped flush.
 

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The steel building I work in has a faux brick front as does my wood house. Its your dollars but I see no reason you can't do the same if you want to soften the "steel building look".

The rain is LOUD in that steel building though. Its cheaply built so I bet you can pick a better roof.
 
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