Considering detached metal clad workshop questions/comments

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Previous owner had land graded for a workshop but didn't follow through to build it. Currently try to do woodworking work around inadequate space and electrical capability in cramped half of small 2 car garage. Electricians don't return calls to upgrade garage by adding 2-3 new circuits and wood frame builders react the same. A builder of metal buildings has visited and called back with answers so we're considering going with him.
Would like users observations both sides of the fence and would they do it again type of comments. Cabinets on walls could be made to be free standing if screws into the frame aren't viable. Double car door and personnel door and three windows are minimum at this time. Air/heat required in Augusta, Georgia area. Septic for half bath and sink are no problem as we can't connect to the existing one.
Four duplex receptacles and garage door opener plus one ceiling light all on a 13A circuit. A 12K window air conditioner is all that should be on that circuit at one time but I have sneaked the lathe on without popping the breaker but shop vac pops it in no time.
Anxiously waiting comments! TIA!!
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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

I can't comment too specifically on a metal shop, as mine's a 20x20' wooden shop, but a few observations:
--Air and heat will require insulation. --I think you're correct; you'll need freestanding cabinets. Screws in the walls will cause leaks or rust or ??? Maybe there's another way to wall-mount cabinets in an all metal shop? --13A?? I've seen 15A, 20A but not 13A. Anyone who wires a shop with fewer than two 20A circuits is likely to regret it. Wire is cheap, boxes are cheap, breakers are cheap. In fact, a 20 A 220 v circuit might be a really good idea. Plus two 110 v 20A circuits. Many 110 motors can be wired for 220, which reduces the starting and running current so you don't get those annoying sags in voltage. Other folks might take issue with this opinion, I dunno...
Best -- Terry
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Where do you live that wire is cheap? It's gone up almost 400% here in the last year.
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RemodGuy wrote:

I just checked Lowe's and 100' of 12 gauge with ground is $59. The price I recall is $20, so clearly you're correct, wire appears to have gone up quite a bit.
However, the original poster indicated that he was having a metal building erected, he wants heat & air, storage, windows, garage door opener, etc. What's the cost? (I honestly don't know) $4000? If that's a decent ballpark estimate, an extra $120 of materials for two more 20 A circuits seems a trivial addition. And a wise investment.
The purpose of a shop is to house tools to be used. The more tools the better; remember, he who dies with the most toys wins. :-) Lots of capacity is probably a good thing.
Best -- Terry ....who is trying his best to win, much to his wife's dismay....
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I wasn't trying to jump in your S # * T, I agree with you. I was actually asking a sincere question about the cost of wire. Lowes in my area had 12-2 up to $102 a roll. It's down to about $92. I found a coil in the shop attic circa january '06 from Lowes with a $56 price tag still on it. If memory serves me correctly, a year before that it was about $27.
Re: shop wiring - I would put in a 100amp 20 slot sub. I have that now. plenty of room for lights. Plenty of openings for 220 circuits as need. I run all the bigger equipment (jointer, planer, compressor, etc.) on dedicated circuits. If I need to add anything, the source is nearby and effort and cost is very low.
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RemodGuy wrote:

Current copper prices certainly suck, but it's still a one time cost and you will otherwise regret it every day for decades if you skimp and don't put in enough power the first time.
I just did a full replacement upgrade to the 20' x 32' detached shop at my house. The previous owner who built the shop only had a 30A 240V feed with a six space sub panel in the shop. Might have been adequate if I was a woodworker, but since my preference is for metal it was hopelessly inadequate.
I ripped out all of the old electrical, trenched in a new 80' run of conduit and pulled new feeder to a new 32 space 125A sub panel. I also ran the feeder two gauges heavier than the code minimum for 125A since in this application it will get pushed close to 125A on a regular basis (short duty cycle though) and I want to minimize voltage drop over the long run.
The bottom line is just bite the bullet and do it right the first time. The cost to do it right will only continue to rise so waiting to do it later won't help. $500 in materials today might be $1,000 next year and unless you have some real good investments you aren't going to make up the difference waiting.
Pete C.
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I put in 200 amp service in my workshop. I bought the materials 2 years ago so it was considerably cheaper than if I had bought them this year.
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"R. Pierce Butler" wrote:

Right, but 200A service can't be done as a sub panel from the service in your house, 125A is the maximum sub panel per NEC. 200A requires either a separate service or a split 400A service typically.
Pete C.
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That makes sense and indeed I have my own service entrance and meter for the shop.
I was going to put in 100 amp service but the cost was only a little more so I went with 200 amp.
I don't even want to think what the copper wire would cost for the service entrance now.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in wrote:

Wire used to be cheap.
Running motors at 220VAC is a good idea.
Having said that, I wired my shop with multiple dedicated circuits. I have no less than 4 circuits just for wall outlets. Add to that a circuit each for lights, saw, air compressor, and heat pump. Overkill? Probably. I have yet to trip a breaker.
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I am in the middle of a shop rewire. My concern is accidently leaving something on like a soldering iron that might cause a fire.
So my shop light circuit will be connected to some heavy duty contactors basically relays, that will turn EVERYTHING but one outlet off with the lights.
I have a friend who did the same after finding his soldering iron HOT after a weeks vacation:(
I will have 6 20 amp breakers, I use the shop for work fixing laminating machines they draw lots of power
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Don't forget the GFIC outlets/breakers.
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Please reply with what you decide to do. I currently live in Korea and will be moving back to Va in January. My first project will be to build a 28*32 automotive workshop in the backyard. I will build it my self and am currently debating between wood studs and metal. I was told that the cement slab for the workshop will be approximately 20k. I never thought it would cost that much. As for the metal workshops, I saw many on ebay for about 7k. Here is a link for one that is 25'*30*10.: http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-AmerDuro-Steel-Building-25x30x10-Metal-Buildings_W0QQitemZ110020995870QQihZ001QQcategoryZ55805QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
It would kind of like a loft for storage of stuff though, so I am not sure what I will do.
Take Care Pat
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The first thing I'd do is find someone else to pour that slab. At 28x32 you should only need about 10 cubic yards of concrete. I don't know what the price of concrete is in Virginia, but at $100 per cubic yard you're only at a grand for the concrete. I sure as hell shouldn't cost 19 more grand to form and pour the stuff.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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Here is what I was told...Keep in mind, I am checking stuff out over the internet until I can get back to Va.
START QUOTED MESSAGE I'm a licensed home builder & foundation contractor in Alabama and I've got an hour at kill, so here's your own D-I-Y manual. To answer the question directly at face value, assuming you just want someone to pour & finish a slab, I pay my slab finishers appx $1/sf to $1.50/sf for labor-only to dig any grade beams in the backfill (assuming sand is your backfill material), install poly, WWM, rebar, any keyway, then pouring and finishing the slab using a trowel machine & then cutting control joints in the slab. They provide all tools & equipment, including trowel machine, rebar cutter/bender, floats, walk-behind concrete saw, etc. I would make my dirt contractor tamp the backfill, but my particular slab guy does it all for me since I provide the backhoe loader, otherwise I do my own dirt work since I own the equipment and know what I'm doing. This price varies depending on the size of the slab, and with fuel costs now, going more than 20 miles, he would hit me with a fuel surcharge, maybe $1/mi one-way as he might be bringing 2 vehicles. Alabama is cheap comparatively --- slab finishers in other states may get double or triple that.
But let's assume you need the entire foundation done. Before you attempt to do your own foundation work, I would pay the money for a geotechnical engineer to do borings and prepare a soil report to recommend the proper foundation to use, and I wouldn't D-I-Y any foundation work if you don't have proper experience as the foundation IS the workshop and it can't be fixed if you do it wrong. A soil report in my area costs appx $1,800 and takes about 2 to 4 weeks to schedule & prepare for you from the day you call to the day it's ready. You have to have plans or at least the area staked out so they know where the building corners will be. Here's what you're getting into and what must be done to insure a proper foundation and what to watch for if you sub it out:
To do a 28x32 slab-on-grade or built-up with block, assuming excellent soil, no trees to remove and assuming the soil report doesn't say otherwise, I would set the building corners and mark them with stakes and set up batter boards to find them later after you remove the stakes, then remove topsoil/grass to 6", build a small 12" compacted pad at least 5' outside the footprint of the slab to replace the scratched-out topsoil/grass for the slab to bear upon, then excavating & pouring an 18"-square reinforced concrete exterior footing (you have to set the tops of your footings below the frost line by code) and reinforced with 4 rods of #5 rebar stacked 2+2 with #3 stirrups to box them together in a caged format and wet-setting #4 vertical rebar to extend through the stem wall & 2' into the eventual slab every 48" OC after pouring, then my choice is to lay on top of that a course of 8" concrete block + a course of 8" header block to level out and form the slab (as opposed to forming the slab & stem wall with lumber and pouring the footings monolithically as I don't personally like monolithic slabs), then backfilling with "zero" sand & tamping, assuming I have to dig out a couple of grade beams (interior footings) into the sand appx 12"W x 8"D for interior roof support walls and assuming no more than 40/lf, then termite spraying & covering with a 6-mil polyethelene moisture barrier, adding 2 rods of #5 rebar on 3" foundation chairs in the grade beams, adding any keyway needed (assuming no more than a couple of sticks but probably none needed in this case since the whole slab can all be sawed with control joints after pouring), adding 6"x6" 10-gauge WWM reinforcement, adding grade pins, turning down the vertical rebar to extend 2' into the slab area and in the center of it, then pouring 3,000psi concrete with fibers (we have a lot of expansive clay here and need all the help we can get, so I use both WWM & fibers) and filling the block stem wall & grade beams at the same time, finishing the slab with a trowel machine (assuming you'd want a smooth finish), then cutting control joints that afternoon after we get done + hauling off all excavated soil we don't use for backfilling and creating positive grade away from the slab.
I would typically charge about $17,500 for that job, which is about $19.50/sf, lock & key with all materials, equipment, labor, engineering, compaction testing & permit included. Note that in Alabama, everything is cheaper and you could spend twice that and more elsewhere, and in some areas around here, depending on soil conditions, you would need a 5' compacted pad (about $15,000 for that size area is what I would charge, installed) or a mud sill exterior footing, which is usually a trench about 18"W x 36"D filled with concrete and no reinforcement, then you add the 18"W x 18"D reinforced footing on top of that, and I would charge an additional $3,500 to add the mud sill. A post-tensioned slab would be expensive also. I buy concrete for $78/sy with fibers & 10% sales tax included. My block work usually costs me about $3.50 per block for all materials & labor. To do a compacted pad like that (38' x 42' - remember you have to go at least 5' outside the footprint) would cost me about $875 for 5 loads of "select fill" + $100 diesel fuel in my equipment + labor for 2 operators, and I'd place it in 3 "lifts" of 6" each and compact at each lift to insure compaction. I usually sub out minor dirt work to my slab sub-contractor only because he has a good backhoe operator and I own the backhoe, so I only pay him enough to cover the labor for the operator and a stick man using the transit, with me building the pad myself & hiring a block mason to do the block work & calling my pest control service for the termite spraying. My slab sub costs me anywhere from $1.70/sf to $3/sf for labor only depending on the size of the slab with him doing the excavation of exterior footings & backfill the slab after the block is laid. This doesn't include plumbing or electrical rough-in (floor plugs, conduit, etc) as you would typically contract that work separately with the plumber & electrician. My slab guy inserts the grounding electrode, which is nothing more than a full 20' piece of rebar that runs into the slab 18' and sticks out 2' at the place where the electrical panel (a/k/a breaker box) will be and paints it green as the inspector requires so he knows what/where it is.
There are a lot of variables to all this --- the virgin soil may be weak or expansive, ground water may be high, a heavy sloping terrain, a lot of trees which have to be removed root & all --- any trees whose canopy may eventually hang over the footprint have to be removed as that means their roots may eventually invade and upset the slab --- hardwoods are bad about this and can reach twice as far as their canopy sometimes, then there's the possibility the dirt company brings you soil that doesn't meet engineering guidelines, and unless you know how to spot it (proof-rolling by the dump truck after compacting a lift is a great, low-tech field-measuring device), weather is a strong factor, you have to allow for curing of the concrete & block mortar (3 to 5 days on mortar depending on weather and size of wall) and a lot more. Most subs are lazy and can't be trusted to do it right and many contractors are just brokers out to make a buck, and if you don't know what's right, you could be in for a problem. Make sure they work the edges and smooth them out, especially if you use a block stem wall as the framing will be easily and will be much more level & sound if the substrate (in this case, the edges of the slab) are as smooth & level as possible.
In other words, use this as primer and what to watch for, then hire a contractor to do it all, then watch and learn. Make sure you tell them what specs you want when they give you a bid and give them a copy of the soil report also. END MESSAGE
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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

I have an steel shed about 12' X 12' and I can offer the following observations:
You have no place to nail things into a wall - no studs, nothing. Magnets can substitute for some things but shelves, racks, etc have to be free standing.
If you have a heater in the shed and cold winters you will get condensation on the walls & ceiling to the point where it drips on you and your project. Conversely the summer sun can heat it up to the point where you might be uncomfortable. (I generally have a pedestal fan at the door pointed outwards so the heat gets sucked into the back yard.)
If there's a thunderstorm in progress, you feel just a teensy bit anxious!
Other than that I've had no regrets
FoggyTown
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Being inside your metal shed is probably one of the safer places you can be during a thunderstorm. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_Cage for an explanation.
- Owen -
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Owen Lawrence wrote:

Yeah, yeah. That's science talking. I also know statistically it is very unlikely that my plane will crash. Doesn't help.
FoggyTown
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

Gee, I know it *DOES* help. Do you wander about on a golf course in a T-storm waiving a one-iron above your head, thinking that it couldn't hurt?
Wow!
--
Keith


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There's a difference related to grounding. That one-iron probably isn't grounded (except through you).

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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