My wife and I are considering a steel building for our new house.
We're thinking 5000 sqft, a 50x100 building (we have 9 children).
Ideally, we'd like a full basement (making 10k sqft). We're also
planning a standing seam roof. I have a couple questions about this
1. Can someone give me an idea what the footer/slab vs crawlspace vs
full basement with 9' walls and a slab on the floor would cost for
2. What sort of life span can I expect from the building? Will it rust
to pieces in 20 years? Look the same in 100 years? Should I be
planning for stainless connectors instead of zinc-coated?
This will be in either southern wisconsin or northern illinois.
what do you mean by a steel building? a steel post frame building?
this will be your house? at any rate, its almost like if you gotta ask
what a 50 by 100 foot basement will cost, you can't afford it. to take
the wildest of WAGs, i would have to say a minimum several hundred
thousand for the excavation alone. probably another hundred grand
minimum for the concrete work. slab on grade would be much cheaper
which is why you never see a basement in a walmart.
as to your second question, any building will last basically forever as
long as you keep the elements out (barring disaster). standing seam
metal roofs last many many years. fasteners will be hidden, so
stainless is no better than galvanized.
Yeah, this sort of thing: http://www.steelbuilding.com /
I'm trying to get a better picture of what the costs will be. But from
what I've seen so far (after I posted), this sounds way off. My guess
would be around $50,000 for the basement, plus maybe another $10,000
for the slab in the basement.
I'm thinking the cost of a crawlspace will be maybe half the cost of a
basement. And the cost of a footer and slab would be maybe a quarter
the cost of a basement. I guess I'm looking for validation of these
What's forever though? 20 years or 100 years? And does it look good
for 100 years, or does it look good for maybe 20 years, but it's
structurally ok for another 40? I guess I need to ask when it starts
rusting to the point of looking bad.
well, i'd forget about a basement. i've got a basement bid sitting on
my desk for a 2100 square foot house-- excavating is 30 grand, concrete
work is 40 grand. granted, it's a complicated footprint.
but a 50 by 100 foot basement is no small matter. that is 2000 yards
of fill that would have to be hauled out of there. something like 150
loads in a tandem dumptruck. if you could get one in there every half
hour, that would be 75 hours of steady hauling fill out of there. if
you just say he has two trucks at 100 bucks an hour per, and an
excavator at 150 an hour, that's 34 grand just for that part of it.
then there is road building, getting 6" of granular fill back into the
monster, utilities, back filling, drain tile, etc. as far as the
concrete work goes, the materials alone for such a thing would have to
run 30 grand, if you use icf's. labor would be very high because
something so big would have to be done in stages.
so you'll want to call a mason anyway. ask him what a 50x100 foot slab
is going to cost, and if that doesn't knock your socks off, go from
That still sounds very wrong. We bought a tract house in indiana maybe
ten years ago. The full basement option price over a slab was maybe
$15,000. That was for maybe a 1900 sqft two story house. Maybe your
2100 is a 1 story house, but still, at twice the price, it's still half
Our building would be a rectangle by the way.
I didn't consider the fill. We're planning on buying some acreage
though. I wouldn't mind a hill on the property where a low spot used
yeah, I was thinking around $60k for materials and labor.
If you figure $3 per square foot, that's $15k. Not sure that's
Wow, to me that looks just like a garage, or a barn. I thought you meant a
steel framed building, something like this http://www.nusteel.com.au /
Their selling point is that 2 people with a spanner (wrench) can put up the
framing in one weekend.
replying to marson, Ben wrote:
I don't know what kind of pre-Madonna contractors you are getting quotes from
but neither excavation, nor concrete work will be so excessive. In this area of
SW MO, excavation would be no more than $10,000 and we have considerable more
rock. A finished basement runs $55-60 a sf. Metal siding is guaranteed for 30
years, based upon proper installation. I just priced a post form barn 40x78(not
installed, just the materials) for $16,000.
We do concrete work,but have done nothing as large as a 50 x 100 pad. But that
is 55 yards of concrete, call and see what fiber reinforced concrete delivers
for in your area, just to get a feel for the material costs. It varies widely
across the US, from $100 to over $400 per yard depending on location.
Have you considered the tremendous costs for the floor struture if you don't
build on a slab? You will need a 50' steel beam every 10 feet or so, 9 of them.
And to keep the beam depth (and costs) reasonable, each beam will need a
support column every 10 feet or so. So that is 36 columns, each one of which
will need it's own footer poured before the floor can go down.
Then figure in 5000 sq ft of floor joists, and 3/4" tongue and groove
underlayment that you wouldn't need if you build on a slab.
Yes, but I havn't gotten that far yet.
The good news is that I think I've talked my wife out of a basement.
It looks like it makes more sense to put it on a slab, but order an 18'
or 20' high building instead of the 10'. Then we can add a second
level inside the building.
There was an episode of Offbeat America on about a week ago showing a
guy in kentucky that did just about exactly what we want. He had a two
story steel building, sort of the loft look on the inside.
We'll probably go that route.
The cost of the floor will be similar no matter what level it is. The major
structural framing cost will depend on the amount of clear span you want
below and whether there will be bearing walls to support the floor above.
Most of us hate columns as they limit the usability of the area but they are
cheaper than large clear spans. You will probably need an engineers stamp
on the floor. There are many options from wood joists and subfloor to
commercial type open web steel joists and concrete deck. I would suggest
you talk with some residential and commercial builders for advice and
Most people in the north consider a basement to be the cheapest area you can
build and it helps with heating costs and makes a great place for heating
and plumbing equipment and a workshop or garage. I have always been a big
fan of underdrive garages as they are heated almost for free and are a very
versatile area. A 50 foot width would be a natural for posts 12 feet from
the walls with a 25 foot clear span in the middle. 50 feet of this would
give you a tandem-double garage with lots of space on the sides and you
still have only used half of the basement. Whether this is possible or
desirable depends on the topography of your property, as a driveway sloping
down to a garage has its own problems with water and snow. IMHO the ideal
is a house built into a slope with an underdrive garage and a south facing
No matter what you do you still need to get the foundation down below the
frost and need to insulate the perimeter. The basement needs to have a
higher ceiling than you are probably thinking of and 9 feet under the floor
joists and air ducts would be nice, (8 foot min.). You do not need to
excavate the complete depth of the basement and by using a five foot
excavation you can reduce the amount of dirt and concrete costs and also
will be able to have windows above the ground which will be about 4 feet off
the basement floor. You can make the basement wall a mix of concrete below
grade and a short pony wall of anything else above grade. If you excavate 3
feet deep you can use the dirt as fill around the building which will give
you a slope to the backfill and provide good drainage away from the house.
Elevating the house will also improve the view out the main floor windows.
Steel is a great building material, particularly for roofing. The factory
prepainted (galvanized) steel roof has been on my house for 25 years and
looks like new with no signs of corrosion anywhere. There is no reason why
you cannot use a mix of steel and wood or brick for the outside wall framing
and covering. Steel can be a little boring visually but can be made quite
attractive with the right wood or masonry accents at the corners and windows
and in any case is no worse (and many would say a lot better) than vinyl
siding. Often people use contrasting colors of steel to get away from the
I would suggest you get a BIG pad of paper and start making LOTS of
different plans. It is easy to move lines on paper and you can try out lots
of different ideas and after you estimate the quantities and come up with
the costs of materials in your area you will begin to see some patterns.
The best rule is to do a complete and honest estimate of all the costs, then
double the cost and triple the time to completion. CAUTION house building
is the cause of many divorces.
Good luck, YMMV
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