I've built a 10x10 shed in the past where the framing was, perhaps, not
particular difficult and not necessarily critical that it be absolutely
correct. However, I'm contemplating a new garage/shop and am trying to
convince myself that I can either handle or not handle (with help) the
framing. Providing motivation for the "I can handle this" side is the fact
that I just received a quote from a local garage builder to do it to the
tune of just over $25,000. Now, I understand that design-wise, framing the
walls and roof isn't exactly rocket science, but there's certainly a right
way to do it. Like most of us here to one degree or another, I'm reasonably
handy and I enjoy a challenge and the satisfaction of building something on
my own. Plus, I figure I can build the thing for probably half of what the
garage guy wants, and $12,000 buys a lot of wood.
So, with that said, does anyone have a recommendation for a book or other
resource that discusses framing a structure such as this?
However, I'm contemplating a new garage/shop and am trying to
Like most of us here to one degree or another, I'm reasonably
Contemplating kits? Some decent instructions, and for a price, some come
with decent materials, too. Other than that, a run to your local used-book
store will likely kick a half-dozen. Sunset has a couple.
Sad to say, your problems may come in the permit/inspection area. Do things
perfectly, and it's still an amateur job to the inspector.
Depends on where you live. Supercritical
inspections tend to go with very strong union
areas. Weak union areas are more likely to have a
reasonable inspection based more on quality of
work than work relations.
Must depend on the area- I've always found the building inspectors in
Minnesota and Wisconsin to be very helpful to amateurs and
freelancers. They might not let you get away with things that aren't
up to code- but that's they're job, after all. Usually, they'll give
the homeowner a couple of suggestions for getting the structure up to
Best to call them in about mid-way and see what they think- not only
does it keep you from doing something really stupid that is really
hard to fix, but it gets on their good side, since you're showing that
you respect their expertise. OTOH, if you miss an appointment with
one of them, expect a whole pile of problems...
You might fare better being your own general contractor, to a point, then
finishing up the job yourself in those areas where you fell your skills may
be better utilized.
At $25,000 the "local garage builder" is making money off the work of his
subs in some areas of the process (foundation, framing/cornice, roofing)
that could be in your pocket instead. The process of getting bids from
foundation, framing/cornice and roofing contractors is no different from the
one you went through getting the bid from the "local garage builder".
You will need an engineered, approved plan for the proposed structure in any
event. From there it is a relatively simple matter to use that plan as the
basis for bids from each of the trades involved.
BTW, $12,000 does not buy much in building materials these days ... one of
your first shocks will be for steel and concrete when you go to pour the
foundation, the second will be at the lumber yard.
We may, in fact, go this way. Prior to embarking on her current lucrative
position in early childhood development, my wife was a general contractor
for one of the largest building contractors in the country. Her last job
was a 35-story condominium, so I figure we can sub out a garage if that's
the direction we go in.
We are in the process of planning a major addition to our house. We have an
architect coming up with drawings that include a new garage, so the city
will be happy.
I'm still trying to get ahold of concrete guys, so I'm curious to see where
that's going to fall. I priced out the sheathing already. It came to about
$1000. I also priced attic trusses, which came in at about $2500. Once I
get the concrete cost, I can put the rest together. We'll see how it comes
figure 3-4/sqft as a starting point, unless you're going to get stamped or
colored concrete, although with the price and shortage of concrete in the
past year, it might be different from when i had a slab put in.
jobs I do are quality, but I worked as a carpenter for several years,
and don't drink on a job site (or much at all, really). Plenty of
guys like me are willing to do the same or better quality of work you
provide because we like it. I follow up every project I do at least
twice in the first year, and at least once after two, because I don't
care to leave shoddy work behind me. Can your company claim the same?
Sorry you chose to personalize this. Obvious issues here. And yes, if
you are actually interested, I can make the same claims and better. I
NEVER, EVER advertise. All my work is word of mouth recommendation
from clients. For 23 consecutive years. Current backlog of work
(again... thanks for asking) is about 4 months. I am confident enough
in my company and my abilities that I actually use my cell phone as my
main business number so my clients can call me ANYTIME.
I am interested in your comment about your pride in not working drunk.
Good for you - many folks never realize the importance of not working
while drunk or stoned. You should be proud. I am also proud of myself
as I too rarely drink, and never had done so on the job. Never fooled
wide brush. Most of the points you make apply to a good number of the
contractors I've run across. In fact, I've made a whole pile of money
fixing contractor mistakes<<
Of course they are painted with a wide brush. I wasn't attempting a
collegial dissertion studying the minutae of building a garage. I
honestly agree with many of the things you said in your post! You made
a lot of valid points.(Still sad to see it get personal...)
>>for homeowners when the *professional* they
hired wouldn't return their phone calls about the warranty<<
Happens all the time. Every shithead with a hammer and saw thinks they
are a contractor. Or could be a contractor with the "right breaks".
OF COURSE THEY AREN'T. Any nitwit can pound nails, and an idiot can
become a decent carpenter with brute repitition (and me buying his
tools). Framing/siding/cornice is the low end of the totem pole for
carpenters. I started there myself in '73. That proves anyone can do
<<- or even
better, when the illegal immigrant foreman *all of a sudden* claims to
"no habla ingles". >>
Well, you played your face card there, didn't you? Problems with
Hispanics? I live in San Antonio, TX, and our city of almost 2 million
(including the metroplex) is a whopping 70% Hispanic. Many of my
friends are Hispanic, LOML is part Hispanic and they would gladly talk
to you about your racist stereotyping if you would like. That is
I have read many of your posts before and you I don't ever recall you
needing to make a racial slur to make a point.
Amen. That is exactly what it all boils down to.
On 18 May 2005 23:55:38 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Same deal as when I was reclaiming condemned buildings for a couple of
landlords, cell phone was in my pocket at all times, and word-of-mouth
got so out of hand, I had to turn a lot of folks down because I
couldn't find enough decent guys to hire.
Didn't mean to make it too personal, I've just worked with some
terrible contractors, and it sounded like you were saying every guy
without a license was a hack, and couldn't do the job.
I'll let it go if you will. Didn't mean to imply that you're one of
the bad contractors, either.
No, no problem with hispanics, I usually can't even tell the
difference between hispanic and white. I'm an equal opportunity
bastard in my general distaste for *most* people. I was making a
reference to one particular company that I kept running across in the
St. Paul area that messed up roofs on four different buildings I was
working on, causing me a lot of extra grief doing warranty work that
had nothing to do with the job I did (amazing how quick a leaky roof
will take down a freshly plastered wall, or rot the sill out of a
skylight). Their modus operandii was to speak English perfectly well
when they were bidding the job and when speaking to one another on the
jobsite, but as soon as they didn't want to do something (like
warranty work or cleaning up the nails in the parking lot), they would
mysteriously forget how to speak English. It was obviously part of
the GC's company culture, and I was taking a dig at the slimy business
practice, not the race of the people involved. Had they been any
other race, ethnicity or what have you, it would've stunk just as bad.
I try not to, and I genuinely don't have any problem with any
particular group of people, unless they *personally* are engaging in a
specific set of behaviors. As stated above, it was a reference to the
behavior of one specific roofing contractor's crew- which was, in
fact, composed of illegal aliens.
As I said above, I'm willing to forget the whole deal and shake on it.
I've just put up with a lot of flack from poor contractors in the past
who had the same attitude it seemed you were posting with, and it got
me a bit miffed. If you're one of the good ones, then you're a credit
to the business, and I applaud you for it. There are plenty of things
a good GC can do that I've got no business touching- I was just saying
a that a garage or shed is well within the reach of a homeowner (last
one I put up was a 16'x20' shop with steel double doors and a couple
of picture windows, and it only took three days from start to finish-
hardly worth $25k to a homeowner on a budget, and usually considered
to be not worth the effort for most good contractors.)
I understand what you are saying. I think that probably if we had met
somewhere else, eye to eye, face to face, this thread would probably
have never gotten this far.
I know there are plenty of bad contractors out there, but having worked
so hard at my craft and my business, it is hard for me to see the
snickers and elbow rib pokes that appear from many, including those
here from time to time that feel like you can give a construction
worker a cold beer and he will panel your living room.
I pay my guys too much and I take less. That is how I keep the good
ones. It pains me to see how little I get for the bucks I spend, but
reputation wise it works out in the end. Still irks me though.
As far as Mr. Homeowner building his own garage, I also agree that it
should be within the skill set of many. The part that will not be
recognized or appreciated is waiting for inspectors (the contactor
wannabes that couldn't be), meeting obscure city codes, and all the
time that is wasted getting all the different trades and personalities
on the same page.
I am one of the few certified HUD construction consultants in TX. I
have been working in construction for about 34 years. All but 10 for
I have worked in light commercial extensively and also in residential.
Sadly, the skills that serve me the most in my daily work is a
perceived evil temperment, being able to swear fluently in two
languages (Si, yo puedo hablar espanol) and knowing which inspector to
call when, and if I need to "find" an "extra" gift certificate in my
truck when they are on site.
I think the building is the easy part. The local governments are the
hard part as they usually know little or nothing about what you are
doing. For instance, we have several small burgs that have been
incorporated for years before the city could swallow them up. In order
to do ANYTHING in these areas you must get a permit first. This is how
they make additional money.
The problem is that the senior inspector in three of these areas is
also the fire department chief. In two more, the don't have actual
inspectors, but if the police in these small areas see you starting a
job without paying your permit fees, there is a $2500 fine!
And they don't even inspect the work! They make you get a license in
their little burg, and that is that. They call your references, and if
you are in good stead with all of them including your professional
associations, you can be licensed. However, they rely on you to follow
If the received a complaint from anyone connected with the process,
then they call an independent inspector out and he will make you go
specifially by the COBAL book or equivlant. No adjustment for region.
Imagine putting a homeowner through that... I have seen contractor just
walk away from jobs in these areas out of disgust. And if the burg has
gotten in trouble for anything lately, they will be unmerciful.
Gladly this will not be the case for our friend that started the
thread. I think we were duped! In a subsequent post he has revealed
that not only is he not a run of the mill homeowner asking how to do
something of this nature, but that his wife is
<<my wife was a general contractor
for one of the largest building contractors in the country. Her last
was a 35-story condominium, so I figure we can sub out a garage if
the direction we go in. >>
So now his wife was a GC. And he has also has architects involved for
When he started out he owned up to building a 10x10 shed as his
experience, and througout the post there was a tone of humility. But
in fact it sounds like he is squared away. His wife the GC can provide
all the subs anyone could want, and any questions of codes and
standards can be answered by their architect. Just a guess, but they
should have engineered drawings, too. And their respective white
collar components will also know how to grease the inspection wheels.
I didn't want to see another innocent homeowner get screwed by "the
triumph of enthusiasm over experience" again. It now appears my
concern was misplaced.
So I am with you. Let's shake on it and be done. I think we have done
a great job resolving this, if I do say so myself.
I enjoyed the intelligent conversation.
On 20 May 2005 00:51:36 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
That's generally very true. Usually when someone takes offense at
something I've typed, I have to go back, read it again, blink a few
times, and only then does it dawn on me that it was read in a way that
was different than was intended. A lot of times, I run into problems
throwing in odd dialect because I pick up bits of it from work, but
don't really move in the same social circles, so I never fully
understand it. Lots of different ways to say the same thing, and
twice as many ways to interpret them!
Yep, when I was making a living off renovation, I had tons of people
who thought I might just finish a basement for them if they provided
beer, and were willing to help. They never seemed to understand that
A) those jobs were how I paid my rent- and the landlord didn't accept
beer as payment, and B) Their "help" involved teaching them how to do
the job, and ended up being a whole lot more work than just doing it!
Now that I do it as a hobby, teaching the homeowner how to do it is as
much payoff as the money- but when it counted, it sure used to piss me
It didn't work when I tried that- I'd take a 50% pay cut to hire
someone, and they still weren't worth a damn. I finally just gave up
on the whole shebang, and went the steelworking route.
Boy, I must have been lucky. I generally worked with the building and
fire inspectors in St. Paul, and they were both decent guys (at least
to me- they hated some of the folks I worked for, though!)
Me too, didn't mean to fly off the handle so quickly- I was just
having a bad day to begin with.
No book recommendation offhand, but it's not that complicated. You
probably need another set of hands to raise the walls and lift the
trusses into place- and I know you can find that for less than $25000!
Most carpenters in my area only make $10-16 an hour, and do side jobs
for cash. If you buy the lumber and know what you want, you can find
someone to to it pretty easily. If you don't know any carpenters,
just about any shop (metal shops as well as woodworking) will usually
have at least a half-dozen guys looking for a weekend job, and the
going rate is always lower than the contractors.
I built a 24 by 24 double garage and it turned out pretty good but I had
framed other structures before with supervision from my boss, a
Depending on the design, roof pitch, and how fancy you are getting with
siding, cornice work, and windows it is a decent project to cut your
framing teeth on.
Your location, i.e., in town(inspection regulated) or not, may have
something to do with the decision. Smaller towns seem to work with
owner-builders better in most places. My experience was in an
unincorporated area so I was not inspected. Since I had framed before I
did not have too much trouble but designed my own garage and got a
little carried away with the size.
So if you think through it well and give yourself plenty of time and get
help when you need it it is do-able. Just make sure of your legal
status for inspections, codes, etc. and go for it.
Good luck either way. It will be good to have a decent garage.
There are probably a bunch of books but you might
want to look at Construction Manual: Rough
Carpentry and Construction Manual Finish Carpentry
by T.W. Love. Craftsman Book Company.
Have you every looked at houses as they are being
built? If you have, you wouldn't have any fears
of building a better product with your current
experience. BTW, framing is the cheapest part of
the building. You could always have the building
framed and then do the other parts yourself.
Labor cost for framing a $25,000 garage should be
between $2000 and $2500 (not counting materials)
Visit construction sites (dwelling) and see how it's done. Spend some time
in a book store and look through the books for the information you want.
Buy those books that you deem suitable.
I built a 1060 sq. ft. garage/ workshop with a small bathroom (commode,
sink, shower stall) ducted heat (50,000 btu furnace) and evaporative
with brick veneer (face brick) siding. Took not quite 2 years but I enjoyed
it and I got what I wanted. Lots of convenient electrical outlets,
skylights, recessed fluorescent lighting, copper piping for air compressor,
etc. I hired concrete workers for the slab. My neighbor helped me raise the
side walls and roof trusses that I had prefabbed on the slab. My grandson
(14 yrs old) mixed mortar for the bricks which I layed myself. It ain't
rocket science. <G>
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.