Cost to Build

Started by donkey_jaw, August 24, 2016, 08:31:25 AM

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I just came across this site and it is a wealth of knowledge about building. Before coming here I had already decided to build a 1 1/2 story cabin. Either a 20 x 30 or 20 x 40. The plans for sale here are almost exactly what I'm looking for so that helps. I'm looking to build somewhere in Western North Carolina. If I do about 1/3 of the construction work, what do you guys think it would cost to build a 20x30? Granted its not an easy answer because you have no idea what I have in mind. Im just looking for a rough estimate. Keep in mind this does not include the cost of land.


Donkey Jaw


If you go to the Owner Builder section of the forum Jeff W has been providing us with all of the costs for his 20x32 1.5 story under the thread "20'x32' with loft in S. Missouri"      I am planning a 20 x 34' 1.5 story - from all of the cost estimates I have done, I am thinking it will end up costing around $50k once we get the road in, site leveled, foundation in, water in, and cabin built.  That is with doing all the work myself except the earthmoving work and stem wall foundation. 


This estimator doesn't take too very long and seems to be good as far as a ballpark estimate:
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


Don't overlook the cost of site work. This would include getting water from the ground to your house, driveway, digging foundation, properly backfilling and getting positive slope away from home, running a foundation drain to daylight, waste disposal (septic).

These are all things that really aren't very DIY friendly, though some here have successfully done this kind of work. By the time you are framing the first floor it could be easy to spend 20k+ on all of this stuff.

Once you are framing you could probably be living in a 20x30 1.5 story for another 35-50k if you DIY. Double it if you want to contract it out. Double material cost is a decent estimate for what it will cost to have someone else do it for you. This would be a pretty bare bones price IMO. I think that with decent windows and all the finishes you could easily spend a lot more.

If I was doing it for cash I'd want at least 75k in the bank and 100k would be better.

The other thing is that everyone has their own tolerances for materials. Some people are happy to use big box store vinyl windows, others want Andersen 400s. Wooden siding, brick veneer, hardie board or vinyl siding ... huge variation in cost. Literally down to the nail there are specialized companies that make a million different materials at all different price points.. makes it really hard to know how much a house will cost. Happy to live on subfloor for a couple years, or put in wall to wall carpeting or Oak hardwood floors.. options are endless and usually you're talking to salesmen.


Site specifics and finishes really are the wild cards re cost....a plain jane house on a cleared city lot with utilities stubbed out is going to cost drastically less than a fancy-finished chalet on a wooded mountainside with no access or power nearby....on land with shallow water tables, septic systems get way more expensive, etc.... A foundation is a foundation, framing is framing, drywall drywall and so forth, beyond that basic stuff you start running into many variables.
"The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne."


Just as a kinda  reference: I am building a single level open ceiling 20x28 cabin on a concrete slab. Its framed with trusses, shingle roofed, T1-11 sided, painted, has a complete wrap around deck that's 8' out from the cabin. I just ran the service electric, water and propane, 110'. I have done all the labor myself except the concrete. I'm at 20K less a bit for a tally so far. That's with 2 patio door sets, 1 steel entrance door and 8 double hung windows, a electric tankless water heater, 26,000 BTU through wall air conditioner. Inside is just studs, no insulation, no wiring or plumbing yet. I think 5K will easily finish up before appliances depending on the boss's interior choices. We wait for "so and so's" 11% off sale and buy off a list that we generate as we go. Its a lot less than I initially thought...Tally does not include a Kubota Backhoe :-)  regards Walt