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I am a 66 year old widow. The home I have is no longer suitable for me and I plan to build a smaller home on one level. I have talked to 2 or 3 building contractors and it is going to cost me around $90,000 for an 850 sq. ft. home built the traditional way. I have considered having a 6 inch concrete slab poured and have a Morton building built on it and then have a builder come in and build the inside rooms. Has anybody else done this? If so, is it cheaper than building the traditional home? When my husband and I build our home years ago, we did a LOT of the work ourselves but I am not able to do that now so everything would have to be built by somebody else. I don't care about a fancy home but I would like a well built home that is warm and comfortable. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help.
 

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I have a real nice pole building hunting cabin (nice enough to be a home) just like you describe. It is 35' x 55', 825 SF is garage and 1,100 SF of living space; 2 bedrooms, nice bathroom, large open kitchen / dining / living room area and a snall mechanical room. Kept it simple to control costs; exposed concrete slab with throw rugs, OSB plywood ceiling, a single thru-wall electric heat & AC unit, etc. I insulated the heck out of the place, put in a nice woodstove, and made the kitchen real nice. I've got about $110,000 in the place complete including the septic and utility hook ups, land cost was extra. I like it, almost zero maintenance and my only cost is about $150/mo electric, $22/mo water and land taxes.

Note - You don't need a 6" slab for a residence or the garage, 4" is adequate.
 

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That TOTALLY depends on the soil in her area. Clay soils are likely to heave and crack an inadequate slab.
 

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I am a 66 year old widow. The home I have is no longer suitable for me and I plan to build a smaller home on one level. I have talked to 2 or 3 building contractors and it is going to cost me around $90,000 for an 850 sq. ft. home built the traditional way. I have considered having a 6 inch concrete slab poured and have a Morton building built on it and then have a builder come in and build the inside rooms. Has anybody else done this? If so, is it cheaper than building the traditional home? When my husband and I build our home years ago, we did a LOT of the work ourselves but I am not able to do that now so everything would have to be built by somebody else. I don't care about a fancy home but I would like a well built home that is warm and comfortable. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help.
$100/sqft doesn't seem bad at all. Never find that here, unless they are building a shell (to lock-up). Double that number for occupancy (finished).
I couldn't get much info on Morton site as to exactly what they do...looks like pole barn style builds. No mention as to whether they install services (finish to occupancy).
Looks like they specialize in mostly outbuildings. I see Morton has a pretty good system for building a pole barn. We don't see that sort of build around here for homes.
For a large outbuilding, I see pole barn style as an inexpensive way to cover a lot of square feet. For something, like what you have in mind, I have to wonder if you save a lot over a traditional build, whether it be pier and beam, mono slab or concrete foundation (albeit, a concrete foundation is the more expensive option).
Not a big fan of a pole barn for a house. A pole barn's forte is throwing up a shell as cheaply as possible. The interface between wall and earth is tricky. In one of Morton's examples, they use their concrete piers to build an elevated floor, which is like a pier and beam build. I'd prefer to be sitting on concrete.

Aside: used to live in a pier (concrete pylons) and beam house. It elevated main floor. Underside of house was open to elements (floor joists were sheathed underside to hold insulation, services and keep out rodents). Wasn't all that bad to live in, but it did vibrate a bit during windstorms. I had to wonder, with all the work they put into building 22 - 12" sono concrete piers (had deep 2'x2' footings), whether it would have been that much more to build a concrete stem wall and slab?
 

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That TOTALLY depends on the soil in her area. Clay soils are likely to heave and crack an inadequate slab.
By and large the majority of residential floor slabs and even commercial office floor slabs on grade are 4" thickness. I've poured about a million square feet of them and they are all still functioning fine. If you have a soils problem, then that is a different issue and something that needs to be resolved before anything is built atop it.
 

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Yup. What I said. :)
 

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I am a 66 year old widow. The home I have is no longer suitable for me and I plan to build a smaller home on one level. I have talked to 2 or 3 building contractors and it is going to cost me around $90,000 for an 850 sq. ft. home built the traditional way. I have considered having a 6 inch concrete slab poured and have a Morton building built on it and then have a builder come in and build the inside rooms. Has anybody else done this? If so, is it cheaper than building the traditional home? When my husband and I build our home years ago, we did a LOT of the work ourselves but I am not able to do that now so everything would have to be built by somebody else. I don't care about a fancy home but I would like a well built home that is warm and comfortable. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help.
As a 66 year old widow as soon as you walk in the door, a building contractor is going to see you as an easy mark.

The Morton buildings are way overpriced for what you get. Draw up a plan, and get a building permit. Put all of the plumbing along one wall to keep it simple. If you already own the land, pour a 4" slab with the plumbing put in. Stop, find someone who has done this, at this point you need someone you can trust. Do a little networking, through family and or friends, find someone who can make you a materials list. If you let the contractor buy the materials, they will mark it up fifteen to twenty percent.

Once you have the materials list take it to three or four lumber yards, or building supply places. Get a total price delivered to your site. Make sure they can unload it upon delivery. You will not want it all delivered at once. Find a small family run builder, and get references. Agree to pay him in pieces. So much to have it framed out. So much for the plumbing. So much for the electric. And so forth. You get the general idea.

If you just pay a contactor and turn them loose, you will almost always get cheated. It will be a lot of work, and it will not happen fast. Take it slow do not let anyone rush you.

This is what I have done, and would do again. Your mileage may vary.

Muleskinner2
 

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What he said. Happened to me.
 

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I wouldn't unless it was built on a slab and footings
Then framed 16" on center with engineered trusses
Walls and roof sheeted
 

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You might want to look into the tiny house option.
 

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My last metal building is 35'x 45' x 16'. I use it as a wood working and tractor repair shop. Materials + labor + concrete I think put me at about 26k or so. Itwould be very easy for me to add windows, frame up some rooms and even add a second floor to double the square footage and have a 3000 sf home for likely half what a stick built would cost.
Yes, I have been inside metal buildings constructed for single family living. If you want little to no exterior maintenance and a simple straightforward plan and don't mind the "look" then it may be for you.
I recently talked with a guy who had a chance to buy 40 acres of timber at 1k per acre. He would have done it if he could afford to put a house on it but his wife wouldn't settle for a camper or a mobile home so he had to let it go. Even with utility hookups and wells and such he could have put my building up there and been in for under 200k.
 

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I'm not a huge fan of Morton, but just about any outfit should be able to put up a building similar to these.
Just basic floorplans and designs.


 

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We had a 850 sq ft apartment type home on the 2nd floor of a metal building. We didn’t use Morton....way over-priced. We found another builder to build the “barn” and then the apartment we did a combination of us doing the work and then contacting what we either couldn’t or didn’t want to do. I’d do it again. It was super effeicent and very comfy
 

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Just an FYI, you don't pour the slab first on a pole building. Poles need to go in first, so don't get in a hurry putting the slab in first yourself.

Unless you have a background in the trades, you will be money ahead to hire a good general contractor to take care of everything for you. The assumption that they are going to rip you off is just wrong. There are good folks and crooks in all lines of business. Ask around to find out who is trustworthy and work with them, rather than getting a bunch of bids you won't understand anyway and go with low price.
 

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Fishindude got me thinking about 'contractors'. Around here, we seem to have two types. Professional grade outfits that usually charge a penny, but do mostly professional work, and then, everybody else, who do varying levels of 'quality' work. It is my opinion one wants to stay away from the latter. Sometimes they can do much cheaper work, but it also means, they can do substandard builds. I peruse builds all the time, and I can see a quality or crap build from a few feet away. The problem is avoiding the high priced outfits, and finding a fair contractor. Most of our contractor builds are built with high priced outfits...they have several houses on the go (none of which, are modest cabins). A neighbor did find a reputable builder (old-timer who kept up with the times) to build them a fully insulated garage and bunkhouse (with plumbing). The tally came close to OP price range. I was impressed. Wasn't anything fancy, but was done up to snuff. Plus, it was done quickly and efficiently. This contractor lives in hood, and is what I'd call a gem among the rough. No BS, all business. No up-charging. The story I heard, is this guy was on builds where the neighbor's husband happened to do some sub-trade work, and this builder was watching them like a hawk to see they worked hard...lol. It also gave the husband a gander at his work and more importantly, his work ethic.
The problem is finding that guy/gal who has integrity. Word of mouth is a good starting point, but make sure you investigate further. What might be good work to a clueless homeowner, could be crap (I've seen that too - too often). I also find homeowners who hire someone, fudge the true cost. It isn't til much later, I get the full tally, and think, they got fleeced. Folks don't like to admit mistakes. Human nature.
 

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I understand your point, but I will admit I got fleeced. I stand before you shorn of wool and needing a sweater.:oops:
 

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I understand your point, but I will admit I got fleeced. I stand before you shorn of wool and needing a sweater.:oops:
Wasn't directed at you, more of an observation, of the crap around me...lol
I applaud your candor...too often in short supply. It seems building is one area that is prone to abuse or ineptitude. Everyone with a hammer thinks they are ready for prime time. Even I am inept at times, with my own build. While I did nothing egregious (other than build it in the wrong spot), hindsight tells me I didn't think it through very well. Put me on a bunkhouse or deck, and I can knock those off all day long. I see pro carpenters frame up a house in weeks, and marvel at their competence. I can't even last a full 8hr day...lol. Not only are they on a mission for completion, they can put the puzzle together almost blindfold.
Oh well, soon only the well healed will be able to throw money at a house...everybody else will be in a RV or mobile.
I strongly believe the days of homeowner-builders are coming to an end. More to do with the roadblocks gov puts up (regs and money), and the fact nobody wants to deal with an entry level build (no money in it). The only folks willing to tackle those, are schysters or the unqualified.
 

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Just an FYI, you don't pour the slab first on a pole building. Poles need to go in first, so don't get in a hurry putting the slab in first yourself.

Unless you have a background in the trades, you will be money ahead to hire a good general contractor to take care of everything for you. The assumption that they are going to rip you off is just wrong. There are good folks and crooks in all lines of business. Ask around to find out who is trustworthy and work with them, rather than getting a bunch of bids you won't understand anyway and go with low price.
The free advertising papers around my area have ads for several places that will put up a pole barn building, complete with concrete floor, on your prepped site. Best I remember a 30x40 with floor, garage door opening, walk door, and 2 windows was a little over $10K from most places. It isn't hard to put windows in a pole barn building. I put in a couple in about 3 hours start to finish one Saturday, and I had never done it before. Insulation, utilities, and interior walls are an area where you can save money doing work yourself, but it is hard to find bargains on some of the materials unless you time things just right at a surplus/salvage place. You can find lots of good deals on doors, window, fixtures, and cabinets from surplus/salvage places and Craigslist. When it comes to electrical and plumbing, if you don't know what you are doing or if inspections are required you would probably be better off using a contractor. Especially a contractor who has a good name with the inspectors.
 

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The free advertising papers around my area have ads for several places that will put up a pole barn building, complete with concrete floor, on your prepped site. Best I remember a 30x40 with floor, garage door opening, walk door, and 2 windows was a little over $10K from most places.
Sounds way too cheap.
Last two pole buildings I had built on my farm (both in the last ten years) ran about $20 / per SF for the building shell erected with uninsulated overhead doors and one walk door. These were uninsulated equipment sheds and did not include; any insulation, a floor slab, any windows, electrical, mechanical, etc.

That would make that 30' x 40' package at least $24,000 + cost of the floor slab. Guessing the $10K figure you saw was the price of the building package dropped on site.


There are some good contractors out there. My best suggestion regarding where to look for one is to go to the largest locally owned lumber yard in your area (Not Home Depot, Lowes or Menards, we contractors don't deal much with these big chains) and talk to the gentlemen at the "contractor sales" desk. Tell them what you are wanting to build and ask him to give you a couple names of good reliable contractors that would do you a good job on this type of thing, pay their bills, etc.

Then make contact with one or two and set up a meeting. Explain what you are wanting and in the interest of not wasting too much of their time yet, ask if they could give you a ballpark budget +/- 15-20% on what they think this project might cost. If you can live with the number, start working with them and tell them they have a deal if they put it all in writing and can hit pretty close to that number with the firm price.

Shopping several contractors against one another is largely a waste of time for an inexperienced construction buyer as you really don't understand all of the details anyway. And soon as they find out you have set up a competitive situation they may either walk away, or worse yet quote the job bare bones to keep cost low.
 
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