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Anyone build a Steel Home?


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted June 11 2007 - 05:42 PM

My property value is way up, and I found some cheap land close by. I was thinking of selling this place, taking my proceeds, and building something I could have for cash. Steel probably isn't the most attractive, but they look much cheaper than the standard alternatives.

Anyone go this route? What were your positive and negative experiences?
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#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Marc S Kessler

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Posted June 12 2007 - 03:15 AM

Do you mean a steel frame home? Once it's complete you really can't tell it from a wood frame. A few years ago I believe the difference was about 10% more for the steel. The advantages of the steel frame other than the obvious is that the rooms and walls are perfectly square.
I would definitely consider it if you live in a storm area.
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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted June 12 2007 - 04:45 AM

Well, I have seen the kits from tri-steel, etc. that claim to have everything to erect the interior and exterior walls and the roof. One of the big advantages is the ability to put it up yourself.

I'm certainly not married to it. What I want is some sort of minimal cost self-build option. I have seen people put up their own yurts, which is not exactly what I have in mind for myself. I do really like this floorplan: Tri-Steel Greenbriar, but tri-Steel seems to be in the minority of companies that only sell to builders.

Ideally, I would love to live in an apartment above my workshop. Unfortunately, I own neither.
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#4 of 17 OFFLINE   alan halvorson

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Posted June 13 2007 - 04:45 AM

How about a foam house? Many, many years ago, I read an article (with photos) about someone who built his house by spraying foam (urethane, I think) over a tent-like structure. Made the rooms and walls with foam also. Just think how easy it would be to install plumbing and electrical stuff - you could even foam in furniture! No insulation to add either.

I've wondered from time to time if this turned out to be a good idea.
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#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Nathan_F

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Posted June 13 2007 - 06:36 AM

So make yourself a builder.. that is, find a U-build-it office and sign up to be your own general contractor. They'll help you with lining up subs to do all the work, or you can use subs you know, or you can do some work yourselves. They walk you through the processes and timeframes so you know when to call each contractor. My sister did this for her house and loved it.

Quote:
but tri-Steel seems to be in the minority of companies that only sell to builders

So make yourself a builder.. that is, find a U-build-it office and sign up to be your own general contractor. They'll help you with lining up subs to do all the work, or you can use subs you know, or you can do some work yourselves. They walk you through the processes and timeframes so you know when to call each contractor. My sister did this for her house and loved it.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted June 13 2007 - 07:07 PM

Hmm. I wonder if New Mexico allows that. There are lots of workers available in the Home Depot parking lot...
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#7 of 17 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted June 14 2007 - 01:17 AM

I've two friends who built their own homes. It's not for the faint-hearted or the faint-of-construction-heart.

One friend two over a year to get his done, working weekends, wrangling contractors, dealing with incompetent inspectors, etc.

But, if you've got the withall to do it, you can get the house you want for less than building new.

And one friend did poured concrete into foam forms. Good house, Very well insulatd, and very quiet.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 14 2007 - 04:22 AM

Quote:
I have seen people put up their own yurts
Here in Idaho the state parks system maintains and rents yurts to campers, primarily on cross-country skis. My favorite job title is "master ranger of yurts". Posted Image
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#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted June 14 2007 - 05:24 AM

"I've two friends who built their own homes. It's not for the faint-hearted or the faint-of-construction-heart."

I don't doubt it. I was raised by a dad who is the country's top salesman for DeWalt, so I am somewhat proficient with the use of power tools. Posted Image

The whole thing with those steel kits is that once you have your slab poured to spec with all your plumbing in place, the kits work pretty much like Erector sets. You follow the instructions and up it goes. (Well, that is according to the brochures...and I'm sure they don't lie!) I have enough family that I can get my dad, brother-in-law, and several cousins and friends to come help. With enough people, tools, good instructions, and a kit designed to go up quickly, I'd bet that we can the basic structure up in a week, given that the slab and plumbing are in place.

The thing is, I'd like to hear from somene who did build a steel kit home themselves and can testify to its ease of assembly, price, etc., or lack of those things.
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#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 14 2007 - 05:45 AM

Buzz, you might find more info in a specialized forum such as www.ownerbuilderbook.com/forum/
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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Nathan_F

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Posted June 14 2007 - 08:09 AM

http://www.ubuildit....ces/new-mexico/

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted June 14 2007 - 05:33 PM

Thanks guys! I will check these out.
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#13 of 17 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted June 15 2007 - 12:02 AM

Any chance you can get us an HTF discount on DeWalt Tools? Posted Image

Good luck in building, then. The house design looks like a great floor plan, with some really nice features, especially the wrap around patio and adjoined work shop / 2-car garage.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Joe D

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Posted June 15 2007 - 01:09 AM

Steel: Non-renewable resource, higher air & water emissions associated with the production of the product.

Wood: Renewable resource, air and water emissions are much lower compared to steel or other building materials.

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted June 15 2007 - 06:12 AM

I just moved into my new house about 2 months ago. We designed it and had contractors do the concrete, frame it, electric, plumbing, kitchen cabinets, HVAC, roofing and brick siding. We did the insulation, hung the sheetrock, tile floors, wood floors, intercom, whole house vacuum, built the deck, hung the doors & all the wood trim, primered & painted, and of course built the home theater. The total project took about 10 months (excluding some painting that I still need to do) and that was with it being built next door. If I had to drive to get to it, it would have probably taken a bit longer. The house was weather tight last September & thats when I really started working on it. It took me every weekend, holiday, last years & this years vacation time and 4-5 hours 4 nights a week to complete it. I have a co-worker who started on his concrete form house a month before mine. He did more himself and has family helping him. He expects to move in over the 4th of July week. Dealing with the contractors was not so bad. (I manage big projects at work). Motivating my family was the hardest. Trying to keep the excitement up with out having to force them was difficult.
Before you make a commitment realize that:
  • You probably will not have time to do anything else until it is finished. We didn't even watch a movie for a few months and stopped going to church for the last 3 months.
  • Even with the best planning, it will probably go over budget. The final bill for each of the subcontractors was higher than estimated. For instance the electrical contractor bid putting in "X" number of lights & outlets. Once the house was framed, we walked through to mark where everything went, the actual number was higher. Now that I have lived there 2 months, I wish I had some switches in different locations. There are also little things that come up each step of the way.
  • Not everything goes well. There are design problems and people make mistakes. Just expect that these will happen and be flexible enough to correct it when they happen. The guy who poured out basement used the outside dimensions for a sided house and not a brick house. My house turned out 8" smaller in each direction so there would be room for the bricks on each side. I had a great framing crew that discovered this and corrected it as they built. I guess I could have made a big stink and had him tear it all out and do it again, but that would have been an major delay and messed up the whole schedule. In the end, I can't notice the 8" missing.
  • As the house is being built, you may see things that you want to change. Now is the time to do it.
In the end, we have a house that we couldn't afford if we didn't do the work and have the satisfaction of knowing that we did it. Knowing what I know now, would I do it again? Yes. Am I going to build another one? No way.

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted June 15 2007 - 10:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
Even with the best planning, it will probably go over budget.

Not everything goes well. There are design problems and people make mistakes. Just expect that these will happen and be flexible enough to correct it when they happen. .

The two most succinct points in any building/remodeling project. Truer words were never spoken (well, OK, written)

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#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 15 2007 - 11:35 AM

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My property value is way up...I was thinking of selling this place, taking my proceeds, and building something I could have for cash.

I actually did this, but it entailed selling a house in San Jose, buying a much nicer house in Boise for cash, and having enough left over to retire on the proceeds. Your problem was not buying in the right city decades ago. Posted Image
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