New shop from a double-wide?

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Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 06-30-2013 10:04 PM 6254 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7741 posts in 3085 days

06-30-2013 10:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop building garage mobile home double wide question dumb idea

Has anybody ever tried to convert an older mobile home into a workshop? this was actually my wife’s idea. We passed a mobile-home repo lot one day and she wondered aloud if an old one might make a good shop building?

I’ve seen several for sale (reasonably cheap) and I’ve been trying to find out if maybe finding a double-wide that was a 2-bedroom model so it wouldn’t be quite so long. Like perhaps something about 24’ or 28’ wide and like 40’ or 45’ long. The property here is dead-flat so I’m thinking of taking the wheels/axels and tongue off and having it dropped straight on the ground, then gutting the inside so it’d be pretty much of an open floor plan. The electrical wiring will already be inside the walls, and if I wanna keep a sink for cleaning up the plumbing is there too.

I could put a 7’ garage door in one wall for the lawn mower and motorcycle to fit in and if the siding is really crappy I could just sheet it in plywood (painted) or maybe corrugated tin so it’d look more like a shop and less like an old mobile home in the back yard.

I’ve seen a couple on Craigslist for as low as 3 or 4 grand, and I’m figuring maybe 2 grand to have it moved here if I can find one close enough to us.

So waddya think? Anybody ever done this? Or is this a really dumb idea that would only serve to cripple me financially?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

37 replies so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 06-30-2013 10:13 PM

Think Dust Collection system routing, 220vac, overhead clearence for tall machinery, Storage and lumber racks etc. Ya could probably make it work but would you be pleased for long? What are the property covenents in your county as far as additional structures? I’m not being negative just the devil’s advocate so thing are thoroughly throught out.. Keep the thred going, I’ll follow.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30615 posts in 3416 days

#2 posted 06-30-2013 10:28 PM

My brothers upholstery shop is a double wide he gutted and rebuilt.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Woodknack's profile


13557 posts in 3458 days

#3 posted 06-30-2013 10:53 PM

A shipping container might be cheaper but wouldnt be prewired. A mobile home would probably be just fine.

-- Rick M,

View Woodknack's profile


13557 posts in 3458 days

#4 posted 06-30-2013 10:53 PM

A shipping container might be cheaper but wouldnt be prewired. A mobile home would probably be just fine.

-- Rick M,

View Loren's profile


11190 posts in 4726 days

#5 posted 06-30-2013 11:10 PM

If you’re going to go the expense of setting up a freestanding
shop, consider head room.

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3116 days

#6 posted 06-30-2013 11:14 PM

FWW did an article on it a couple of decades ago and I think it ended up in one of their books on small shops. It discussed workflow and storage pretty well but I don’t remember what issue it was.

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View Dakkar's profile


358 posts in 3005 days

#7 posted 06-30-2013 11:21 PM

Rick, I don’t think you’ve spent much time around shipping containers or you wouldn’t have made that suggestion.

I don’t see much problem with a double wide. My only thought is that most mobiles I’ve seen have lower than 8’ ceilings and for a shop it’s best to have all the ceiling clearance you can get. Still, I suppose it’s something you could manage around. Make sure and get all the electrical wiring right for shop tools and take measures for fire prevention. If you live in a storm/tornado-prone region you want to anchor it down really well.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4004 days

#8 posted 06-30-2013 11:39 PM

I lived in one for 17 years (28×56’).

It would depend on what you want to build, for me the ceilings would be much too low – ours was 7’10”.

If you do mostly scrollsaw work, no problem, but handling longer material as Dakkar mentions would be an issue.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 4001 days

#9 posted 07-01-2013 12:34 AM

I wouldn’t sit it on the ground directly for several reasons. Plumbing,electrical and moisture thru the floor just to name a few.
As far as the concept, I see nothing wrong with it if you think it thru.
I owned one for several years.

-- Life is good.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 3026 days

#10 posted 07-01-2013 01:25 AM

I think if you found the right one you may be onto something. I have seen a lot of double wides with vaulted ceilings in the great room / kitchen. you could use the smaller rooms for finishing and storage. I would set it on concrete piers. I also agree with checking with the county, It may fall under some double resident bull crap till you could prove it was a shop.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 2946 days

#11 posted 07-01-2013 01:37 AM

For the same money, you could build a pole barn. You’d have as much headroom as you want, and it old be modified to suit other purposes besides just being a shop.

When I get some acreage, I will start with a pole barn, and a portable sawmill. Maybe a homemade sawmill.

One other consideration is aesthetics. The trailer will already be weathered and time will do it’s task. A pole barn with rough sawn siding (at any enclosed portions) will look picturesque with a couple decades worth of patina.

It can keep your tractor dry too.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 5061 days

#12 posted 07-01-2013 02:39 AM

Nothing wrong with a trailer for a wood shop.
30 years ago we had a double wide with a wood shop in one end.
The other end had a waterbed.
We had wood stove in the center on one side and a walk in kitchen on the other.
The trailer had a great air conditioner… actually swamp cooler.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4309 days

#13 posted 07-01-2013 02:40 AM

That would be a lot more room than I have to work in now.
A plus is that it would be wired, insulated and ready for AC. Having a snack bar and a crapper in your shop would be outstanding!

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 3977 days

#14 posted 07-01-2013 02:42 AM

I say go for it they dont have to pay for a new shop its batter than building one out of pillet’s like I did.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3085 days

#15 posted 07-01-2013 12:16 PM

Thanks for the ideas.
No problems with covenants here, the neighbors all have 2 and 3 sheds each in their yards. Seems around these parts they’ll buy a 10 X 12 shed and when it’s full they just add another :-) My closest next door neighbor has a big barn in his yard and the guy on the next street has a huge shed that looks like a Quonset hut.

As to a pole barn, that’s what I had up in 10aSEE. The company I dealt with there doesn’t come this far south into GA and the prices here are a bit higher to get the same size put up down here.

The ceiling height is an issue. Might be something I’d have to learn to live with. We lived in a double-wide in 10aSEE and we had the vaulted ceilings, but I dont think the older models had ‘em. None that I’ve seen so far anyway.

I do like the idea that it’d be pre-wired, plumbed, and insulated. I can buy 2 single-wides for under 4 grand, but I’d have to figure out a way to mate them together…

I saw this classroom/office unit that might be a good option (providing it dont cost more than the unit to get it moved here…

And here’s another option. But I think the transport would put this out of my budget range…

So we’re still in the “Thinking and planning” stage. Just figured I’d throw this idea out there and get some brainstorming from others.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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