First Time Builder - New 30 x 40 Workshop

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Forum topic by Brian posted 02-13-2014 09:47 PM 5357 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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185 posts in 3093 days

02-13-2014 09:47 PM

My wife and I have recently purchased 27 acres in Arkansas close to where we currently live. Since I enjoy woodworking and building things myself, I thought, “Why not build my own shop and get some good practice before attempting a house in the same area?” There is an abundance of building knowledge on here so I turn to my fellow lumberjocks to either talk me out of this endeavor, or at least keep me from wasting $15,000 by building something that falls in on me.

I am looking at a 30×40 workshop. Why? Because it sounded big enough and still fairly affordable. I’ve never had a dedicated workshop and am extremely tired of using a 22×20 garage for everything which I have to share with my wife’s car when it is cold.

I will for sure pour a concrete slad foundation. Sounds simple enough, at first. Then you see that some people just frame a square and pour the foundation. Others, similiar to houses, dig a footing, pour some concrete, lay blocks, do some kind of magic something that I’m sure comes from Harry Potter because I can never seem to see a construction site doing this part, then pours the remainder of the foundation.

I plan on framing 10’ walls. If I just frame a square and pour, I will likely build the walls, attach them to the foundation with a concrete gun, then go back and drill out holes for bolts to before secure to the foundation. If I do a footing first, I do not know how you attach a wall to concrete blocks.

Because I want my shop decently insulated, I would like to use the green sheathing that is common in my area and tape off the seams. I never understood the point of putting down plastic and then nailing a million holes in it. Walls will have roll insulation inside because I just can’t swing foam in this area. There are only a few people that do it and are very proud of it. The exterior will likely be fairly thin sheet metal just to cover and provide water resistance.

To make the roof simple, I will just order trusses from a local supplier and have a couple friends help me set them and cover. Similar to the walls, I will deck it, and more than likely use metal roof for protection from elements. I have not decided on the ceiling insulation yet because I have not decided if I want to close off the rafters and use blown insulation or try to keep it all open. Open=more space but less likely to control the temperature.

Entry door on the 40’ side and one roll-up door on the 30’ side in case I need to work on my tractor or move large items in and out.

No plumbing at all, and electrical work will be done later. We are selling our house soon (already on the market and have shown 7 times the last 6 days) to start construction on a new house out on the property this fall, and I don’t want to put my tools in a storage unit while I live in an apartment when they could be sitting in a new shop instead. Some of the tools I will need to finish the construction of the house, and I don’t want to drive 30 minutes round-trip every time I need a tool from storage.

Any advice, pictures, techniques, horror-stories, jokes, little debbie cakes, etc will be greatly appreciated and considered.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

21 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2829 days

#1 posted 02-13-2014 09:55 PM

Howdy neighbor,
I also live in AR. Build my log home and between my wife and I, we completed a 18×30, two story shop in less than 2 years. Here are the links to how the house and the shop were built. We live in North Central:


View bigblockyeti's profile


7214 posts in 2782 days

#2 posted 02-13-2014 10:00 PM

This will be an interesting thread for me to follow as I hope to be doing the same as you within two years. I do know to attach a wall to the top of a footer made from cinderblock (or poured for that matter) L bolts are mortared in between the blocks, usually every 4’ and protruding up enough to go through the bottom plate and fully engage a nut over a flat washer. If you don’t want to deck the roof, you can run lathe on top of and perpendicular to the trusses and install the metal roof directly on top of that. The metal would have to be of heavy enough gauge to handle the weight of the installer, and whatever snow weight you might run into. Another option would be a pre-engineered package. Getting everything from a single source would likely save money & reduce the chance of problems during construction.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Brian's profile


185 posts in 3093 days

#3 posted 02-13-2014 10:13 PM

Jinx, you must just be up the road from me. Our land is just north of Conway. I’d love to come see your place sometime.

Yeti, I’ve been trying to gather some kit prices from builders. The big problem that I seem to run into is them being build cheap. We have a lot of people wanting to sell metal shops in this area. Although I’m not against a metal shop, I can’t imagine it is going to be very insulated without spending large amounts of money on it.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 2717 days

#4 posted 02-13-2014 10:27 PM

Buzz – I’m working out of the garage myself at the moment. Not a lot of personal experience I can add to your thread here except this: I have a friend who has a 30×40 and tells me ALL THE TIME how he wished he would have just put in the 10 extra feet to make it 40×40. Now granted his is a shop, plus a garage for one full time car and 2 others when the weather gets bad, so your requirements may be different. But he wishes badly he had that extra 10 feet of space and for him (at the time at least) the difference in cost of 30x vs 40x was a few hundred difference in slab pour costs. Just some food for thought there.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View Brian's profile


185 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 02-13-2014 10:40 PM

I’ve thought about a 40×40, and agree that the extra concrete would be minimum. However, the trusses get more expensive going an additional 10 feet without support in the middle.

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

View bigblockyeti's profile


7214 posts in 2782 days

#6 posted 02-13-2014 10:49 PM

I’d agree with you to keep the middle free, gives you many more options as you get everything set up. The newest metal building at the lumber yard where we had our millwork shop was 50’ x 100’ with 20’ to the bottom of the trusses, all clear except for the 30’ x 50’ mezzanine at the south end. I do remember some parts of it looking cheaply constructed, it wasn’t insulated either. To get good insulation on something like that, I think you’d have to spray it, and as you mentioned, that starts high and goes up from there.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Texcaster's profile


1293 posts in 2735 days

#7 posted 02-13-2014 10:59 PM

I’d hire a concreater and work as his offsider, then hire a carpenter and be his offsider.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 3311 days

#8 posted 02-13-2014 10:59 PM

Up north here we call the metal buildings pole sheds. The walls are framed with 6×6’s buried 4 feet into the ground on 4 foot centers. You can by kits at home centers but I got mine from the local lumber yard and contracted to have the shell put up. Two guys had it up in 6 days with the concrete floor poured and divider wall put up. I have a 32×56 building, walled off 20 by 32 and insulated it and put up osb on the walls and tounge and grove 3/4 ply on the ceiling. The nice thing is you don’t have to pour footings and the floor is formed by 2X8’s attached to the bottom of the posts before the concrete pour. On the insulated side I found insulation that was just under 4 foot wide to fit between the posts. They looked like bales of hay and you role out and cut to length. I had the ceiling blown in. To put the walls up I put purlons horizontal on the walls attached to the posts and attached the osb to it with large staples. My steps sons helped me and we had it insulated and osb done in a weekend. My wiring in the finished side is conduit on the walls for easy access and I have modified my wiring several times which is the benefit of using conduit outside of the walls. Just to give you some other ideas. Good luck in your new shop build.

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 4118 days

#9 posted 02-13-2014 11:00 PM

I think 30×40 is a good size. Mine is about 24×30 and the 1st floor isn’t quite big enough for my shop Think it all through. There are lots of on-line ideas and lots of books. There are several things I wish I had done.
1. Wire for 220 volt. I didn’t think I would need it, but now I have several 220 tools, and had to retrofit.
2. I hate standing on concrete even with rubber mats. I wish I had put in a wood floor so I could have put dust collection under the floor.
3. I would have built a little sound proof room for my dust collector and compressor.

Things I’m glad I have in the shop.
1. Lots of windows.
2. A garage door
3. A toilet and slop sink.
4. High ceilings.

Good luck with your project.

-- Glen

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2829 days

#10 posted 02-13-2014 11:52 PM

BuzzBate, you and any other LJ’s are welcome here. You must be in Green brier or close to it. About 60 miles from me. 10309 Lafferty road
Mt. Pleasant 72561


View Fish22's profile


83 posts in 4175 days

#11 posted 02-14-2014 12:56 AM

I would put plumbing in the shop. Especially for a slop sink and even a toilet. I would do a slab and make sure it is done right.

-- Bryan, South River, NJ

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2829 days

#12 posted 02-14-2014 01:03 AM

agreeing with Fish… I wish I had plumbing in mine.
it can always serve as a home if nothing else especially with all earthquakes they have experienced in your neck of the woods due to fracking for NG. My friend sold his beautiful house and moved to NW just because of that.


View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 2699 days

#13 posted 02-14-2014 01:57 AM

I build for a living buzz. Sounds like you’re looking to use the zip system as sheathing it works great and is water tight to begin with so you can basically put the cheapest siding you can find on the outside to save money. T-111 or something like that. You sound like you’ll be pretty well insulated. If you go with 2×6 framing you can run r19 in the walls instead of r13. It makes a difference. I would put a ceiling in if you plan on using trusses. The design of a truss doesn’t give you any “real” attic space. Then either roll in r30 or more, or use blown in cellulose. If you any foundation questions or anything with the framing give me a shout. PM me and I’d be happy to help. Good luck buddy

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View MrRon's profile


6014 posts in 4305 days

#14 posted 02-15-2014 07:01 PM

I built my shop similar to what you propose. Mine is 24×48 with 2 rolling doors. The only thing I failed to do was to get someone to machine finish the slab. After I thought about it, it was too late to do anything about it. The shop has a heating and A/C unit from a house. I have 200 amp service, so I never will need for more power. My roof is metal; walls and ceiling insulated and 10’ height. I probably spent close to 15K, but that was with 2001 dollars. I would check with building codes before pouring the slab; you don’t want that to be bad.I used 3/8” T1-11 siding. 5/8” would have been better. I used commercial trusses; #10 and 12 wiring throughout.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3069 days

#15 posted 02-15-2014 07:26 PM

Back in Tennessee I got a 30 X 40 kit from Blitz Buildings It was delivered and set up in less than 2 weeks.
I had the concrete poured by a concrete guy and he finished the inside so well it was almost as smooth as glass. I added the insulation and electrical myself and was VERY happy with it. When we moved to GA last June I called them to order another one for here and they dont have anyone who will erect it close to here. So I’m looking to possibly do it myself. Here’s a quick view of mine

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

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