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I’m very early in the process of planning a shop. I want to get my semi in with a 53’ trailer hooked up, so it’s gonna have to be big, probably 40-50 by maybe 90. I want to be able to wash it and service it year round in comfort. With the price of lumber going up and being hard to find, I was thinking maybe a steel frame building. Do they hold up to moisture from a wash bay? I will likely have many more questions as I go!!

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I have no idea but I would wildly guess steel would still be much more expensive then a post frame wood building.  As I type this I realize the wood cost is going to be in your trusses and maybe I am wrong.

I have a couple buildings with telephone pole posts here.  Rumor is previous owners got poles for free.

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if your in a colder climate area like it sounds get ready for sticker shock wood framed buildings are cheaper to insulate and fast to errect I had a Morton Energy performer shop building errected in 2012 and love it insulated so well it takes very little propane to keep it at 60 degrees better than my house even costs have gone up since then and depending on what heating source you want to use too My building is 48x63 and I can work on equipment all winter long 

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built this shop/garage this summer..24x24 with 10' sidewalls and scissor trusses 6/12 pitch outside and 4/12 pitch inside so i have about 17' to the peak inside...fully insulated. material price went up on certain items by 50% while building it. neighbor helped build it and had another job lined up but that got shelved to later due to price increases, said it went from $24k to over $42k with trusses tripling in price.

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Build a small shop and a large storage Building. Otherwise your shop turns into a storage building! Thx-Ace 

Steel buildings are common here and easily insulated. Both can work but termites are bad down here.

Thx-Ace 

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I love my steel frame building. Very easy to build. The frame is completely pre-fab. No cutting no drilling no special tools. I built my 36x60 basically by myself. It would be easy for two guys to assemble the entire frame in a day. I did it myself in a couple weekends. Think big erector set. 

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From my personal perspective I built a 30x36 with 10 foot side walls, insulated and the whole nine yards, just isn’t big enough, renting with an option to buy the former fire station in our rural village it is 60x 40 , wash bay the whole nine yards maybe I just have to much stuff😎(make sure you build it big enough)

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Figure how big you think you need, then make it 20% bigger.  If you think you need 90', you probably really need 110'.  

Post frame here is much cheaper to build and finish than steel.  Your area may be different.

Floor heat and heavily insulated is the way to go.  You won't regret it.

I suggest a ventilation fan near the wash bay area.  You can build a wall to separate the wash area from the rest, but they make very good clear curtains now that work extremely well.  That allows you a clear span room, but can be partitioned off for washing or painting.  I strongly recommend a curtain. 

I strongly recommend overhead doors as opposed to sliding doors.  They seal up much better. 

Building a shop is one of the hardest things to do because you usually don't think of something until after it is too late and it can't be changed.  So goes life.  No substitute for experience, lol. 

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We built a 60’x100’ stick with doors on both ends.  Drive in one end and out the other.  Saw this from an excavator and we are happy we did.  
It is cold storage and not finished but surprisingly not too bad inside when cold out.  We had it wrapped for a moisture barrier.  We have sliding doors and agree with J-Mech about overhead.

I like the 60’ because the combine and grain cart can be parked on one side, truck pull in down the middle and load up if it’s raining outside.  So if you have a truck + something to work on the 60’ is nice.  Neighbor built a garage for his semi and floor heat was nice - also high bay led lighting.

We looked at a few buildings that were built to get ideas and used an online program to place the variety of machinery to get an idea of the size we needed.  We were smaller than our 60’x100 in our original plan then at one point 60x90’, glad we have that extra 10’ now.

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Just a couple thoughts.  Steel is most likely going to be more dollars for materials, however, steel may cost less to erect.  Steel frame buildings go together quickly and easily if the crew knows what they are doing.  There are some practical pros and cons to the usability of steel frame vs wood.  I would recommend looking at both.  Overall I would favor the steel frame.

 

One design factor I would suggest thinking about is having a door on each end of the building if possible.  There are times it very handy to drive on one end and out the other, or be able to enter exit either end of the building because something immobile is in the middle.

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50x90 means start at 60x120 with tall sidewalls for lean toos when you out grow it. I'd do steel frame too slope the floor enough to drain...metal on walls in washbay.

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I install heat in shops and just came in from putting heat in my new garage, by far the cheapest to heat is stick framed for cost per square foot to build, some methods will never pay for themselves here.

If your doing a lot of washing floor heat dries much better, and you can run a lower temp system that will be more efficient.

steel is going up, and up here, Maybe it will level off or go back down. We are already seeing lumber go lower here, but your results may vary. 
 

if your washing a lot I would install a good vapor barrier, and use metal for all the interior surfaces.  
 

if you want to size it, open the hood, measure it and add 10 foot to each end would be my advise. 
 

and they are right. There is no such thing as to big, but my wallet has limits 

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Look close at the in floor heat.

It is great!

A friend comes home at night, drives his pickup inside, throws his wet coveralls on the floor and goes in the house.

The next morning the coveralls are dry and warm, as is his pickup.

Amazing stuff.

Go with LED lights too.

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X 3 on the floor heat. If I could redo mine, I would move the tubing for a 2 post lift and dug a hole for a pipe in the floor for a hoist. I did put chain pots in the floor, but would rather have put "I"beams in the floor instead.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok time for the next question- if you were working on an 806 through square body magnum type tractors, what dimensions would you need for work space. Let’s assume duals off, no loader. Maybe splitting for clutch or such.

 

Another question- would you put a small door in to drive a tractor/skid steer, even if there were room to maneuver with an existing big door, merely to save heat by opening a smaller door for smaller equipment?

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On 11/20/2020 at 8:36 PM, J-Mech said:

Figure how big you think you need, then make it 20% bigger.  If you think you need 90', you probably really need 110'.  

Post frame here is much cheaper to build and finish than steel.  Your area may be different.

Floor heat and heavily insulated is the way to go.  You won't regret it.

I suggest a ventilation fan near the wash bay area.  You can build a wall to separate the wash area from the rest, but they make very good clear curtains now that work extremely well.  That allows you a clear span room, but can be partitioned off for washing or painting.  I strongly recommend a curtain. 

I strongly recommend overhead doors as opposed to sliding doors.  They seal up much better. 

Building a shop is one of the hardest things to do because you usually don't think of something until after it is too late and it can't be changed.  So goes life.  No substitute for experience, lol. 

I agree other than make it 50% vs 20% and check out radiant tube vs radiant floor. Radiant is radiant no matter where it is. When I built my shop 12 years ago I was quoted 10,000.00 for floor heat. Tube heater installed was 2200.00.  I wish I could put one in my house. And install a/c. Can't work when your pulling your pants up all the time in 90% humidity.

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6 minutes ago, cedar farm said:

I agree other than make it 50% vs 20% and check out radiant tube vs radiant floor. Radiant is radiant no matter where it is. 

Apparently you don't lay on your floor much, or have never worked in a floor heat shop.  I've worked in both, and I promise, it matters where the heat radiates from.  Floor heat the floor is always warm and it heats up cold equipment just pulled in hours faster than tube heat.  Heat rises, so with floor heat there is very little temp variation from ceiling to floor, and that cold piece of equipment just pulled in has heat flowing up from underneath it.  Last tube heat shop I woked in my office was on a second story in the shop.  Office was usually unbearably hot when the boys were still cold working under the trucks.  Floor heat is worth the  $7800 price difference.  Uses less fuel too. 

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My floor, ceiling and walls are 55 deg in the winter. Just where the thermostat is set. The hvac guy who did my shop was honest. He said radiant is radiant no matter where it is. Gave me a few numbers to call of people who had one or the other or both. The one who had both said no difference other than when the high price coolant pump goes out. Then the floor heat gets expensive. When I drive a snow covered tractor over the drain, within hours the tractor is cleared off. And I have a 25' long pit in my shop and that to is warm. Radiant is radiant. Now a forced air furnace. Thats a different story.

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On 11/20/2020 at 10:27 AM, brewcrew said:

I’m very early in the process of planning a shop. I want to get my semi in with a 53’ trailer hooked up, so it’s gonna have to be big, probably 40-50 by maybe 90. I want to be able to wash it and service it year round in comfort. With the price of lumber going up and being hard to find, I was thinking maybe a steel frame building. Do they hold up to moisture from a wash bay? I will likely have many more questions as I go!!

Drive through is my dream.  Rollups are well worth it.  In you area....heat is needed.  On a slight note.  Here everyone put rad heat in milking parlors in the 90s.  After 2 3 years they all were shut off.  The warm floor made a liight steam that just destroyed the wiring and ceilings.  Anyhow,  if do floor heat in wash bay put a vent fan on one end and push fan on other.  Just run for bit on timer maybe and keep air moving.

@806 man has nice storage shop thats so airtight to code he needs to leave windows open and ceiling fan going or equip is damp.  There is such a thing as too tight it seems....ive heard that from other guys too.  No hvac expert but you need air exchange to keep from sweating ...right?

90'...that would be so amazing.  We've wildly out grown our shop.  Trying to figure out how to make cold storage then make storage area on shop into more work space.  We are starting to send things out to be fixed / built that we are capable of doing but cant allow it sitting there 2 weeks for project to be done.  Then since there are 3 of us....things aint tidy as should be.  Inam tosser brother is saver.  We have cool built in bolt bin....with 4 nuts and bolts we need then every rusty pos we wont ever use....  Need to clear whole building out...the only put in what we will use.  I bet 50% will go in dump truck

Good luck with your project 

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19 minutes ago, TroyDairy said:

Drive through is my dream.  Rollups are well worth it.  In you area....heat is needed.  On a slight note.  Here everyone put rad heat in milking parlors in the 90s.  After 2 3 years they all were shut off.  The warm floor made a liight steam that just destroyed the wiring and ceilings.  Anyhow,  if do floor heat in wash bay put a vent fan on one end and push fan on other.  Just run for bit on timer maybe and keep air moving.

@806 man has nice storage shop thats so airtight to code he needs to leave windows open and ceiling fan going or equip is damp.  There is such a thing as too tight it seems....ive heard that from other guys too.  No hvac expert but you need air exchange to keep from sweating ...right?

90'...that would be so amazing.  We've wildly out grown our shop.  Trying to figure out how to make cold storage then make storage area on shop into more work space.  We are starting to send things out to be fixed / built that we are capable of doing but cant allow it sitting there 2 weeks for project to be done.  Then since there are 3 of us....things aint tidy as should be.  Inam tosser brother is saver.  We have cool built in bolt bin....with 4 nuts and bolts we need then every rusty pos we wont ever use....  Need to clear whole building out...the only put in what we will use.  I bet 50% will go in dump truck

Good luck with your project 

I have the same keep everything problem. My building is 50 x 120. 50 x 50 shop and 50 x 70 cold storage. Should have had them figures flipped around. Went out to SD today. My son bought a 1984 Dodge D150 from a engine machinist. Thinning his Dodge herd. His building was small. Engine blocks lined up against the wall to be bored. He made it small on purpose so as not to collect junk and force himself to get things done.  I should take lessons.

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