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Build a Shelter Cost

Build a Shelter Cost

National average
Medium: $1,400


Medium: $1,400


Cost to build a shelter varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from garage, shed and enclosure contractors in your city.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Shelter?

Whether you call it a shelter or a lean to, the three sided building is often a remarkably flexible way to add storage space, house livestock, or even to serve as a temporary place to weather a storm. For this discussion we will look at the costs and requirements of constructing an attached lean to that can serve easily as a covered patio, carport, or even as a wood shed. We will consider a somewhat "average" sized shelter of 288 square feet (24'x12') which can easily accommodate a vehicle, provide ample wood or protected storage, and even serve as a nice patio area. Building a shelter is among the easiest of "DIY" projects, but if you are not comfortable tying into the exterior walls of your home by all means consult several contractors who can pour concrete footings or supply carpentry work. They might also pull all necessary permits as well.

For the building of the shelter, the typical costs will include:

  • Currently, the average cost of building a shelter to the dimensions mentioned above begins at roughly $1,400. This structure will not provide much resale value unless built to very high standards and would usually hold an approximate return on investment of around 30%.
  • The above figures place the cost of the shelter at a very reasonable $5.20 per square foot. This pricing structure assumes that carpenters would charge an average of $70 per hour, if hired for such a project.

Cost Breakdown

  • Arrange any required demolition, excavation, or site preparation - Average costs are going to vary according to the level of work necessary;
  • Pour concrete footings 1 - Because you will want to retain the maximum ROI on this structure it is best to pour concrete footings 1 to which all posts will be bolted. Average price of concrete is $75 per cubic yard, with piers using approximately one half of a cubic yard each it would require roughly 3.5 cubic yards and would cost at least $270;
  • Build wood framing and with pressure treated lumber and tie into pre-existing structure - Average construction methods use 4x4 posts bolted to 2x8 beams. The remaining structure will require rafters, galvanized bolts, joist hangers 2 and angle brackets. Lumber prices will vary as will the design used by the carpenters constructing the shelter, but roof slope should be around 6 inches;
  • Corrugated PVC roofing - Average price of $12 to $15 per 24"x16' length or panel. This does not include appropriate washers and screws for mounting to structure or any sealants necessary to prevent leaks; and Materials will cost approximately $420 plus installation time of at least sixteen hours; and
  • Provide carpentry to code - This is going to depend upon the amount of work required, but carpenters average $70 per hour. This project might be priced on a per item basis, or the carpenter might simply base it on the square footage;

Enhancement and Improvement Costs

  • Installation of T-111 paneling or lattice panels - Average prices will vary according to selection with the solid wood siding also requiring additional nailers to be installed between wall joists;
  • Pouring of concrete slab 3 - Many homeowners who are opting to utilize their shelter as a carport, wood shed, or patio will want to forgo the dirt floor and instead have a full patio slab added. This would require 7 cubic yards of concrete at a total of $525. Additionally, many will also add rebar 4 for strength or seal the concrete for a longer life and much more durability to the wear and tear of a vehicle or traffic;
  • Construction and installation of a workbench; and
  • Installation of gutters and eaves 5.
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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Footing 1 Footings: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
2 Joist hangers: A type of hardware used to attach a wood joist to structural beams or girders, providing additional strength
glossary term picture Concrete Pad 3 Concrete slab: A flat area of concrete that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a patio or a driveway
glossary term picture Rebar 4 Rebar: A mesh or bar made of alloy, used in construction projects to reinforce concrete
5 Eaves: The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall

Cost to build a shelter varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Arab, AL
Athens, GA
Atlanta, GA
Beebe, AR
Bismarck, ND
Buffalo, NY
Cedar Rapids, IA
Cheyenne, WY
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Colorado Springs, CO
Columbus, OH
Decatur, GA
Denver, CO
Eugene, OR
Fayetteville, NC
Fort Worth, TX
Greensboro, NC
Greenville, NC
Hampton, VA
Henderson, NV
Houston, TX
Huntsville, AL
Idabel, OK
Indianapolis, IN
Jackson, MS
Jacksonville, FL
Joplin, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Liberty, MO
Louisville, KY
Macon, GA
Madison, AL
Melbourne, FL
Memphis, TN
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Monroe, LA
Oakland, CA
Oklahoma City, OK
Orlando, FL
Raleigh, NC
Saint Louis, MO
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
Smyrna, GA
Tacoma, WA
Tampa, FL
Tucson, AZ
Labor cost in your zip code
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