Build a summer cabin for $2000
by TECHSTAR on JANUARY 3, 2008 - 4 Comments in OFF-GRID 101, PEOPLE
small cabin
Is that a power drill he’s holding?

If you have land, either rented, purchased or borrowed. You can build a small cabin of less than 100 square feet without needing a building permit in most cases.

The timber-framed off-grid, small cabin in the picture would cost more than $2000. The small cabin whose materials are detailed below was built for $1250, according to the anonymous author of the small cabin web site, but that does not include tools, or other extras such as transport and ladder rental.

And it is very much a summer cabin – the price does not include a wood stove or insulation. Any cabin experts are welcome to add comments at the end of this article.

The small cabin in the picture was a “logistical nightmare”according to the designer’s web site. It makes use of variable materials bought at different times, transported by hand at huge effort, and battery driven power tools were essential.

For a year round cabin, you would need to add another $1000 for insulation materials and a wood-burning stove, and you might also wish to add window shutters for extra warmth and security.

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There is an article you can buy from Amazon whihc has some very useful details. Build this cabin in three weeks for under $2,000!: An article from: Countryside & Small Stock Journal

Here is a summary estimate of the building costs, based on the following assumptions:

8×12′ cabin size
24″ cabin frame spacing
Foundation – concrete deck blocks
Smart Panel siding
Asphalt shingles roofing
Decorative interior finishing panels
One Second-hand door and 3 windows
Cost of small cabin construction tools (hammer, saw, pliers, paint brush, ladder etc.) is estimated at $400.

Small Cabin Materials Estimates from Small Cabin web site

Item Description Qty Cost$ Price

Foundation
Concrete deck blocks, 4-way 8 7.00 56.00

Floor Frame
2×4″ x12′ PT spruce 2 16.20 32.40
2×4″ x8′ PT spruce 7 10.80 75.60
5/8″ 4×8′ PT plywood 3 45.00 135.00
Joist Hangers 14 0.80 11.20

Wall Frame
2×4″ x8′ spruce 35 3.50 122.50
2×4″ x12′ spruce 4 5.50 22.00

Wall Siding
Typar wrapping (rolls) 2 16.00 32.00
3/8″ 4×8′ Smart Panels 10 30.00 300.00
1×3″ 8′ spruce planks 12 1.20 14.40

Roof
2×4″ x10′ spruce 8 4.70 37.60
2×4″ x14′ spruce 2 6.50 13.00
3/8″ 4×8′ plywood / OSB 5 15.00 75.00
Asphalt shingles (pack) 5 14.00 70.00

Interior Finishing
4×8′ decorative LP panels 10 16.00 160.00
1×2″ 8′ spruce planks 12 0.80 9.60

Other
Nails, various (box) 10 4.00 40.00
Paint, (1G pail) 2 25.00 50.00

Est. Total: $1256.00

Additional Items
Tools etc 400.00
Door and windows (2nd hand) 300.00

TOTAL $1956.00

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4 comments

1 BUILDER BOB { 02.03.09 at 3:17 am }

YOU GUYS REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. YOU NOTE 400 DOLLARS IN TOOLS. ANYONE THAT IS CONSIDERING BUILDING THEIR OWN CABIN PROABLY OWNS A FEW TOOLS, AND A PROJECT LIKE THIS DOESNT NEED THAT MUCH. NOT TO MENTION YOU PEOPLE PRICE THIS LIKE YOU JUST WENT TO LOWES AND BOUGHT EVERYTHING NEW. IF YOU ARE WANTING TO BUILD A PROJECT LIKE THIS ON THE CHEAP, THEN YOU ARE PROBABLY WILLING TO SHOP AND SCROUNGE FOR THE CHEAPEST, OR JUST PLAIN FREE WAY.

2 dan { 03.29.09 at 5:42 pm }

+1 on that. A 1000 dollars for insulation!! Dont think so, it is easy to obtain free insulation from just about anywhere. For my 14×20 cabin I got 2 free truckloads of free insulation from a nearby airbase remodeling job.

3 Deborah { 05.31.10 at 4:03 pm }

This site is obviously a ‘fluff’ site; ie name only to draw traffic to make money off ads which means no real content that is useful to anyone. Any true off-the-grid site knows that straw bale solves both the insulation and structure problem for cheap. And you get your friends to help you put up the walls in a day. Sites like this continue to perpetuate the ‘dumbing down’ of Americans.

4 Wretha { 05.31.10 at 6:23 pm }

Hi Deborah,
There are many contributors here at this site, I am one of them, though I didn’t write this one, and as far as this being a fluff site, yeah some of the articles contain fluff, especially the ones about celebs and such (IMHO), but there are many other articles here with good, solid information about living off grid, there is something for everyone here, including you. Building with straw bale construction is great, but we don’t need to exclude other equally valid building methods either. No one here is trying to dumb anyone down.

Just to let you know, my hubby and I have lived 100% off grid since Dec 07, we have done it very much on the cheap using a lot of recycled materials, while we didn’t use straw bale construction (it wasn’t readily available to us here), we used wood and concrete, you can read about it by clicking on my name. We are the real deal, living the life, not just spouting theory, I have written about our successes as well as our failures, a lot of what we do is DIY and experimental, it’s been great fun along with a few tears, bumps and bruises, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

As far as advertisements go, yeah, we advertise, it’s a fact of life, we provide this content free of charge, it’s the readers choice to click (or not) on the ads, we try to keep the ads on topic, blocking the ones that are known to be scams. I don’t know why people have a problem with someone earning a little money at what they do, everyone needs to earn some money to survive. I can appreciate being disgusted with a site that has little content and tons of ads, but this site has lots of content, good content, the ads are very balanced, why would you begrudge us a small supplement to our income? I work hard to post interesting and educational articles here.

You have 2 choices, either stay and read what is available here, or leave, it’s your choice, no one is forcing you to do anything. I sincerely wish you well in either decision you choose to make. :)

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