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Red iron or tubing for a shed? #8484539 12/23/21 05:13 AM
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Its getting to be time to plan for a storage shed/workshop in the back yard. We are only going 25' x 30' x 10, or 25' x 35' x 10 max. Storage for the zero turn, air compressor, big tools, and other stuff filling the garage, plus room to work on a vehicle or store my tractor. The plan is to eventfully have a heated\cooled room about 12' deep all the way across the back side for a shop\hobby area, but that will probably be a DYI project a year down the road.

I'm weighing a couple of things. The main one is what type of construction: red iron or 12 gauge steel tubing? Somewhat related, is should we insulate it, and with what?

No plans for a hoist or overhead storage, so I do not need any strength, other than supporting the building itself. If we were going any larger or taller, it would be a no-brainer and I'd go with red iron, but this size seems right on the edge of what i would consider OK for a tubing frame.. There is a significant difference in cost between the two, but I've talked to a couple of folks that have recommended tubing, and spray foaming the entire building. The argument is that the spray foam adds significantly to the overall strength of the tubing structure, especially preventing it for torqueing or the sheets of metal bowing in high winds. The tubing with spray foam cost is about the same as the red iron with 2" fiberglass batting on the roof only.

Our new house is spay foamed and I am really liking it.

I'm leaning toward the tubing with spray foam...but I need a sanity check on this.

A guy a few doors down says he cools his entire 40 x 40 spay foamed shop with a 1 ton mini-split Going further down the spray foam rabbit hole, if I could cool and heat the entire thing with only 1 ton, that potentially eliminates the need to enclose the shop\hobby area. There is potential savings there, if I just have to build work benches and storage as opposed to enclosing and insulating that workshop space first.


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Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8484541 12/23/21 05:18 AM
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Did he use closed cell or open cell?


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Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8484548 12/23/21 05:30 AM
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I normally overbuild all my stuff so I’d go with the iron just in case you get a wild hair and want to add some shelving or whatever later on, on the cooling I have a 30X30X12 behind the main shop that’s spray foamed and I had a hole added in the middle back wall up about 10’ off the ground and put a big window unit in it and it cools it down very nicely and I’d do the same thing again on a shop this size knowing what I know now so your on the right track. I opted to go with a propane heater rather than electric since I don’t need heat a whole bunch but your situation at be different.

On a 95 degree day that shop stays in the low 70’s all day if you start cooling it earlier in the morning, now if you let it get to a hundred degrees inside and then try ti cool it down in the middle of the afternoon your going to be sweating a while. I can never remember which foam is which but my main shops have the harder spray on foam and It works pretty good but I had the soft sprayed in this one and it seems to regulate the temps a lot better that the hard stuff.

Last edited by Ol Thumper; 12/23/21 05:39 AM.
Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8484572 12/23/21 06:34 AM
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Mueller sells an engineered kit that you might look into, it gets delivered with detailed instructions and everything is bolt together. It wouldn’t work for my situation because I went with 14 foot sidewalls and 19 feet to the center. This kit was developed because some entities require an engineered building vs just a random dude welding up a building. It comes with different levels of wind & snow ratings. I spray foamed mine with 1 inch of closed cell, I like heat, so if it’s 80 degrees in there during the summer I’m okay with that. I’d highly recommend either a steeper pitch than normal or taller sidewalls because heat rises and getting that heat up and away from you makes a huge difference. If you can’t go taller, then consider a large exhaust fan mounted as high up on an end wall as possible.

I’ll tell you what multiple spray foam people told me, if you’re not going to use HVAC a lot, then applying more than 1 inch of closed cell is a waste of money. I took there advice and had 1 inch sprayed on, they were right as far as I can tell. 1 inch is really closer to 2 inches when it expands. Just food for thought


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Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8484685 12/23/21 01:50 PM
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a 6/12 pitch is called out in the deed restrictions, but I can get a variance for 4/12 required. Even at 4/12, it will have lots of gable space for heat to rise.
If we do not foam and AC the entire building, I was planning on a gable vent on one end and a gable exhaust fan on the other


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Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8484705 12/23/21 02:18 PM
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In west tx it’s currently cheaper to use I beam for posts rather than 4x4 tubing

Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: Ramball36] #8484713 12/23/21 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramball36
In west tx it’s currently cheaper to use I beam for posts rather than 4x4 tubing


I found this to be the case as well.

I’m always surprised at what I see being built… but I constantly over engineer everything I build.

I’d go red iron and spray foam.

Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8485121 12/23/21 09:39 PM
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This is NW of Ft Worth, near Springtown.

The first couple of quotes on the building I got favored 12 gauges tubing, but that includes the difference in the slab. It looks like the slab for red iron construction will be a little more expensive. Am I incorrect about this?

I have also tended to over engineer everything in the past...so I am trying hard to avoid that on this project. I am not looking for bare minimums, but I want to avoid driving cost up where it does not benefit me. We are 60, we do not need a building that will last 50. We want a functional and comfortable workshop for hobby stuff and a storage space that is protected from temperature extremes. I want a place to do minor auto repairs, not multiple bays for project cars. At the same time, if we do decide to sell, we want something that adds value, not detracts from the home.


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Re: Red iron or tubing for a shed? [Re: nak] #8485250 12/23/21 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nak
This is NW of Ft Worth, near Springtown.

The first couple of quotes on the building I got favored 12 gauges tubing, but that includes the difference in the slab. It looks like the slab for red iron construction will be a little more expensive. Am I incorrect about this?

I have also tended to over engineer everything in the past...so I am trying hard to avoid that on this project. I am not looking for bare minimums, but I want to avoid driving cost up where it does not benefit me. We are 60, we do not need a building that will last 50. We want a functional and comfortable workshop for hobby stuff and a storage space that is protected from temperature extremes. I want a place to do minor auto repairs, not multiple bays for project cars. At the same time, if we do decide to sell, we want something that adds value, not detracts from the home.


The slab should be similar, with the only real difference the weld plates that you in-set.

The bolt up kits are a quick and easy install, but I’ve heard many are 12-16wks out on production right now.

What do your early quotes look like?

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