Compare Steel vs Wood Garage Costs
An Expert Comparison of Steel and Wood Garages
Steel Garage Overview
If you’re looking for a garage that is cost effective and quick to build, you might want to consider purchasing a steel garage. Steel garages are great for home use, small business storage and even industrial applications.
Most steel garages are prefabricated, meaning the major components are made in a factory. When the components are delivered to your site, the garage just needs to be assembled. If you have construction experience or you’re particularly handy, you can save a significant amount of money by assembling the garage yourself.
Steel garage kits come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and configurations. You can build a one- or two-car garage, or you can save time and money by opting for a basic carport. Garage kits can be ordered with custom features such as windows, special doors or lighting, too.
How Much Does a Steel Garage Cost?
Prices vary based on size and design. They’re also influenced by factors such as local materials and labor costs. Typically, steel garage kits cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000. Carport kits fall on the lower end of that price range, while a 50x100-foot garage with a workshop would fall on the high end. However, those prices do not include the foundation or installation.
Looked at another way, budget about $10-$25 per square foot for a steel garage, including the foundation and installation.
Steel Garage Pros
- Less expensive – Because most steel garages are prefabricated, they tend to be cheaper than wood garages. You’ll save a considerable amount of money on construction costs.
- Strong and durable - Steel is a strong material with a very long life expectancy. It is damage resistant, rot resistant and fire resistant. Most steel garages will last 20 to 30 years or more.
- Faster to build - Prefabricated steel garages require less building time. They go up faster than wood garages because they require very little internal support.
- Eco-friendly - Steel is one of most recycled materials available. You can buy a steel garage kit that is made of recycled materials, or you can recycle your steel garage when it’s no longer useful.
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Steel Garage Cons
- Not as attractive - Most people find steel garages less attractive than wood garages. There are fewer color and design options from which to choose, and the buildings tend to have a cookie-cutter look.
- Rust/condensation problems - Condensation tends to collect in steel buildings, which can lead to rust. The condensation can also damage tools inside the garage.
- Can be difficult to build - Steel garage kits usually require specialized tools. Building a steel garage requires some technical expertise beyond that of many do-it-yourselfers.
- Local restrictions - In some areas, local building codes prohibit steel buildings. Check with your city or town before you purchase a kit.
Wood Garage Overview
Wood garages are the more traditional choice. Wood was the building material of choice long before anyone had thought of using steel. As with steel garages, prefabricated kits are available. Or, you can hire a builder to construct your wood garage from scratch.
Prefabricated wood garages are similar to prefabricated steel garages. They are sold in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can custom order features such as windows, doors ventilation systems and lights. The factory-made pieces come completely ready to assemble, with holes for bolts and fasteners already drilled.
How Much Does a Wood Garage Cost?
Wood garages are more expensive than steel garages. But the total cost depends on many factors, the biggest one being whether you purchase a prefabricated kit or hire a builder. The cost is also influenced by the size and configuration of the garage and how much of the construction you take on versus hire out.
A very small prefabricated wood garage might cost 10,000 to $15,000, compared to about $5,000 to $8,000 for a similarly-sized steel garage kit. That does not include the cost of the foundation or labor. A wood garage built from scratch can easily cost many tens of thousands - even $100,000 or more.
Wood Garage Pros
- More attractive - Most people consider wood garages more attractive than steel varieties. There are more styles, finishes and colors from which to choose. And wood garages can be painted to match your house.
- Energy efficient - Wood garages are much easier to insulate, heat and cool. They stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Easier to construct - Most builders and do-it-yourselfers are more familiar with wood construction methods. No specialized tools are required.
Wood Garage Cons
- More expensive - Wood garages are significantly more expensive than steel garages.
- Not as sustainable - Wood garages are often made using virgin wood, not recycled materials.
- Requires more maintenance - Wood requires regular maintenance in order to prevent rotting, fungus or insect infestation. Wood also needs to be painted or stained every few years.
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