Barn Plans Article Series:
How to build the 20x30 sugar Shack for under $12k!    

I thought it would be helpful to go through one of our barn plans and calculate the approximate cost of building that barn.

How do you know exactly what a barn will cost you to build? Last week I wrote an article on the different costs to consider when building a post and beam barn. This week we will use that list and figure the costs for this barn. 

 We will be figuring 2 different situations. The first we will assume you are a big time do-it-yourself er and will be doing things like clearing your own land, getting your own permits, and doing all the labor yourself.  

Barn Plans $297

The first cost you need to consider before anything else is the cost of a good set of barn plans. Any step you take before getting barn plans can end up costing you money. Starting without plans is like going target shooting without a target. You could use up a lot of ammo and time, and still have no idea how to proceed.   

So go to the barn plans library and get the plans you need first.  

Clearing Land and Site Prep... $0 - $1,500

If you do all the work yourself and you have minimal excavation work that needs to be done You could get by with only having to put in your own labor. This could be as simple as grabbing your post hole diggers, marking out your pier locations and start digging. If you have the right kind of soil, that is fairly level, then this may very well be a good option for you.

If you need any kind of excavation work done then you will have some out of pocket expenses. You could save money by renting equipment and doing the work yourself, but for the low cost of having the work done by a professional, I would recommend going with the pros.

I found a great calculator for figuring out how much it would cost to have some basic excavation work done.

You can find that here.

No matter if you are doing the excavation yourself or hiring it done you are going to need a set of barn plans to help you get it done.  

Building Permit $0 - $2,000  

In most areas of the country building a barn for agriculture use is a very minimal expense. This is one of those costs that has zero net benefit but is unfortunately required in a lot of places. It's only purpose is to line the pockets of the local government. We got long just fine for thousands of years and made amazing architectural achievements without building permits.

Nobody knows what's best for your property other than you, because you have a vested interest in making it better than it was before.

You may be fortunate and live in an area where a building permit is not required for an agricultural barn. But in most areas it does require a building permit. For the most part, building permits for barns cost a lot less than a building permit for a home. In most areas of the country you will find that the permits cost less than $500.   

Building departments always require that you have some sort of Barn Plans to get your permit.  

Concrete Foundation $200 – $5,000  

On the low end, you could pour your own piers for the posts to attach to and just have a dirt floor in the barn. That is going to cost you around $200 for concrete plus around $50 for boards to create the forms for the top of the piers.

On the high end if you are pouring a full foundation including concrete slab to full frost depth, and having the work done by concrete contractors it could cost you upwards of $5,000. National average though for the concrete itself is around $1,500 plus labor at another $1,500, you are looking at right around $3,000 for the concrete work.

Here is a great website for calculating the cost of concrete for your specific job.

No matter if you are doing the foundation work yourself or hiring it done you are going to need a set of barn plans to help you get it done. 

Rough Cut lumber $200 - $4,000 - $14,000

This barn plan has a total of 6,689 board feet of lumber. From the information I have been able to gather Eastern White Pine which is the preferred species we are looking for on average costs as of 2017 around $1 per board foot.

So if you were to buy the lumber from a local sawmill the lumber should cost you in the neighborhood of $6,700. Prices could vary widely across the country so you will want to look around and get quotes from sawmills in your area.

Or, you could buy your own sawmill and cut timbers from your own land. You can get a small manual band sawmill that will cut what you need for around $4,000 with track extensions for cutting the long beams. Technically the cost of the sawmill doesn't count toward the cost of the barn, because at the end of your project you will have an asset in the sawmill itself that hasn't depreciated in value. A gently used sawmill can sell easily for the same price as a new one.

Plus if you have a sawmill and more timber left to cut...

You could build another building or, help somebody else build a great barn for their homestead!

What a way to build community and provide a source of income from your homestead!

A word of caution though. Running a sawmill efficiently takes practice. There is a learning curve to using a band sawmill, you will ruin some lumber, and you will go very slow at first. It may be frustrating but it is also rewarding.

In my opinion you can negate a lot of that by purchasing a swing blade sawmill such as a Lucas Mill. The learning curve is shorter, and there is less chance of getting poor results for a beginner. However the price for the size mill you would need is around $14,000. You would have to have bigger aspirations for your sawmill then just building this barn to make it worth while.  

No matter if you are sawing your own lumber or buying your lumber from a local sawmill you are going to need a set of barn plans with a materials list to help you get it done. 

Hardware Costs $2,182.71 plus shipping

This is an easy one. We have a hardware kit available for this barn plan for $2,182.71 plus shipping. To see what is included in this kit go to our Barn Hardware Store Page.  

Shipping $0 - $1200  

If you are harvesting your own timber on the land you are building then of course your shipping costs are going to be zero. If you are getting your lumber from a local sawmill then you may be able to hire someone with a goose-neck trailer to haul the lumber for you. Or you may get lucky and the mill will deliver the wood to you for a small fee. If you are in farm country you should be able to find local guys who hire out to haul hay on goose-neck trailers. If they aren't busy hauling hay they love to get the extra work.

That is exactly what we did when we first shipped out this barn kit to a customer. Here is a video of that kit arriving at it's new home. I really like working with these local haulers, they really seem to care about the material they are shipping and go the extra mile to do the job right.   

Roofing $600 - $12,000

On the low end, regular old asphalt shingles that you install yourself is going to run you around $600 to $1,000 dollars. On the high end for steel shingles that you have installed by a contractor could cost as much as $12,000.

So roofing costs vary widely.

I would recommend installing barn type steel roofing panels. This type of roofing can be installed very quickly and is fairly low cost. Not to mention it will last for a very long time. I have seen steel roofs that are over 100 years old an still function perfectly. And with our modern finishes that are applied to these roofs that life span is extended even further.

The cost for this type of roofing ranges... Materials only $800 - $1200. Plus installation add another $800 - $1500.   

No matter if you are doing the roofing yourself or hiring it done you are going to need a set of barn plans to help you get it done.  

Nails, Screws, Caulk, Flashing, etc. $300 - $500

These costs are difficult to measure ahead of your project. You could painstakingly count every last nail or screw you need, but eventually you want to stop counting and start building right? Otherwise you may never get this thing going. I have found it is best to budget between $300 and $500 for things like this on a project of this size.   

Doors. $300 - $2,500

If you build the doors yourself then all you need is the hardware. Hinges for the entry door and track for the rolling double doors is going to cost in the neighborhood of $300. If you want to buy pre-made doors and have them installed by someone else you are looking at the higher end of the spectrum, around $2500.   

Windows $120 – several thousand dollars.   

Windows can be as simple as a single pane wood window that you can get at local lumberyards for around $20 each. Or you can go all out and spend many thousands of dollars on the highest quality best insulated windows out there. For the purposes of this budget focused article let's figure on the cheaper single pane wood windows.  

Construction costs $100 - $12,000

The labor to construct this barn plan could be as little as nothing, if you do the work yourself and have a few really good friends that will come over on a weekend and help you. I would recommend renting a telescoping fork lift to do some of the heavy lifting. But you really could build this by hand with just ladders and scaffolding.

Or if you have no desire to build this yourself and you want a pro to build it for you, you could hire a contractor to build it.

But what if you want to do some of the work yourself and have a contractor do the more difficult work like putting up the frame?

Well, you could hire a contractor and a small crew of 2 or 3 guys should have the frame up in as little as a day! Yes that's right I said one day! It has happened that way time and time again. As long as you are ready with the foundation, and the timbers are pre cut, with T plates mounted, the frame can go up very quickly.

It may even be cheaper to hire a crew for this one day of work than it would be to rent the telescoping forklift so that you can do the job yourself. Experience counts and in this case it can count for a lot.

After the frame is up and the crew leaves, you can get busy doing the easy yet time consuming parts of the project like installing board and batten siding and roof sheathing. Framing out windows and doors, hanging doors putting in the loft and stairs, installing the roof sheathing, etc.   

No matter if you are doing the construction yourself or hiring it done you are going to need a set of barn plans to help you get it done. 


(disclaimer, remember these costs are all approximate your costs may vary widely depending on prices and costs in your area and for material you choose)

Extreme DIY $3,999.71

Do it all yourself with timber from your own land, that you cut yourself or had a sawyer cut for you on shares.

DIY $11,799.71

Buy lumber from a local sawmill, use metal roofing, do the construction work yourself.

Do it for me $32,000

Buy a full wood included barn kit from us, have a builder build it from start to finish with premium roofing and premium windows.

Wood included Barn Kit Price $16,200.

How to build the 20x30 sugar Shack for under $12k!  

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