Recreational vehicles or (RVs) for short have only increased in popularity and size over the last few decades. Many people enjoy the “snowbird” lifestyle with the use of large RVs or trailers to travel with during wintertime. A trend in younger people converting school buses into homes called “Skoolies” is also on the rise.
These forms of mobile homes on wheels provides plenty of space to hit the road in style. Certain modern RVs are quite impressive and pack in all the features and amenities of home. All this extra space means that you need an even bigger area to store the RV, and that’s where an RV garage comes in.
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RV Prefab Garage Kits
If you’re unfamiliar with prefab design, it’s one of the most cost-effective, convenient innovations in building today. Prefab is short for “prefabricated”, which means that the components of the metal structure were pre-built before being shipped to you. Once they arrive at your location, all you have to do is piece them together.
A prefab RV garage is a popular alternative to a traditional garage. This is because it gives you the same space and functionality as a normal garage but is designed to fit your recreational vehicle dimensions and keep it encased into a secure, durable steel structure. There are numerous other benefits of prefab metal buildings and we cover them below.
We want you to make an informed choice as when you choose to build an RV garage, there’s a significant amount of time, money and energy that is invested in the process. Let’s review the pros and cons of building a prefab metal garage below.
When it comes to a garage, the most important thing to maximize is interior space, especially if you have a large recreational vehicle to store. Prefab metal buildings achieve this with clear-span design and this is because of metal’s impressive strength-to-weight ratio, which allows the frame to almost fully support the structure.
Clear-span design means that the interior of your RV garage won’t be filled with steel beams and columns which allows for more maneuverability, clearance and storage space.
If you’re looking for an RV garage that takes up the least amount of space on your property, then you want one that most efficiently uses its interior space.
The next major advantage of prefab metal RV garages and prefab buildings is that in general they are highly cost-efficient because of the nature of prefab design. The components are designed, built ahead of time, and shipped to you ready to build and because of this you save a lot of time and money on construction and the design process. These savings significantly lower the cost of your investment because you’re not wasting materials on site or needing to pay unnecessary landfill waste disposal fees.
Additionally, steel is often cheaper to purchase than comparable building materials such as more traditional materials of brick, wood, and stone. This means that you will also save money on materials cost. On top of this, because steel has such a high strength-to-weight ratio, it is relatively lightweight for the amount that is needed for an entire structure. This makes it cheaper to ship to your location.
All in all, there are many notable cost savings with prefab design, and it’s a reason that so many choose to use metal building kits for their RV garages.
While you may think that prefab designs are “cookie-cutter” meaning they offer only standardized designs, there are actually many different building options for you to consider. Prefab manufacturing has become a highly sophisticated area of design which means that suppliers offer many variants of their prefab structures, and there’s a lot of room for customization.
Any prefab supplier will offer you several options from the outset and with RV garages, you have options which relate to the overall size of the structure, roof design, doors & window placement, and more. There are more extensive customization options too.
Generally, you have the option to work with a designer on finalizing a 3D model before your prefab components are built. This gives you customization options and final approval for the exterior, interior, and stylistic components of the design.
Metal is a strong and durable building material which is important when building a garage. You want your garage to adequately protect your vehicle from the elements and you ideally want it to last for decades. A metal building is a strong, freestanding structure, that holds up nicely to wind, rain, and snow. Various roof options are more sloped to allow for optimal rain and snow run-off.
This durability is particularly important if you live in a colder climate. In the winter, you need a place where you can store your RV with confidence that it will be sheltered from the elements. You won’t have to worry about any potential damage or wear-and-tear that the colder weather might bring, and you can be confident that a metal garage will keep your vehicle safe and secure.
Metal is resistant to many of the problems that are typical with other types of construction. They aren’t a fire hazard, they won’t rot, and they don’t have pest issues such as termites with wooden structures. This means that you will spend less time and money on general upkeep of your metal structure. Additionally, metal RV garages are less risky to insure because of their durability so homeowners also typically benefit from lower insurance premiums.
To make an informed decision, you have to look at the good and the bad. Let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks of metal RV garages so that you can decide whether they are right for you.
The first common issue that you may encounter with erecting a new structure on your property is seeking approval from a homeowner’s association. The HOA might have stringent guidelines when it comes to any new developments so it is important to check the guidelines before you proceed with the construction.
Check out zoning and building restrictions as well. To do this, check-in with your municipality or your city hall to ensure that you can legally construct a large metal structure on your property. This has been known to be a particular problem with prefab metal structures as they are a less traditional area of design. Be sure to check on this early in the process so that you can be sure you comply before you proceed. Also due to its size, you may be required to have a building permit in place before you proceed with your project.
Another potential drawback of prefab metal construction is that there might be higher up-front costs because you are paying a premium to have the parts prefabricated. You are buying the materials, but you are also paying to have the pieces constructed before they are shipped to you. You need to balance this cost against the time you save on designing the building and constructing it from scratch where you don’t necessarily need to purchase all your materials at once.
If you are a capable contractor, you may be comfortable building and designing your garage from scratch using your preferred building techniques, but this is a decision you will have to make yourself.
Finally, keep in mind that a metal RV garage requires a lot of space. This might seem like an obvious consideration, but until you put “boots on the ground” and map out the footprint of your ideal building, you might be surprised how much space you need. A metal RV garage needs to be quite a bit bigger than the RV itself as you need space surrounding the RV, and you also might want ample height so that your garage can support a sloped roof.
These considerations become very important if you are working with limited space. You need to account for the exact dimensions of the garage and make sure that you have enough room on your property to comfortably fit a garage of this size. Many choose to double the functionality of these buildings and even use the space inside the garage for other purposes, such as storage, workshops, or office space.
RV Garage Costs
Price is a big consideration in anything you build and as with the price of any structure, there are a lot of factors that can change the cost. We’ve outlined some general cost guidelines in the table below to support your decision making process when it comes to the decision to build a RV garage.
So how much does an RV garage cost? On average $5 – $10 per square foot for a steel structure and no options.
Most RV garages are quite basic in design. They include a strong steel I-beam frame, which supports the sheets of American-made steel and allows for the open interior spaces. The variable that most influences the price is the size of the structure itself so in the table below, we’ve included a pricing outline for basic metal prefab structures, differentiated by size.
If you plan on fully outfitting your garage, the price could increase beyond these ranges. For example by adding electricity, heating, insulation, or drywall will all be additional costs to consider. As well you’ll need to budget costs allowances for your foundation, construction costs and any other site-specific customizations.
The best way to get an accurate quote is to contact a prefab supplier with your building requirements.
Example for the most simple warehouse/garage structure, with no options:
|Approximate Price Per Square Foot
Average RV Garage Prices
|DIY RV garage
|$6.25 per sqft
|High-end RV garage
|$17.80 per sqft
|$7.35 per sqft
These estimates will give you some ball park figures to work with, it’s also important to consider additional costs on top of your basic shell.
Types of Garages: Attached vs. Detached
When you consider the type of RV garage you want, you’ll find yourself considering the two most popular types of garages: attached and detached.
Due to the sheer size of an RV garage, it is more popular to go with a detached model that is not connected to your home. This allows you to place the garage wherever you want and not have its overall size eclipse your home. Most people choose to locate the garage in an isolated part of their property that is still accessible by RV, allowing for an out of the way location to tuck your RV away for the winter when you are not using it.
Attached garages are less common for RVs but are still an option. An attached garage is one that is attached to your house and has a door connecting the two. An attached garage is useful when you want to access your garage without having to step outside, a particular benefit in the winter or when the weather is bad. Often, an attached garage is insulated so that you can store your vehicles at a comfortable temperature. Because an RV garage is so large, this is a less popular choice; however, it may still be an option if you make the garage large enough to hold other vehicles that you use more frequently.
Building an RV Garage
If you’ve made it this far, you might have one question left – how do I get an RV garage of my own?
The first step is to know what you are looking for. You should have a good idea of the sizing and dimensions you want before you contact a supplier. This allows you to evaluate the supplier based on your needs and what you are willing to pay.
Then, get quotes from multiple suppliers. A supplier will work with you on the type of prefab garage you want. They can even build you a 3D model which clearly outlines the exterior and interior of your structure so that you can build it to your specifications. Once you are happy with the structure and the price, they can have the manufacturer built it.
Once the prefab components are built, they are shipped to your building site and because it is such a sizable structure, you might require professional help to build it. Either way, you save time and money on construction due to the prefabricated components and their efficiency to assemble. You can also utilize professionals to add heating, insulation, electricity, or whatever other features you require.
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