Are you a woodcrafter, potter, mechanic, or other type of craftsman? If so, a traditional residence can severely limit the possibilities with your workshop. In fact, you might even end up using a separate structure as your shop or even commuting across town to a workshop.
But this is hardly conducive to your lifestyle. Thankfully, there is a solution, and that is to build a shop house, or “shouse,” also sometimes called a shop home, or “shome.”
What is a Shouse?
A “shouse” is exactly what the name implies. It is a single structure which serves as both a shop and a house.
In many respects, this is not so different from a regular residence. But whereas your typical suburban home only includes a small garage, your shop house can include an expansive garage or workshop customized to your needs.
When you have your own shop house, you no longer need to worry about where you can set up and use your equipment. And you no longer need to leave the house just work on your projects.
Benefits of Shop Houses
- No more commuting. If you currently are walking or even driving back and forth between your home and a workshop, it can be time-consuming and fatiguing. With a shop house, you never even have to leave home to get to work.
- No need to rent or share a workspace. In some cases, you might be spending money paying rent on a workshop somewhere every month. Think about all the money you could save by living and working in the same structure. Also, if you are sharing a workshop with someone else now, when you get your own shop house, you will have total control of your workspace.
- A place for all of your equipment. If you have equipment in storage right now because you currently have no where you can put it, that will all change when you have your own custom workshop in your home built around your needs.
- Room for additional storage. While your workshop is a functional workspace, many people also choose to use their workshops for storage. With their spacious, clear span designs, these workspaces are ideal for storing vehicles and machinery which would not fit in your typical garage or storage unit.
- Work on your projects anytime. Since your workshop is right inside your house, you can work on your projects day or night whenever inspiration strikes or you have some extra time.
- Enjoy working in total comfort. Is your current workshop cold or drafty? If so, getting your own workshop in your house can be a huge quality of life upgrade. Your workshop will be as warm, dry and draft-free as the rest of your house.
- Keep equipment and project materials in better condition. Because a workshop in a shop house is climate-controlled, it is less likely that your supplies or machinery will be subject to moisture damage.
Post Frame Construction
Many shop homes are built using a technique called “post frame construction.” Sometimes, this method of construction is also referred to as “pole building framing.”
With post frame construction, rather than relying on steel framing, you have a frame made out of wood posts or poles. A variety of foundations can be used including reinforced concrete slabs or reinforced concrete piers. Sometimes, the poles extend directly into the ground.
The reason that this method of construction is ideal for shouses is because with post frame construction, you can have open, clear span layouts which are unobstructed for the utmost spaciousness and versatility.
That means that even if you have large projects which would not fit in a regular garage, you will have plenty of space to work on them. The same goes for bulky equipment and machinery.
This is particularly helpful if you do a lot of your work on vehicles such as motorhomes or boats.
You might worry that with such a large, open space, it would be difficult to maintain climate control. But it is actually possible to pack in more insulation than is typical when you go with post frame construction. This maximizes energy efficiency, and helps keep heating and cooling costs low.
Who Are the Best Shop House Builders?
You now know why post frame construction is ideal for shop homes. And if you are in need of a larger residential workspace, you should be able to picture the benefits of a shop house effortlessly.
But if you want to construct a quality custom shop house to your specifications at a reasonable price, you will need to identify the best shop home builders.
The top two shop house builders we recommend are EPS Buildings and Greiner Buildings. You can learn more about each of them below.
EPS Buildings was founded in 1981 as “Energy Panel Structures,” then a subsidiary of the MacArthur Company. Originally, EPS operated out of Albert Lea, MN. Today, they serve customers through most of the country in the residential, commercial and agricultural sectors.
Over the years, they have won many NFBA and SIPA awards.
Describing what sets them apart from their competitors, EPS Buildings writes, “Our Graettinger facility is state-of-the-art and utilizes the most current technology available to ensure we are one of the lowest cost producers in the country.
The facility provides 110,000 sq. ft. of production area that allows us to meet every design and manufacturing need required.”
If you order a shop house from EPS Buildings, here is what you can expect:
- Customization. You can browse existing shop house plans or you can work with one of the company’s designers to come up with a custom plan.
- Energy efficiency. EPS Buildings guarantees that the performance of its Structural Insulated Panels is unparalleled in the industry. So that you have no questions as to the energy efficiency of your shop house, you can request a Home Energy Rating (H.E.R.S.) test through your EPS Dealer.
- With Solid Core Structural Insulated Panels from EPS, pests are far less likely to become a problem in your shop house. You can contrast this with the spaces in a typical post frame wall which can let in pests, moisture, and hot or cold air from outdoors.
If your top concern is to close structural gaps and make your structure as pest-proof and energy-efficient as possible, EPS Buildings may be a great fit for you. Their innovative Structural Insulated Panels are a major improvement over traditional pole frame design.
Like EPS Buildings, Greiner Buildings also got started in the 80s. Originally based in Washington, Iowa, the company has expanded with additional offices throughout Iowa and Illinois. Also like EPS Buildings, Greiner Buildings has won a number of NFBA awards.
In terms of what sets it apart, Greiner Buildings cites its in-house building teams, regular training seminars, locally-sourced, high-quality materials, and its rapid quote process. This is a company that strives to make building a shop home as fast and easy as possible while meeting the high standards.
If you commission Greiner Buildings to build you a shop home, here are the advantages you can look forward to:
- Airy layouts. Greiner Buildings can build you a shop home as wide as 100’, and can even incorporate balconies or lofts at your request.
- Energy efficiency and protection from pests. To prevent moisture, pests, and unwanted airflow from outdoors, Greiner Buildings uses 8’ wide fibreglass batts along with closed-cell spray foam. The combination effectively seals off your structure, making gaps and seams as small as possible.
- Customization. Greiner Buildings takes a goal-oriented approach to personalizing shop home layouts for customers. Whether you know exactly what you need or you are looking for suggestions, the designers at Greiner Buildings will work with you until you have a customized design which suits your needs. By creating 2D and 3D CAD mockups, the design team is able to help you preview potential layouts so that you can visualize yourself living and working in each.
- No more cold floors. Traditionally, a lot of workshops tend to have cold concrete floors. But you can stay comfortable while you work and improve energy efficiency in your shop house by choosing the option to install radiant flooring with Greiner Buildings.
While Greiner Buildings does well in the area of energy efficiency and pest-proofing, this company really distinguishes itself with regard to its quick quotes. Greiner goes the extra mile to ensure a rapid, smooth design and construction process. So if you are on a tight schedule, we would recommend going with Greiner.