How Much Does It Cost To Build A Shelter?


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Build a Shelter Costs

Outdoor Cost Guides      Garages, Sheds & Enclosures      Build a Shelter Costs

A shelter is often defined as a three-sided structure that offers loads of utility and function at a much lower price than a traditional shed, barn or garage. However, you never want to cut corners and use substandard materials or building techniques.

While it will be sized large enough for two cars or a work area, it will not require the same materials as the full garage or shed.

The average shelter requires the use of contractors because construction involves site preparation, excavation, concrete pouring, and other steps that may need to be up to local building codes and standards.

Building a shelter: 20’x20’ shelter.

Item Unit Cost Quantity Cost
Site prep $4 per sq.ft. 400 $1,600
Concrete slab or footings $75 per cubic yard 4 $300
Professional frame construction $70 per hour 8-16 $560-$1,120
Roofing $2 per sq.ft. 400 $800
Painting/Staining $1-$2 per sq.ft. 400 $400-$800
Total Cost $9.15-$11.55 per sq.ft. 400 $3,660-$4,620


Other considerations and costs

  • Always seek out several bids before signing on with any specific contractor, and always ask to see earlier examples of shelters completed for other clients before making a choice.
  • The costs of permits are not included in the figures here.
  • It is possible to find builders that make alternative materials such as metal and vinyl siding available. Vinyl shelters and sheds average around $800 to $5,000, while shelters that rely on metal components average around $600 to more than $3,000 when labor and materials are considered.
  • Some homeowners want electrical supplies in their shelters, and this comes with the traditional hourly rates charged by electricians, which is somewhere in the area of $65 or higher. Carpenters may also be hired for the work, and come at a rate of at least $40 per hour or more.

DIY considerations

  • Regardless of the intention behind the building of a shelter, it is never a DIY project. It requires permits and experts to design and then construct it, though some costs can be cut by doing a bit of site prep work independently.


  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2019.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY Web sites.
How much does it cost to build a shelter in your city?
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Cost by city

  • New York, NY$6,650
  • Bronx, NY$5,465
  • Brooklyn, NY$4,555
  • Philadelphia, PA$5,682
  • Washington, DC$4,931
  • Atlanta, GA$4,461
  • Miami, FL$4,057
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL$4,250
  • Minneapolis, MN$4,986
  • Chicago, IL$5,809
  • Houston, TX$5,992
  • San Antonio, TX$4,022
  • Austin, TX$4,554
  • Denver, CO$3,848
  • Phoenix, AZ$4,060
  • Las Vegas, NV$4,456
  • Los Angeles, CA$5,020
  • San Diego, CA$4,556
  • San Jose, CA$5,503
  • Seattle, WA$4,029

Local costs have been calculated by accounting for labor and material cost differences across different cities. To get accurate cost estimates, indicate yours: