Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

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Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby REIGNSS » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:39 pm

So I've been working on designing a 5L x 10w x 5h Benroy style trailer built on a NT 5x8 that sleeps 2 adults+2 children and I've started calculating supply costs and it is coming in significantly higher than what I thought it would cost to build (was shooting for $2,000)... I'm looking for a sanity check on my build plans/estimate and any solid advice on trimming costs.

I plan to use 5x5 baltic birch for the interior and exterior skinning and prefinished uv birch ply for the cabinetry.

Below is my pricing estimate so far, along with a rendering of the trailer and framing (ignore the colors, they represent dimensions)

5x10 Benroy Pricing.JPG
5x10 Benroy Pricing.JPG (69.06 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


5x10 Benroy Colored Framing_002.jpg
5x10 Benroy Colored Framing_002.jpg (28.21 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


5x10 Benroy Colored Framing_001.jpg
5x10 Benroy Colored Framing_001.jpg (78.47 KiB) Viewed 1020 times
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:24 pm

I started with the idea of $1000 and I'll probably exceed that by a little but think I'll end up under$1500 - at least for the trailer. (I started with goal tow bar, TV wiring harness, and trailer registration would fit in $1000). Its all about choices and how much you want to build yourself and be happy with versus buy. Your lumber is about double mine and I don't see any foam. The NT chassis looks like a high price - advertised online at $489 right now and I think I had that plus a coupon for another $40. If i put in electrical it will be an inlet and a couple of outlets. The whole battery/solar thing is expensive. Again, what is important to you. Will you not use and enjoy the teardrop without your planned electrical? Building my own doors and wiley windows - in the lumber and 2 pieces of tempered glass for $20. Doors and windows looks near 25% of your total.

I do worry for you with only the 10% hardware allowance. Adhesives and coatings will I fear be much higher. I also feel there will be other unexpected expenses. I've spent $100+ just for stuff to modify the trailer a little - tongue jack, stabilizers (I think), extend tongue, repack the bearings on my trailer - necessary for all NT trailers. An most people would replace the lighting which I've coached along and modified with things I had to work reliably (I hope - not many miles yet - but it didn't work at all when assembled.)

I think each of us has to decide on priorities. I'm use to a tent - in heat and in 20 degree below weather - and cooking on a backpacking single burner. My teardrop will feel luxurious to me for years but no palace for sure. No setting up tents in a rainstorm will be such an improvement.

I spend a lot of my life on budgets and cutting cost to met a budget - building design and construction - and I promise you that now - the planning and programming - is the time to reduce. Each step further the slimmer the options are for saving.

Good luck. It would be fun to be near someone building one while I am and compare notes and visits, maybe share a few odd tools. (I'm still impressed with my $6 Menard's torque wrench.)

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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby lacustom » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:27 pm

You have no 12v outlets, lights, switches , flooring, roofing material.
The price is about right. If you bought it built it would probably cost you $12k


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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby working on it » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:06 pm

REIGNSS wrote:So I've been working on designing a 5L x 10w x 5h Benroy style trailer built on a NT 5x8 that sleeps 2 adults+2 children and I've started calculating supply costs and it is coming in significantly higher than what I thought it would cost to build (was shooting for $2,000)... I'm looking for a sanity check on my build plans/estimate and any solid advice on trimming costs.
  • I started my build by assuring the CFO (my wife) that I could build it for $500, by starting with a junk trailer I had laying around for over 20 years. I already knew that that was fiction; just building up the frame and rolling gear was going to cost that amount, since just about everything needed replacing, or enlarging, or some upgrade. Operating on the sly, with low or no budget, I was helped by the fact that it was going to be built (initial stages) at my friend's home shop, 50 miles away.
  • junk trailer; after enlarging at distant location.jpg
    junk trailer; after enlarging at distant location.jpg (80.81 KiB) Viewed 986 times
    hidden from the wife, trailer progresses
  • I pieced it together, bit by bit, using my HHR Panel as a parts store/shuttle, and keeping the larger items in storage in my friend's 40'x60'shop (like the 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" plywood, that I chanced upon for $25 per sheet, near my friends's home). I bought 6 or seven sheets, and went home to fetch my truck to pick them up (and at the same time, I retrieved 1/2" birch and a 1/4" luan sheet from my wife's woodshop). So, the bulk of my wood structure came cheap.
  • My friend had gotten the tubular steel cheaply, at a local yard he had a discount at, and I bought the 6' length of 3"x3"x 3/16" for my new tongue, at a supplier that did business with my employer, at a discount. However, the fasteners I used were 95% stainless, which I had to buy at retail, though in bulk, which probably cost me $3-400, alone. Though sourcing parts as cheaply as I could, I was still way over budget, and this was just the start-up.
  • I tried to spend under $100 a week, using my gas money (I didn't confess that the gas mileage on the HHR was 2.5x better than the 2500HD Chevy truck, for which I was still drawing gas money), so that was under the radar. I had started a cost spreadsheet, but decided that I really didn't want to know the true cost, so under questioning, I wouldn't admit the facts. I built several cars/trucks, and a drag race Chevelle surreptitiously that way, under the radar, and got away with it. I will not tell a lie, but unless asked the right questions, my secret was safe. Plausible deniability. In defense of my surreptitiousness, my wife never saw a sale she could pass up, so I was only getting some use of the money I alone was earning...she used her account and mine, I used mine alone.
  • At eleven months into my build, I had to bring it home to finish, so the cat was going to be let out of the bag, so to speak. Everything purchased after that point was plainly clear (the interior and galley area were bare, except for the on-board generator), and I enlisted her help in some product choices and even in helping me install the A/C. After all, I ostensibly was building the trailer mainly for her use, since she was camping with her girlfriend's Sasquatch group several times a year (she doesn't go, anymore, and I've retired, so now it's my TTT !).
  • I still make changes to the trailer, spending a little here and there, but no major expenses (new, but necessary, General Grabber AT2 LT tires-$270 mounted & balanced-replaced the 12-year old used ST bias-ply tires on the trailer, and previously an also necessary axle upgrade-$450 total, including frame reinforcement and springs-had been added). Not to mention $1000 in new tools bought over the time I've been working on it.
  • In summary, just build it. Don't tally your costs, because it will spoil the fun you'll have building it, and trying to stay within an arbitrarily chosen cost limit will compromise your utility of the trailer, and retro-fitting it to higher standards often costs much more. IMHO
  • By the way, your general plan looks feasible, but be aware that as you get into building it, you'll oftentimes find that you'll want a little more...I did, and now my trailer, at a travelling weight of over 2000 lbs, probably cost me $ 5-6000 to build: 1)materials= initial parts, retro-fits/upgrades included, 2)tooling= cost of tools used primarily or bought for the build, 3)gas money= spent in sourcing parts, or extra spent to get to work site, and 4)peripheral equipment- items necessary to,
    but not part of the trailer, for full functionality. As mikeschn says "The quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten, so build your teardrop with the best materials..."
Last edited by working on it on Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby Esteban » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm

You could cut down the cost of 1x2 and 1x3 lumber by cutting up 2x4, 2x6 or 2x8 lumber into the sizes you need; or forgo stick framing the walls and cut out plywood for the sidewall framing instead.

Often you can get a discount on the NT trailer by using retailmenot.com discount codes.

:thinking: You will probably have additional materials costs for aluminum (or other) skins, aluminum trim pieces, electrical wiring, electrical connectors, an electric shore power inlet, running and interior lights, electrical light switches, electrical outlets, electrical breakers (inside the PD 4045), a tongue jack, leveling jacks, paint, varnish, thinner, misc. painting supplies, hinges, drawer slides, door knobs, tool purchases (clamps!), hatch springs, insulation, glue(s), adhesives, sealants, (maybe) better tires and wheels, (maybe) better fenders, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, DMV license and registration, and more.

Solar power might be one of the mores.

boltdepot.com has a very good selection of bolts, screws, nuts, washers, etc. at very good prices with quick shipping.
delcity.net has a very good selection for wire and electrical supplies. Email them to ask for a catalogue to help you shop. If you chat online with them they may offer a discount and/or free shipping.
rvvent.com has very competitive prices for Fantastic Fans. They can customize them which few, if any, other sellers can do.

I favor fiberglassing and painting the exterior instead of skinning it with aluminum. It's cost competitive, weighs much less (about 90% less than aluminum), makes the outer shell very water tight, and frees you up from the restraints of using standard sizes of aluminum sheets. raka.com sells epoxy and fiberglass cloth at very competitive prices.
Last edited by Esteban on Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby earl84 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:14 pm

Nothing new to add that hasn't been said, but I would second (strongly) the idea of using plywood framing instead of stick framing. It will save you money, it will save you frustration, it will save you time. I just had my maiden voyage on my teardrop that I stick built and insulated, and if I was to build a second, there is no way in he** I would stick build it.
Setting priorities is important to being happy with your end product. I really didn't cut ANY corners, and I have pretty much everything I will ever want in my teardrop. I'm putting it all in a spreadsheet now, and I think it will come in at around $6,000. Full electical, PD4045, Maxxair Fan, 12v lighting, water tank with electric pump, no AC.
I am shocked at the amount of adhesive I have used. Probably 12 tubes of PL Premium, the big 28 oz ones. I also bought a 1 gallon container of Titebond II, and used it everywhere there was a straight wood-to-wood joint. Used PL Premium everywhere else.
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby friz » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:11 pm

Sounds about right. A little north of 4K in mine. Every night spent in a spectacular location makes it a little cheaper. After spending a week in ours, the wife considers it a bargain.
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby working on it » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:07 pm

earl84 wrote:...I am shocked at the amount of adhesive I have used. Probably 12 tubes of PL Premium, the big 28 oz ones. I also bought a 1 gallon container of Titebond II, and used it everywhere there was a straight wood-to-wood joint. Used PL Premium everywhere else.
  • In my post above, I neglected to mention that the waterproofing and top-coating with two types of paint, and the three adhesives I used were another big chunk of change. Like earl84, I bought a gallon of TB2, also, for my two-part floor, and used 10 or more tubes of PL Premium, everywhere else, to seal all seams. And I used a third adhesive/sealant, OSI Quad, around the windows, one tube each.
  • OSI QUAD SEALANT.PNG
    OSI QUAD SEALANT.PNG (51.8 KiB) Viewed 883 times
    remains flexible; grey to match color scheme
  • Then there's the cost of the polyurethane (3 gallons), the paint thinner to create the magic waterproofing "mix" (4 gallons- some used for testing the "mix", with leftover poly from prior projects), and the two paint types: M-F Grey Tractor paint, and HD Aluminum "silo" paint (2 gallons of each), to color the trailer, and to give UV protection (I also painted the inside, with the same colors, using up the remainder of the 2 cans each). I later bought another gallon of each, for possible re-paint, and for use on matching projects I envisioned-(the cost of which isn't figured in here). Plus 2 quarts of Rustoleum semi-gloss for the trim (one wasn't enough). Not to mention the rattle cans of various types: 6 cans of Krylon black for the frame and fenders (before I re-coated the fenders with 2 cans of bedliner), 6 cans of automotive spray undercoating, 2 cans of clear acrylic spray (for extra protection over the exposed bolts on the roof), and since then, spare cans of all for touch-ups and modifications (where I don't have to re-mix the leftover bulk paint).
  • My estimate for adhesives, sealants, poly thinner and paints of all kinds, has to be easily over $400 ; with drop-cloths, brushes, rollers and paint trays, over $500. You haven't accounted for all that, or any exterior covering, or interior carpet or floor cover, and etc. sundries to finish the basic trailer. Are you sure you want to keep tabs on all the expense? Just go for it!
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby tony.latham » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:09 pm

$200 battery? I think I paid $100 for my Group 27 Marine battery at Costco. The next one will be a Group 24, but this one's lasted four years.

When you get to buying glue, you'll save quite a bit of money on PL Premium if you buy the big tubes.

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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby edgeau » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:04 pm

I am in Australia so the costs don't line up with yours but I have been keeping track of my purchases so that may give you a guide...
Still to do the Galley and Hatch so more purchases to come but should only be some more plywood I hope.
This list does not include the Battery and Solar Panel as I already had them.
Materials $3091.15
Consumables $296.17
Tools I did not already have $254.30
For details see attached spreadsheet.
teardrop_costs.xlsx
TearDropCosts
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby GPW » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:24 pm

Don’t complain about high prices , do something about it . viewtopic.php?f=55&t=39373
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby bbrider » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:03 pm

I started with $3000 as my cost to build. Then the little better this and the little better that took over. My wife wanted better windows and doors. I added ac. She wanted tv/dvd on an arm. I upgraded to led lights. Bought a PWM an added to the roof vent fan to slow it down as I liked. Then a better mattress, sheets, pillows, curtains, and bedspread....you know....someone might want to look in it at the campground.

Throw away those cheap taillights and get those good led ones too. Running conduit under the trailer to put all the wire in to protect them from brush and sticks and stuff when we go off road camping. Upgrade the battery to an Optima gel cell too. Buy a trickle charger/maintainer for the battery. Buy that aluminum tool box for the tongue to put it all in. Make up a heavy cord to power the AC stuff and add a through the wall plug. Drink holders, dehumidifiers, mirrors and hooks.

All that being said and $5000 later I am still thinking of things I would like to do to the Wee-Go at some point in time to make it better....LOL. It's an addiction that just keeps on costing, but I enjoy the work on it and we enjoy the using of it and that in the end is what really dictates what is the right amount to spend on your trailer. IMHO

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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby GPW » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:31 am

Bill , we found the long term investment , a little bit at a time , is much easier to accept than spending one large chunk of cash … Although the former may easily exceed the latter in time . Fun !! :D
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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby Gunguy05 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:58 am

We spent *about * 6k on our large build. It sleeps 2 adults and 2 children. I have absolutely no regrets in what I spent as it had played out well, and has cost me much less in the long run for all the places I have traveled to and camped.

We just finished a more traditional 5x9 for my parents, and came in around 4k for it.

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Re: Construction Costs?!?! $3,500 O_o

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:21 am

Someone once told me to figure out my budget, and double it. :lol:


Not everything needs to be done to make it campable. Some odds and ends and add-ons can be addressed down the road. My X-Cubed is in its 4th season, and I think its finally complete.

And the only reason that is, is that I've moved on to another project. :?
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