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 I wanted to have a cabin on my property for quite some time now but with the economy, The prices of having one built has more than doubled... So i had to build it myself . Six years ago i bought a 12x16 shed from a well known company by where i live. It cost 2,000.00 for them to build it and drop it off.  Now that same building  would cost 4200,00 dollars.After i was finished with this building with the door and 3 windows the total amount i spent was 2200.00 dollars

If you would like to see the finished inside instructable please click here ...

If you would like to see the matching modern outhouse Please check this out ...
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Step 1: Floor Illustration

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 Here is the 12x20 floor plan showing where the 4x4s and the floor joists would be located.

Step 2: Drilling and planting the posts

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1ST PIC*  Shows my  ford tractor and my neighbors post hole digger he let me borrow.
2nd pic * shows the post planted and the bottom 2x10 Stringers.
3rd & 4th  pic* Shows the upper 2x10 x 12 and the 2x10x16 upper stringers being nailed in at 7 foot 8 inches.

Step 3: Setting the center rafter board

This picture shows the center rafter board . I measured over 6 foot to the center . The roof is going to be a 5/12 pitch roof so the rafter board had to be 30 inches to the top of the board .
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bigdogpete4318 hours ago

As I read the comments, the whole idea is to build something like this WITHOUT any consent. It is your land. It is your building. It is not their business. And you don't need their permission to do with it what you please.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  bigdogpete438 hours ago

well put

From the pictures, I note that the upright 4x4's are a different color than the rest of the lumber--they were pressure treated lumber. (possibly CCA, or if more recent, ACQ) I did not see if there was any concrete or quickrete in the footing holes. As far as short term residency is concerned, the cabin structure pictured is quite strong. I live in the Midwestern US, and the roof structure shown will hold up to normal snow loading for an area as far north as Iowa. As far as wood rot and insect infestation, I personally have camped in Boy Scout camps with cabins built in the 1930's to 1950's that were only recently being removed and replaced.

megnwayn2 years ago
Don't try building this in New Zealand! It does not comply with the Building Code and you also risk a substantial fine if it is constructed without a Building Consent.
coolbeansbaby68 (author)  megnwayn2 years ago
What are your building codes ? Why doesnt this work

Building in New Zealand is governed by the Building Code and by NZS 3604:2011 (Timber-framed building standard.)

This instructable infringes the NZ standard in so many ways that it would not pass initial scrutiny by a Local Authority if a Building Consent application was to be lodged.

A few points -

1) The joists are too close to the ground, are attached to the boundary "bearer" with nails in shear and have no approved metal hangers.
2) Foundations can be either a concrete slab with footings and steel reinforcing to suit the site or piles (set in concrete) which support bearers which in turn support the joists. A "pole" building such as this does not comply.
3) Wall framing must be by way of studs (size and spacing to NZS 3604) - a building of this sizs would need guaged 100mm x 50mm studs. Walings fixed to posts to support cladding is not acceptable for a habitable building. The entire floor, walls,roof and cladding on this instructable are supported by coach screws in shear.
4) The rafters are not connected be either ceiling joists or collar ties to prevent the walls being forced apart under live roof loads.
5) There are no moisture barriers in floor, walls or roof.
6) There appears to be no head flashings to the joinery.
7) Bracing, under the code, is inadequate for wind and earthquake.

I do not suggest that the building causes danger to its occupants - just that the NZ viewer was thinking of building it in their yard and by doing so would cause much trouble for themselves.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  megnwayn2 years ago
Sounds like a head ache for you guys
No - not really. It just means that tried and tested building methods are used -, which perform well in our local conditions. In addition a structure which requires a Building Consent can only be built by a Licensed Building Practitioner (tradesman carpenter).

I'm sure glad I don't live there!

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  megnwayn2 years ago
Yikes you mean you cant build it yourself?
That's correct - you can't build yourself. You can assist a Licensed Building Practitioner who oversees your work and who must sign off all the works before a Code of Compliance Certificate is issued at job completion by the Local Authority which issued the Building Consent

The idea is to protect subsequent building owners by having property records show that the building was constructed to the Building Code by proper use of the Standard..

Not entirely correct. The same building code states that if the floor area is less than 10 square metres, has no sanitary features (shower, toilet, sink) and built the same distance from the boundary as the building is high, then an unlicensed home owner can construct their own building. As megnwayn has stated, the building has to conform to NZ building standards, and if you want to add electricity and water, then you'll need licensed practioners.

The building in this constructable has a floor area of about 22.5 sq metres so you would need a builder to oversee and sign off on the construction.

Well I am not a licensed building practitioner here the USA, But I could build this as good or better than a Licensed Practitioner

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  megnwayn2 years ago
Jeeez That kinda bad for the consumer trying to same money

I did enough construction in NYC to understand the "why" of building codes, but if I call it a shed does it still need to pass code?

Additionally what if my house /structure was built before codes existed.

In the US building codes are up to the state, although there is a national electric code, a very wimpy set of regulations, I don't know if there is a plumbing or general building code.

One thing is certain, if there is a code and you do not follow it to the letter and it is destroyed by anything, or someone trips and falls, your insurance company WILL take 3 steps back from you in court. If you have a mortgage and the bank finds out they can make you either remove it or get it passed the zoning/building departments of who ever is in loco-parentus of your area.

Where I am if you build a shed over a certain size you need a permit, to build and pay for all the inspections. A premade MUST comply with the code and will be inspected asd well....And then there are the taxes. Under a certain size (pitifully small), no tax over that size size you will pay for outdoor, non livable structure rate.

Nice job though, looks like a KOA cabin. I enjoyed it, but would like a close up of the hurricane reinforcement.

I would add 1 thing to it Solar electric and water panels, if you are in the right part of the US. And you need NOT put them on the roof, you could build an awning for picnicing. I have seen an entire buildings worth of solar panels set on a roof on Long Island about 10 feet high and length of the property. In a storm they sustain no damage. Underneath you can use for parties. Snow can be squeegied off the panels or they can be covered in case of storms.

oops I saw the studs in place I would love a picture pulled back , but it is built! and a lovely build it was!

I want to build some cabins with lofts high enough to stand in so I want to know what post to use and maybe a basement I want a 10m by 7m cabin so need about 8 posts what do you call those post are they pressure treated

Can give me the material cost for inside an out. Thanks months ago

My land, my time, my money. If I want to build a fun little cabin in the back to hang out in quietly, then I will. :) months ago

My land, my time, my money. If I want to build a fun little cabin in the back to hang out in quietly, then I will. :)

timhinerman6 months ago

I enjoyed this article. Looks like you have a nice comfortable retreat. I recently built a 16x16 cabin in my backyard that I've grown pretty fond of. I just started putting up some pictures online if anyone is interested in seeing how I built mine.


I really like that one do you still have the plans for that cabin? I love the pitch on the roof and the shaded area you have it in and that would allow it to stay cool

I love your cabin! Do you still have the plans or can you tell me where I can get the plans? I am seriously considering building this as my hunting club cabin.

Thank You H Lawrence

You have done a great job also,I like the shade,bet it helps keep your cabin nice and cool.

thank you very much! The shade definitely helps a ton. I only have to cool the cabin with a small window a/c on super hot days

Do you have a material list?

RonaldT4 months ago

Great job, I just wanted to ask if you have any problems with moisture or dampness from the ground underneath the floor? In your pictures it looks like there was nothing else done to the ground other than to scape the grass away.

Just wondered if it has caused any problems?

spylock6 months ago

Great build,great instructions.

hwilkinson26 months ago

can the size be scaled down for an 8' by 10' cabin?

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  hwilkinson26 months ago

yes it can

Glad I don't live in New Zealand.

hohum6 months ago

cool cabin, looks great

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  hohum6 months ago

thank you

meisenbaugh10 months ago

I see major mistakes here!

1st. Any wood touching the ground or mounted to a concrete slab should be pressure treated, I give a year or two before the entire base of the structure begins to rot or mold. This also goes for the eves as well.

2nd. Wrapping the exterior in Tyvec House Wrap will create a moisture barrier protecting the interior studding.

3rd. I see wall stud layout where a lot of material was wasted by putting several rows of 2 x 4's in between vertical studs (Windows yes it's needed).

4th. There is no attic or craw space venting through the eves and tip of the roof pitch, this will make the rafters become petrified or rot due too moisture being trapped as well as hold in air pressure above with massive heat build up.

Now a inexpensive exterior walls idea. James Hardie 48" x 96" Fiber Cement Panel Siding is a product that is tough as nails but easy to install and comes in colors and patterns (Lowe's or Home Depot both carry it) and cost around $25 to $30 a sheet.

Tip: Construct each wall on a fairly flat surface first then anchor the base of the wall to a concrete slab or other supporting type base(nail a temporary 2 x 4 at a angle to support your wall until your able secure it at the base and adjacent walls.)

Added bonus--the cement board comes in different colors (it's limited, but I think we had a choice of ten colors) and doesn't need to ever be painted or can be painted. We put it on our addition eight years ago and looks like when we first put it up. Hasn't faded and since it's on second floor we decided not to paint and have to worry about climbing up to paint it. Definitely worth the price.

yes your right it need to make a base out of concrete first and then maybe a wood flooring just incase. hahaha

maewert2 years ago
I enjoyed this instructable. Nicely done and well thought out.

At first I was concerned about the roof system, however. (I'm used to building in the mountains where we could get a 3 foot snow load so I'm a little paranoid.) My concern in that over time a heavy snow load would press down on the roof, and the forces would tend to bow the center rafter board at its center, which would pull the center 4x4 posts away from each other at their tops. While the two 2x10 stringers would hold the corner posts together (one at each end of the building) the center post 4x4 tops are mostly held in by the strength of the 4x4 itself (being held straight by the concrete base). The double stringers on the long sides would provide some resistance for the center 4x4 tops from being pressed outward but their real strength is set to provide sagging resistance for the rafter boards. Of course if this began to happen you could always add another internal stringer between the center 4x4 posts (either made of wood or metal) but this would be a shame to break up the nice open internal roof space.

Maybe your snow loads are light enough to never see a problem! I just would hate to see heavy snows and wood bending over time to ruin your good work.

Best Wishes
I would have to agree with your assessment.
I one of my first jobs in life was building houses and this is not a "cabin"; just a "shed".
It is not fit for habitation if that is what this poster is going to use it for.
Granted it looks nice and that is about as far as it goes.
Snow load is poor due to the roof constructed; I would put money down it collapses when there is heavy snow or starts to cave in after a number of snows.
The posts buried in to the dirt with no concrete footing as well as they are now termite magnets. Also six basic legs supporting an x number thousand or so pounds of roof that can and will fall on you when it collapses.
Very poor horizontal and vertical bracing in the walls; good storm and the wind will push it over..
I would have sheeted the outer wall with either plywood or the current sheeting used on houses; far cheaper than what was used.
As one poster pointed and I do as well as I now buy shipping containers instead.
Way Way stronger and way way more secure. I just construct a gabled roof and bolt it to the top and cut my door and windows. I also sheet the outside with the current housing wood sheeting and it really looks nice; steel underneath it..
hohum menahunie6 months ago

Menahunie, I like the shipping container idea, would it work if you added space to the outside wall, then poured in the 2 part insulation??


An easy fix for the snow load concerns is to simply put in some collar ties, either 2x4 or 2x6 which ever makes you feel better..... 2x4 would be just fine.

You do not have to put them in at wall height, and if you just did them in the area in question (say, oh, about an 8’ to 10’ section dead center) and sheeted the bottom of it you could have a nice spot to mount a light, or use as storage for fishing poles etc.... or you could put two sets in said area, one set about 1’ under the ridge, and the second set 1’ to 2’ above wall height …….. Either way, this would hold the outward pressure on the walls, from any weight exerted on the roof system.
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