Depending on who you ask, a shouse is one of many names for a shophouse. If you’re talking with someone who wants to be technical, then a shouse is a house connected to a shop. 

They are incredibly similar in appearance to barndominiums because they are regularly constructed in the same manner and out of the same materials. However, many people do not consider them to be the same.


This article will dive deeper into how exactly a shouse is defined, the advantages and disadvantages, the costs, and what you need to consider when building a shouse.

What is a Shouse?

As we mentioned earlier, a shouse is a building that has a house and a shop under one roof. There are no specific dimensions that must be met. Shop-houses come in numerous sizes and designs.

The most common way to build a shouse is by using the same technique and materials used to construct modern barndominiums. This is why so many people mistake a shouse for a barndominium. The main difference between a barndo and a shouse is that barndominiums offer more features resembling a barn, and a shouse offers more workshop elements. 

All in all, it comes down to semantics, and in this case, it doesn’t matter. They are similar enough to interchange the terms, and people still know exactly what you mean.

Like barndos, shop-houses are constructed by pouring a concrete foundation on top of which a metal structure is built. They are then framed and finished to the owners’ standards.

The shop area can be used as a garage, man-cave, or a workshop for any number of hobbies, depending on your needs.

Advantages of a Shouse

There are many reasons to build a metal shop house instead of a traditional home. The following are four of the advantages of building a shouse.

  • Less expensive custom home
  • Custom workshop
  • Shorter build time
  • Energy efficient

Let’s dive deeper into the pros of metal shop houses.

Less Expensive Custom Built Home

Metal structures are less expensive to build than a traditional brick and wood house. This is because the metal sheets cover more surface area, which means the house’s shell is constructed much quicker.

The exterior materials used are also less expensive, so that you can save that part of the budget for the interior. Purchasing a shop-house building kit will also save you money. 

If you want a genuinely custom-built home, you have the option of adding wood, rock, or brick to the exterior to meet your standards. While this will raise the external price, it is still cheaper than using these materials for the entirety of the exterior. 

You Have a Custom Built Workshop

Whether you need a large workshop for all of your hobbies or plan to turn one of your hobbies into a full-time business, you can build a custom workshop connected to your home.

You don’t have to worry about building a separate structure because it will already be a part of your house. This also means it will be much easier to get utilities installed. 

Many people have a more extensive shop than the rest of their house because they also use the shop as a garage.

Shorter Build Time

Because the metal sheets are simple to install, it doesn’t take long to have the exterior shell constructed and ready for the inside to be framed and sheetrocked. This not only saves you money but it also means you can move into your new home quicker than you would be able to if you were building a traditional house.

Purchasing a kit will also shorten your build time. The outer shell shouldn’t take more than a few days to install unless you want a customized exterior.

Lower Utility Bills

When you install higher quality insulation, your home will be more energy-efficient, and that will cause you to have lower utility bills. Insulation is easy to install when initially building any structure, especially barndos and shouses. 

While going with higher quality insulation will increase your budget initially, you will save that money and more since you won’t be wasting energy on heating or cooling your home.

Disadvantages of a Shouse

Just like anything else in life, building a shouse has its cons. Though there are only a few disadvantages in our opinion here, they are- 

  • Need for more land
  • Lack of curb appeal
  • City ordinances targeting shouses

We will further discuss the cons in greater detail so you aren’t blindsided by anything when deciding to build a metal shop house.

Need for Land

Because you will be building a large structure, you will need more land. Shophouses are often made outside of city limits for this reason. You will need at least an acre. Purchasing more land will quickly cut into your budget as land prices continue to rise.

Lack of Curb Appeal

Surprisingly to us, some people don’t enjoy the exterior looks. This can be overcome by using brick, rock, or wood for the exterior. The only limitation to the curb appeal of your shouse is your imagination. 

Regulations Against Metal Structures

Be sure to talk with your builder before starting because some cities have ordinances against living in metal buildings. If you hire a reputable builder, they will know all the building regulations for your area.

Costs to Build a Shouse

Building a metal shop house is cheaper than constructing a traditional home, but how much more affordable?

In this section, we will discuss how much per square foot it costs to build a shophouse. The price will vary depending on a few factors, one of which is if you plan on making it an entirely liveable space or leaving it as a workshop area.

Another factor is where you live; the material prices will change depending on the region in which you live. So we will give you a rough estimate of what you can expect as far as a price.

For an unfinished workshop, expect to pay $35 to $60 per square foot. For the spaces you will be living in, the prices will drastically increase to $125+ per square foot. 

What to Keep in Mind With a Shouse

In this section, we will remind you of the things you should keep in mind while building a shophouse-

  • Purchase enough land
  • Have the utilities installed
  • Building permits and regulations specifically for a shophouse

Purchase Enough Land

At the beginning of the building process, be sure you buy enough land on which to build your shophouse. Remember, the structures of a shophouse will encompass a lot of ground.

Have the Utilities Installed

Since most shophouses are built outside of city limits, getting the utilities installed is a sneaky expense. Having the waterline, electricity, and septic system installed can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Building Permits and Regulations for a Shouse

If you’re constructing a shouse inside city limits, be sure to look into your local laws for building. By doing a little pre-planning, you will avoid significant setbacks and fines.

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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