Get electrified: Learn more about adding electricity and plumbing to your shed

When planning for your Modern-Shed, there are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to adding electricity and plumbing to your shed.

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Electricity:

A Modern-Shed with an electrical framing package includes:

  • All wall studs pre-drilled for “roping” (running the electrical wiring throughout the walls), making it easier and faster for your electrician to do their work
  • 1 ceiling chase in the center of the roof panel to allow for the wiring of a ceiling light. We also offer the option of adding more ceiling chases. Our panel system for the ceiling is a fully enclosed and insulated box panel with no access to the interior framing of the roof panel.
  • Wall framing next to a door to allow for a junction box for exterior light

Differences to expect from traditional building:

Due to the panelization process where two panels come together, it is not always possible to put the junction boxes or switches in the exact desired location.

For wall switch and exterior light, due to where panels come together, and the desired location of the door (particularly if in a corner), it may not be possible to put a wall switch or exterior light in the exact desired location, such as right next to the door because of wall framing members required by the building process and panel connection.

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Outlets and switches can’t always be placed in the desired location.

The determining factor for the ceiling chase will be the overall length of the roof, which determines the exact center, left to right. If the center of the building falls in the same place as the location of a ceiling joist, then the electrical chase will need to be on one side or the other of that joist.

Our design professionals work closely with you to help determine locations of these items to obtain as close to desired location as possible. IMG_5268

Plumbing:

If you desire plumbing in your Modern-Shed, there are elements which must be considered due to the Modern-Shed unique floor system.

 

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It is important to work with your plumber and design pro to consider where your water supply and drainpipes will be located

We use a 4X perimeter beam directly below the wall framing that cannot be drilled through. Location of the plumbing elements must be taken into consideration.

 

First, it is important to understand the three elements of plumbing:

1. The supply (incoming water) for hot and cold water from the source feeding the sink, toilet and shower.

2. The drainpipes for the same three fixtures. Keep in mind that water / waste exiting a toilet is considered black water and must be drained into a sewer or septic system.

3. Venting for the items in item 2 above which must be hidden within a wall cavity.

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Typical plumbing would have the supply coming through the floor and into the wall cavity and the drainpipe for a sink would typically go into the wall and through the floor via the wall cavity which would also carry the venting. The toilet and shower would drain through the floor and connect within and between the floor joists.

In a Modern-Shed, the designer and plumber must consider the location of our perimeter floor beam which sits directly below the bottom plate of the wall and is typically a 4x beam which cannot be drilled through.

In order to design the piping routing and locations, there are three design solutions to the scenarios. Considering the drains first, the drains can go directly through our floor system and connect below the floor. Our floor system is fully enclosed and insulated therefore the drainpipes cannot connect within or between the floor joists.

It is of utmost importance that the location of drain holes for shower and toilet be determined before fabrication so we can pre-frame the floor panels to accept the drains, if by chance the design calls for the holes to be directly above a joist or where two panels come together. If this were to be the case, we custom design the floor and provide a schematic for your plumber to locate the exact spot where the toilet and shower drains need to be.

The supply line for the toilet can come through the floor inward of the floor beam since it resides next to the toilet unlike a shower or sink which reside within the wall cavity.DSC_0749

For the sink and shower supply lines, there are three solutions:

1. The full height of the wall where the plumbing wants to go can be made thicker with either 2×6 or 2×8 studs to accommodate the space required to drill through the bottom plate of the wall and not hit the perimeter beam.

2. The wall can be thicker only part way up from the floor to accommodate the supply line and vents. This would create a handy “shelf” behind the sink and toilet.

3. Normally there will need to be an interior wall with a door for the bathroom and the supply lines and venting can reside in that wall, depending on the door location, particularly if the door is a pocket door. A barn style door could be used if necessary.

It will be important to familiarize yourself with local building codes by working with your local plumber and then working with your Modern-Shed design professional to achieve the best design possible.

A particular state of mind

PORTLAND — Scott was looking for a little more space in the three-bedroom home he bought in 2017, when he contacted design professional Jeff Bergerson about building a Modern-Shed in his backyard.

Scott shares his home with roommates, and in the basement the occasional Airbnb guest comes to stay. But he wanted space to make music and more room for his own guests coming over.

“I wanted a little area for music and art and a guest area,” he said. “I don’t really have that in my house, mainly I wanted a separate space to make music and be able to be noisy that wasn’t going to bother people in the house. I don’t want to be disturbing to my Airbnb guests.”

12 by 16 ModernShedScott had Modern-Shed build a 12’ by 16’ shed with an open floor plan. At one end of the shed, he mixes music, while in another he has a large sectional couch that folds out into a bed.

“I mostly compute music, but I also have some instruments,” he says. “I collaborate with friends. I have a lot of friends who make music, so this is a space I can use with other people and collaborate on stuff. I like the feeling of leaving the house and stepping into that space. It’s separate from the house, so it puts you in a particular state of mind. You’re not thinking about cooking and cleaning in another part of the house.”

Scott encountered no issues with the construction of his Modern-Shed, and with the amount of options available to him to customize his shed.

“There were not really any surprises,” he says. “I was surprised by how things really did go as planned. Everyone that has seen it thinks it’s great and has been impressed by it.”

Adding on vs Buying big vs Modern-Shed

Here at Modern-Shed, our design professionals often meet customers who are fed up with their living situation.
When a family needs more space, sometimes the first thing they’ll consider is adding onto their home or buying a new, bigger house with an additional bedroom.
Once they embark down those paths, however, they soon realize how costly those options are.
“Whether they’ve gone to an architect or they’ve actually hired a contractor and bid a job, or they’ve researched online, they realize it’s more complex than they thought,” said Modern-Shed design pro Jeff Bergerson. “That’s when they start to open their minds to other options.”
Building a detached studio such as a Modern-Shed for a home office or guest room living space is far less expensive than adding onto your home or buying a bigger house.
For the proof, all you need is to look at the numbers.
10x18 guestroom_2The average cost to build an additional room runs anywhere from $80 to $200 per square feet, according to Home Advisor, but higher (close to $400) in competitive markets like Seattle.
For an 80-square-foot room, that comes out to upwards of $32,000 for a home addition, with factors such as size, architectural services, support beams, electrical wiring and more influencing the cost.
More realistically, however, homeowners planning a home addition are more likely to spend more than $200,000 on their remodel in areas like Seattle, San Francisco and southern California.
“The customers I talk to who have already gone through getting quotes, these people are already tired, they’re already discouraged, and they’ve spent thousands of dollars just to get drawings and bids only to find out, ‘Hey, it’s going to cost $80,000 when here I thought it was going to be $20,000,” Jeff notes. “ And it’s going to take over a year. That’s when they say that’s not close to what they expected, so they look for new ideas.”
Additionally, building an addition might require updating the rest of your house to current standards, which can be like “opening a can of worms,” Jeff says.
“If you build a detached studio, no one’s looking at the rest of your house,” he says.
For folks not interested in turning their home into a construction zone, they might be tempted to just up and move. However, the costs to upgrade to a new home are even more alarming.
In Los Angeles, the median price of a three-bedroom home that was actively listed in February 2019 was $730,000, but the median price of a four-bedroom home was $979,000, for a difference of $249,000, according to figures obtained on the real estate listing site Redfin.
In Portland, the price difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home came out to $180,000, and in Seattle, the difference was even more striking: home buyers would have to shell out an average of $748,000 more for a four-bedroom home compared to a three-bedroom home.
“The cost to upgrade the size of a house is astronomical,” Jeff says. “It’s far more than they expect, especially if they’re talking about increasing bedrooms.”
Factor in the cost and stress of moving, potentially pulling your children out of their school district, leaving a neighborhood you love, and messing with your mortgage interest rate, and many of our customers come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to move.
Modern-Sheds start at a base price of around $13,000, depending on the size of the shed, and not including, taxes, delivery and installation.
“So many people want to stay where they are and they just need to find another solution and that’s how they’re discovering us,” Jeff says. “You could have a new shed four weeks from the time of your order.”

The Modern-Shed Boat House

GIG HARBOR — Down a winding path, nestled in the Evergreen forests near the Key Peninsula, Kerrie and Rich found a place they could call home.

Their home, however, left some things to be desired. In the meantime, they wanted to create a comfortable space where they could work, relax and entertain loved ones while enjoying the view of Henderson Bay and all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

“Our house just needs lots of work, and the Modern-Shed takes the pressure off,” Kerrie says. “It’s a two-bedroom house that was built in 1958. Now, with the shed, we have an extra bedroom and a nice place where we can bring our guests.”

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Why We Use … Benjamin Moore paint

We’ve started a new series “shedding” light on the fabulous products we use, such as Benjamin Moore paint.

ModernShed is committed to using and offering only the highest-quality materials. One aspect of this is our paint choice. Modern-Sheds are factory-painted, and due the complexity of open-joint siding, we felt it imperative to use long-lasting, quality paint.

Layla Tromble, the store manager at Pacific Paint and Decorating in Ferndale, Wash., has worked with her fair share of paint companies over the years.

By far, Benjamin Moore paint comes out ahead of the pack.

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Benjamin Moore uses the Gennex pigment system, which bonds to the paint on a molecular level.

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