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Affordable Backyard Studio – Prefab vs DIY Cost Breakdown

Backyard studios are small buildings that are constructed on your property. Buying a prefab backyard office or prefab studio shed are the alternative when you don’t want to build a backyard studio yourself.

A backyard studio can be built yourself with a total budget of $2,000. The size and materials will affect the cost. A prefab backyard office or prefab studio shed typically require a budget of t least $900. Prefab backyard offices are the most expensive ones with the price range from $8,000 up to $70,000. 

All backyard studios and offices can be personally customized and can be designed to suit any purpose. Depending on the needs, backyard studios can come in many sizes and different types of construction.

Backyard studios come in three forms: DIY, kits, and prefab. Usually they have all the comforts you would find in your home or any other workspace, including power and Wi-Fi, storage space, lighting, and warmth.

backyard studio
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A Cost Guide For A DIY Backyard Studio (Base Your Costs On This)


Before you start thinking about materials and how you’re going to build the studio, think about what you will use it for. Backyard studios can be transformed into anything. Knowing what you’re going to use it for will be crucial when you start gathering materials and decide how big or small you want it.

Also, decide what materials you want to use. The most popular and durable material is wood. Depending on types and sizes the cost of the whole studio may vary. If you can, find recyclable and repurpose those materials. If it’s quality wood, you can have a great lifespan of the studio, when maintained properly.

Building Permit

After you planned out what role the backyard studio is going to play, you need to research building codes and regulations in your city. When you get the permit, you are ready to start building your studio.


Next, you need to measure your backyard. Find the spot where you want to put your studio and measure the space. If the big studio you want won’t fit in the backyard, you’re going to have to plan and make it smaller. Height also matters, as the building codes also dictate how tall your building can be.


First, you must lay out the foundation. Clear out the terrain and make sure there are no bumps or large holes. The most common foundation is made out of cement and crushed gravel. Build a frame that will hold the gravel or cement and pour it in. When you fill in the frame, smoothen the surface. When the foundation dries, a floor panel should be laid first.


The size and construction of the flooring depend on the building coded. Of course, the size of the flooring will determine how big your studio is going to be. Floor frames made out of wood come at a price of around $200 and an additional $200 to top it with boards. After the floor is secure, it’s time to put up wall frames.

Wall Frames and Framing

At this moment, the floor will serve as a working surface. Put up the back wall first and use screws to secure it on the floor panel. After the back wall, put up the front wall as well. Finish putting all the wall frames. Make sure they are well secured and fit in place.

Wall frames range in price depending on the type of wood you’re using. The price is from $600 up to $2,000. The wall panels that you use for siding are cheaper. For hardwood siding, you’re looking at a price range from $80 to $350. Cedar can be quite expensive. You can spend up to $700, but it is the most quality wood for siding.

It is best to lift the wall frames with the sidings and then using beams to support it from the outside. If you lift the frames without the siding, you risk skewing the building when you start working on putting on the sidings. All the shaking and moving can also rift the frames from their positions. When you put up the wall frames, it’s time to place the roof joists.


The building codes will dictate how big the roof joists have to be. The type of roof joists also depends on what kind of roof you want. Secure the joists on the wall frames and add any supporters from the inside, if necessary. The price of roof joists ranges between $250 – $500.

After the wall frames are set, install the windows as doors as well. With the floor, walls, and roof on, you can treat the wood with protective coats, if necessary, and paint it in the desired color.

Wood Stain or Paint

Treating a wood shed with stain or paint isn’t just to make it look pretty. The exterior coating actually acts as a protectant from the elements.

These are the best wood stains for your backyard studio.

You can decorate the exterior as you wish. With the size of your studio try and calculate how much paint you’re going to need. One gallon of paint can cover around 400 square feet. The price of one gallon of paint is around $20.

You can now proceed to the interior of the studio. If you haven’t already, plan out what you want on the inside of the studio. This will depend on what you’re going to use it for. Think about electricity, outlets, lighting, and on the other side shelves, tables, and everything else.


For electricity, it is best to hire a professional to do the wiring. The average hourly rate for the electrician in the United States is around $20. On the inside, mark where you want your outlets and lights. When the studio is wired up and you’re done with electricity, it’s time to insulate the walls.


rockwool insulation

For backyard studios, many people opted for using Rockwool. Rockwool is used for thermal and insulation and has the purpose of fire protection and is not made of fiberglass.

Learn cheap ways to insulate a shed.

It comes in different sizes, so you will have to research more about how much you’re going to need. The price for packs of Rockwool ranges from $30 up to $60. The cheaper option is to use fiberglass for insulation. Install Rockwool using staples, it is enough to keep it in place. Once the insulation is set, you need to put the drywall on top of it.


Putting up the drywall can be quite difficult, especially on the ceiling. Get as much help as you can to put it up. Don’t forget to cut out the places where your outlets are. Sand down the texture of the drywall to get a nice smooth surface. You can paint the walls if you want and clean up the floor.


You are now ready to decorate the interior. Bring in all the furniture you want. The cost of designing the interior is all up to you because you’re the one who decides what does inside.

Total Cost to Build a Backyard Studio

For materials alone, to make a constructed wooden backyard studio can be between $1700 and $3800. This range depends on the quality and quantity of material you’re using.

You can make the studio from a different material. People often use mental structures because it is sturdy, and it is resistant to insects and rot. Metal studios will rust over time, though. This means that it will be best to use galvanized steel for durability.

To lay the flooring and foundation, the cost is around $200, with floorboards adding an extra cost of $200. To build the wall frames out of metal you will need the material that will cost you from $800 to $1,700. You will need steel sheets to side the wall, and the cost for that is around $400. In total, the price for materials is between $1,700 to $3,000. If you need to hire a professional welder to seal all the frames, keep in mind that the average hourly rate is around $25.

Vinyl studios are very durable and have low maintenance. But they have a complex design, meaning that all the frames are made from wood and the walls are cladded with vinyl.

So again, for the entire floor, you will need around $400. The wall framing comes around $300. For wall siding, you will need OSB panels, with the price range from $250 up to $400, and vinyl panels with the price range from $300 to $700. In total, for all materials, it will cost you from $1900 to $4200.

The most expensive studio you can make, but last a lifetime, is a brick backyard studio. Brick structures have great insulation and are the sturdiest material out there. You need hard concrete to place the studio on, and its price starts at $250. The floor is the trickiest part here. You need floorboards ($400 – $800), tiles ($200 – $1,000), and a carpet (average price around $600).

To make all 4 walls the material will cost you around $1,500. In the end, the amount you need to spend just on the materials start at $2,300 and goes up to $4,300. If you hire a professional bricklayer, it can add up to $2,000 to the final cost.

@Denver 7 – The Denver Channelhttps://youtu.be/wHZq21a0BNc

Assembling a Prefab Backyard Office

If you’re buying a studio kit, know that you will get all the materials you need in the kit. You pay the price of the whole studio, but you have to assemble it. Buying a kit means you don’t have to worry about gathering materials, buying windows and doors, and many more.

With every studio kit, you get very detailed instructions on how to assemble it. All the material is labeled so you know when and what to use when putting it up. Studio kits can be built faster than DIY studios because you don’t have to calculate every step of the way.

When assembling the kit, you need to think about almost all the steps as with the DIY studio. You should measure the spot in the backyard to know which size of the studio to buy.


Choosing a studio that is big enough for your needs, but still compact enough to be easily transported to your house, is important. Think how much area you have at the final location site and between the road. This is important because you need to know how the kit will be transported to the site. You don’t want your fences to be ripped out to get your studio. For a backyard studio kit, you also need to get a permit.

Building Permit

Usually, small studios don’t require a permit, but it is best to check the regulations in your town or county. You need a permit if the studio is over 12 feet and if you want to run electricity in it.

With a studio kit, you choose between already-made designs. If you don’t want to spend much time thinking about how your studio is going to look, different manufacturers offer a variety of designs.


You need to build a foundation where you will assemble the studio kit. Make sure that it is big enough so the studio can fit. Make sure that the foundation is straight and not on a hill. Also make sure that the foundation and place where the studio will be can not be damaged by, for example, falling debris. When you lay down the foundation, assemble the flooring.

Flooring, Walls, Roof

Remember to secure it tightly so the pieces don’t come off. After you put the floor frame, drop panels on it to get a straight surface. Start putting up the wall frames and after that, install the doors and windows. The roof is the last one you need to put on the frames.

When everything is lifted and secured the exterior is done.


If you chose a studio kit with a complete design, you won’t have to paint or decorate anything. But some studio kits just offer the pre-cut material, so you might have to paint and put on some finishing touches.

With everything assembled, you’re done.


Decorate the interior the way you want it, also depending on what you’re going to use the studio for. Remember that the insulation is commonly not included, as well as plumbing and electricity. To have lighting and outlets, you will have to call an electrician.

Cost of Prefab Backyard Office

Wooden backyard studio kits can be found at a price of around $900. But that is just the kit. Additional costs are the permit, foundation, insulation, electricity, and plumbing. These additional costs may not be so problematic. The highest cost is for plumbing, adding around $1,000 to the total amount.

The cost you spend assembling the studio kit depends on the price of the kit itself. If we’re talking about size, the total cost for an 8 ft. x10 ft. studio kit is around $2,900. The price of the kit just goes higher from $900. If you don’t want to assemble the kit yourself, you’re going to need to hire a professional. The cost of labor can add around $1,300 to the total amount.

Buying A Prefab Backyard Studio

Prefab buildings are the ones that are planned out, constructed, and built-in another location and transported to the final site. Prefab houses became very popular as people found out it is cost-effective.

Backyard Studio vs Prefab Backyard Office

The difference between a prefab studio and a DIY studio is pretty clear.

When you’re building a studio you gather all materials, clear out the site, and build a studio. Prefab studios are constructed from elements that are made in the factory and the finished product is shipped to you.

Prefab is preferable because they are more eco-friendly than DIY. When you think about all the waste you have after building the studio, in the factory they will commonly reuse and recycle that waste.

Pros to Prefab Studio Shed

There are a lot of pros of a prefab studio shed. They are entirely customizable, meaning you can have everything you want and it. Also, factories are more likely to gather some materials and elements that you might not have the chance of using.

Prefab studio sheds usually do not require a permit, but it is always best to check with your local building department and get to know the regulations.

The prefab studios are made from various materials, which is why their price is high. They also usually come insulated and with professional installation. Usually, they combine wood with aluminum and fiberglass to ensure durability. Some will even put exotic woods, for example, bamboo for flooring.

The price range for prefab garden studios is huge. Price mainly depends on manufacturer, size, materials, and design. The starting price is usually around $8,000, but it goes up to an astounding $100,000. Studio shed is one of the most popular garden studio designers. They offer DIY kits, prefab with installation, and prefab with installation and interior.

The average price for garden studios that are 8’x12′ is around $12,000. The usual price range for garden studios that are 8 feet wide is from $10,000 to $14,000. Prefab garden studios that are 10 feet wide come around the price of $16,000. The range for all studios that are 10 feet wide is from $14,000 up to $21,000. The biggest ones are 12 feet wide. Their price ranges from $16,000 to $24,000.


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