Ultimate Guide to Shouses: All You Need to Know in 2024

a decent sized shouse that's perfectly captured between the sunset and its field
A decent sized shouse that’s perfectly captured between the sunset and its field

Considering how expensive it is to build houses, it’s no surprise that homeowners want homes that are functional and can serve all their needs. You’ll see houses with home offices, gyms, man caves, etc. Shouses are multi-functional structures that have been gaining popularity among homeowners. What exactly is a shouse, and why should you build one? This article explains what shouses are, their benefits, and how to build one. 

What is a Shouse?

The term “shouse” is a play on the words shop and house. A shouse is a workshop or a workspace connected to a house so the occupant can easily walk from the living space to the workshop or the other way around. While some homeowners have home offices and workshops on their properties, most are detached or standalone structures. 

Although shouses are just gaining popularity, their concept is not new. Houses in medieval Europe often had workshops, tanneries, or smithies attached to their homes so their occupants could practice their trades. 


Although homeowners can customize their structures however they want, there are some features that you can find in most shouses. 

Steel Exteriors

Most shouses have steel exteriors. A steel exterior is cheaper and easier to construct. 

Open Floor Plan

Open shouse floor plans give you more space to move around. If you have a small workshop, an open floor plan can make it look roomier. It also makes it easier to rearrange how your workshop looks if needed.

Read our article that discusses shouse floor plans and how you can create one that works for you. 

High Ceilings

A high ceiling gives the illusion that the shouse is larger than it is. It also makes it easier to work on large or tall projects. If you favor hanging shelves, you install more storage options by utilizing the height of your ceiling. 

In-floor Heating

An in-floor or underfloor heating system is crucial to a shouse. With floor heating, you can work comfortably in your building, even during the winter. Keeping your structure warm can also help you preserve your tools and equipment under great working conditions. This can help you save money since you can use them longer. 

Dedicated Workspace

A dedicated workspace is one of the key features of a shouse. It can be a woodworking workshop, a metal workshop, an engine shop, etc. A shouse gives you a dedicated area where you can concentrate on your work while being close to home. With a dedicated workshop, you can have all your tools, equipment, and materials in one place and within easy reach when needed.  

Storage Area

A shouse acts as your primary storage facility for all workshop-related items like tools, equipment, supplies, etc. It can also act as a secondary storage area for your residence. You can store seldom-used or seasonal items in your shouse, like winter items, luggage for vacations, etc. This frees up your residence’s storage space for things you frequently use. 

What’s the Difference Between a Barndominium and a Shouse?

It is easy to confuse a barndominium with a shouse because both can function as a dwelling and a workshop. They look similar on the exterior, but the main difference between the two is their functionality. 

A barndominium combines an open-concept barn and a customizable condominium, while a shouse combines a shop and a house under the same roof. A shouse is a dedicated personal workshop/storage connected to a house.

We can also say a shouse is a descendant of the barndominium in the hierarchy of post-frame homes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting a Shophouse 

Choosing the type of house to build is a huge decision, and it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before deciding on the type you want to build. Knowing about the advantages of a shouse can help you fully appreciate how it can benefit you. By understanding its drawbacks, you can prepare yourself and make sure you can minimize the disadvantages’ impact. 

Receive Quotes from Multiple Barndominium Builders & Kit Providers Near You Today (It's Free!)

Fill in this 1-minute form below and receive estimates for your project without having to find them yourself! Let them do the work.


Less Expensive Custom Built Home

Custom houses can be expensive. The more customizations you want, the more money you need to fork out. A shouse is an excellent option if you want a custom-built home without the immense price tag. 

It is cheaper to build because most shouses have metal exteriors. Instead of using traditional building methods, you can use a pre-fabricated metal shell to build a shouse. This makes the construction time shorter, which makes labor expenses cheaper. Another factor that makes it cheaper is its simpler design. A simple structure is easier and faster to build, making it a cheaper option. 

A shouse is also cheaper because there’s no need to build a separate structure for your workshop. You don’t need to secure the permits required to build a workshop because you need just one building permit for a shouse. 

A shouse can also save you money because you can use it for your commercial endeavors; hence, there’s no need to rent a commercial space for your woodworking or metalwork business. You don’t need to spend gas to go to your workshop. You can also entertain clients anytime you want to, so there’s no risk of losing out on potential new clients or projects. 

Convenient Access to the Workshop

A shouse gives you convenient access to your workshop anytime you want. Since the workshop is attached to the living area, you can go to your workshop without having to leave your house. You can conveniently go to your workshop even if it is raining or snowing outside. 

A shouse means you can proceed to your workshop even if it is the middle of the night and you feel like working on a project. It is also a more secure option because you are always close to the living spaces of your house and its occupants. 

Great Protection Against Threats

The metal exterior of a shouse makes it more suitable against common threats to the structural integrity of a conventional house, like mold and termites. Wood is attractive for termites because it is their primary food source, and a metal shouse is not attractive for termites. If you have a woodworking shop, a metal structure can help reduce the likelihood of termite infestation. 

Metal is also not as attractive to mold compared to wood. However, a metal structure can still develop leaks. Leaks can let in moisture inside your shouse, and moisture helps mold develop. Check your building for leaks, especially after a hurricane, so you can fix them immediately. 

Additional Storage Option

A shouse gives you extra storage options where you can keep your workshop tools and equipment safe. With a dedicated storage area for your business, you can organize your equipment, tools, and materials to easily find them whenever you need them, making you more productive in delivering products on time. 

You can also allow space in your workshop to store personal items you rarely use and help you de-clutter your dwelling to make it more presentable. This will also give you more storage for important or frequently-used personal items. 

If you have a large workshop area, you can also use it to store your vehicles. If you don’t have a dedicated garage, you can save money since the shouse can act as your garage. If you have a garage that’s just large enough for your vehicles, you can have a standby garage space if you decide to buy an additional vehicle. 

Can Help You Save Time

Having a shouse can help you conserve time. With your workshop close to your dwelling, you don’t need to commute to attend to your business. You can use the time you save to spend more time working on projects. There’s no need to worry about getting stuck in traffic or arriving late to a client meeting.


Need for Land

A shouse is typically larger than a conventional house, so you need a large lot if you plan to build one. If you have a small lot, you might need to buy a larger one to build a shouse. Just like barndominiums, shouses often have their floor area laid out horizontally, requiring a large land to build on. 

Regulations Against Metal Structures

If you live in a subdivision or within a city, local building regulations might not permit the construction of a shouse. Some HOAs prohibit the construction of metal buildings like shouses within their subdivisions. Some cities don’t allow metal buildings within their city limits. This means you might need to buy land in the suburbs or rural areas to build your shouse legally. 

However, there is still the possibility that your building permit department might allow you to build a shouse because not all counties implement the same building regulations. The prudent thing to do is speak with the local building authority to learn about their regulations. 

Curb Appeal

A shouse might not look appealing to everyone. The main draw for building this type of building is its functionality, not its exterior looks. Some might find a shouse too large or bulky. This can affect the resale value of your property in the future. It can also make it more difficult to find a buyer. Follow our Facebook page to get in touch with others who love metal buildings and might be prospective buyers. 

There are ways to make a shouse more appealing. You can use bricks, wood, or stones to make the exterior of your shouse look more attractive. Check our Pinterest account to see some exterior shouse design inspirations you can use to make your building more appealing. We also have an article dedicated to shouse designs and how to build a shouse that looks amazing while staying functional. 

How Much Does a Shouse Typically Cost?

According to Morton Buildings, a metal building can cost between $75 and $125 per square foot. This estimate is inclusive of the metal building shell, taxes, delivery, and installation. However, other factors can affect the budget you need to prepare for a shouse. You should consider your location, the type of material you will use, and the overall design you want.

The shouse cost quoted above is a rough estimate, and the actual amount you need to spend can be lower or higher. You can save money if you get the metal shell and handle the rest of the construction yourself. The best thing to do is ask for quotes from several suppliers and contractors to compare them and get the best possible deal available. 

Check our in-depth article about shouse costs to learn more about the different expenses that go into building a shouse. 

Is It Better to Build a House or a Shophouse?

This is a tricky question that only you can answer. If you are passionate about your hobbies and require a dedicated workshop, a shouse is the better option. Building a shouse is an excellent option if you can see your hobby evolving into a business opportunity since it will give you the space you need to expand in the future.

If you believe your hobby will remain a hobby, a house will be a better option. You can just have a room in your house where you can indulge yourself with your hobby from time to time. A house is also better if you live in an urban area where metal buildings are not allowed. Building a traditional house is a more practical option for occasional woodworking than uprooting yourself and moving to another location. 


If you want to build a house that balances your personal and creative needs, a shouse is an excellent option. This structure is not as expensive as a regular house. It gives you more space to hone your craft or grow your business. A shouse can also help you save time and money since there’s no need to travel to reach your workshop. 
If you want to see more design ideas for metal buildings like shouses, barndominiums, and container homes, make sure that you follow our Instagram account.