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#2759742 - 01/23/12 02:22 PM
12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea?
troutkingmaster Offline
HSOList.com Family

Registered: 12/12/07
Posts: 215
Loc: South Central, MN
My fiance and I are going to be putting up a small bunk house on her dad's land this spring. Right now, I an modeling my idea after ice houses on 4x6 skids. My idea is to lay down and level 6-8 inches of class 5 gravel, then put pier or deck blocks on that and then rest the skids/floor on those.

I am trying to stay away from doing concrete pier footings due to the added cost and complexity as the land is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it is spendy to get someone to pour those and get concrete. Has anyone done something like this for a hunting shack or is this a really bad idea?
#2759988 - 01/23/12 05:39 PM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: troutkingmaster]
Tom7227 Online   content
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 4431
Loc: White Bear Lake
Can't see why it wouldn't work. Only issue I could see would be sinking or heaving a bit.

For property tax purposes you may want to think about building an ice house that you store on the property temporarily. I know this was done by some guys on MilleLacs. Might have gotten away with it for a while.

Everybody is entitled to their own set of opinions, but not everybody is entitled to their own set of facts.
#2760098 - 01/23/12 07:02 PM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: Tom7227]
Moose Offline
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Registered: 02/18/02
Posts: 551
Loc: Elk River
Not sure if you have ever stayed in one of the camping cabins offered by the state parks. They are pretty awesome and have 2 double bunks on the bottom and single bunks on top. They also have a small table and benches and a small stand alone gas fireplace type heater. We've stayed in them from MN all the way to the East and West Coast on various vacations and love them. They usually have a screened in porch and a small deck on the front. I believe they build them on footings but I'm not really sure. If you go to the DNR web site and search camping cabins they should come up. I would think the skids would be fine but I would add additional cross supports as your not really worried about weight like a fish house. I would build it on 2x6 16" on center using the Joist hangers like you would for building a deck or a 4 season porch. Make sure you are using green treated lumber for the base and then build the rest like a small house.Most of the camping cabins we have stayed in just use decking material for the floor butted close together to seal them up.

Joshua 24:15c "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
#2760402 - 01/24/12 05:02 AM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: troutkingmaster]
cavalierowner Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 685
Loc: Minnetonka
That should work fine if you're not too concerned about it staying level. Frost heave and settlement will move it around a bit. How much it moves will depend a lot on the soil you place the Class 5 on. Make sure the skids, joists and deck are treated.

My dad and I did a very similar thing on his 40 acres in the 70's for a hunting shack. It was 12' x 20' with bunks on one end and a small strip kitchen on the other. We dug down about a foot til we hit sand and just used dry-stacked concrete block piers as a foundation. The shack stayed remarkebly level, the worse case being one corner about an inch low. The one thing we did find out very quickly was that we had to put sheet aluminum all around the shack buried about 6" to keep creatures (skunks) from calling the underside home.

Edited by cavalierowner (01/24/12 05:04 AM)

#2760894 - 01/24/12 11:46 AM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: cavalierowner]
CJH Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 2989
Loc: Burnsville, Alexandria
I know I saw a shed kit at Menards or FF or one of the hardware stores that basically has a kit/plan for something like this. Just a thought.

Edited by CJH (01/24/12 11:47 AM)

Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Taxes

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#2762134 - 01/25/12 10:30 AM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: CJH]
LightningBG Offline
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 4520
Loc: Lake Elmo, MN
Keeping it "mobile" is a good idea to avoid taxes for a permanent structure. Always a nice touch to put on it saying "Bob's Ice Shack" or something.

"A fine is a tax for doing something bad, a tax is a fine for doing something good."
#2762493 - 01/25/12 03:46 PM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: LightningBG]
Tom7227 Online   content
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 4431
Loc: White Bear Lake
Just got me thinking. Could you build something on a frame from a mobile home and get away with not paying property tax on the structure? I have no idea what the tax laws are on this or whether you would have weight limits. How immobile would it have to be before you got into a bind?

Everybody is entitled to their own set of opinions, but not everybody is entitled to their own set of facts.
#2762985 - 01/25/12 10:29 PM
Re: 12x16 Cabin on skids - Bad idea? [Re: Tom7227]
BoxMN Online   content
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 5030
Loc: WBL, MN & Crosslake weekender
FWIW, I have a cabin (okay, now have to officially call it a "shed"...) that is 12x20 with an additional 8x20 porch. We used it for quite a few years before building one with plumbing, etc. wink

If you are just using it for bunking the 12x16 should work. But if you are using it for a fridge, a table, a little closet and maybe a dresser, maybe a couple chairs etc, I would recommend going to 12x20. That extra 4' will make a big difference.

We didn't build ours, but there is no support in the middle and you can feel the flexing. It was built on 2x6's. I would recommend 2x8's and have a support in the middle. 12' is a fairly long span, and even my properly built 12'x24' deck has 2x12's.

If you don't have other buildings in the area (i.e. in-laws cabin/home, etc.) you might want to plan (but not build now) a porch for later. It is really nice to have a screened in porch, for the extra room for friends, and to get away from skeeters smile A gable end porch would be real easy to add on later.

Good luck, have fun planning and building! (fyi my little place is in my avatar, but pic is a bit skewed - it shows the porch smile )

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