DIY Man Cave Guide: Creating Your Own Man Cave

As the heat of summer slowly yields way to autumn, our needs and wants begin to shift as well.  Kids are back in school and the daily grind of getting everyone off to school, fed, homework completed, and off to bed becomes the new normal.  Somewhere in that mix is Football!  I love the fall season mainly because of football.  Not long after football season gets underway, we begin another great season – Hunting.  These two manly sports cause me to think more about man caves and hunt lodges.  I know many of us cannot afford massive man caves and hunt lodges, but I can show you how you can make one of your very own, or you can use this DIY man cave guide to have someone else build you one on a budget.  Since my last man cave article was so well received by many of you, I wanted to write this one as a follow up, including the costs and some DIY instructions to create your own man cave or hunt lodge.

I have seen many different sizes of man caves and hunt lodges.  We have built a few of them ourselves.  When we did ours we used a manufactured shed that was 12’ wide by 36” long.    For the purpose of this article and building on a budget, I suggest a 12’ x 16’ portable shed with 8’ side walls.  This size shed is similar to a decent sized bedroom in a house.  The 8’ sidewalls are very important in my opinion.  It makes the space seem larger and helps with air circulation.  You can also easily install a ceiling fan if you like.

Step one – find a portable shed to fit your needs.  Make sure your shed meets all code and/or HOA requirements based on where you live.  Then you will have the unit delivered and set-up.  For us on the coast, that will also require high wind anchoring.  Once the unit is set up properly, then you begin the transformation of shed to man cave.  For individuals not interested in a DIY project, you can hire a contractor to complete the job, or in our case, we have built them and delivered them practically complete.

At this point you will need the proper materials and installation.  Electrical wiring and insulation begin the process.  If the framing of the unit is all 2 x 4’s you can use a R-13 insulation.  If the roof has 2 x 6 rafters, I suggest getting the 5.5” thick R- 19 insulation instead of the 3.5” R-13.  The thicker ceiling insulation makes a noticeable difference.  Electrical wiring is not too difficult, just think through where you want to place outlets and switches.  You may want to install a basic breaker box.  It makes a for a safer man cave.  Connecting the newly wired shed to a power source is job for an electrician.

Once the wiring and insulation are complete I suggest using panel board.  It is inexpensive, easy to install, and you don’t have to tape, mud, sand, or paint.  It also keeps the building weight down if you ever want to relocate your man cave.  Flooring can be cheap or expensive.  If you want to go middle of the road, I suggest vinyl flooring that looks like hard wood.  It is glued down in strips.  You see it a lot in restaurants.  It is tough, looks great, helps to insulate and sound proof.  The only things left are lights and climate control.  You can find a simple window unit that provides both heat and air conditioning.  Lighting can be done with an overhead light, ceiling fan with light kit, or just lamps.  It is your cave, you decide.  Below is a breakdown of costs associated with each step.  I hope this article has been helpful for you.  Please feel free to share it with others!


$ 3,700 Shed 12 x 16 delivered

$   350  Insulation

$   325  Panel Walls and Ceiling

$   250  Electrical wiring and panel box

$   225  Small window heat air unit

$   500  Vinyl flooring installed

$    50   Light kit

$ 5,400 Total for all the materials you will need.

Keep in mind that you will need to factor in extra funds for the electrician to connect you to a power source.  Also keep in mind that no labor for any of the build out work has been included.

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