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Buying an ice houses


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I am looking to buy a permanent ice house on wheels this year. I am looking for one that is 8x10 or bigger and for $1500 or less. where can i buy an ice house at? Is there companies in minnesota that build permanent ice houses or do i have to build one myself?

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There are various builders in MN of retractable houses.

The size your talking of 8' wide would have the wheel system within the structure of the house to meet width codes.

Also, your $1,500 I assume is a type error as you will be lucky to get the trailer portion of the house for that amount.

Your looking at $6,500 - $8,000 and rather basic for that amount.

6.5 X 12' - 16' are most common sizes!!

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I agree to some extend that you probably won't be able to get a house for that cost. But you should be able to find a trailer for that. Unlike others have mentioned. There are a lot of manufactures that think there frames are worth a lot of money but they really aren't. It is just metal and all and for those who don't work with metal it isn't that expesive. Do some checking around with small local welding shops or places like they they are probably far cheaper that the company that "specialize" in ice houses. Also like mentioned every now and then there are used house that come up for sale on the forum here that will fit your price range.

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Unless you have the expertise and tools to weld, cut or bend aluminum for your own house, it is not a quick inexpensive venture. A wood house is a different animal which doesnt require alot of skills to toss together a frame and skin it.

Also, I can assure you that you will never find "aluminum" any where the cost a house builder gets as they buy in bulk pounds to get the rates they do.

The house building market (aluminum) is very competitive now days and I have not experienced great disparincies in cost from one to another for a trailer and frame. It's the size and options where the costs start going up, but you can control that just like options on a car !!

Most of the decision is personal choice, budget, and quality of house your wanting in my opinion.

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Not possible 99. I built a 6.5 x 14 last fall and the trailer alone was 1350.00 and that was a good buy. Steel prices are way up this fall so you can expect closer to 1800 for a frame. I am in the remodeling bussiness and bought about 50% of the materials at wholesale and I am still over 6500.00 plus my labor.Things add up in a hurry. I have a feeling you might have punched the wrong number in by mistake.....

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I'm going to forward your post to my cousin as it prooves a point I've been trying to make to him for ten years now, and he still don't have a house (lol)

He believes he can buy everything on the cheap and build anything for half the cost "minimum" all the time.

His time and labor he does not include in the end cost, but yet expects manufacturers to do the same.

I've told him for ten years now ( 3 houses later myself) to build one for 50% less and I'll give you 30% more for your time and I'll still be 20% ahead from a manufactuered price.

I have my $8,000 house (lol) but it sure as heck did not come from old cousin for $5,200 which would have been half plus 30%...

He knows it cant be done, but will never admitt it..lol

Gives me good fun & humor though when he's fishing with me (lol)

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There is a reason the builders are getting 8 to 10 grand for there houses.

One of the guys I work with thinks he can build one for around 3. He already

has 2000 in the frame and 350 in the floor. I think I spent around 300 just

for caulking, fasteners and nails. Adds up in a hurry. I have had a few

folks say the same thing about my house " I could build it for half that"

and I just ignore them. Those are the type of guys that never do anything

any way.LOL

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Since you guys are talking costs, I thought I'd chime in too.

My sleeper(7'x12') which happens to be on skids and not a trailer will be approaching $2,000 by the time I'm done with it.

Just a few details:

-4"x6" pressure treated runners

-Insulated sandwich panel floor

-2"x2" walls

-1-1/2" pink rigid insulation (which happens to be close to $15 for a 4x8 sheet now!)

-Pole barn steel siding

-1/4" Luaun plywood for the interior

-Trailer house style door

-(2) insulated sliding windows

-(3) RV dome lights & an exterior porch light all wired down to a battery

-15,000 Btu Empire direct vent furnace w/thermostat

-(8) Catch Cover hole covers

-(4) fold up beds


-and a deer antler hat rack grin.gif

I haven't carpeted the house yet, that still might happen.

I haven't added the rattle wheels yet either.

I haven't put the flag pole on yet to fly old glory out on the ice!

If you add my $2,000 to a $1,500 trailer plus a great deal of your own time to build the thing, you still have a lot of money involved. No doubt I WAY UNDERESTIMATED the cost & amount of time involved to do a project such as this.

One of these days I'll post some pictures. It has turned out very nice and professional. I'm a stickler for accuracy and detailing when it comes to something like this.

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I plan to build another 8 x 20 this year.

Here is a list of what I got for nothin

steel for trailer


outer shell material (heavyduty plastic)


2 x 3 lumber for studs

some foam for bunk matresses

I have enough stuff in the shed to build my own stove.

a door

I figure I'll have over 2000 into it when I'm done and I'm doin all the work myself. After a couple times I learned that by building them yourself they can nickle and dime you to death

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We all know about those type of guys that are all blow & no go smile.gif

I dropped off (2) 7' X 6.5' X 8' fully insulated and pre-fabed shipping crates to my cousin four years ago. They were 2 X 2 framed and had inside walls and floors as well with good grade plywood.

Use to haul freight and a place shipped large "servers" over seas in them. Beautiful constructed things assembled by boldts which made it nice to take them apart.

For the $100 it cost me (delivered to his driveway) included, he had his 7 X 16 fish house right there.

Take the back wall off one and boldt the other crate to the first one.

Put it on a trailer and finish it off as desired....

He "never" did a thing with it that Fall (include pay for it) and the next spring a mutual friend of ours asked me if I could get more of them ?

Turned out the crates were given to this other guy to get them out of my cousins garage.

He built a "playhouse" for his daughters with them and gave me $100 on the spot after knowing the story with good old cousin. (lol)

Oh well, sometimes its just to easy & cheap even I guess !!

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I just finished a 6.5x12 in the last couple weeks. I can say that I did mine for around $1500, or a little less. But, I did have much of the material already, form my carpentry days collected from extras on jobs. Lumber, some plywood, foam ins, and steel for the roof. Plus boilerguy built my frame for cost, thanks again Eric! As you can see, even with probably 2/3 of the material already on hand it still ran me around $1500. And my house is just a basic house. In my estimation if I would have had to buy everything up front, the bill would have been $2800 to $3000.

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korn fish:

That was over four years ago when I was driving for a freight forwarder.

They were custom made crates that were made to the wrong specs for the servers being shipped!!

They make them exact to within 1" and slide foam board in the crate along the server.....

They were nice, and I'm sure would have been a great deer stand option...

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There are used houses out there, for 1500 bucks don't expect much though. You won't be able to get a crank down house for that but you can probably find a home made shack or camper for somewhere in that price range. I've got an 8x16 house that I built on the cheap over the last 2 years.Its old school thats for sure, but I got virtually all of the lumber for free, OSB, Plywood, Studs, etc. Free shingles, free windows. My hubs for the axel came off of a bent trailer axel, 40 bucks worth of bearings on onse side, tires and rims were free, lights were free, some of the steel I had. I had a really nice camper door from a camper I got for free and took apart, but a cow stepped on it ( don't ask).

*My 30000 BTU heater was 100 bucks, (ventless)

*insulation was aroudn 200

Paint, tarpaper, screws, etc 120

Steel 200 (sorry guys, just angle iron on the frame)

12v lights and wiring about 20 bucks

Propane oven and range-free


So I have in the ball park of 700 bucks into an 8x16, it takes me about 20 minutes to jack it up and insert the wheels, likewise to set it down. Its big an comfortable, but not somthing you can take to redlake or LOTW for the weekend.

For those trips I just bought a pickup camper thats about to be converted. As far as cheep trailers, one Idea I've gotfor my next one is buying a lighter duty 16ft long utility trailer, you know the tandum axel ones that are about 800 bucks new? Cheap, ready to go and should be able to handle the weight, In my opinion you would be fine at the height they are at, somthing like 1 foot off the ice, so no lowering/raising to worry about, drill a hole and fish, then when your done, get in the truck and go. Just my .02

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